Regional Coordinator South East Region
I treated myself to this car as a retirement present to myself and collected it on 4th August 2014. It was one of the last and I had test driven all the F Type variants, and Audi R8, a DB9 and a Porsche but nothing gave me the touring capacity and pure driving experience that this car promised. I already owned an SLK350 which I loved and was keeping as my everyday car but wanted something with just a bit more pace and space to tackle the German autobahns which was always part of the plan.Unfortunately my retirement got delayed for a couple of years so the car didn’t get used as much as planned but we did get away for a week and the first road trip was through the spine of Wales from Swansea to Betys-y-Coed by the back roads aiming for a day out on the Llangollen Pass which then set the agenda for the next few years. Later in the year a week was spent exploring the New Forest. Unfortunately too, in 2015 I had an accident and broke my shoulder and was unable to drive for many months. In June 2016 we joined a jaguar tour to the Alsace for a week but as the group returned we pointed the car east to follow up on my mothers heritage, a drive that took us all across Germany to Dresden then on to Berlin and then the Polish border and back via the Autostadt Wolsburg amazing car museum. And yes the opportunity to see how fast the car could go, enough said it was much faster than the 145mph I was brave enough to do on a fairly narrow stretch of two lane autobahn. In September 2016 we went down to Cornwall and Lands End and decided the roads there were not that jaguar friendly having been nearly put in a hedge by a belligerent lorry driver! In May 2017 we went from Liverpool to Belfast and drove up to Bushmills and the Giants Causeway and then on around the Wild Atlantic way via Malin’s Head and learnt that this was the most northerly point in Ireland, and having been to Lands End a few years before that set the agenda that we had to do all the furthest in points in the UK. We came back via Dublin and North Wales and on to Surrey where we live. In July of the same year we went to Northern Spain and spent ten days enjoying the incredible scenery that is the Picos mountains, an area I was totally unfamiliar with but well worth exploring including the Col du Grand Ballon Pass.Having decided two years earlier to explore the UK's extremities in July 2018 we set off to drive the North Coast 500, taking us two days to get from Surrey to Inverness just to begin. An absolutely epic drive around Scotland via John O’Groats of course which is not the point farthest north, that is a small lighthouse at Dunnet Head a few miles to the west. We were also lucky enough when visiting the late Queen Mothers, now King Charles' Castle of May, to get permission to go into the grounds for a photo shoot right in front of the castle itself. Also of course an interesting if somewhat scary drive up and over the Applecross Pass.In 2019 we were lucky to get two opportunities to drive on the continent. In July we set off for Tuscany via Liechtenstein, Germany and Austria including the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, the Black Forest High Road, some amazing scenery on the way and up and over the St Gotthard Pass and on to a week exploring the delights of Tuscany and back again via the amazing St Gotthard Pass.Later that year we returned on a tour exploring the beauty surrounding the Swiss Lakes with one epic drive again returning over the St Gotthard Pass which was in September fairly deep in snow at the top, then on to the Furkha Pass and finally the Gremsil Pass before reaching our hotel.2020 saw the lockdown but between the two in September we managed to get a week in the Lake District and here took a day out to tackle the Hardknott Pass, the steepest road in the UK, and then the Kirkstone Pass, the highest pass in the Lake District and then on to Winnats Pass. The Hardknott in particular was probably more demanding because of its narrowness than the Swiss or Austrian mountain passes that we had previously driven. We also managed to squeeze in a long weekend at Studland Bay in Dorset before we were locked in again.June 2021 saw us fulfilling the ‘all points of the compass’ challenge with a break in Lowestoft, the most Easterly point in the UK but not by far the most picturesque! In August a short trip to Derbyshire and September having cancelled a proposed road trip around France we explored first the Yorkshire Dales, then on to Northumberland via the Wrynose Pass. Northumberland was an eye opener and somewhere to return to, coming back via the East Coast and the North Yorkshire Moors.2022 has been a quieter year but still with a short chateau break in Northern France in April exploring the coast around Boulogne followed by weekend in Broadstairs exploring the East Kent coastline and in September we joined friends on a trip to the Angouleme Circuits des Remparts in France which made for an enjoyable ten days in on the continent.This years plans include a tour all through France, St Emilion and down to Toulouse before heading west into the Pyrenees into Northern Spain. Still on the bucket list are the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania and the Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden.Sorry this is probably far more information than you wanted, now of course I am the SE Coordinator for the XK Car Club and arrange events and meets all over the South East. Since my eventual retirement in September 2015 this car as brought my wife and I a huge amount of pleasure and experiences we could barely have imagined a few year previously, but more so an incredible circle of very good friends, like minded individuals that care passionately about Jaguar in all its forms and all it embraces, and a shared desire to enjoy the car and all the opportunities it brings So yes, this car gets best used for what it was designed for and has delivered way more than it promised. A true Grand Tourer and I love it!