The Scottish Triple 2011
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The weekend of the 6th/7th August was the date set for the S&T(Strathendrick & Trossachs) in Crieff. Then, on the following Wednesday and Thursday the Plus 1 in Mintlaw was to take place and following that, on the second weekend, the Scottish National at Blairgowrie.

This year Jean and I were going, along with Terry and Dilys and Glyn Jones. At the last minute Rob Jones decided that he'd like to tag along with his new campervan as a spectator. Rob managed to get entries for the social side of all the events, but not for the rides in the S&T and the National as their entry lists were full. Terry took his Ariel whilst I took our Indian as our entry bike, along with the Morini as a back up in case the Indian gave problems. The offer was made to Rob to borrow the Morini - if we didn't need it. Glyn had unfortunately had to cancel his entries a week or so before, which was a shame.

Arrangements were made for us all to stay at a B&B in Garstang that Jean and I had used in 2010 as it was just about halfway up to Scotland. All five of us were soon booked in and then retired to what I think is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the country. I always reckon that the sign of a good restaurant is when they use 'proper' table napkins and not paper ones. Anyway, the feed sure did not disappoint. Onwards the following day to Crieff and the campsite there.

Terry and Rob were going to be the custodians of our two bikes over the weekend, whilst Jean and I headed off to our B&B.

I was away as number 4 on the Indian whilst Terry and Dilys were riding as number 18 with a total entry on the programme of 100. Rob borrowed the Morini and just followed us around the route.

The weather was good but with some cloud - anyway, it was a super route that took us out of Crieff and on up to Aberfeldy. From there we headed on back roads to Kenmore and the Kenmore Hotel on the end of Loch Tay for lunch.
After leaving the lunch stop we missed the right turn to the steep climb up and over Glen Quaich.
Consequently we soon found ourselves back in Aberfeldy and so decided to call it a day and followed the route back to Crieff, picking up the official route on the way. Terry and Dilys found the missed turning and passed comments about just how steep the climb was, with the Ariel struggling in first gear. So, in a way, I wasn't sorry that we had a more enjoyable ride on some 'flatter' roads.

Some delicate minor adjustments were needed to the choke arrangement on the Schebler carb on the Indian at the end of the day.
The hammers just for show.

The evening social event included an excellent buffet and prize giving - all taking place under a temporary awning. Last year the evening was glorious - this year not so, and you can see from the one photo that there was an ingress of water at times but the grub was good, for sure. The other photo shows Terry with the Trophy that he won for the Ariel.
On Sunday, the day of the social run, the weather decided to be pretty grotty, so all the South Wales contingent decided to be tourists for the day. We went to the Crieff visitor centre, which was very disappointing as a visitor centre and was more a cafe with a group pf shops - so next stop was the Famous Grouse distillery, just outside and to the north of Crieff.

You can just spot a smiling Rob leaning on the Grouse's plinth in this photo - not sure if he was smiling at the thought of the visit yet to come or after having sampled a few blends. I must say that the visit was a touch disappointing - we arrived at 1.45 and bought tickets for the 2.10pm tour. By 2.30 we were still waiting. Then in came a deluge of 'tourists' on a bus trip. They were ushered straight in despite the fact that they were booked for 4pm - we were ignored and just left waiting. It took Rob to complain a few times before we were added to the bus party tour. Basically there was nothing going on as we moved from room to room, ending up in the shop, of course. All in all a bit disappointing. We spent a pleasant evening in one of the pubs in Crieff that provided good pub grub.

Monday, and Terry and Rob had to move their campers off the Sports field. Terry headed on to Mintlaw for the Plus one whilst Rob moved his Romahome onto the commercial site in Crieff. Jean and I picked him up and we all set off for Loch Katrine, the birth place of Rob Roy MacGregor. There are two pleasure boats and last year Jean and I had a sail on the motorboat but this year I wanted to take the steamer. The SS Walter Scott was built in 1899 in Glasgow and was transported to the Loch in pieces by ox cart. It was then reassembled and has plied the Loch ever since, still using the original triple expansion steam engine. We all did enjoy the trip, for sure. Interestingly, around 1857, along the south shore of the lake, famous for inspiring Walter Scott to write his Lady of the Lake poem in 1810, Queen Victoria had a house built. On her first visit she insisted on having a 21 gun salute and the sound waves blew out all the windows on the one side of The Royal Cottage, as it was known - she didn't stay and never visited again.

Tuesday, and in dry weather, we hitched the trailer and collected Rob and the Romahome. We set off on the 150 mile drive to Mintlaw and the Plus 1 travelling the much longer scenic route via Braemar and past Balmoral. Super scenery with a coffee stop at the 'Spittal of Glenshee'. After the 100 entries at the S&T there were only around 25 entered for the Plus 1. Jacqui and her mum, Mary, were the main stays of the event and Jacqui did say that they'd have had trouble catering for many more.
One bike caught my eye and that was the 1928 Raleigh model 23 belonging to Paul Feldon. OHV, wired tyres and two brakes - all the makings of a fast vintage bike that would be great fun to ride and a real alternative to a Model 9 Sunbeam that I've always considered to be the epitome of a fast Vintage sports bike. Willy and Mady from Antwerp had entered the Triple and were at Mintlaw when we arrived, as were Terry and Dilys.

