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Friday, 7 August 2009

The Scottish Double...Plus1

Starting with the S&T 8/9th August 2009. I ended up getting to my accommodation a bit later than planned on the Friday night. Ok, about 4 hours later if you want to be precise, but Peter Oram and family didn't seem to mind me turning up at half past ten. One of the reasons was that I'd been held up at work, and t'other reason was that I'd just driven past the place where I was hoping to get a Cub frame and thought it a bit late to pop in, when I saw the guy arriving home. So I just stopped briefly to arrange going back on Sunday on my way home. Peter was up super early on Saturday, well, being the Main Man he had to be. I stumbled out of my nice warm cosy bed in plenty of time to get to the site, just 2 miles along the road. Found my pilot, Andrew Rae (haha, just realised, not only was he my sidecar pilot but he's a pilot in real life too) and met up with loads of other familiar faces - can't put names to most of them but at least I recognised them. Spent much of the time doing the GBC bit, gathering info and pics for Old Bike Mart, which left me little time to snatch a sausage sarnie. And you wouldn't believe it, no sooner had I started munching on that, then it was time to go. I think people found it quite amusing that I should be eating as we sped out of the field and through the car park. Did all the swinging about / hanging off the side thing as Andrew made steady progress along the country lanes. Some great scenery, varying between single track, twisty and hilly stretches, and a stint on what I think passes for a main road. The meeting with the classic car rally on top of a Very Big Hill and on a Very Narrow Road was quite interesting, let's just say it was a good job we were on a trials-ish outfit. It's a 1954 Ariel NH by the way. Could see rain over the hills but managed to avoid it until lunch time, just as well as someone had promised me sunshine and no rain until at least 3pm so I'd chosen to leave my waterproofs in the van...a good place for them....

Weather was a bit grey on the way back to base, but dry enough. Always a good time to catch up with people after the regularity run. One guy I see most years is a chap called John, who comes all the way from Stenhousemuir, which must be a good hour away, by bus. And he's, erm, a little over 70 I think he said. He was always nervous of motorbikes until he started getting involved in the vintage and classic scene, now he wants a Bantam but a recent hip op has probably put a stop to that idea. He's a nice guy and good to talk to.



After a wash and brush up back at Peter's, it was time to head back for the meal - a lift was acquired with Mrs Peter, daughter and son-in-law, but during the meal, the question arose as to how I was going to get back. Peter came up with the best idea he'd had all day - lend me his car! Yay! Because I'm such a party girl, I foresaw staying until the bitter end, well, one has to, hasn't one? I'd better not say anything about not being able to find the fiddly thing for the lights, or not having my, er, no, can't say that. Let's just say I made it back, safely...

Sunday morning, hmmmm, feeling a bit worse for wear, and the odd thing is, it is all totally and completely NOT related to an over consumption of alcohol. I don't drink. Well, I might do, once or twice a year, and usually when Andrew the Sidecar Pilot is in the vicinity and trying to ply me with the stuff. But Sunday, sunny Sunday was The Day of Collection, time to pop back to the guy with the Cub frame, but only after I'd watched everyone go off on the social ride. So I nipped along the road, met up with Bill, did the deal and had a quick {{oops, someone pointed out that what I wrote there might be easily misconstrued, so I'd better change it}} look around his collection of bikes and projects. Got my eye on something else there too. Then it was off to work, with a big grin on my face; another Cubbie project is on the way. Oh yes, you might think I'm crazy, but according to my chum, Robin of Wales, that's what makes the world go round. And he should know.

