Rally at the Edge
George Perrin, Son Kris, Brian & Phyl Weekes and I had attended the Eagle Has Flown Rally in Northumberland from Thursday early evening September 12th until Saturday 14th.
Next was the trip up to Oban and the prearranged B&B accommodation ready for the Sunday boat to Castlebay on the Isle of Barra. We left Northumberland via Otterburn and the A68. We refuelled in Jedburgh and after skirting around Edinburgh on the A720, we joined the M8 and then M9. We left the M9 and the next stop was Callander where Brian enjoyed his long awaited Haggis and chips. We made our way through Strathyre, Tyndrum and Crianlarich arriving in Oban late afternoon. After settling in we hit the bright lights for a few beers and some food in The Harbour Inn amongst other watering holes. Water was my tipple once again, on Doctor's orders and prescribed medication. After an excellent Sunday breakfast we relaxed for a while watching TV and then fuelled up and got some shopping before collecting our tickets and boarding cards in readiness for the 1540hrs departure. The weather forecast wasn't good. It predicted storms with gale force winds and heavy rain. In Oban we'd had some showers but only a gentle breeze. Apparently, and indeed actually, it was a different ball game out in the North Atlantic and it was 50/50 whether the Ferry would sail.
We sailed on time and once clear of the relative shelter of Oban harbour, the weather hit. Brian's wife Phyl felt a little sickly as the waves came up over the ship's bow and slammed into the bridge. The rest of the party seemed ok and after 5 years at sea in my 20s, I wasn't bothered at all. It could have been worse in that we could have been rolling Port to Starboard. As it was, we were mainly pitching Bow to Stern.
We arrived late and vomit free at 2100hrs (ETA 2030) as the weather had slowed us down. We took the Causeway across to Vatersay and on arrival at the Community Centre commenced erecting tents. We were tired and it was dark, raining and blowing a gale and the tents were more thrown up! Within 10 minutes, the gusset holding one of my lines was torn and a couple of pegs were lifting. I secured the tent as best I could but at 0345 hrs I was lying there holding one side of the tent as it started to collapse. At 0400hrs I had to effect further running repairs and thankfully all was ok until the next morning (16th) and the official first day of the Rally.
After George had cooked breakfast we attended further to tent stability and security. The rest of the day was spent either in the tents or the Community Centre. The stew was excellent thank you organisers John and Jill Davies. The wind had dropped a little and as per last year we had short squalls of rain. The proposed trip to Barra Airport to watch planes using the beach as a runway was cancelled. Phyl was a little disappointed whilst the rest of us had seen this spectacle the previous year. Our local canine friend remembered us from last year and appeared daily, come rain or shine. Such a lovely dog with a fantastic temperament.
The next day (17th), the wind had dropped and the rain was sporadic. We went around Barra clockwise calling in at the Airport around lunchtime having been led to believe that the only flight of the day was coming in at 1300hrs (low tide). Unfortunately this was incorrect as the flight had arrived and departed mid morning. We had another enjoyable evening in the Community Centre. We were chatting with people that we'd met last year and I waffled away with Jim Twaddle whom I not seen for a number of years.
After an early start on Wednesday 18th, Phyl Weekes got her wish at the Barra Airport beach runway. That evening we had a bonfire on the beach which was superb as it was in 2012.
Rather than risk lousy weather in darkness packing up at daft o'clock in the morning (19th), we were booked onto the 1515hrs sailing from Castlebay calling at Coll and Tiree, hence the more lengthy sea journey arriving in Oban at 2200hrs. B&B was pre arranged once again and we departed Oban the next day (20th).
Disappointingly, the Squires Rally at Moniaive didn't run so Brian and Phyl attended the Grass Landings Rally at Golcar, Huddersfield run by Dambusters MCC. As it was only some 12 miles from home, I didn't bother. George, Kris and I returned to my house with Brian and Phyl joining us for Sunday lunch, sight seeing around the villages of Saddleworth and a few beers in my local. The beers are brewed on the premises and at £2.00 a pint...
My guests departed on Monday 23rd after a thoroughly enjoyable 11 days or 19 days in Brian and Phyl's case.
Roll on next year and hopefully the return of the White Tail to Mull and the resurrection of The Squires.
- Steve Giddens
Hi, looking for the group on the direct ferry from Castlebay Barra Outer Hebrides to Oban on Sunday morning 23rd June 2013. Please share with members and other clubs you may know.