I had been on several Dalesman Rallies over the last 35 years the last being a good 4 years or more ago so it was time to do another. I talked it over with Steve Giddens and sent off for an invitation,which came a couple of weeks before the event. The site has moved several times over the years so I was glad to see that it was back at the Palmer Flats again.
The relaxing of the licensing law means there is no longer the frantic rush for the door at opening time.
I set off Saturday midday and I had planned to take the longer but more straight forwards route up the M6 as far as junction 37 then head east on the A684 to Aysgarth past an earlier Dalesman site "The Morecock Inn" (thats another story). In earlier years we used to go via Skipton and up the B6160 thru Kettlewell and Starbotten and over the moors but I could not be bothered fannying about on country roads I just wanted to get there asap.
The ride was uneventful apart from a couple of tractors moving straw bales. There were a lot of bikes out and about, born again bikers and young bloods out enjoying the sun, Aysgarth was full. I pressed on to the rally site after looking for anyone I knew.
I arrived and signed in - nice free coffee ta - and met up with Ted Trett who told me that Dave Honneyman and Sid Beaumont had been but had gone. Steve Giddens was here but had gone out for a ride but there was a few old faces about (that sounds terrible but it's not meant in that context). After a quick walk around the site and a couple of hello's I had another coffee and Steve Giddens arrived. I moved the bike over to Steve's tent and unloaded my sleeping tackle. Time for a pint!
We were sat in the pub having a couple of pints of cider and chatting over old times and saw the landlord having a few serious words. Apparently one of the rallists had been told off about drinking his own tins of beer in the pub and asked to leave the rally site. Here he was, still doing it! The un-enviable task of telling him to go again fell to Ted Trett, brave lad.
We retired back to Steve's tent to cook our evening meal, hot pot type of thing. While it was warming I looked around and noticed that things had changed a lot. A lot more laid back, barbecues, camping chairs, more of a social atmosphere. Then again we are all getting a little older and wanting a bit more enjoyment and the relaxing of the licensing law means there is no longer the frantic rush for the door at opening time. We ate and took our position at the front of the pub / roadside. It was still too warm to sit inside. We spent a most pleasant evening just chewing the fat and drinking cider.
I lasted a little longer than Steve and had to make my way back to the tent around 1.30am. Thank goodness for a small l.e.d. light on my keyring. It was dark as only darkness can be in the countryside. All I could hear was gentle snoring on the camp site, the sound of contented mature bikers. A damn good do - I can't wait for this years event.
Many thanks to the Dean Vally Club, Ted Trett and Len and Marita Tempest.
- Les Hobbs