PASS ME THE “BLUE” PILL
And so at last it can be told! Entries are now out and the first little “blue” pill is in as the long term
excitement begins until the finish is in sight on 2 May 2009. 31 years since my last jaunt round
Scotland on my eighth ride and finish back in the 70’s. Unless you have ridden the full Six Days the
thought of 2 more days perhaps does not sound too appealing but let me assure you the flavour is
definitely one of “nostalgia”.
Reminding myself of the magnitude of this event I’m trying to conjure up mental pictures of the many
sections I rode over those 8000+ miles around Scotland. I’m also assured that now it’s only 25 miles a
day compared to the 200 we used to ride, but nonetheless 5 miles across some of the “nastier” moors
can seem like an eternity especially if it is raining or the snow has already melted and is now down as
Blackwater on a nice day !
As a”new boy” in the Pre 65, I shall be asking all the usual questions and I believe I shall be honored to
be riding in close company with none other than Big John, who is without doubt the “Sage of Scotland”
on all Trials matters, the Pre 65 in particular.
My warhorse will be a 250 James from the Spanish stable of Javier Cruz, who now has three of these
machines, and of course I’m very much hoping that the Black Beauty he sent me pictures of is now
repaired and running strongly. I consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate in this respect so a pre
advance “thank you” to Javier and of course John who persuaded me to “have a go” this year.
Javier on the James……. Many, many thanks
Big John on a BSA …….. thank you !
The time will pass very quickly and I can almost taste those Mallaig Kippers again. Our plan will be to
get to the Onich Hotel by Wednesday night and enjoy a liesurely Thursday with a test ride to see how it
goes with any personal adjustments before the Thursday night weigh in. It will then be downhill drinking
from that point on until Sunday morning when I will elect to drive down the other side of UK before
climbing on the flight at Heathrow.
The Onich Hotel
Si habla Espanol
Without doubt the best Christmas present, and now the mind tries to recall the sections in and around
Kinlochleven. “Pipeline” of course, was in during my 70’s rides and was for the first couple of years,
“The” section and was a mighty beast that struck fear into the heart of the first timer. Looking at U Tubes
and later year’s pictures it looks to have mellowed with time although it still takes a lot of marks. I seem
to remember it being a fairly open hillside with the 3 subs starting off at the bottom by the pipes but now
it looks to be overgrown with trees lining the rock strewn path. Well I did get out of the top a couple of
times back then so I look forward to renewing the challenge.
Pipeline 1970 with Peter Gaunt just creeping in the frame
A lot more trees today and there is a BIG step up near the top
About 1/2 way up, doesn’t look too bad in this shot
Others in the area were Callert, Callert Falls, Cnoc a Linnhe, Garb Bheinn, Sleubhaich, Mamore,
Caolasnacoan, Altnafeadh, Grey Mare’s Ridge, Loch Eilde Path, Lieter Bo Fionn, and that Friday horror
Caillich! Callich was approached across a rotten narrow bridge about 10′ above a fast flowing gorge
and then as you climbed up the goat track the sections started. All very similar with loose brown rocks
and shale amid a series of hairpin turns and heather on both sides. The toll of drinking and riding
nearly a 1000 miles at that point had put just about everything on “autopilot” and walking those
sections seemed an energy wasting effort as they were only rocks, after all, and by now you had
had your fill of most things with a rock in it.
The great thing about riding back in the 70’s was that once in a while you got a “confidence booster ”
when you achieved something that a Superstar had stumbled on, most noteable for me were a clean
on Altnafeadh when Bill Wilkinson had a “5”, a dab on Caolasnacoan when Rastus had a “3”, and
watching Martin Lampkin reduced to a series on threes on the slime covered rocks of Callert Falls
when our group was running at the front of the pack.
Even though it’s a much shorter route the same number of tools and spares will need to be humped
round the course. A spare universal lever, chain link, spare throttle cable, plugs, tubes, screw on cable
nipples, some cable ties and a selection of nuts and bolts. Add to that the essential plug spanner, tire
or (UK tyre) levers, pump or Co2 bottle, the duty selection of spanners and grips, and a roll of tape.
Question now is the bum bag, or a Camelback Back pack ? Not sure whether they reverse the order for
the second day or whether we just run in order again.
It will give you more than wings! Up, up and Away….