From Culloden Moor, next port of call on my mission was the Caravan Club Site at Brora. This is a nice site, with just 100yds of golf course to cross to get from the caravan to a deserted, beautiful, sandy beach.
After a few days here, it was time to head up to Dunnet Bay, near Thurso, right at the top do the country.
With all the comings and goings of the previous few weeks, coupled with changeable weather and an ever-looming copy deadline, I'd not really relaxed into the trip. However, as the trip North from Brora progressed, I started to at last 'feel the love'. The deserted stretch of the A9 south of Thurso, and the wild countryside I was admiring, finally put a smile on my face. The Airstream is a delight to tow at all times, but right now the whole rig was cruising smoothly down a deserted road at a relaxed pace as I made sure I was driving slow enough to take in the amazing views in safety.
Just as we were cruising along in a long-awaited air of serenity... *BANG! CRUNCH-CHHHHHHH!*
The Airstream fell onto its wheel rim and immediately I knew the tyre had blown. 'Safety Head' kicked in as I let the rig reduce speed naturally and made sure we kept going past a bend in the road to make sure we would be able to be seen in good time by approaching motorists.
When you have safety features fitted to your caravan, it can be tempting to see them as a bit of a waste of money. Chances are, if you're lucky, you'll never need them. However, as this short episode highlights, if you DO run in to a spot of bother, you will bless every single penny that you have invested in your safety and well being.
Such a good feeling I have about Tyron Safety bands. I had them fitted to my Airstream, and I'm so very very thankful that I did. With the band in place, the tyre blew but remained on the rim. As such, I remained in complete control of the rig and brought it to a safe stop. The damage to the caravan is minimal - just a bit of mashed belly pan to the rear of the wheel. No structural, floor, or bodywork damage whatsoever.
Naturally I felt shaken, and more than a little bit peeved that the Universe appeared to be conspiring to make sure that nothing went smoothly and to keep me in a permanent state of angst. However, my overriding feeling was one of being blessed. It could have been so much worse. Thank you Tyron.