The Cheddar weekend, April 2016.
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)
Thanks to Rob, and John for their photos.

A number of us headed to Somerset for the annual riding weekend organised by the Somerset Section. This was the 51st running of the event. Those who went this year were:

Bruce and Di - 1943 Triumph 3HW
Rob Jones - 1976 Honda 400/4
Roger and Iris - 1987 PAC
Howard and Carol - 1983 Lomax
Terry - 1981 Moto Guzzi
Bill and Jean - 1925 Indian
John and Ruth - 1962 BSA

The weekend started on Friday for us and Terry, as we attended Wally Flew's funeral in Bristol. Wally was a VMCC Past President and a real character and, I must say, that it has been a real pleasure to have known him for well over 50 years. From the funeral Terry headed to the Cheddar Bridge campsite to meet Bruce & Di and Rob, who had joined John and Ruth there, whilst we were off to meet Howard and Carol at the Sidcot Arms Premier Inn. Those at the campsite were treated to one of Ruth's excellent curries on Friday evening:

Saturday - the social run day
Rob was up early and photographed this hot air balloon as it took off from the Football ground next to the caravan park:

We all congregated from around 9am, ready for the 10.30am start.

It certainly had rained overnight but was dry for the start of the days run, although there were some rather black clouds hanging around the Mendips above Cheddar. It looked as if we were in for a bit of a soaking, but all morning we managed to dodge the rain. We rode as a group and set off up over the Mendip Hills towards Shipham. We then threaded our way south and looped around Brent Knoll before turning north through Lympsham before turning left onto the A371 toward Weston and our designated lunch stop at the Helicopter museum. We had lunch in two sittings before experiencing a guided tour of the museum, with the food being ham, egg and chips; hopefully the photos will give some idea of what was to see in the museum. It was packed with over 80 copters of varying sizes, and our guide, who was ex-helicopter crew, was very knowledgable and gave us a superb hour and a half tour:

After leaving the museum we headed south through Christon and Loxton before turning east towards Webbington and on to Axbridge. Then followed a loop south before hitting the A371 and heading back to the finish, having covered some 50 odd miles on the short route. A good days ride, I thought, and the sun had been out for most of the time. A quick cuppa and we were off back to base to clean up before arriving back at about 7pm for the evening buffet at 7.30pm. At one point Bruce had just got himself a pint of cider and asked what people thought of the colour. Looked ok, I thought, so it was passed from one to another to taste before handing it back to Bruce looking half empty. As to the buffet - it was first class. We all agreed that it was an ok cider, however, it was not long before Bruce managed to knock it over.

Sunday - the day for the competition
Seen at the start:

Jean and I had opted for the short route of 36 or so miles and in glorious sunshine we set off at 1 minute intervals. The long route was another 8 miles and included a special test of negotiating a grass triangle the wrong way. On the short route we headed out across the levels to Wedmore before heading west and through Blackford and Mark. The road was closed beyond Mark for some 600 yards, so that the Somerset council could improve the drainage. Luckily we turned off south before reaching the closed section. The weather was glorious, as we passed through the lovely sounding Burtle and on to Edington before climbing up onto the ridgeway and on to Cossington village hall. Here we had some special tests and had to answer some questions. Each year of riding this event, there is one special test that I have never been able to 'clean' on the Indian, as it's just not the right sort of bike for it. It's quite simple and consists of two rows of blocks about 9 inches apart. My spies told me that Rob cleaned it on his Honda. Anyway, being on the short route we were soon on our way and heading back across the levels before taking a side road in Blackford that headed to Clewer and on to the finish at Cheddar. We soon had the Indian back in the van and as soon as the others arrived, John and I loaded his little C15. We had brought it over with our Indian so that John could tow, and use, his caravan for the weekend. Luckily, we'd all had a good day with no troubles at all.

The final part of the weekend was a Sunday lunch, which was soon woofed down. Thanks were said and by 2pm we were on the road home and feeling quite pleased with what had turned out to be a great weekend.