The Enchanting Black Forest trip


       When a recent edition of our Jaguar Enthusiasts magazine arrived, the first the page I opened it at featured the tour advert from Scenic and Continental Car Tours to the Black Forest in Germany.  Christine and I have been travelling to Germany for over 30 years now, originally by motorcycle but more recently by car and over the last decade or so have gone in September and October in alternate years for a ‘Rundreise’ and to replenish the stocks of wine; with the high temperatures here in Orkney, it seems to evaporate all too quickly!  Both being keen on such a trip, I rang Scenic and Continental and asked which other ferries were available as we didn’t fancy travelling from Orkney to Dover - we would rather do more miles on the Continent these days. North Sea Ferries (now P&O) Hull to Rotterdam is our preferred route and surprisingly the first Hotel on our tour in the South of Luxembourg was closer to Rotterdam than Calais.
       As I was born in Hull I am very familiar with this crossing and it would give us chance to visit friends plus an ever decreasing number of relatives. For us it feels like being on a cruise and the holiday really does start there in Hull.
During the phone conversation to the Company I enquired whether it might also be possible to extend our trip and perhaps return 5 days later. There was no problem with this as the original tour was not on a time restricted ticket. The very helpful lady asked where we would be going after the tour and when I outlined our plans of going further north in Germany, she immediately said ‘In that case, would you really want the last night in France?’  I didn’t think that would have been an option but she soon had that arranged for us too.  Chatting to JEC Chairman Mike Horlor about another matter he reminded me that the company had provided a £50 discount voucher for use on these trips - of course, I couldn’t remember where I had put mine so I contacted the company after I’d paid our deposit, expecting the usual ‘Computer says no’ response but Nicola Bozier sorted out the discount for us, well if you don’t ask..... It really appears that nothing is too much trouble for them to make your trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible, unlike many of the companies we all have to deal with.  The information pack and road book was even tailor made for our variations, so top marks to Nicola and the team!

       Our car, a 2000 Daimler Super V8 4 seat version is a real wafting machine eminently suited to a trip of this kind and needed little other than the usual check over before our adventure, having had a full set of new Bridgestone tyres only last year.  All packed up and ready to go, it was a lovely evening as we made our way from our home in the north west corner of the Orkney Mainland to Hatston for the trip on the Northlink Hrossey from Kirkwall to Aberdeen.  We stayed a couple of nights at my Sister Janet’s place in Aberdeenshire before embarking on our trip to Hull.
       On the way down at the service area near Stirling a rather large 4x4 reversed into the car wrecking the whole left hand rear lamp cluster, not the way to start a continental holiday! This was on a Saturday afternoon, so not much chance of a repair before we had to catch the ferry on Sunday evening, still nearly 300 miles away.  We called into Halfords on the Sunday morning and bought a lamp repair kit consisting of rolls of transparent tape in red, amber and clear and a roll of clear Gorilla tape. The indicator bulb is amber anyway but the stop/tail is clear, so I bought a small touch up tube of red paint and covered the glass with it. Although not very nice looking, at least I had tried to be near legal. As soon as I arrived in Hull (where I was born) I dropped by a friend’s house and made a fairly acceptable repair using the various tapes stuck onto a makeshift wire armature shaped from some copper cores of stripped 2.5 mm single cable. This was necessary so it sort of conformed to the curved shape of the lamp housing.  I then covered this with clear Gorilla tape and overlapped it a small amount on to the surrounding bodywork. This would have to do until we returned home unless I could have one sent somewhere in Germany for us to collect.  We arrived without further drama at the King George Dock in Hull and were singled out for a thorough search of the car and I had to warn the security chap that the engine bay would be rather warm, the outside temperature was still showing 30 degrees – he took no notice but stepped back shocked after reaching in with one hand and just walked away muttering to himself.

       We couldn’t find the little bag of Euros left over from our last trip but knew that we could easily sort some once we got off the boat.  The best way we have found is to not change money on the boat or even at a bank in Mainland Europe – their rates are scandalous!  We buy as much as we can with a credit card, settling the whole amount in one go on return when asked and get currency using our Nationwide debit cards, taking the maximum at each visit as there is a fixed charge plus commission.  Fuel was about the same price in Holland and Germany but much cheaper in Luxembourg where were staying for our first night.  This was to be the Hotel Gulliver in Bascharage, where we met the others for an excellent meal and then all relaxed over a few drinks after a fairly long day for all of us.  The following morning we enjoyed a lovely, often spirited scenic drive to the Schwarzwald via the wonderful Hochstraße and on to the Landhaus Lauble in the Black Forest, not far from the famous ‘Deutsche Uhrenstrasse’ or clock road, as this whole area is World renowned for its cuckoo clocks, some dating back many hundreds of years.

Landhaus Lauble near Hornberg, Schwarzwald

This charming family run hotel with very attentive staff and excellent food was to be our base for the next five nights.  Christine and I decided to chill for the first full day and used the ‘Gast Karte’ issued by the Hotel to take the bus into Hornberg and the train to Triberg - all for free!

The next day it was back in the car before the sweltering heat arrived and out along the Deutsche Uhrenstrasse, then via a short stretch of very smooth Autobahn to the Bodensee (Lake Constance) which is bordered by Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Cake anyone?

After a walk around Sipplingen and the inevitable ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ on the north shore of the Lake we drove back to the Hotel by a different but relaxing route, still using parts of the clock road.

