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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The 2nd Haggis Run : Results

Our 2nd Haggis Run was on Sunday. This Sunday just gone. The Saturday before was absolutely awful, weather wise. There was a severe weather warning from the Met Office, gusts of wind up to 70mph, sheeting rain at times, snow forecast on the hills, trees and branches coming down all over the place and the felt on the 'Cubbie Hole' was ripped off and the rain poured in. A huge tarpaulin was hastily thrown over as much of the contents as possible. I haven't been in since. So, moving on to Sunday morning, if you read the post below, which I made at a little after 6am on Sunday, you'd know that the weather had improved somewhat, although it was still very cold and a bit breezy. Before Mrs BC and I could set off to Alford, we had to check the sheep, say hello to Horse, feed the chickens, ducks and geese, make sure the dogs had done what they had to do outside, have one last check of the things we had to take with us (just as well 'cos I'd left something of great importance in the workshop / front room) and then finally we were away. Malc, who works at the museum, was already there with the kettle on and packets of chocolate biccies, Captain Bill was there and so was Kawa who had volunteered to help out after a few issues with his suitably aged motorcycle meant he wasn't able to ride in the event. Cossack Mannie from the local sporty bike orientated group, Aberdeen Bikers, arrived to do his duties as a Checkpoint Marshal, and then there was Ian from the Grampian Classic MCC, also on CP duties. John H from the NE Scottish VMCC section arrived bang on time to sign in, and soon we were all ready to roll. We had a few more helpers due, but they wouldn't arrive until later on.

Our merry marshals getting warmed up for a cold stint on the CPs.

In any VMCC event, the riders must sign in and show their membership cards. This commenced at 9am, and the riders all started to wander in, one by one. Mrs BC and I dished out their packs, gave them a specially commissioned Haggis Badge, then they got a hot cuppa and a croissant and Kawa told them (politely, I'm sure) where to park their bikes. We had a better system this year and parked them in number order which allowed a better starting procedure. The weather by now was bright and sunny, with just a hint of chilly winter in the air. Sid from Cawdor was talking of snow....we soon put a stop to that though....and with all the bikes neatly lined up, and the first Checkpoint set up around the corner...Captain Bill gave his pre-Haggis speech. Don't speed, don't race, watch out for fallen trees and newly laid road surfaces, and have a nice time! As well as taking photos and video footage, my job was to send the bikes away at 2 minute intervals. I felt a bit mean as no sooner had I sent them off, then had to stop around the corner and answer their first lot of questions at the CP operated by Cossack Mannie and Ian.

The route we sent them on took them out to the Lord's Throat, an absolute peach of a road alongside the River Don. I bet the autumn colours through there were a picture - if there were any leaves left on the trees after the storm. Somewhere along that road was another CP, manned by Captain Bill and John H, and after that, they were free to ride like the wind, up to Chapel of Garioch before cutting across on the Maiden Stone road to Oyne, past the pre-history park Archaeolink and out to Insch. Finding a safe place for 30 old bikes to cross the busy main A96 is always a difficult one, so the route had to work around a big staggered cross roads, where visibility was good and there was a bit of a slip road for them to get out of the way of traffic. Then it was north, up to Fisherford, Ythanwells and the Bognie area for some really beautiful and typical north east farming scenery. When we ran the route, the fields were full of golden crops, lined with big deciduous trees, the leaves just thinking about turning into all shades of orange and brown. I'm not sure what was left by the time the Haggis chasers got there, but one or two reported back at the end and said they nearly left the road at times for they were too busy looking at the views. The lunch stop was at the Huntly Hotel, and d'you know where that was? Er, Huntly! Two more Grampian club members, Geoff & Julie, were on duty there, making sure the bikes were safely parked and that everyone had their lunch tickets...

Meanwhile, some of us were still at Alford, working hard to set up the Special Tests on the track, and marking the answers that had come in from CP1 and 2. No rest for us ya know. We had to practise knocking skittles over with a tennis ball, and work out the optimum distance at which to make the bikes stop, Kawa had to be the guinea pig for the wheel revolutions test that GCMCC Ian would administer - ride forwards for 3 revs of the rear he also had to ride through our little chicane on his MZ Skorpion. If you can do it on a Skorp, you can do it on a small, nimble classic. The funniest bit of the day was trying to work out how we could get the riders to do an egg and spoon game. We had the spoons. We had the golf balls / eggs. But by this time the wind was sufficient to blow the egg from the spoon, plus we wondered how they would manage to operate the clutch / throttle whilst holding a spoon...we'll work on that for next time. Thank you Malc for helping with the cones and table and 'stuff'.

After the lunch stop, the route took our intrepid adventurers towards Dufftown before a sudden left turn led them through a wonderful valley alongside the River Deveron and what we believe to be the old retting ponds, where the bundles of flax would have been left to rot as part of the process of making linen. In the 18th Century, Huntly's linen production accounted for a third of all Scottish linen. Once through the Haugh of Glass the road climbed up up up up and over the Cabrach; a wide and vast area of bare and sparse moorland. Remember the place I mentioned in a previous post that was home to grouse and rare plants and weird rocks, a site of special scientific interest? Well this is it. A gorgeous place to be on a calm, sunny day, and I just hope it wasn't too breezy up there. At least there was no snow. Another big industry in this area is whisky (still can't remember the Scottish spelling, did I get it right?), and the road we chose practically borders on the Glenfiddich Forrest in one direction, and the Braes o' Glelivet in the other.
While the guys were out and after the games were set up, I couldn't resist a peek at the Museum's chuff-chuff engine.

