The Isle of Wight Scurry - 14th to 19th September 2012
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

Terry and Dilys Hopes plus Jean and I had entered this event. Numbers were down this year with something like 60 bikes being entered. Terry took his Motorhome whilst Jean and I had booked a chalet on the Whitecliff Bay holiday site. The ferry crossing was sponsored by Wightlink which made the whole event quite economical. The weather forecast was quite good and it stayed that way for the whole of the event.

We were booked on a ferry around midday on the Friday and arrived at the campsite by mid afternoon. Friday evening saw us in the local 'Propeller Inn' for a meal after which we retired to the large function room above the swimming pool, where we signed on and listened to all the announcments.

Saturday 15th

The day dawned nice and bright and we all gathered for the start at 10am with a run into Newport to display the bikes in St Thomas square in the centre of town. I've always found it a bit of a nightmare getting the Indian into the centre of Newport as dealing with traffic whilst operating a foot clutch and left-hand throttle is not easy, for sure.

After spending a few hours in the sunshine looking at all the bikes on display, at 1.30 we moved down to the Old Quay where a classic car show was taking place. An area had been kept for all the bikes and it was a bit of a squeeze but we all managed to get in ok.
Further along the Quay was the Bus Museum and most of the vehicles were available for use. In past years events we've had rides on some of the buses. I found it all a bit cramped, but interesting all the same - certainly I wouldn't like to take on the restoration of a bus. We then decided to cross the river and take lunch in the Gamekeepers Inn.

The car show had just about everything that you would expect to see at such an event - even a trio of singers who were rather good, I must say. It was amusing to see a tea chest bass with a set of wheels. A long time since I heard one of those being played. Towards the end of the afternoon we left Newport for the ride back to Whitecliff Bay and a free evening. So, having eaten in the afternoon it was a case of put the feet up for the evening.

Sunday 16th
The day of the Scurry which was scheduled to be about 80 miles in length. The start was again at 10am and route cards were handed out. We rode with Terry and Dilys through Godshill, stopping for coffee in the village of Chale Green and then on to Freshwater at the far end of the island. The route then took us back to the Isle of Wight Community Club in Cowes for a lunch and a rest before continuing on the afternoon leg.

This evening we all decided to eat in the Nab bar on site. Then it was a case of assemble in the function room for a quiz - which we didn't win, I might say.

On returning to our chalet late that evening Jean and I found that the yale lock had jammed on the door and we couldn't get in. What to do? the office was long since closed and there were no site staff about. I put my shoulder to the door and it was certainly a bit wobbly, but it didn't give much. Anyway, a size 8 boot did the job and the door flung open at the same time as the lock stile end of the door just fell to the floor. There was quite a bit of rotten wood which also fell out of the bottom panel and things did not look good at all. I thumped the end of the door back in place as best I could and pushed the door back, almost into place. We placed a chair behind the broken door and eventually went to bed. I mulled it all over in my mind and must say that I expected to be given a bill the next day when I confessed to the damage. What price a new door?

Monday 17th
As soon as the site office was open I walked up and sheepishly reported the broken door and admitted that I had broken it. By the time that I had returned to the chalet the maintenance team were there and after a good look at the door came back with a key for another chalet which we could move into. We agreed to do that on our return from the days run. So, on to a 10am assembly again. Today we all left on a route to Godshill where we were to spend a few hours. Godshill is probably the most picturesque village on the island and a favourite with the tourists, of course. Lots of chocolate box thatched cottages, tea rooms and the usual tourist tat shops. Having said that the cream cakes in the Old Smithy cafe are to die for - needless to say we all sampled one with our coffee and afterwards walked around the village to try and work off the effects.
Come 1.30 and we moved off towards Cowes and a visit to the Isle of Wight Model Engineering Society, where we all spent a few pleasant hours riding on the trains that had been laid on for us for the day.

We had a super few hours and were made most welcome by the Model Engineering Society. Back at the holiday camp, Jean and I found that the camp maintenance man had managed to repair the door to our chalet and also fix the lock, so there was no need for us to move house at all. I had a good look at the door and found it amazing that it could have been repaired at all - mind you there were a few six inch nail heads to be seen. But it was a super repair job, for sure. The maintenance man greeted us with the news and gave us 20 of food and drink vouchers for being put out. Now that was very nice and something that we didn't expect.

That evening we all decided to have a run into Bembridge to look for a restaurant but had no luck so headed for Sandown and found a more than suitable establishment on the sea front. So after a good feed it was back to the holiday camp and bed.

Tuesday 18th
One of the things that had to be done today was for every rider to vote for 'The bike I'd most like to take home', with the trophy being presented on the last night of the event. There was a little confusion this morning as we had a start time of 11am on one sheet of paper, and also on another sheet, a start time of 10am. So, to be sure, it was 10am when we assembled for the days run to Havenstreet and the Isle of Wight steam railway. At Havenstreet all the bikes were soon lined up in a field attached to the railway and off we went for a bacon roll and a cuppa. Having said that , bacon rolls were not on the menu and Terry and I found that a touch sad.

We were to ride on the 12.32 train to Wootton and then back to Smallbrook junction at the other end of the line, where we were to change on to the Island line of ex-London underground electric trains for a trip to Ryde. The steam engine being used today was 'Freshwater' an 1876 built LBSCR Terrier tank engine. The class is of rather small locos, but with good power for their size. Between 1872 and 1880 50 engines were built and eight are now in preservation with another two in museums, so a 20% survival rate seems very good. The Isle of Wight Steam Railway are lucky enough to own two of these diminutive but gutsy locomotives. We spent an hour or so looking around the other railway stock and visiting the coach shed where an 1890 bogie coach was under restoration. One of the nice things about the Isle of Wight railway is that their carriages are all Victorian or Edwardian and I'm fairly sure that the railway is the only one to be operating a full fleet of period coaches.

After arriving at Smallbrook Junction and changing trains, the ride on the electric set only took ten minutes and we were soon in Ryde, where we managed to find a bacon roll at last. I'd been fancying one all day, I must say. A walk up and down the high Street and Terry and I then climbed up a foot bridge to get a better view of the Hovercraft service to Portsmouth. It was then back to the station to catch the electric train so as to connect with the last steam train from Smallbrook Junction. We rode first class back to Havenstreet and what a beautiful compartment we had - it was sheer Victorian luxury.

We were soon back on the bikes and heading for Whitecliff for the last time. The evening was a gathering in the function room for a buffet, followed by the presentation of awards as well as a single item raffle of a unique painting, the proceeds of which went to a local charity. There were three trophies and Ian Young was awarded the County Press trophy for a bike in most original condition. A certain 1931 Ariel Sloper won the 'Bike I'd like to take home' trophy as a result of all the votes cast. Then came the sting in the tale. It was the 'Hard Luck trophy' and organiser Ron started by saying that it wasn't being presented for the usual punctures and broken chains. This year it was going to someone who's chalet door had collapsed - I failed to get Jeannie to collect the trophy so had to do that myself. I did feel a bit of a fraud as I'd kicked the door in on our chalet and received not a bill, but 20 in vouchers and a trophy.

What an enjoyable event, a lovely Island, great VMCC section, good company - and sunshine every day to boot. Here's to next year.