There were some wonderful cars in our party, F Types, modern XK’s, a later X350 XJR, an XE belonging to our own XE coordinator and just one E Type - a 1973 V12, so apart from this car ours was the oldest at 18 years.

The only E type on our trip

Not fancy dress, just Peter (F type) and Keith (XK) giving their legs an airing beside the fine array of Jaguars (and a Daimler)

       Another relaxing day on the Friday, this time visiting Wolfach and then on to Hausach with its fantastic Schwarzwald Model Railway in HO gauge - a truly remarkable layout for every one of all ages.  We had a short trip out on the Saturday to Freiburg to collect a new rear lamp cluster which we fitted in the car park of the Jaguar dealership who had kindly ordered it only 2 days before. Just 3 nuts requiring a 10mm socket and the usual wiring connector soon had the car back to its old self. There is a small hardly noticeable dent to repair just beneath the lamp but that can wait till the winter lay up.  Coffee and biscuits were offered and accepted and we even had a sit in the new all electric I-Pace which apparently has 400 horses on tap and a range of 400km - ideal for Orkney!  When we got back to the Hotel after driving along some wonderful roads in stunning scenery, we found that one of our Party had approached the Hotel management and organised a barbecue for our last evening meal - which turned out to be a great idea - many thanks Quentin and Libby!


It had been so hot that the Bilt Hamber wax which I had injected nearly four years ago started to melt and drip out from the wings and sills; even the air-con struggled a bit to bring the temperature down after lunchtime stops as the black bodywork heated up  and my mobile phone produced an error message saying invalid battery - whatever that means, until it cooled down overnight! One of our Party with a later aluminium bodied XJ noticed a line running down one of the rear side windows which turned out to be a crack!  I hadn’t realised that these later cars have laminated side glass and the only explanation seems to be that with the intense heat during a lunch stop and having had the air con keeping the interior cool, this had created differential expansion of the glass.

XJ prior to the window problem 

We said our goodbyes on the Sunday morning as we were doing our own thing from now on, while the rest of the group were having their last night in Troyes before heading home.

We enjoyed the ‘bummel’ through the Schwarzwald north to Bockenheim which is on the B271 Deutsche Weinstraße.

We have stayed here many times; starting with a holiday with our German friends Ingo and Ingrid from Bremen and we have been going for over 25 years on and off. That first trip was in our XJ-SC cabriolet which was a self build and we had it for nearly 25 years.  Our intention this time was to collect wine from Weingut Kohl but with only 3 rooms for B&B it’s usually booked up a long time in advance, although this time they did have a room for us.  Unfortunately the original owner Werner Kohl passed away recently so his son Wolfgang is now in charge and the grandson Peter, following years of studying is now producing his own wines - so the tradition is being kept alive.



Weingut Kohl in Bockenheim

    I often hear people say that the Germans don’t produce any red wine – the truth of the matter is that they definitely do but all of the good stuff stays over there and we get Liebfraumilch and other cheap sweepings up, so consequently most folk don’t get to sample their best offerings and gravitate towards France and the New World.  We left Bockenheim on a thankfully cooler morning after collecting our wine and travelled west to Michelstadt with its ‘Fachwerkhäuser’ (timber framed houses) and then down to the Neckar Valley for 3 nights in Neckarsteinach. The following day we enjoyed a boat trip into Heidelberg and it happened to be Christine’s birthday so on production of her driving licence as proof, she got the ‘Geburtstag’s trip’ for free!


About to enter the Schleuse (locks) on the Neckar near Heidelberg


Around Heidelberg

Although there are many lovely villages and sights worth seeing along the Rhein, we find that for us, it is a bit too busy to stay in that region these days, now preferring the quieter Mosel, Saar and Neckar valleys.

Our return to Rotterdam took us along the coast via Middleburg to avoid the busy motorways around Rotterdam.  One organisational mistake we did make on this trip was to end it with the Friday night crossing; we have normally used the Saturday or Sunday night crossings as the heavy lorries, other than those with essential supplies, have to park up from Saturday lunchtime to Sunday teatime – why can’t we adopt that very sensible system in Britain?

       We enjoyed our overnight cruise back to Hull and had time to visit friends in and around Hull the following day, then it was back to Aberdeenshire for a couple of nights, then north to Scrabster for the last ferry of the day to Orkney; it always feels very special going home by boat.  We had driven 2480 miles door to door at, an average fuel consumption of 24.3mpg although on arrival in Germany the average was 25!  A friend was quizzing me later about using the Daimler on such a long trip and the amount of fuel I would have used, so I outlined the fact that his new Ford Kuga had lost more in depreciation in the time we were away than it had cost me in fuel, even if he hadn’t used it.  I added that I can’t afford a Kuga, I’m reduced to running a Daimler!

Not bad for an 18 year old 4 litre engine with a blower!

If you ever fancy one of these trips, don’t be afraid to ask if you might prefer some alterations, as I said they are unbelievably helpful. If we had had to travel to Dover that would have meant another 600 miles and possibly another stop over each way; far more expensive for us than using the Hull crossing - let alone the hassle of the drive south now that we have become accustomed to the pace of life in Orkney – oh, and keep that discount voucher somewhere safe!


ianstallard 'at' hotmail 'dot' com





Back to Main Page