Grampian Classic club member Briano, and MZ riding Kawa, were due to head off to their CP any time now. It was situated on the Suie Hill, just north of Alford. Briano arrived in his car, thinking, quite sensibly, that he would need somewhere warm to sit and wait, and Kawa's job was be a motorcycle courier after the CP closed and bring the results back to base. As Captain Bill was at a lose end, he decided to show them the way to the CP, and because he so enjoyed his earlier duties, it was decided he would do the questions, and Kawa would be my Chief Photographer. Although they had a longer wait than planned, it all worked out well in the end and Kwak got some good shots with his broken camera. Hope you're able to get it fixed, but don't blame it on our Haggis Badge.

Pics look ok to me, thanks for letting me use them Kwak...

By mid afternoon, the sun was shining good and warm, and as Ian took to his position on the track (for the wheel revolutions test) and Coassack Mannie waited patiently by the skittles, Geoff & Julie arrived from lunch duties to take up their place at the chicane. All was well. Until a bus appeared on the track. Ho hum. He didn't stay for long, was just testing a repair he had made. Good job, for the bikes were back and ready to undertake the Special Tests. It's all in good spirits, and most people wanted to give them a go. The title of Oldest Bike to Complete the Course was rather furiously contested, between Mick on his 1925 RE 180 and Sid on his 1936 AJS Special.

We really appreciate Mick opting to complete the tests, but he said that with all the slowness and clutch playing required, it would probably cause havoc with his clutch, so he did them on foot. That would have been fine, until The Sid came on the scene, putting down his coffee and cake, he fired the Ajay up, making the windows in the museum tremble, and he rumbled off to the first test. Ian reported that he managed the 3 revs, no problem, then he proceeded to strike one skittle, before weaving his way through the chicane with ease. The Cameron Autotech trophy for Youngest Rider went, again, to Alistair Mackie from the NE Scottish VMCC, and the Overall Haggis Champeeno trophy was stolen just by a whisker from last years winner, by Velocette man Maurice Clarke. Peter O from the Crieff area won the Furthest Travelled to the event BY BIKE again, he's a crafty man, he even brought a few mates with his this year (good to see you guys) but made sure no one lived further away then he! Now, if the Spencers from the north of England were to ride their Triumph 5T up next there wouldn't be many to beat that. We didn't have any lady riders this year, so come on ladies, make sure you come along to the 3rd Haggis Run in 2010!

Thanks to...
All of our helpers and marshals - it really is YOU that makes the day go so well.
The entrants. Well, without you guys and girls, we wouldn't have a Haggis Run.
Malc for his assistance throughout the day.
Mike and Grampian Transport Museum for allowing us to take the place over for a day.

PS. Shame you couldn't be with us Shorty, but I'm sure Westie and Couttzer (I don't know how to spell that one either) will tell you all about it.


Shorty said...

Still being in Bristol at 9am on Sunday morning sorta ruled me out this year, but will be back next year, I promise.
Did you know its 638 miles from Meigle to Lands End

Darrell said...

Sounds like a great time all around. What was the total distance for the riders?
Can't wait for pictures/video.

kawa said...

come on get the photos up

Anonymous said...

Just discovered the picks very good as usual and a good write up ,when are you going to give up your day job/jobs.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you all had a good, if somewhat chilly, day. Kawa's Skorpion looks really good, don't you think it's about time Her Gorgeousness had hers back in the road?


kawa said...

Nice pics, seeing the pics of the portable steam engine just reminded my of the fantastic sound coming from it while idling, and the heat from the boiler saved the fingers from frostbite, lol
The games looked good, pitty I missed them being up at CP Bill.
Looking forward to entering the Haggis next year.
Thanks UN, the wee bikes going great, a few odds an ends to sort out, but happy with if.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kawa,
Glad you like your Skorpion, they're great fun and very cheap to run. Info at my website: and forum
I'm going to organise a 'Skorpion Camping Weekend' in the spring, so we'll have to nag Her Gorgeousness into getting hers ready in time!


Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Her Gorgeousness will be working on it over the winter!

Glad you like the pics Slick. Didn't get many of you scooting round on yer new bike though. Have a good trip awa' see you in Nov.

Hi Darrell, the original route was about 90miles, but when we were setting it out there were loads of road closures we had to get around. So it might have been a mile or two longer.

Shorty, that really is NO excuse!

Oh me, back to the tidying.

Darrell said...

Great pictures. It did look cold, but seemed everyone had fun.
Great bikes, the gold (copper?) AJS was sweet. I've always liked the old v-twins.
Looks like I have to make the effort to make it across the pond next year. You guys are having far too much fun.


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