Arising at 0630 hrs on Friday 6 July it was raining in Saddleworth. The bike was loaded in the garage and I left at 1100 hrs to meet Dave Wood just off the M60 at Bredbury. This would be Dave's first Rally for many a year and the first "Snowman" for Dave, George Perrin, Son Kris (Both residents of Llandudno) and myself. From here, Dave I progressed onto the M56, M53, A483 and rendezvoused With "The Perrin Clan" at Wrexham.
In truth, Dave and I had actually attended a "Snowman Rally" at Keadby, in the Scunthorpe (ish) area in the late 70's. Different club, venue, clientele and experience.
Two online weather forecasts gave a 60% chance of precipitation at departure and arrival venues. Evidently there was another zero missing as it p...ed down continuously en-route. At times it was akin to standing behind a waterfall - no visibility!
It was going to be cosy as we elected to erect only Dave's new 4 man tent as team HQ.
After much thrutching we descended upon Pelham Hall and Cricket Club which was a reasonable walk up the road. On arrival I feared the worst!
In 1984, fellow Rally goer Mike Shepherd and I ran a pub in Manchester. Following renovations we attracted accolades from CAMRA and were featured as "This is how a Pub should be updated" at the beer festival within UMIST (Manchester University). Our pride and joy was serving the excellent Cask Conditioned "Chesters Bitter" and the much vaunted "Dark Mild". However, the fayre at UMIST was straight out of the tap i.e. no hand pumps and, therefore, flat as the proverbial witches t..s.
My nemesis was here. The life saver was the chilled tins of Draught Guinness @ £1.50 a go.
I then encountered Molly the 7 year old canine companion of a local lady. The next hour was spent throwing the tennis ball for said mutt. Lovely animal.
We left the watering hole at 0100hrs and the rain ceased - I make that 18.5 hours continuous rain. The rain returned 1 hour later post "in tent" curry and rice and continued throughout the night.
All riding gear was soaked and it was still raining on and off throughout Saturday - ride out cancelled!
Dave's mate Eddie Whittingham visited for a few hours and so we spent the day tent bound telling Rally tales and putting the world to rights.
Saturday evening was excellent despite portents of gloom re vocalist and a "Saints and Sinners" fancy dress theme. In the event, the official entertainment was fine and consisted of a wide range of tastes from the Kinks, Queen up to some modern day stuff.
A great night was followed by a rain free early Sunday morning. There were a couple of very brief showers as I chatted with Alan Gilmore in the control tent. It was then that the reason behind having a "Snowman" Rally in July was revealed from the organiser himself - Mark FROST! Shame your Christian name wasn't Jack!
We packed up and left circa 1115 hrs and got a couple of brief showers on the way home.
Can't wait for the next trip - The 40th Dalesman in two weeks. Then it's three rallies in ten days taking in Mull, Vatersay and Moniaive North of the border in September.
Hope to do the Snowman again next year. Great weekend, old friends, new friends, stories and camaraderie.
Cheers Mr & Mrs Frost.
- Steve Giddens
Did you read Ted Trett's 2008 Snowman report?