Monday was pretty much consumed by last minute tasks to do with the Plus1 - our new mid week event, planned to slot nicely into the middle of the Scottish Double (which consists of the S&T at Crieff and the National at Blairgowrie), and Tuesday was spent doing the day job, and rounded off with a visit to the camp site at Aden Country Park in Mintlaw, meeting and greeting our guests and making sure there were no problems. Good old Slick cooked up some local herring in traditional NE style, and Mrs BC ate most of them, but only after she had wined and dined at Pat & Jim's caravan. Then fast forward to the day itself. Woke up early, checked the animals while Mrs BC prepared some sarnies and such like to take with us, and gave Kawa an alarm call, just to make sure he was fully clothed when we rattled his tent door. He had kindly ridden all the way up from Stirling late the night before, just to help us with marshaling duties. Arrived in Mintlaw bang on time, and pleased to see the campers were just yawning and stirring. Set the tables up in the old coach house, and got the paperwork ready for the riders to sign on. Captain Bill arrived with his homemade signage which was set out at various places to direct the sleepy eyed entrants to the right place - no time to dilly dally, the Plus1 kicked off at 09:00hrs with the first bike away at 10:00hrs. With 40 riders to keep on the right side of, and most of them very experienced at this sort of event, the nerves were jangling just a little, but all riders got away smoothly - mind you, one of the Meigle Mafia nearly didn't make it, as a sprockety thing fell off his bike, didn't it, Mr Coutts???






The route headed straight for the coast, crossing through typical north east farming countryside and passing through the village of Strichen, once a thriving textile town. More or less everyone managed to miss the white quartz horse carved in the hillside nearby, but then it only measures 162ft x 126ft! Now here's a thing I did not know, the horse was created to commemorate the death of a Sergeant Henderson in the Battle of Tourcoing, who gave his horse to local lad, Alexander Fraser, 9th Lord of Strichen. The one and only place that I was absolutely praying that it would be sunny, was the road from New Aberdour to Banff. When the sun is out, the sky and sea simply shimmer with a shade of blue you don't see anywhere else. We sent them along to Pennan and Crovie, two of the tiny ex-fishing villages perched beneath the north facing cliffs. Pennan is known the world over for it's little red telephone box, used in the filming of Local Hero (starring some bloke called Burt), and a pub that is bought and re-opened, and then closed and sold so frequently that even the locals can't keep up with it. I haven't been to Crovie that many times, and I think the best view of it is from the car park half way down the hill. It's such a small place that the main street has only room for the few cottages that remain, and residents must leave their vehicles at the end of the village. You can walk down the rest of the way and it's truly worth doing, if only to say you've visited one of the best preserved fishing villages in Europe. A settlement was established here by the families who were thrown out of their inland homes in the 18th century, by the landowners who wanted the space for sheep grazing. Like Pennan, the place has had a turbulent history, with storms washing away the harbour and the houses, and gradually, the occupants moved out to the nearby town of Gardenstown, also on our route. Created in 1720 by a man named Garden (can you see the connection there?) as a fishing village, it is a remarkable religious place. I daren't work there on a Sunday. Apparently, the Danes were defeated there in year of 1004.

After that, it was on to Duff House, in Banff. But only after first crossing the spectacular seven arch bridge from the MacDuff side, built in 1799 and these days, I think it goes completely unnoticed. Tea and sticky buns galore were consumed by our hungry riders, and I must just say many thanks to Duff House for dealing with the deluge of bikers, and allowing them to park in front of the House for a photo call for the Press & Journal. Oh yes, well done Kawa for finding your way up there....and thanks for then zooming off and getting to Huntly, where our adventurers were about to descend, an hour early. Sorry your ice cream melted.

Meanwhile...Captain Bill was being delayed by a couple of Italian ladies, for whom he seemed to have plenty of time.....

