A little bit tangy
Truck & Driver|February 2021
Paul does another European trip, when the UK was still in the EU, but Covid had arrived too
PAUL O'CALLAGHAN

The 2015 Scania R560 owned by John Kehow is a truck we both agreed I needed to drive at some stage. What should make it so special then? Well for one the spec; left-hand drive on full air suspension, all the option boxes ticked; full leather, microwave and coffee maker. Add to that a sensible engine remap, a recent chassis respray and cab buff along with the fact that it has been meticulously cared for by its regular driver Paddy Donnelly, who was taking a week off. This is a truck that needed to be driven.

“Load to Paris, out Irish Ferries tonight, tip Paris Thursday, no panic on you” was the message. After collecting the gleaming truck in north County Dublin, then bouncing in closer to the city for the trailer which is being loaded, I make the 9:05 pm Irish Ferries sailing to Holyhead with minutes to spare, pressing the button to raise the air on the front axle as I ease into the voluminous Ulysses ferry.

After a meal in the drivers’ restaurant, it’s time to put the head down for an hour or two in a cabin to myself, thanks to the Covid restrictions. At around midnight we arrive in Holyhead, where I’m looking forward to the night drive across Wales and into England after a cold shower and a coffee to get me going. The truck is beautiful to drive; no pulling to either side, the additional red lights in the interior roof create the perfect ambience, as I cast a glance out to the sea at my left, distant lights of the world’s fifth-largest offshore wind farm at Gwynt y Mor twinkle across the lonely water. At the bottom of the famous Rhyll Hill, manual mode is selected on the Opticruise, changing down to 11th as she romps up the hill, passing all in sight, even at 35 tonnes. Impressive.

Arriving into Cherwell Valley around 5am, I take nine hours off, although after four hours I admit defeat and decide to rise and make use of paper filters and Bewleys ground coffee bought especially for the occasion. Although it is a slow drip affair, the cab is soon filled with the glorious aroma of fresh coffee.

Busy Ferry

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