Lairig Ghru RallyThis Rally was organised by Bon Accord MCC in 1977 and 1978. The Lairig Ghru is a high level pass up and across the Cairngorm Plateau. The Rally site was in the grounds of Mar Lodge near Braemar.
Mar Lodge is now owned by National Trust Scotland and has self catering accommodation in the Lodge itself. When the Rally was held it was privately owned and I have no idea how permission to hold a rally there was obtained. This place was serious money! The only bigger estate in the area belongs to The Queen! The Lodge itself was off limits, but we had access to the ballroom, which had a bar and toilet facilities. Camping was in the grounds across from there. The ballroom was a separate barn type building but inside was impressively decorated by the heads and antlers of thousands of red deer stags.
The first time I went, not content with just going to the Highlands of Scotland I had a ride down to Wolverhampton, to the Golden Eagle Rally (135 miles in the wrong direction) I was riding with Barry Clark and riding in the rain never really bothered us. We preferred sunny weather, but you have to take what you get. Well on that journey we got serious rain and well before I got there I was getting seriously wet! It was a miserable ride and it would have been so easy to give up, but despite nearly running out of petrol we made it to the rally just as dawn was breaking Saturday morning.
We rode into the grounds of Mar Lodge half expecting to be arrested for trespass! We were relieved to see the bikes and a group of tents. What was more surprising though was the sight of a large herd of red deer walking around the tents and bikes checking them out! They didn't seem to be concerned with our arrival and carried on wandering round the tents while we set to putting ours up. It had stopped raining so we hung things out to dry and tried to catch up on a bit of sleep.
We had passed a few bikes parked near a bus shelter on the way up and it turned out to be some of the Tee's Tornadoes who had decided to commandeer the bus shelter for their nights sleep!
The following year we decided to just do just the one rally and managed to get out and about around the excellent roads up there on the Saturday. This was the first time I had been in this area and I found it all impressive and still do! It's a bit touristy around Braemar and Ballater but the Cock Bridge to Tomintoul road is an experience!
- Ted Trett