An IAM ‘Social Weekend’
It was too good to resist, really. An invitation to go to a social weekend with IAM members, a two night stay at the Rob Roy Hotel. Bob Crawley had organised a fantastic deal: £35 DBB. How could I resist. Originally, it was booked for Glenshee, however, with a change of management, and a feeling of dread, Bob change the venue. Good choice, