Sunday 20 September 2015

More camping /Drinking/ Motorcycling

A weekend up North for a rally this week, Saturday a stunning ride up the A9 (not often you'll hear that!) Despite my moans about this road the part from Dunkeld to Pitlochry is very scenic, the facist government has installed average speed cameras all the way up but the good thing is the trucks can now do 50 mph so it appears to flow better, of course the cameras are all about revenue generation so let's not forget that. The hammering of the driving classes to attain the required tax take!
Clouds appeared along the Laggan road but the day was just excellent and no rain at all, there was a holdup and some very poor driving along Loch Lochay caused by the council or roads department doing "skid testing" with a big yellow truck which pours water on the road and some mechanism tells them if the surface is still grippy enough, I have an idea, sell the truck and use the money to pay someone to fill in some of the potholes and repair the roads. Seriously though this thing was a major hazard but mainly because of the dimwitted drivers who seem to struggle to drive sensibly when confronted with any hazard. We arrived at the site and set up camp, it was a small site and very busy with fellow rallyists, a great atmosphere and a great night again followed by a not so good morning!
The run home was frustrating due to idiotic driving by some motorhome drivers and the following line of cars and bikes, the wee Bemm's are pretty powerless so it was difficult to get past safely some of the time resulting in agonisingly slow processions through some of the best bends, not a happy bunny. Why did the Motorhome guy driving the old huge van have to brake around every corner despite him not being over 35mph, was it because he was afraid of spilling his tea? or losing his place in the newspaper he was obviously reading or was he having a dump in his porta potty whilst driving along? Bastards, why don't we tax them more? And if you have the latest bike with a gazillion horses ABS and traction control why ride with all your Johnny sensible pals at 50mph causing almost as much chaos as the hated Motorhome and Caravan idiots, so apart from these people daring to share my road we still had a good run home. Funny once again we bumped into Geoff Mumford and Heather at Spean bridge and had a pleasant breakfast with them despite Geoff talking about unsavoury stuff whilst I ate my breakfast with a hangover, my stomach wasn't great to start with!
I have to point out Geoff was piloting his Hardly Davidthing and was managing to get down the road faster than all of the dayglo johnies and that was 2 up and carrying luggage equivalent to a Tesco home shopping van! Now I just need to treble the horsepower on all my bikes and I'll be happy (for 5 minutes) Thanks to all for a great weekend, great banter with Norrie supplying the usual banter , we put the world to rights and Snibs was only drinking Coke, braw, where next?
Loch Laggan, very bonnie

One of my favourite roads

Plenty nonsense being talked

CX500 and chair but with a rigid rear end, yikes

And at the other end of the scale

Yamaha with the same sidecar

Laurenne parks the Indian, I think she was shouting "get me drink"

A nice view inside and out

Boss man Alan does the talking

Davie Clark winning best bike for his Commando, well done Dave!

This painting on the wall looked remarkably like Jock

Morning tea whilst waiting for the brain to kick back in

Sunday 13 September 2015

Town Yetholm NOC camping weekend

September so it must be the Tay Valley, Edinburgh and Northumbria branches joint meet in the borders. One of the last Norton events of the year so quite sad but we were blessed with great weather for our run down Friday night. After dispensing with the rush hour traffic along the bypass and picking Gill up on the A68 we had a great ride down, a spirited ride, even managed to get the Commando airborne at one point! Great to see everybody again and plenty tall tales spun over the weekend, far too much alcohol Friday meant a very quiet Saturday, the bikes stayed put as it was raining anyway but a nice day lazing around talking bikes. Some of the guys took a bus into Kelso, now that's rock and roll, these rebels using their bus passes to go for beer!
The staff looked after us well and a great time was had by all, same again next year! We even got a dry run home, great!

Fi's Commando ready for the off
Local lad turned up for a blether on this nice candy apple red Interstate
Sums it up
Bill and Amy talking with expression
Miller snr and Junior banished to the other table
Gill enjoying the vino & food
Morning, sair heid, raining, waiting for the kettle to boil
Nice setting
Brother John and Lesley erect the mini tent
John Powells nice 500 Dominator
Blah blah
Blah blah blah
Blah blah
Excuse me dear could you reach lower?
Blah blah, bill has owned this bike for 49 years, next year we'll have a party for him!

