Scottish Events 2012
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year the plan was to give the Plus One a miss and just ride the two
weekend events. Reasoning being to have a look at other parts of
Scotland during the week off. Those going were Terry and Dilys Hopes,
Rob Jones and Bill and Jean Phelps. With all the planning done we
agreed to meet up at a halfway stop in Garstang. Terry and Rob were
booked onto local campsites whilst Jean and I booked into our usual
B&B. The weather on the way was terrible but had cleared up by
evening which was spent in the local pub and what I consider to be, one
of the best Chinese Restaurants in the UK. Terry had a nasty shock when
on his campsite. A fellow camper stopped to chat, just as
checking the tie-downs on his Ariel - "What have you got under the
cover?", was the question, followed by - "Is it a Velocette?". Terry
was taken aback by the thought that he might have a Velocette
under the cover - needless to say the enquirer was put right.
A leisurely drive today, arriving at the S&T campsite in Crieff
The local pub was our venue for an
evening meal that
went down very well. On arriving back at the campsite the bar was
supposed to be open at 7.30pm but at 7.45, when we arrived, the barman
was on his way home in a strop, as he had opened up to find no
that was his story and he was sticking to it.
This was the day of the road Trial and the weather looked ok - dry and
had entered his Venom but found it difficult to load onto his trailer
on his own, so brought his lighter and more reliable 1953 MAC. The bike
and it took quite a bit of effort to coax it into life - eventually it
fired up though and Rob set off into Crieff to tank up.
Soon everyone was lining up their bikes, by which time the sun
was really out. As
was usual with the S&T we were away to the sound of
bagpipes and were soon off out into the beautiful Trossachs. The route
took us over Glen Quaich which was a narrow single track C
before we turned onto the Glen Quaich road we came upon a bike that was
burning quite merrily - 'hope it's a Velo' - I thought, but it turned
to be a 1953 Ariel NH350. There was nothing that we could do, as you
can see from the photo, so I expressed our commiserations and asked if
it was ok to take a photo - "No probs" was the reply.
the picturesque Glen Quaich road and we eventually came to a steep
climb with tight hairpins that stopped the Indian, not easy with a foot
clutch and left hand throttle. Luckily Rob and the
Velo was with us and he took Jeannie to the top whilst I struggled to
get the Indian round the tight corners. The big problem with hills, is
that what goes up, must come down, and it wasn't long before we were
heading down a steep hill with more hairpins. That was all negotiated
very slowly due to the Indian only having the one brake and the fact
that I'd suffered brake fade before on an event with a long downhill in
then had a 15 mile run along the south side of Loch Tay that afforded
us some lovely views. On reaching the main road and turning south,
after another 10 miles or so we reached Loch Earn and the lunch stop
at the Clachan Cottage Hotel. The
afternoon run was a mere 20 odd miles back to the Rugby ground and the
finish, as we had all chosen the short route of 70 miles - far enough
Velo decided to unscrew the Gearbox sprocket nut and made some fearful
noises on arrival back at base. However, Rob, with a little help from
his friends managed to get the sprocket back on and do the nut up.
Funny thing, but the nut was a nylock 19mm one - don't ask!!
had a good evening and Terry managed to win a trophy for best in his
class, whilst the rest of us managed a few prizes in the Raffle and
also collected the seperate raffle of a bottle of Champagne. An
excellent evening along with a good buffet meal.
Sunday 5th August
it was a social run and we all travelled together. The coffee stop was
at the Kilmahog Wollen Mill where we stayed for over an hour. The run
then took us back through Callendar and eventually to the rally field.
evening Terry and Dilys ate on site, whilst Jean and I, along with Rob,
sampled the Thai restaurant in the middle of Crieff. So that was the
S&T over and we now had five days to get to Fort William, see a
of Scotland, and then get back to Blairgowrie for the Scottish National
event on the following weekend - so the next part of the
concerns what we saw and did. On with the Holiday pics etc.
William was 84 miles from Crieff and we had all day, so decided to
detour to Loch Katrine for Terry and Dilys to take a boat ride on the
Loch. Jeannie and I had done it twice before and Rob did it with us in
2011. Bits of blue sky were about, but it was still dry, which was nice.
to Fort William and through Glen Coe, the site of the 1692 Glen Coe
of the MacDonalds by their guests, the Campbells. The scenery was
fantastic - I don't wish to do too much lyrical waxing - just in case a
Scot reads this and becomes under the illusion that Scotland is better
than Wales. But
the sights were superb. The photos to the left were taken by Rob, one
the move and through the windscreen of his camper. We made Fort William
by 5pm and whilst Terry and Rob headed for their campsite at the base
of Ben Nevis, Jean and I booked into our B&B in town.
Our evening meal was taken at the restaurant on the campsite - and good
previously made a booking to travel on the Jacobite Steam train that
runs daily from Fort William to the small fishing port of Mallaig on
the west coast. A round trip of 84 miles - 2 hours each way. Again a
touch overcast, but at least it was dry. Mallaig was not very exciting
but the scenery on the trip was super with the Islands of Eigg, Rum and
Skye, all in view from the train. The line is generally
the prettiest in the UK and one could see why, with two steam
trains running on a daily basis - and all were fully booked.
of the lines claims to fame is that it is the one that was used during
the making of the Harry Potter films. The glenfinnan viaduct featured
heavily in one of the films.
photo on the far left shows Fort William with the top of Ben Nevis
being hidden by the clouds. The other photo is of 'Neptunes staircase',
the set of locks
and the start of the Caledonian canal that runs through Loch Lochy and
Loch Ness to Inverness and the North Sea. After a great day out, it was
back to the
campsite restaurant for a good feed that evening.
we'd decided to head for the Isle of Skye and on the way stop
Eilean Donan castle. A place that I'd always wanted to visit.
Donan is the ancestral home of the Macrea clan and part is still used
by them with their quarters cordoned off from the public. The girls
decided not to have a look round, but Terry, Rob and I all enjoyed a
hour visit. Photos were not permitted inside the castle for the most
lamest of reasons. It was reckoned that Antique dealers had taken
pictures and posted them on the Internet - what on earth for, I
wondered! I can't
understand, for the life of me why they just don't say that they want
you to buy the photos in the gift shop and that's the real reason why
you're not permitted to take your own.
On to the Isle of Skye
and we crossed the bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh and headed up the
east coast of the island. We found a nice small coffee stop in
Broadford and spent an hour there before realising that we still had a
fair distance to return to Fort William and time was getting on, so we
turned round. Whilst
it was free to cross the bridge, as the tolls of £6 each way had been
removed in 2004, we decided to do something different and return via
the ferry crossing to Glenelg
a bit further down the coast.
The small ferry from Kylerhea to
Glenelg was being kept alive by the local community who ran the boat.
It was part of the 'road to Skye' before the bridge was built
- how's that for nostalgia?
back at the
campsite, and we decided to eat in town and selected a rather good
Thai/Indian restaurant after checking out many of the others along the
main High street. The sunsets at the campsite and over
Fort William were well worth seeing that evening and boded well for the
we decided to have a lazy time so did nothing much at all.
the evening and Terry and Dilys decided to eat in house - mainly
due to the fridge not being switched on for four days, so the food
needed to be eaten.
Jean and I headed into town to the Italian restaurant for our food,
after which we sat in the town square to wait for the local school pipe
band which was due at 6.30. All members of the band were school
children in Fort William and two were even still in primary school.
Good they all were too and we spent a very enjoyable hour listening to
them play all sorts of Scottish tunes. There's just something about a
pipes and drums band that can be quite stirring.
to motorcycling and the return to Blairgowrie today. There was just
over 100 miles to
travel and after 40 odd we were heading south on the A9 which was the
main road through the
centre of the highlands from Inverness to Perth. I had
planned a coffee stop at the first services that we came across - but
there were none for 45 miles. Eventually we found a small craft shop
for a welcome break. Then it was on to Blairgowrie and the Coupar Angus
sports ground which was doubling up as a campsite. After
dropping off the Indian for Terry and Rob to look after, Jean
and I headed into Blairgowrie and our
B&B - run
by a man from Lisvane and his wife, who was from Bargoed. The evening
spent back at the campsite where we were all fed stovies. That's a sort
of corned beef hash, in case you were wondering. Afters, was a slice of
cluties - bit like a boiled bread pudding, but it was tasty, for sure.
The day of the Scottish National and all of us had again opted for the
70 mile short route. Seen on the rally field were:
and the Velo was the first of our contingent to be away as number 36,
Velo decided to play up and became difficult to start, so it was pushed
off the line. Eventually the engine decided to behave and Rob left five
minutes late. Jean and I were away on the Indian as number 38 and off
we went out into the countryside. Both Rob and I were on a 20mph
schedule, whilst Terry on his Ariel had opted for 24mph and was riding
number 52. The lunch stop was at the Strathmore Arms in Glamis; photos
taken at the lunch stop:-
afternoon route was pleasant until we came to the watersplash - I
really didn't fancy riding through, so watched a few others before we
attempted it. All was ok, as it happened, however 2 Douglas Dragonflys
opted out as their carbs are quite low down.
Photos courtesy of Ron Male.
We all finished without any mishaps and
without getting wet at all.
sitting drinking a coffee and pondering the day a good friend of ours,
Paddy Winter, was having trouble starting his nice 1928 Sunbeam model
8. Rob went over and provided his Velo kicking leg - all to no
avail. The rest of us then joined in the fun and soon diagnosed that
there was no spark. I found that the points block centre bolt was loose
and after cleaning up the arcing between the block and the armature,
and refitting everything, the bike started up first kick.
evening Dinner at the Angus hotel in Blairgowrie was scheduled for 7.30
and we were early in order to be able to all sit on the same table,
unlike 2011, when we were all on different tables. There was quite an
array of trophies to be presented and Colin Bell did the honours. The
only award that our contingent had was made to Terry for timekeeping in
class. We had entered a team under the name of Bromorgannwg as we
to hear the announcer speak the name - but another team won, which was
a shame. It was a
good evening and meal.
were fewer riders out for the social run which headed for the east
coast and the Arbroath area. We skirted Dundee and eventually arrived
at the coffee stop at the Corn Kist farm shop and coffee house. Back at
the finish I felt a little deflated that everything was finished as we
loaded up the bikes for the final time. Later that afternoon we all set
off into Blairgowrie
to look for an eating house and eventually settled for the Dalmore
restaurant on the Perth Road.
at the campsite Jean and I
collected our Indian and said our goodbyes as we were going to head
straight home from our B&B the following day. Rob was
head to Holy Island and to complete his sight seeing of Northumberland
that was cut short last year by his camper engine blowing up.
Terry planned to head to Beamish - a must if you're ever in that area.
All in all a good 11 days and just about completely dry all the time.