Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Simmer Dim Rally - Shetland - June 2011
“I’m back” he says,
“Back from where?” I ask,
“Simmer Dim” is his response. “I’ve just ridden down from Oban today”
“But the rally was almost a month ago” I reply
“Yes but at my age I wanted to make the most of it!”
And that’s something I can’t argue with; Terry won the prize for the oldest rider attending the Simmer Dim rally. He’s 80 this year but as he explains.
“It wasn’t that hard a trophy to win; you just have to keep breathing”
Well I’d almost forgotten I’d been north and his call reminded me that I ain’t written a ‘blog’ yet.
So the 29th Simmer Dim Rally and my 2nd one has again pulled out all the stops,
Friends made at last year’s rally Ozzy, Dave and Dawn from Northumberland roll in, the crew from Goole, Jonathan from Ecclesfield and more lads from Sheffield all safely arrive.
With tickets checked and bikes loaded by 3p.m, it’ll be time for a drink then! Talk about surprised when we walked into the old seaman’s pub on the Aberdeen harbour front to find a large Buddha greeting us and the place now half bar and half Thai restaurant, but the service had certainly improved since last year’s visit although the prices had risen to match.
Motorcyclists quickly fill the car park and the chat and catch up begins.
Friday morning came all too quickly and it was not a good feeling. As I wandered over to get breakfast, Ozzy, Dawn and Dave were giving me that knowing smile,
“How much do you remember of last night” one of them asked,
“Not much” I have to reply
Dawn’s response was “That’s because I had been a bit drunk”
And my last words had been “I seem to have a bit of a wobble on, best retire”.
Oh well, at least I know my limits!!!
The ride out was planned for 11am and by 10.30am I could just about walk in a straight line so after avoiding the television cameras that were interviewing ralliest for an item on Scottish Television I headed out to the car park to meet the others and await the off.
This year’s ride took us west through Aithnesting then cutting down south to the marina at Skeld where we had a quick toilet and cig stop.
“Not much of a change from your usual routine is it”,
“What do you mean?” asks Martyn
“Hanging around outside the men’s lavatories” was Chris’s quick response.
As usual the elite BMW riders decided to make maximum use of the off road capabilities of the GS motorcycles and park on the gravel!
Now some of you may know my views on GPS systems, fine to get you out of a mess, maybe lost in a big European city or unsure approaching a continental roundabout system but they are just as capable of getting you into a mess. So it was as all of us follow Martyn and Jan lemming-like down nonexistent roads in search of a nonexistent cafe.
“You will come back next year won’t you, you don’t have to buy anything just come and have some tea with me and the family”.
I think that sums up Shetland for me.
I return to Vidlin just in time for the silly games and the arrival of the Viking Jarl squad. There is something very surreal about a group of heavily armed Vikings marching across a field to the accompaniment of two accordions and singing ‘Bring me Sunshine‘
I take another look round the car park and campsite and although cars aren’t my thing I could be tempted with this one.
By midnight we are back at the site and the party is just warming up, it’s still daylight and that spurs us on for a few more hours at the bar or rather sat outside as even at 2am it’s a balmy summer evening.
Next morning I’m packed by 10.30am
It’s amazing how much you can get on a BMW,
I go in search of a present for Kathryn to back up the Sheepskin Rug and ‘Percy the Puffin’ quickly finds a place on Bertha.
Yep talk about the tortoise and the hare, in pulls the little BSA. The rider says he has had enough for today and is going to camp around Boroughbridge before his final push further south the following day. I’m not surprised he’s had enough, we pull in at Lou’s place just outside Doncaster and this is what Davy looked like!
So that’s the Simmer Dim done for another year, will I go back again? We’ll I do fancy a change next year but it will be the 30th Anniversary of the rally so I guess it would be rude not to and I’ve still got a lot of Shetland left to explore,