Monday 29 September 2014

A weekend in Southern Ireland

Not on the bike for a change this last weekend, we had to go to Wicklow just South of Dublin to look at a possible venue for the 2015 International Norton Rally. Alex came along to bolster the drinking team and we met Martin on the outskirts of Wicklow for lunch, joined quickly after by Kevin & Colm. We scouted out the rugby club and all looks good, now we have to negotiate a deal which I'm sure will happen. The local councillor was there and it looks like we may get the council's support in some form.
All were excited by the prospect of attracting visitors to the pretty little town of Wicklow, plenty to do and see in the area and nice roads to ride our bikes so we cant ask for much more, oh and the Guinness is pretty much spot on.
After business we all did what we do best, talk nonsense and drink beer, great company for the weekend and looking forward to pulling this off for next year.

Wiclow from the outskirts, pretty

The jail (or Gaol) from where thousands were shipped to Australia for even minor crimes like stealing bread because they were starving during the potato famine, The door on the to floor was for hanging prisoners, the rope attached to the beam above, a quick shove and that was it!

Couldn't get a word out of this guy

This guy got executed for being a freedom fighter, lots of that went on.....

The Leinster 200 road races ran through here, plenty Nortons on the list of winners!

Now you know

The team enjoying a well deserved beer!

Fellow Telecoms engineer, he fixed the first transatlantic cable when it broke, I fixed plenty faults but never got a statue erected for it!

Sailing back into Loch Ryan and home!

Sunday 21 September 2014

A different weekend

A different weekend for a change, a boat trip on the Firth of Forth on Saturday leaving and returning from South Queensferry, stunning day out with a bit of a history lesson. We visited Inchcolm Island which was home to an Abbey over 900 years ago and amazingly most of it is still standing, a testament to the skills of the Scots back then. During the first and second world wars it was an army post with big guns to guard this important shipping lane and of course to guard the Forth bridge from the unwanted attention of the German U boats.
It was a poignant reminder of our failed bid for freedom just a few days ago to pass the oil tanker facility where Scotland's black gold gets exported all over the world, also on the Fife side the LPG facility where we export our gas all over the world also.  That aside we had a great day out with Fi's Mum and Dad enjoying very unseasonable warm weather in September.
Sunday we had a run out on the bikes, I took the Guzzi out for a blast and we went to see a Spartan event to meet up with one of Fiona's colleagues who was taking part, this is basically a crazy try to die of a heart attack event , everybody seemed to be enjoying it though even the most unlikely looking athletes. A trip down to see Craig and Pam at the Gifford tearoom rounded of a pretty damned good weekend!
Our taxi for the day, more steam MacPhail!

Seal having a look at the strange people, the city of Edinburgh in the background

Inchcolm Abbey, not bad condition for 900 years

Somebody has a sense of humour

Bird in flight

Former gun emplacements, the irony of the army being on a holy island wasn't lost on me

Very pretty

Everywhere you looked it was impressive

The scene from the top of the bell tower

Fi & Dan enjoying the day, sunshine on Leith in the background

Mr & Mrs R posing for a photo

Sailing back we got this view

More seals and all this a stones throw from Edinburgh

The famous Road and rail bridges

Our new 25 billion pound aircraft carrier the Queen Elizabeth being fitted at Rosyth Dockyard

Dramatic clouds

One last photo of the rail bridge at night

The paddock for the self abusers today

You get the picture, its all a bit mad

These guys had failed to climb the rope so they have to do 30 burpees, and thats fun?

Another wave ready for some self abuse

I took a guess these are IT guys?

Wonder woman was there

Normally you see monkeys doing this......

The best laugh of the day, not sure if this was sexual foreplay or if she was calfing

Kris jumps the fire to finish

I took this from inside the cafe, nice view

Main street Gifford, very pleasant

Craig trying to get his son started young!

Sunday 14 September 2014

Borders get together

Our annual Tay Valley/ Edinburgh/ Northumbria Norton get together was on this weekend in Yetholm, just a mile or so from the border. I have to say the campsite is first class and the wee pub in the village is quite good as well so perfect for a weekend really, the weather gods were also good to us so that was the icing on the cake. Once again great company and plenty nonsense talked all weekend, the pub had an Abba disco on the Saturday which made things interesting, some of the locals getting into the act with 80's spandex back in vouge for the evening. Stopped in Kelso for breakfast and ran into a group of Guzzi riders I know from Newcastle returning from their camping weekend, small world. Great run home and managed a wee wheelie on the Commando with some spirited riding over a hill, also notice I had to ride Fiona's usual steed as mine isn't fixed yet !
Bill and John looking for Inspiration!
Kelso town square Saturday, look at the sunshine
My Norton and Bert's 1928 Indian share the sun
The guys sharing a story
One of the guys from Preston has this nice Commando
Main street Yetholm
Phone box at a jaunty angle
Bert telling Alex its his round!
Bert getting into the 80's look
Paddy & Tim getting into the Abba swing!

Sunday 7 September 2014

Up North

So this weekend I was abandoned by Fiona as she had a weekend organised with the girls in Liverpool so I headed up North to a bike rally, its been a while since I attended a rally by myself, its murder having to put your own tent up and blow up your matress, now I realise how much work Fi does whilst I usually stand around chatting!
The run up the A82 through Glencoe started to get cold so I stopped at the bottom of the Glen to put the waterproofs on, Glencoe actually suits the dreich weather in my opinion, it gives it the element of gloom that it needs to remind us the black deeds done in the glen by the government troops and the Campbells against the MacDonalds in the name of the King. I stopped at Ballahullish for a cup of tea and some petrol and was glad of the warmth inside the petrol station, must be getting soft. The road was busy with tourists and of course the dreaded caravans, motorhomes and the lycra mafia  but I still managed to pass everything and get the odd bit of quiet road to myself. I took the Corran ferry over to Ardnamurchan for some empty and very narrow roads, bliss, I really enjoyed the wobble around the peninsula taking in the vista of Scotlands majesty (The view not Liz!)
At the rally it was great to meet up with so many good friends, nowadays the rallies I go to are really just like meeting all your pals in the one place, excellent and of course there is beer and whisky available to help the conversation along.
Some nice bikes around and a surprising number of old British bikes at the meeting as well. This morning I had to do the tent removal ritual by myself and after saying my goodbye's was on the road for half 10. A great run home with a stop at the Glenfinnan monument for a photo, erected to symbolise Bonnie Prince Charlie coming ashore to start the 1745 rebellion (or the quarter to 6 rebellion according to Geoff Mumford) In less than two weeks our country will decide whether to separate or stay within the UK, this time no bloodshed needed, good to see that in some ways society has moved on.

Time to get the waterproofs on
And then on the Corran ferry the sun comes out!
Nice spot to have a weekend
Plenty bikes
Bert's radical BMW, he offered to do the same to a Norton for me!
Nice Vincent & Ariel together
Davie Clark's nice Velo with Claire's Triumph in the Background
Big Norrie saying it for us all
More Ariel's with Tam Broon's mystical wing in the background
This outfit came from France, its powered by a 2 litre Peugeot engine which is in the rear of the sidecar, also two rear wheels both drive, funky! 
Note Lochaber council don't put the month in so these roadworks can go on forever!
The Glenfinnan monument built to mark the 45 rebellion, the last civil war in the UK (unless you count the miners strikes or the poll tax riots!)