A few lucky ones, Ian and Denise, Dennis and Christine, Rob and Coleen, Joe and Izzy (Limping badly because she had fallen down stairs carrying some cushions: – funny no one believed her), Roy and I, who had managed not to have to work today, met up at MaccyDees Bramley, to meander our way up through the North Yorkshire country side in bright sunshine, avoiding random sheep to our overnight stop at our first stop Barcelo, Redworth. . However as we arrived at the hotel, heavy drops of rain began to fall, we were directed by workmen, away from the front by reception up to a car park at the back of the hotel, to unload the bikes, luckily there were thick leaved trees protecting us from the rain. We struggled with luggage through the labyrinth of corridors to the reception, only to meet the Manager who wanted to know why we had not parked at the front of the hotel. We explained his staff had turned us away and in true Basil Fawlty fashion he stormed off to tell his staff they were wrong!!.
The lift was also Fawlty Towerish, not stopping at floor 2 on the way down, liable to stick at any time and then on the morning it packed up completely so we struggled down several flights of stairs to check out!!!
Apart from the heating being on full blast in the evening, cooking everyone in the lounge and the showers not working in the men’s changing room the stay went well and the food was excellent.
Next morning, with Alan and Ann who joined us last night, we set off for sunny Scotland, it was bright but overcast, after about a mile we all pulled up and put our wet gear on, was this a sign of things to come? Yes, it was and Ian’s route took us through some beautiful and scary wet cobbled villages. I found out that my waterproofs were not waterproof, oh dear more expense. I was intrigued by the display of pink wild flowers along the route, when I asked what they were, Denise came straight back with “Rosebay Willowherb”, was she making it up? I wasn’t too sure.
The weather did begin to brighten up and soon we were riding up the side of the motorway on lovely quite roads. At lunch stop, Roy realised our back tyre was not going to last the weekend, so we took it slowly the rest of the way to MacDonald, Cutherland House.
When we arrived there was a wedding in full flow, everyone looking like extras from “the only way is Essex” – Fake tan, short skirts, etc. Rob’s bike will appear in the album as he ended up with the bride posing on his bike.
The hotel was lovely, a few others had arrived, John Farmer, Mick and Netty, Rodger and Edit, Richard and Christine they had all had a wet ride up. Norman and Ireen soon arrived to welcome us all as we begun to settle in. Dave and Meg had travelled over from Perth so missed most of the rain. Nigel and Sue (Their first Elite Trip) had to work so arrived just as dinner was called, but we would not be rushed to allow them time to change so they could join us
Over an excellent dinner we all caught up with each other, discussed various topics including black and white TV programmes (?) and tried to complete a quiz Ireen had set. Somehow Alan won it, with the help of his iphone I think.
The day dawned warm and sunny, with John and Alison now making up the party, Norman led everyone, except Roy and I, out for the day. They visited the “Electric Brae” which has an optical illusion which makes the road appear to slope the wrong way, only Alan was brave enough to try it out, stationery with the brakes off and appear to move slowly up hill. Next it was on to Wanlockhead for lunch, this is the highest village in Scotland 1531 feet above sea level. Here 4 people kindly paid for Roy and my lunch (more about us later) thinking we would pay them back at the hotel, no chance.
Later that day they went off to New Lanark Heritage site for coffee and a look around. Alan, Ann, Dave and Meg decided to stay on for a longer look as the others all headed back to the hotel. It had been dry and sunny all day, could the weather hold out?
While they were all enjoying the delights of Normans first trip, Roy and I were in Glasgow at Victor Devine and Co, having two new tyres fitted, buying a new waterproof jacket for me, plus taking in the sites of Glasgow while the repair was taking place.
Another excellent meal and quiz this time won by Meg without the help of an iphone, well done Meg.
I was so glad we were not going to miss today as the planned route looked fantastic.
Once again Norman lead us out through the beautiful Scottish countryside, until we got to the lovely town of Largs for a coffee and ice cream at Nardini’s. You could hardly see Ian behind the ice cream and it was only 10.30 in the morning. Then it was on to catch the ferry across the Clyde to Dunoon, what a beautiful trip, with the bikes lined up on the ferry, porpoises leaping past in the water and the coast of Dunoon drawing ever closer; in the bright clear view, fabulous.
We rode along the bank of the Clyde past some beautiful, “I could live here” type of houses onto a viewing spot, where we all lined up for a photo shoot. The solitary horse in the field near by could not make out what was happening but really enjoyed all the petting and fuss. Dave got a bit worried that Roy might have a heart attack, setting up the camera on a timer then running to get into his place, but the picture didn’t come out too bad.
It was then on to the lunch stop beside Loch Eck at the Coylet Inn, where a prebooked lunch was awaiting us, and what a lunch it was, huge portions and door step sandwiches.
It was then on to the Rest and be Thankful for a photo shoot over the picturesque glen and then onto the military road with its long sweeping bends.
Just as we were getting near to home the rain started but it could not spoil a fantastic day of beautiful scenery and lovely quiet biking roads.
After dinner Edit and Izzy won the quiz.
It was wet, very wet. Some of us were either brave or very silly and set off as planned; in fact it wasn’t too bad. Although we went round the longest diversion in history just to get past Glasgow we all managed to stay together.
Alan and Ann decided to stop off at the Glengoyne Distillery for a wee dram, the rest of us declined and carried on. The planned coffee stop was closed, so Ian found a welcoming hotel who supplied the necessary hot drinks.
The weather was darkening by the time we got to Stirling so after a quick photos shoot we all decide to head for Linlithgow for lunch, by now Alan and Ann had caught us up.
The rain begun to fall dark and heavy, so after a quick lunch stop, we scattered, some taking the quickest way home and others following the route.
Those of us who had not taken to the bikes hired a taxi and went into Glasgow.
They had an open top bus ride (in the rain) Alison started up a business selling used bus tickets for people (John F) who wanted to do a cheap bus ride in the afternoon. I hear he fell asleep on the bus on some poor lads shoulder! Izzy plus bad foot went window shopping and visited the Museum of Modern Art, Dennis and Christine, walked the bus route, and Rodger and Edit got up to something on the table at lunch, I will let you decide what!
An excellent meal tonight, with the chef adding some little touches. Nigel and Sue said they had really enjoyed the weekend and were looking forward to booking on more.
All to soon it was time to say goodbye as we all departed for home. Thank you Norman and Ireen for another lovely Scottish break, all your hard work paid off, we had a brilliant time.