Canaryball Rally – Live | Norwich City Community Sports Foundation
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Story added: 19th April 2022

Coverage from this year's epic driving fundraiser

Follow coverage from this year’s Credo Asset Finance Canaryball Rally, as 24 cars from Norfolk take on the historic NC500 in Scotland across five epic days.

The first rally took place in 2019 with teams following the route of Norwich City FC’s famous UEFA Cup run by way of Arnhem, Munich and Milan and helped raised over £70,000.

The time out the rally has swapped the continent for the Scottish Highlands, but the premise will be the same: create lifelong memories, drive thousands of miles and raise tens of thousands for the Community Sports Foundation’s work in the community.

 

Trip diary

Day Four Recap – Friday 22nd April

Ullapool to Pitlochry
Minimum distance: 281 miles 

On to Applecross

Blue skies gave the landscape a Californian feel at times, and it got more and more dramatic as the teams journeyed down the western coast for the last section of the NC500.

The teams had been eagerly awaiting the section on the remote Applecross peninsula and it didn’t disappoint.

Little deterred by warnings from locals over the past few days (single track roads, sheer drops – you get the picture), all our teams save the unfortunate Car 12 (sat-nav mishap) and accompanying media car (<think of an excuse and insert here>) headed to Applecross to drive the Bealach na Ba pass.

The website promised ‘views normally only reserved for mountaineers’ and it wasn’t wrong.

Time to celebrate!

With the NC500 loop completed, the teams reconvened one last time for a gala dinner at the stunning Dunalastair hotel in the heart of Perthshire.

After a three-course dinner, Emma Fletcher-Dungay – the Foundation’s Senior Fundraising & Events Manager – announced to the teams the amazing news that the Rally had topped the £60,000 mark.

Prizes were dished out, a highlights video watched and the scavenger hunt winners – Comfortably Numb (car #19) – crowned with tartan hats and presented with their trophy: a large golden wheel (in fact, perhaps in hindsight a little too large; but who needs to bring all their suitcases home, huh?).

…and there we have it!

All that’s left to do now is sign-off from a memorable rally.  The gratitude from everyone at the Foundation to Credo, our 24 teams and everyone who supported the event could fill many pages. We’ll try to convey at least some of that in our post-event coverage over the following weeks.

Tomorrow morning we’ll punch ‘Norwich’ into the sat-navs and leave Scotland and the memories of four epic days behind us in the rearview mirror. But for now – it’s time to celebrate!

 

Day Three Recap – Thursday 21st April

Thurso to Ullapool
Minimum distance: 167 miles

A big target hit!

The third day began with the amazing news that the £50,000 fundraising target had already been hit.

It can’t be stressed enough how much the sum will help to change people’s lives in Norfolk, and it gave the teams an extra spring in their step for today’s 167-mile route through the counties of Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty.

To the Atlantic…

….and what a route that proved to be! As the road snaked westwards, the scenery got more and more dramatic.  Stunning beaches with crystal clear seas (“Could be a TUI catalogue for the Caribbean” quipped one Rally-er), large peaceful Lochs with mountainous backdrops, and miles and miles of glorious asphalt with just the odd wild horse, deer and sheep for company.

  

All roads lead to Ullapool

Nursing sore necks from all that constant “look over there” and – incredibly considering it’s, y’know, April in Scotland – some sun-burnt faces, the group convened in idyllic Ullapool for early evening drinks laid on by the ever-attentive hosts Credo Asset Finance to swap stories on memorable day on the west coast.

The locals have told us that tomorrow is the most dramatic leg of the NC500 – if it beats today, we are in for a treat!

Day Two Recap – Wednesday 20th April

Perth to Thurso
Minimum distance: 250 miles

The hunt for Nessie

Buoyed by the excitement of waking up after a first night’s sleep in Scotland – albeit one marred slightly by a midnight fire-alarm call at the hotel (cue two fire trucks and much confusion among the guests in their various states of undress) – many of the team chose to start their NC500 adventure bright and early.