So Mrs BC and I were on 'breakdown' duties, with Slick's bike trailer hitched behind the Cubbie-mobile. We were terribly pleased that there were no breakdowns to collect on the morning leg, so we headed to the Huntly Hotel for lunch. The food there was good, but many bikers had scoffed too many cakes at Duff House and weren't quite ready for their food....we'll have to make that section of the route more time consuming next year....that'll teach 'em... A light (ok, very heavy) shower ensued over lunch, and luckily most people missed it. It was only the really really silly ones who left their jumpers on their bike seats who suffered, eh Shorty. Thanks to John H of the Douglas for helping with the lunch stop. The route back to Mintlaw took in some of my favourite biking and driving roads; out towards the traditional farming town of Turriff on the splendid twisty and hilly road past the Glensomethingorother Distillery. Have you heard the story of the Turra Coo? Well where have you been! In 1913, a white cow was seized from a local farmer for failure to pay his National Insurance contributions. All farmers in the area were protesting at the high rate of NI, and when Robert Paterson refused to stamp his employees insurance cards, the Sheriff's officers were sent in to remove property worth £22 from his farm. The only thing they could take without help from the local workers, was a poor, innocent white coo, which was led into Turriff and tied up in the square for all to see. Despite riots and violence, it was then auctioned and raised £27, but with the help of the community, the wife of one of Paterson's farmhands, bought the cow and returned it to the farm in Lendrum. So there you go, a happy ending. The cow lived on for another six years, quite unaffected by the incident that would go on to become so famous. The route then took the riders through Cuminestown, cutting off towards Corsegight, before ending up in Maud. Maud's history seems to relate mostly to transport, meeting places, many roads, the railway and so on. There is only one route from there out to Mintlaw, so that is the way we went.

After the happy campers returned to the site, they all had plenty of time to relax and get washed and brushed up, but for Mrs BC, Captain Bill and Kawa, oh yes, and me, there was no such luxury. We had to hot foot it down to the Pitfour Arms in the village to prepare the scene for the evening meal. Our Section Treasurer Alan came along early to lend a hand with the vote counting (all will become clear later) and with his trusty cheque book. Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal, and after the speeches by the Immediate Past VMCC Chairman Colin Bell, the President Bette Barber and our very own Section Chairman, Captain Bill, we got down to the business of the Awards Ceremony. Not wishing to get involved in the concors debate, we decided to award the Bette Barber trophy to the bike with the most votes, which turned out to be our very own Mick Elston's 1925 Royal Enfield, and then, as this was our first event, we presented Past President Harry Wiles and his good lady Fran, with a selection of whisky marmalade for being the very first people to enter and to show such faith and trust in us, and to a chap called Mike (with the French hat) we gave a nice waterproof map book. He rode the furthest to get to the Plus1 - something in the region of 1100 miles by the time he'd gone from Derby to the S&T and then up to us. Have to find out what his final mileage was after completing the National on his way home.

So we left a certain pilot in the pub and made our way home. Thursday was a day filled up to the brim with work work work, not even a chance was had to empty the tables and boxes from the van and I ended up having to use the van rather than the car, 'cos the car wouldn't start. Probably in a sulk. Then before I had time to take a breath, it was Friday and I still had work to catch up with - which made me a little behind schedule picking Captain Bill up from his abode somewhere near Keith. Ended up at his place some time around 4pm, bundled his camping gear in the now cleared out van, hitched his trailer, containing his Connaught, on the van and we were off. Trundled down to Blairgowrie in the pouring rain / fog / spray and arrived a litte late, but still in time for the fabulous homemade stovies, thanks to Shorty and his good lady for peeling the tatties and doing the cooking - I somehow don't think Shorty did the cooking bit. A merry evening was had by all in the rugby club, and then it was up early on Saturday, well, it's always hard to sleep with the rain thundering down on one's tent. I don't think the rain had let up much during the night, and it was pouring from the time the riders signed on until most of the bikes had left. I ended up being roped into something that I can't tell you about, but needless to say, Big George made it a pleasant and not too painful experience, and he even gave me his bacon roll. Shorty and I then sped off to the lunch stop - did you know I was a marshal this year? I think I might have mentioned it to a couple of people - so we had to have something to sustain us for our stint in the layby. Oi, behave, I see those little cogs whirring round and working overtime. We had a very responsible job of operating a checkpoint, which basically means we clock the time that each bike comes past and write it down so that the Time Master can calculate who should be where and when. T'was quite nice actually, sitting on the picnic rug in the sunshine, talking about this 'n' that and whether or not I've ever been married. MARRIED?! Funny how some people put things together and end up with quite the wrong answer. By the time we'd done that, phoned the results in and gone back to base, and I'd squeezed in a bit of both Area Rep work and GBC on Official Business on behalf of Old Bike Mart it was time for a clean up and to head down to the hotel for the meal. No need, I feel, to go into the ins and outs, except to say that the grub was good, the company was hilarious and wait til you click on the poetry film show up in the top right of this page.




James is keen to get the Puch back home to Aberdeenshire, so not having Cubbie in the Cubbie-mobile this year, I volunteered to be the courier. Looks like we got us a young and keen classic biker in the making.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our events, (and the poetry film show), as much as I did being a part of them. Thanks to ALL who had a hand in organising and competing. See y'all again soon.

18 comments:

john said...

If you google Scotish Triple it gives you GBC's blog page as second choice ..... how cool is that

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Hahaha, even listed before all those triple rugby shirts or whatever they are.

Anonymous said...

Mrs GBC must be sooo proud...




BigBob

john said...

I wonder how much you paid for that ..... let me guess ....... errrrrr nuffin !!!! :)

Shorty said...

Sad Sad Sad

Martyn said...

Is this the start of your troubles, GBC.
Lots of sleepless nights ahead methinks!
Congratulations - you'll soon be able to join us Southerners on our green lane and watersplash runs.
Martyn

Anonymous said...

Just got to wait on the pitter patter of tiny parts noo ;-)

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Tee hee, can't wait to get cracking (code for "this will probably take me about 3 years to build") so I'll be posting a list of WANTED bits soon!

Oh, yes, Mrs BC is soooooooooo (not) excited. Hmmmm.

John, you obviously know my style lol

Anonymous said...

What do we think? Do you really want to know?
Well, it's just what you need - something to spread the time and money available to maintain your vehicles even more thinly. My advice (that you'll completely ignore) - put it in the back of the shed and don't look at it until you have Cubbie, Skorpi, Bulto, the outfit, the car and the van running the way you want them, then start work on it. It's better to have 3 or 4 running vehicles than 6 or 7 non-running 'projects'.
Been there, made that mistake.

U N

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

UN, very valid advice...but...HOW BORING!!!!!!

kawa said...

"Whaddythink?" just looks like a rusty old bit o pipe work,lol. Best of luck wi the project, suppose I better try an find the rest of the bits for that engine now

kawa

Anonymous said...

Boring? What would be more boring, getting up on a bright summer's day and saying 'which of my 2 or 3 running bikes will I go out on today?', or, 'which of my 6 non-running projects will I spend the day working on?' You choose.

U N

kawa said...

Some interesting machines at the events, good to see there still getting used in the rain. Hats off to the young lad on the very nice Puch, great to see.

Might get round to joining the club, what ever its called, one day ;-)

Thanks for all your effort in keeping this great blog up an running

kawa

Darrell said...

Nice pics once again. I was surprised the Puch would qualify, but I guess its an age issue, and not a "purity" issue (moped versus motorcycle.)
Just out of curiosity, how much camera gear do you carry on these outings?

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Darrell, as long as the machine is over 25yrs old, it qualifies. Seems like a good way of getting young people involved, giving them a moped with L plates. I just carry the one camera, otherwise can get bogged down carrying too much kit.

Shucks Kawa, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just that one camera works very, very well :o) Fantastic photos and really interesting writeup.

Thanks for all the hard work. Great stuff ! :o)

Graham B

Darrell said...

Was the Puch-pilot the youngest rider in the group? Good to see young people interested in the older bikes.

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Glad you enjoyed the read GB, and yes Darrell, the lad stole my title of Youngest Rider, but only by a year or two. Ahem.

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