I collected my first car keys at the grand (oldish) age of 45.

After passing my test at 18 I left Lochaber for Glasgow's bright lights and university life and did not drive again. 

It's not a time when one should extol the benefits of car ownership but FUF (my regi plate) has a small engine and spends most of her time parked on my street.  The knowledge that I can whizz out of Glasgow at any given point still leaves me giddy with delight.

However, there's just one problem. 

My cheerful chilli-red Mini Cooper does not seem to share the fondness I have for the Highland area I grew up in.

The Herald: Caroline in her Mini Cooper Caroline in her Mini Cooper (Image: newsquest)Or more specifically it is reluctant to let me leave the village of Tyndrum, home to the Green Welly, gold mines and not one but two railway stations.

It first happened about a year after I was handed the keys, my heart thumping with excitement and a fair amount of trepidation. After decades as a non-driver and a handful of refresher lessons, would I even make it home? 

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After the last slurp of the Welly's restorative tea I started up the engine and turned right, up the wee hill to the tree-lined part of the A82 that runs parallel to the West Highland Way's path.

Pressing on the accelerator, the car refused to gain power. Foot to the floor and the dial struggled to reach 30. A baffling message flashed on FUF’s dash.'Drivetrain error. Full performance not available.’

The Herald: The Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum The Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum (Image: freelance)

I pulled into the nearest lay-by in a panic and called my older brother, who has a bit more experience of the mechanics of cars.  "It's gone into limp mode" said he. "You should take it back to Glasgow. It's closer than Spean Bridge." 

I disagreed on his geography, switched the engine back on and my second-hand Mini Cooper was back to her nippy best.  

A few days later, a Glasgow mechanic scanned and checked the car and could find no fault.

Since then, this go-slow has happened at least six times but only ever in Tyndrum. I’ve driven the same distance and more to other Scottish towns and cities with no malfunctions. It’s even got Mini mechanics stumped.

Is there some witchcraft, or geomagnetic charge at play?  Perhaps it’s a new tourist strategy designed to trap motorists in the fleeces and tartan souvenirs of the Green Welly shop.

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On mentioning this in The Herald offices, a colleague said his friend had a similarly strange experience as he left the village. His motorbike was speeding up and slowing down and the pair were forced into an unplanned Bridge of Orchy stop before it regained full power.

As I write, FUF is in a south side garage perplexing a third mechanic who said he had never seen anything like it in his 15-year career and cannot identify any problems with my car.

If any other garages are up to the challenge you will find me, in a layby just past Tyndrum, waiting for my car to grudgingly decide to transport me home.