With a whole host of must-see destinations en-route, stunning Loch Ness was one, in particular, that saw many detour off the main route for.

CanaryBallRally_1

No sightings of Nessie reported, sadly.

In contrast, however, there were many excitable reports of dolphin and puffin sightings on the Rallyers’ WhatsApp group, thanks to the bumper reward offered in the scavenger hunt challenge for a confirmed sighting. Needless to say, dodgy photoshops and Google Image screenshots did not fool the expert eye of the judges, and the points remain unclaimed for another day.

Other scavenger hunt challenges include selfies in front of Wick harbour, a mysterious roadside ‘big fish and its bones’ and as many North Caledonian football stadiums on the route as (humanely) possible. Lots of genuine photos in the WhatsApp group this time, with the results to be tallied up at the end of the week.

Been there, Dunnet!

The 219-mile drive northwards took in some dramatic views of both the gorse-covered crags inland, and to the right the vast blue expanse of the North Sea.

John O’Groats was the obvious destination, and all the teams took in the chance to pose beneath the famous sign-post.

Many of the Rallyers then took the trip to Dunnet’s Head to savour that unique feeling of being the “most northerly person in the U.K.”

Thurso and beyond

While most Rally-ers spent the evening relaxing with meals at the Forss House Hotel or restaurants in Thurso, doing-things-their-own-way was Car 8 – Drains, Brains & Automobiles, checking in at John O’Groats at 9.30pm (see below). Nice job, guys – after all, the Rally is most definitely not a race!

Day One Recap – Tuesday 19th April

The Nest (Norwich) to Perth
Minimum distance: 427 miles

The Grand Depart

All but two teams (who will join the rally further along the route) joined us bright and early for the grand depart at The Nest.

The original rally in 2019, the brainchild of the late and dearly missed Simon Gray, helped raise funds to build our impressive hub building, so it was only fitting the rally started from beneath its shadow.

After a welcome speech from Credo’s Ian Timms, a bacon sarnie and some farewells to family and friends (plus one or two start-line photos) it was finally time for the teams to hit the road.

Waving the teams off in style was Nick, a member of our Down’s Syndrome football team. Money raised from this year’s rally will help the Foundation support a range of inclusive services and programmes.

The Scotch Corner dilemma

Scotch Corner promised our drivers their first real route decision of the trip: head west for the scenic A66 and approach Perth via Cumbria/Glasgow or stay on the A1 and go the slightly longer route via Newcastle/Edinburgh.

For the minority that stuck doggedly to the eastern side of England and Scotland, they were rewarded with lunch stops at beautiful Alnwick and – for Keith and Kyle Betts of Team Ovamill – the chance to drive by Edinburgh castle.

For the westerners, there were a few…er…mechanical issues along the way, but nothing that the teams (or a very helpful garage in Carlisle) couldn’t fix.

 

The Teams

Listed by car number:

  1. 1.) Phished
  2. 2.) Thelma & Louise
  3. 3.) Rust in Pieces
  4. 4.) Massimo ‘Aye’
  5. 5.) Fast Food & Furious
  6. 6.) The Norfolk Job
  7. 7.) Free of Charge
  8. 8.) Drains, Brains & Automobiles
  9. 9.) Laurel & Hardy
  10. 10.) Simon’s Sidekicks
  11. 11.) SC500
  12. 12.) Norfolk Hire
  13. 13.) Lots of Trouble Usually Serious
  14. 14.) Team Ovamill
  15. 15.) Team Swift
  16. 16.) Piston Tyred
  17. 17.) The Daft & The Furious
  18. 18.) Slippery When Wet
  19. 19.) Comfortably Numb
  20. 20.) Cigarettes & Alcohol
  21. 21.) The Tourists
  22. 22.) The Finnish Flash
  23. 23.) Norfolk n’ Good
  24. 24.) Foundation’s Media Team

If you’d like to make a donation to the Canaryball Rally as a whole, you can do so via Team Credo’s fundraising page here.

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Canaryball Rally – Live

19th April 2022

Canaryball Rally – Live

Coverage from this year's epic driving fundraiser