For over 100 years, fans of motorcycle trials have flocked to the Scottish Highlands to enjoy the annual sporting holiday, the Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT), or 'The Scottish' as it is also known. As the longest running event on the international trials calendar, the SSDT attracts a loyal following from near and far, including the likes of 60 year-old David Cordle who first made the 500-mile trip from his hometown of Ipswich in Suffolk to the event's Fort William base in the mid-1970s. David is looking forward to returning to the region again this May.
Although a trials rider himself and an active member of his local Ipswich Motorcycle Club, David has only ever visited Fort William as a spectator: "I've done motorcycle trials as a hobby since I was a teenager. I've ridden in other events, but I have never competed in the Scottish Six Days Trial. I often wish I had done it when I was younger, and I would always back anyone who wanted to do it because it is such a great experience."
David shares his passion for trials and the SSDT with his family. David first went to watch the SSDT with his wife, following excellent reports from his brother who competed in the event in 1970 and 1971. Since then, David and his wife, who is secretary of Ipswich Motorcycle Club, have returned to watch the event over 20 times.
"It's always been one of our regular holidays. At first my wife and I would go alone, then when our son and daughter were born we started taking them. Last year we took our grandchildren, and they loved it too. Children enjoy it because they can walk along and play in the open countryside, while the grown ups can easily keep an eye on them when watching the bikes."
This year, however, David will be making the trip with a small group of his biking friends: "Unfortunately my wife was unable to take the time off work this year. So I'm going up with three friends who all follow trials, but have never been to The Scottish before."
David's friends could not have chosen a better spectating partner. Having watched the SSDT so many times, David knows all the best spots to watch the action: "My favourite sections are 'Lagnaha' and 'Fersit'. I tend to spend afternoons at Lagnaha whereas you really need a whole day at Fersit as there is some walking to do to get there."
The SSDT is a must-see for all involved in the sport of motorcycle trials. However you do not necessarily need to know a lot about the sport in order to enjoy the event, as David explains: "The whole spectacle of the Scottish Six Days Trial - seeing 250+ riders completing a 100 mile course every day - is awesome. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's a fantastic spectator event and each day there are lots of landmarks to see along the way, for example you can tie in a trip to Loch Ness or go down to Glen Nevis to see the waterfalls. It is a beautiful part of the world; the scenery is breathtaking and the people of Fort William are always so welcoming."
The SSDT is organised by the Edinburgh & District Motor Club. EventScotland is continuing to support the event this year as part of its national funding programme. There will be 275 competitors taking part in this year's event between 7th and 12th May, with a host of pre event activities also being held in Fort William from 4th May.
In addition to the main trial action, visitors to this year's SSDT can also take advantage of free evening entertainment and various aprÃ¨s-trial events, including live music, which will all be held in the licensed 'Event-Tent' in Fort William.
The SSDT is free for spectators to watch on all days. The official event programme, containing routes and spectating opportunities, along with a range of interesting articles and additional information, is available to purchase in the Fort William area and also via the event's website at www.ssdt.org.