Wednesday dawned and the weather looked pretty grim - and it was - all day. Same as last year - and by the time we got to Turrif for lunch we were all soaking wet. A new friend called Paddy Winter rode with us for company on a Honda 400/4 but he also had a 1928 Sunbeam, model 8, for 'best'. Gosh what a day.
There was an evening meal arranged in the cafeteria at the Aden Country Park, which was a good evening. Guess who won the Bette Barber Trophy for 'the bike I'd like to take home'. I did tell Terry jokingly, that we'd all voted for him - and lo and behold - he won the cup, which was presented by the club President, Colin Bell. A nice rounding off to the day, even though it was still raining when we headed back to our B&B. During an emergency stop early in the day, to avoid a tractor and trailer, the Indian's secondary brake cable lost a nipple and so I lost the use of the brake altogether. That left only the one rear wheel brake, which was none too good in the wet and suffered brake fade on long downhill sections. The Indian has two brakes on the rear wheel, one internal expanding and the other external contracting, so it was a case of being a bit more careful for the rest of the time in Scotland.

The following morning saw the sun shining and as our motorcycle kit had been dried by the owners of our B&B I decided that we'd repossess our Morini from Rob and have an easier ride. The route took us northwards for a lunch stop in Portsoy on the coast. It was a nice day and the ride quite leisurely.
After lunch, Bill Falconer, the North East Scottish Section Chairman, gave us a guided tour of the village of Fordyce where he grew up.The village even had a castle that was now used in parts as holiday accommodation. There was also a small joiners workshop which had been set up as a museum with some quite interesting items in it.

The evening was set to be a ham & herring supper. Lovely weather as the sun went down. I even managed to get Jacqui in a photo - she is certainly one of the most camera shy girls that I've ever come across.

As we ate the ham and herrings and downed a few beers a lady named Hazel played a guitar and sang some folk songs, whilst I spotted a Benelli in nice original condition on a trailer outside. Someone said that it was for sale - I resisted - honest I did!!

With the Plus 1 over we spent the Friday travelling down to Blairgowrie for the Scottish National event, with the highlight of enduring the Aberdeen ring road and it's 13 roundabouts - but then we had all day. We arrived at the Coupar Sports ground and Terry and Rob sited their respective campers, whilst Jean and I unloaded the Indian and Morini. With everything settled we set off to book into our B&B and clean up. Back at the Sports ground at 7pm, the bar was open, so we bagged a few seats for the others and settled down for the evening. The food laid on was 'Scottish Stovies', a sort of corned beef hash, but it did taste good. I was told that there were things in the recipe other than potatoes and corned beef - just can't remember the list now.

There were 119 machines entered in the programme for the 37th Scottish National, although I fancied there were a lot more bikes than that lining up on the rugby field. At least the weather promised to be good for the day, which was good. Terry was number 29 with us on the Indian as number 31 - both riding the 24mph schedule.

This photo, taken by Jacqui Watson - alias Gorgeous Biker Chick - at the start of the Saturdays riding shows the South Wales contingent looking like they're still suffering from the night before. It wasn't due to the stovies, really it wasn't!!

Some of the entered machines:

The regularity route took us out into the country and after a couple of hours, stopped at the Strathmore Arms Hotel in Glamis for a Sunday lunch. An hour later and we were back on the road on the return trip to Blairgowrie. All passed without a hiccup, I'm pleased to say, with Rob and the Morini following. On the final run into Blair we came across a 1923 Royal Enfield outfit with a broken primary chain - after checking that we couldn't help we pressed on to the finish.
Back at the sports field the recovery came in fully loaded with Ron and Rosemary Muirhead's Honda 400/4, Jim Kirkham's newly acquired 1982 Honda 185cc and another unidentified Honda aboard. Must be something about the Scottish air that affects Hondas.

Dave Chambers, who had the broken primary chain on his Enfield outfit, arrived ok. The Enfield has two primary chains giving two speeds, so Dave simply removed the cover and the broken chain and finished by driving in bottom gear only on the second chain. At least he wasn't far from home when we stopped to offer help.

Jacqui Watson had arrived at the event on her MZ Scorpion - affectionately called 'Skorpy'. I had to include the photo as the bike probably doesn't get much publicity, despite it being a rather nice machine, although Jacqui wasn't best pleased with it on this event, as the Yamaha motor was not running right at all. Seems it turned out to be a faulty fuel tap causing fuel starvation.

Nearly the last photo, honest. The evening saw us all attend the gala dinner and prize giving. Terry managed second place in the timed event for early post vintage machines. Luckily there's no pictorial evidence of me getting the 'best timekeeping' trophy for late Vintage and also the award for 'the bike the national secretary would like to take home'. What can I say - Dot obviously has taste. Dot Dewar being the secretary of the meeting.



Finally, the Sunday run took us up into the Cairngorms and to a coffee stop at - guess where - the spittal of Glenshee Hotel. The very place that we had stopped at on the way to Mintlaw. This photo was taken by Rob and shows Paddy in the high-vis vest with his 400/4 to the left in the photo. Luckily all our bikes behaved impeccably.

Final meal in the Chinese in Blaigowrie that evening before the drive home on Monday for Terry and myself. An enjoyable eleven days, for sure. Rob and his Romahome was last seen heading off into the wilds of Northumberland for another weeks holidaying.

BP