Simmer Dim Rally
4th Simmer Dim Rally 16th June 1985
My memory is a bit misty over the next couple of days but I'm sure the club met up at some point and there were a couple of days camping involved, probably including one night at the Kinross Motorway services, just North of Edinburgh. There may also have been a stop at a campsite a few miles outside Aberdeen. The next time we tried to use that one, it was firmly closed. This may have been the year when we all crashed at Biggsy's flat. He was a member of the club who was studying at Aberdeen University.
Whether or not any of these happened, on Wednesday morning the whole of the ABC contingent rolled into Aberdeen Harbour and immediately installed itself in the Quarter Deck pub just outside the Harbour gates, venturing into the outside world only long enough to get our boarding passes from the ticket booth when it opened, and again later on, to load the bikes onto the ferry.
Eventually, the time came to leave the relative sanity of the pub and get ourselves onto the boat as well. While some took their seats straight away in the bar on board, a few of us stayed on deck to see Aberdeen slip slowly away over the horizon. Much drunken debauchery followed as we chugged our way across the North Sea, arriving fourteen hours later, at Lerwick.
We had barely been given time to settle in, when The Boot Party was started. The Glass boots were all filled with beer and passed along the line of people, who were fined for any perceived breaking of the many rules - most likely 'spillage'. It was the unexpected frequency of this offence that meant that the first contest, last year, was the only one ever to be held in the hall. This year, and all subsequent contests, were held in the marquee, where the spilt beer didn't matter too much, and just added to the general mess which arises from adding beer to mud.
There was a freelance video squad on site, but only for the day, who were trying to get something interesting for the telly. I have no idea if they succeeded or not.
The victims of the Boot Party were carried back to their tents and the survivors enjoyed the barbecue - various arrangements of semi-charred meat from numerous sources. The weaklings having been removed from out midst, the rest of us partied on into the dusk, and out the other side.
The traditional day of the annual several-mile-convoy-of-bikes-trip around the island to a pub - sorry, point of interest.
Just before we set off, it became obvious who had removed the P&O flag from the ferry in '82. It was for this reason they now removed the flags themselves before we were allowed on the boat.
After we got back from that, somebody discovered that the organisers had left all the kegs of beer in the marquee unattended, so a few pints were handed out to people that were there. We also had the visit from the bike constable, to show they are there.
Suffering from alcohol withdrawal, some people went into town for a few drinkies. One couple from our club, Babs and Paul, were amongst them. Paul realised he had too much to drink and insisted that Babs drive them back, in full knowledge that she would be over the limit as well. Naturally, they got pulled over. She was breathalysed - positive. Result - loss of licence pending trial and end of relationship. Back at site, the party roared into life again. Beer was drunk, faces were blackened, dances were danced, clothes were removed and half of Mick's beard was shaved off.
We had visits from the local Vintage MCC and Jarl Squad Vikings, while the silly games were in session. A few reels ensued, which were enjoyed by pretty much everybody.
A while later the buses took us all into town for the Midsummer carnival, which included a disco/party for the locals in Fort Charlotte, in a prominent position overlooking the harbour. Around midnight, the buses took us back to the site, and the party started up for the last time.
Not much out-of-the-ordinary occurred today. The marquee was taken down with our help, as well as our own tents. There was a meal provided in the hall, once all the detritus from the party had been shovelled out of the way, during which the various awards were handed out to the worthies. Then we were left to complete our packing and bugger off to Lerwick harbour to wait for the ferry.
There were a few hours to spend as we saw fit, whether it be one last ride round the island, or a bit of souvenir hunting, and then onto the ferry.
Unlike back in Aberdeen, getting the boarding pass/loading the bike/getting yourself on board procedure was done in one smooth operation. They know what they are doing on Shetland! Soon enough we slipped our moorings and drifted out to sea and we were powering our way South, back to Aberdeen.
There were the usual post-Simmer Dim shenanigans on the ferry that night, and I think most of us had sufficient rest for the journeys we were undertaking in the morning.
Following the events of Friday night, Babs was in no mood to go pillion anywhere with Paul and, since I was going straight home on Monday, I was asked to take her back, which I gladly agreed to. You would if you ever saw her! We were accompanied on our 500+ mile mad marathon by Bubbles (RIP) from Southampton, so she had even further to go than us.
The trip was long and we were all hungry, due to having somewhat run out of money with which to buy food, without using our petrol fund. There was a bit of a worrying incident when I was overtaking a truck on the M18, which only has two lanes. I got about three quarters of the way past it, when the driver decided he wanted to overtake the truck in front of him, and proceeded to pull out into my lane, leaving me only the few inches of road space in the central reservation! It took every last ounce of power the BMW R65 had to accelerate out of harm's way, considering how loaded the bike was.
That incident out of the way, the rest of the journey was a considerable joy! I dropped Babs off in the Hatfield area as Bubbles carried on even further south. Then I drove the last few miles home to Surrey and collapsed for a day or two.
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley