We catch a dying sunset by tranquil Loch Long, and experience our first motorway stint closing in on Edinburgh. We feel gusting crosswinds a bit more than usual, but the DB11’s almost limo-like cruising manner remains. The ride is brilliantly relaxed, the exhaust is audible but never drones and the eight-speed ZF auto ‘box rarely needs to kick down, the turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 doling out pace at will.
We pause for a slipway photo by the Forth Rail Bridge, then it’s into Edinburgh, where the DB11’s low-speed ride continues to impress over the Old Town’s Scottish pavé. There are festive illuminations below us in Princes Street Gardens, and somehow a hardy piper plays on in the freezing night. To hit twee-max, we sneak in front of Edinburgh Castle. A pair of tartan trews stride out of the portcullis: “Absolutely ridiculous,” they exclaim in passing, “I love it!”
Next morning, Christmas shoppers in the New Town are equally enthusiastic - smiling, giving a thumbs-up and/or grabbing a snap. And despite the Aston’s considerable 4739mm length, low, snug seating and seemingly endless bonnet, the easy steering, big door mirrors and standard-fit 360deg cameras make shuffling about the city centre on Papior’s command a cinch.
Soon we’re rolling along Berwickshire’s sunlit moors and pause at Chirnside to pay our respects to local farmer-racer Jim Clark, who claimed third at Le Mans in an Aston DBR1 for the over-achieving Border Reivers team. Space on his headstone hints at the triumphs he might have added to the 25 Formula 1 wins, two world championships and Brickyard victory listed thereon had he not died in a racing accident at Hockenheim at the age of just 32. A much expanded museum honouring ‘the quiet champion’ in nearby Duns is under development for 2018.
Once in England, we cross the River Tweed on ancient Berwick Bridge beneath a huge storm cloud, then navigate the windswept, hail-strewn and partially submerged tidal causeway to Holy Island to grab Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw a stocking filler of Spiced Lindisfarne Mead. (Which I’ve yet to receive, by the way – Ed.)
Meanwhile, Robert the Spruce is taking a battering but holding steady. Seeing Papior get equally lashed as he squints through his viewfinder, I’m glad of the warmed-through, leather-clad cabin. Although the interior is much improved, Aston still can’t quite match the best for finish, and oddment storage is laughably scarce, but there’s still ample luxury in here. Resigned to the poor weather, I give the DB11 all the workout that conditions allow on some Northumbrian B-roads. The rear tyres hiccup even in fourth, but you don’t need to use all this car’s power to enjoy it. The front axle honours the progressively weighted steering’s keen responses, and any post-apex shimmies at the rear are manageably gentle, and roll very neatly contained.