Auld Reekie Rally
It's Mid August so it's time to head North for the Auld Reekie Rally again.In 2008 the Special K MCC have got themselves a new site, but it will have to be good to beat the one they have used for the past few years.
The previous site at the Glen Clova Hotel had a lot going for it. Camping was in a field at the side of the pub car park, or if you were quick you could book a place in the bunk house and if you had far too many beer tokens you could even stay in the Hotel!
Glen Clova has to be one of the most scenic rally sites ever. Situated in the Cairngorms at the head of a loop of road to the North of Kirriemuir it is surrounded by steep hills, corries and munroes. The road actually continues for a few miles into Glen Doll, where there used to be a campsite.
If that was not enough, we were lucky for the past two or three years, because on the Saturday a Classic Bike Road Rally passed the Hotel and it was great to see all the old bikes coping with the sharp bend at the end of the long straight run up to the Hotel!
Drinks wise Friday was just the Hotel, but on Saturday evening there was a disco organised for the rallyists in the local village hall which struggled to fit everyone in.
The site was a good base for rides out and it was not difficult to add a lot of miles onto the weekends total if the weather was suitable. The ride to and from the rally was always superb, with quite a choice of possible routes from down South. (Or up North!)
It was not all good though; when the weather was bad it could be really bad. On one occasion I had thought it was cold on the Friday night, but on the Saturday I was shocked to see that the top of my tent was covered in frost. (This was in August!)
One year I ended up missing the Friday night at the rally due to a puncture. I was on the Edinburgh bypass and I had stopped for a meal at the services. When I came out the back tyre was flat with a huge nail stuck in it. This would not normally be a problem as I carry both a spare tube and a puncture outfit. The nail had destroyed my inner tube, and my spare one had somehow been left on the bench in my garage. The RAC, by the time they arrived, were unable to get me a tube, so instead of being recovered home I arranged to be taken to a campsite just off the bypass. I knew that Derek Faulkener would be passing by in the morning on his way to the rally, so I phoned him and got him to deliver a tube to me. The RAC man was shocked when I told him I was getting a tube brought up by courier from Nottingham!
Well that's all in the past now, the new site is between Edinburgh and Glasgow and the quick route for me is through the Dales on the A65 to the M6 then A74M etc, that's why Friday saw me heading up the A68, then across to Galashiels and to Peebles along the Tweed Valley. I followed the Glasgow road, until just past Carnwath, then its North to the rally site which is just past the M8 motorway. 225 miles on Friday afternoon, and no Traffic!
The Rally is now using a Scout Camp, and it has all recently been modernised, first class toilet and shower facilities and a full kitchen.
The pub is a bit of a walk up the road and we are warned that in West Lothian it is illegal to drink alcohol on the streets, so no sly cans of beer on the way to the pub!
The rally pub is fine, the price of beer in the concert room was a bit much but we found that it was 45 pence a pint cheaper in the back bar, so guess where we were drinking!
The Saturday afternoon was spent in the nearby town which had a fine choice of pubs; I needed to visit Argos to replace a leaking airbed. I can't explain how I ended up in Whetherspoons!
Then it was time for more shopping. The bottles of beer at Aldi were too cheap to ignore, so in the evening it was an extended barbeque back on site and into the scout hall when it got dark. By the time we were ready to walk up to the pub it was too late!
Sunday and time for the run home I had seen the signs for Broughton and Biggar on the way up, both of which reminded me of the Thistle Rally and the A701 down to Moffat. Despite the showers it was still an amazing road.
Then it's a bit of a thrash on the motorway to get rid of a few miles and then down the old A6 through Penrith and Shap and on to Kendal. From there it's back onto the A65 and watch out for the mobile cameras and the unmarked Subaru Impretsa. All for the benefit of the Sunday run crowd at the Devils Bridge Kirkby Lonsdale.
Well I'm not sure if the Rally was as good as before, I will have to try it again next year to make my mind up!
- Ted Trett