25th April 2016
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Scottish Classic Motorcycle Club Spring Gathering, 2016
On a brisk April day, the Scottish glens resounded to the thrum and howl of old Brit bikes and classic Japanese motorcycles (and the odd Indian Enfield or two). Stuart Urquhart reports...
On what must have been the coldest ever Spring Gathering, the Scottish Classic MC enjoyed its best ever turn-out with well over 120 modern and classic motorcycles crammed into the Muckhart Inn’s carpark. The Flying Scotsman Classic Car Rally took place on the same day. So as we shivered our way through the meandering, single track that is Dunning Glen, we had to give way to many Bentley, Riley and Triumph classic cars thundering their way to the bottom of the glen to log their official ‘sprint times’.
About 20 minutes into the glen I came across a stranded Triumph car and stopped to offer what little assistance a bloke on an Enfield possibly can. However all was in hand and the charming couple from Bath were awaiting rescue from a friend based at Glen Eagles (a long, cold wait I suggested). By now rain was setting in and the beautiful green Triumph classic offered scant protection from the wintery conditions. With only a single seat on my bike I couldn’t even ferry the couple to the Muckhart Inn for the warmth and shelter which were only minutes away on a motorcycle.
Instead I snapped a few keepsake pictures to send to the couple of their Dunning Breakdown, caused by a failing oil pump. No sooner had I slipped on my hat and gloves and prepared to wish them ‘a hasty recovery’ when a local farmer appeared and offered the couple shelter at his home – Scottish hospitality is alive and well in Stirlingshire!
Exiting the glen and approaching Yetts O’Muckhart on the A91, I was pleased to see the road was buzzing with motorcyclists. I had intended to arrive early and fix up some directional roadside banners but as soon as I turned into the Muckhart Inn’s generous car park I was greeted with a sea of motorcycles and a host of bikers. The idea of the Spring Gathering is to attract classic enthusiasts to meet and chat with other kindred spirits over a bacon roll and coffee. It’s a successful formula that requires no ride-out on the day; for Muckhart is a pleasant scenic ride from all parts of the compass. Today was bitter and yet by noon we already had approaching 150 bikes – our best Spring Gathering by far and down to the power of Facebook, no less!
A fair majority of motorcycles were modern Japs and Harleys. However for the first time Japanese classics met the usual Brits head on. Of note were two well presented Kawasaki Z900s and a KH350 in stunning orange which pulled many admiring glances; so did a customised Honda CX in brown metallics. StevenH brought along his recently finished and much admired Yamaha 500 single. Honda was represented by a smart and original CBR900 Mk1 and a minted red and grey SP2, as well as other less exotic machines.
Brits worth a mention were a sporting Hesketh V1000 and a lovely patina’d Ariel 600 combination, both flanking the Model 50 Norton now owned by RC regular Lindsay after I failed to restore it, then crumbled at Lindsay’s plea’s to prise it from my shed. It sounded gorgeous when fired up and I suffered acute pangs of seller’s regret. A lovely royal blue Triumph TRW twin (ex-Forestry Commission) blatted into the car park, closely followed by a Vincent Comet and a thumping Norton 500 Dominator. Scanning the car park threw up more desirables such as two forces M20s, three nice patina’d B33s, an immaculately restored BSA A65 Hornet and umpteen Bonnevilles – but fewer Commandos than attended previous meets.
The only downside was the uncharacteristic chill and the absence of sun-worshiping bikers sipping cool pints (Scotland meets prohibition). However I twice attempted to be ‘noticed’ at the bar and instead chose to go hungry, such was the size of the crowd waiting for service. Victims of our own success it would appear, and it’s anybody’s guess if we’ll need a much larger pub for next year’s event.
As the Muckhart Inn specialises in ‘Devon Ales’ someone suggested moving the event closer to the brewery to appease the Real Ale connoisseurs and sun-seekers within our group. Needless to say I’ve taken note to mention this brilliant proposal at our next AGM…
For details of the SCMC’s next excursion, see: www.scottishclassicmotorcycleclub. moonfruit.com
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