Scottish Travelogue

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I consider that no matter how good or bad one is as a trials rider, the satisfaction that comes from the sport is similar no matter whether you are Dougie Lampkin/Toni Bou or Joe Clodhopper.

What I’m trying to say, is that whilst the top men are riding as a business, they still get a sense of satisfaction from what they are doing, and that sense must be similar to our friend Joe when he has been out and had a good day.

Taking this analogy to the extreme, I’m assuming that if you have been to a trial, found the sections absolutely spot on for your level of ability, and have come away having notched up a significant number of cleans, not hurt yourself and have a score with which you are happy, then it will have been a good day.

I hope I’m right in saying that if it applies to Joe, then so too will it apply to Bou, Lampkin and all the others in that class. Therefore, I hope I’m right in assuming that whilst this weekend’s Portugese World Trial will have been seen as easyish to the guys who ride that series, it will have been a much more enjoyable trial to ride than the previous week’s Spanish fiasco.

It would certainly apply at the level most clubmen ride at. Pick the right trial at the right venue and you can have a great day, pick the wrong trial for your ability and it’s time to look forward to next week rather than reflect on what has been and which you can do nothing about.

Roll on the next trial!

And of course the next trial is Scotland – all six (or eight) days of it, depending upon whether you are up for the Pre 65 Two Day as well as the SSDT itself.

There has been loads of publicity on this site for the upcoming Scottish and no matter whether you intend being there for the duration or can only make a fleeting visit, it’s a fabulous week in Scotland, especially if the weather is kind as we certainly don’t want a repeat of last year when the rain came close to bringing the trial to a halt on Wednesday and Thursday.

I’ve just taken a look at the video taken by Andy a couple of years ago whilst travelling to Fort William, and there are numerous places along that route which I consider milestones along the way. Having left my home in Carnforth, it’s all pretty boring for the first couple of hours except for me pointing out to whoever I’m travelling with the location of the special test course that I used to ride in my enduro days alongside the A74(M) above Lockerbie. Can’t remember the name of the club that ran there in those far off days, but that field is well implanted in my memory.

Having turned off for Callander opposite Stirling Castle, Hamish the Highland cow is always noted in his field at Kilmahog – is it the same animal year after year or does he get replaced regularly?. After Kilmahog and before Lochearnhead there’s a right nasty brow followed by a left drop off along the main road. It’s not as bad as it once was, but always demands one’s attention! The road allows faster travel once Lochearnhead is passed, then comes Crianlarich followed by Tyndrum.

At Tyndrum, at the junction with the Oban road, if you look to the left up on the mountainside, you will see a winding track and it was up there in 1964, in appalling weather, that I spectated at my first Scottish together with my late father and the late Ralph Venables. A good friend Maurice Everett was with us that day too during a year when Sammy Miller broke his swinging arm spindle, yet still managed to win the trial.

Fort William is getting ever closer but first there’s the apparently narrow bridge just before the big hairpin bend not far from the Bridge of Orchy and don’t forget to notice the tree growing out of the rock on your left as you approach Glen Coe itself.

And is there anybody who doesn’t wonder at the marvel of Glen Coe. Massive mountains dominate, with the old road, last used in the early 'thirties still to be seen in places both above and below the current stretch of Tarmac.

Out of Glen Coe, through Ballachulish, across the bridge and join the line of traffic that slowly winds past the Corran Ferry (we’ll be on it sometime this week) and eventually, we reach The Fort. This will be my 34th Scottish – not by any means a record as there will be plenty of folks there this week who will have been to many more, but not an unreasonable achievement.