Simmer Dim Rally

Because we had been invited to stop at Jock Welch's for a couple of days Maggie McNeil & I set out two days earlier than usual.

I found out what happens if you carry a full tankard outside into severe gale force nine.

- Dave

On the way north we bumped into Brian, John & his friend Emma. We ended up in Tesco's café at Carlisle. After refreshments, a good natter & refuelling we headed in our own separate directions. Brian & co to meet up with Otto (Barf in the Blue Mug) at Jedborough. Maggie & I carried on to Jock's bungalow in Grangemouth.

Jock's directions were spot on & we made it there without problem.

I wanted to photograph a footbridge near Jock's place. It is bit hard to find, but luckily Jock had worked on it as an apprentice. So on Tuesday he took us there & I bagged the photos I needed.

I had also expressed a desire to go up the Wallace Monument. Jock very kindly took us there.

Maggie declined of offer of accompanying us on our climb to the top. The narrow spiral staircase is a bit of a chore but the displays on different levels along with the view from the top are well worth the effort.

Bob joined us on Tuesday evening for a meal & a wee dram.

Wednesday morning & we got ready to leave for Aberdeen. Getting on the road before noon gave us plenty of time to stop for coffee & a bun.

We arrive at the ferry terminal in good time to get the bikes loaded before popping into the Quarterdeck to meet up with old acquaintances & a swift half. By 6pm we are back on the boat & down to the cabin for a shower.

The weather had stayed fine so we went up top to watch as the ferry left the harbour. Leeky Steve (Billing) who had not been to the Dim before expressed his surprise on just how busy Aberdeen harbour is & just how little room the ferry has on it's way out to sea.

We went below for a meal. Maggie & I both had our usual steak pie. The food on the 'north boat' is of a high standard & also good value for money.

Seven am Thursday morning & we have arrived at Lerwick. It was raining as we headed up to the site at Vidin. The rain stopped before we arrived so we got the tent up dry.

It didn't stay dry for long & surprise, surprise the wind started to get up. By early afternoon it was blowing gale force 8. The wind stayed at force 8 or above for the next 30 hours. I found out what happens if you carry a full tankard outside into severe gale force 9. Good job I didn't walk into the wind.

We usually like get out around the islands but because of the weather we spent most of Thursday & Friday in the hall. The ready availability of food, drink & folks to talk to made sure that it wasn't a hardship.

Saturday's weather turned out not bad at all so we went out for a ride. Steve Billing came along with us. This was when Steve began to appreciate just how big Shetland really is. We covered over one hundred miles & only covered a small part of the main island. Steve had planed to see more of the islands.

Just a shame he caught the worst weather since 1992. Still there's always next year.

Sunday. It rained again so the tent came down wet. Because we had pre booked a plot at the Clickimin campsite Maggie & I did not head for the ferry. We had intended to see the boat off but horizontal rain kept us in the tent.

- Dave Cooper