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Belgium and the Begonia rally

This years trip to the Begonia started a little earlier, Fiona and I set of after lunchtime on Wednesday, the morning being spent trying to earn some beer vouchers, slaving away for our meagre pittance. The other advantage of leaving after 12 was that the heavy showers started so within 5 miles we no longer had to worry about the Nortons getting dirty! A pleasant but windy ( nature, not me) ride down the A68 and a stop at Corrbridge for a late lunch, Corrbridge is a pleasant little village with plenty of café’s, unfortunately the first one we stopped in had the what I thought was only a Scottish idea of not serving food after 2.30pm, that said the café across the road was excellent and did realise that strangely enough some people are not addicted to strict eating times. After a good feed we headed down to Darlington, we reached there at 5pm, perfect for a bit of getting lost in busy hour, the advantage is that we got to practice our driving the wrong way down one way streets and the complete ignoring of signs until our exit appeared. Wednesday night we camped at Thirsk racecourse which I can recommend, only 4 tent pitches though so worth pre booking. A pleasant evening ensued in the town centre where we found a Weatherspoons which served food and beer so cheaply it felt almost free, matter of fact the double whisky for only a pound more than a single meant we had to repeat the offer as much as we could until we both felt we’d saved a substantial amount of money, the more you drink, the more you save.
Thursday and Alan Clarke our Hull correspondent was along bright and early on his 350 Norton Single to show us some great routes through Yorkshire, we had a thoroughly enjoyable day with Alan setting a fast pace on the 350 and showing us some nice roads and scenery not to mention great places to take tea. Alan is usually at the Begonia but a family holiday in Canada meant he couldn’t make it this year, as he dropped us at the ferry I’m sure he was thinking of just coming along anyway.
We met some nice people as always waiting on the ferry, Joe a German who had just had a 3 week tour of Scotland with no rain, and Barbara and Ricardo from Italy who’d just done a 2 week tour with little rain, at least Scotland is nice to some visitors! Caught up with my brother and Lesley on the boat and Tom Bradley, a good night was had by all.
A run into Brugge Friday morning for breakfast, spookily quiet but then the usual lost in Brugge thing with one way streets the wrong way and pavements being the norm to help us escape. At the rally we met with friends including David Templeton who’d come up from the Pyrenees on his Ducati, we spent the whole weekend riding and talking about bikes, drinking beer and being in the company of great people. Peter Williams was the guest of honour, the former 73 F750 TT winner on a John Player Norton he is now making replicas of the same bike, only 25 will be made and I have to say it is a work of art, especially to any Norton enthusiast. I was lucky enough to spend some time in his company over the weekend and found him to be a fascinating man with some very clever ideas about the future of motorcycle design. If you have some spare cash get in touch with Peter this bike would look great in anyone’s front room, far better than watching TV ( . Only mishap over the weekend was Fiona’s exhaust coming loose on the run which meant we lost the tour but we were all starving anyway so found a restaurant to enjoy the sun and watch the world go by, lucky brother John stuck with us as he had a GPS and I can never navigate around Belgium’s confusing network of small roads.
The weather was excellent over the weekend and the lightning and thunder only happened at night when we were drinking anyway so that was fine. Geert picked us up on Monday, we made the usual sad goodbye’s and Geert took us to a nice town just 5Km from Zeebrugge for lunch, we had lunch and then the heavens opened, we were ok but Geert with no waterproofs had a 70Km run back to Kortrijk.
Tuesday we battled along a congested Hull in the morning, cloudy and overcast and the up the A1M, stressful on an old bike so we turned off and had an excellent ride up the A68, as always one of my favourite weekends of the year, try it its fantastic. The pics as always tell the story (and there's a few!)

Corrbridge tea stop
Nortons at Thirsk racecourse
Nice art deco cinema in Thirsk
Coffee stop with Alan
Of course Fi had to try the ford
More tea more bike chat
John, Lesley, Fiona Joe and Tam
Our new Italian friends Barbera and Ricardo
Brugge centre to try and leak some oil
Queer chicken camped next to us, think it was crossed with a sheep
A room full of Nortons and David taking it in
The two spaceframes are home made, impressive!
The proud creator and his creation
Buy one, you know you want to
Peter sits underneath an iconic photo from his 73 TT win
Nicey nicey
Pamela looking thoughtful (not for long!)
Scottish geezers talk bikes and the weather
Hans, editor of the Dutch Norton magazine with his Norton quad
Yep its true
Nice Nortons everywhere
Hans and Ilco go for a spin (he did seperate them before going on the run!!)
Tams cafe racer splits the new 961's
Another Commando, no apologies
Stunning (and lots of expensive bits)
This is a fantastic bike we drooled over all weekend, a new build Egli Vincent 1365cc!
Sobering, over 26000 Germans were buried in this burial pit, young men deprived of life by politicians, nothing changes
Note I am on lemonade while David drinks beer!!
Rinser, Jeff and Brenda, Norton rally regulars and of course nice people
Drummer got carried away
another JPN pic cause I like it
Just exquisite
Packing the gear
And a lunch with Geert before the ferry, excellent!!!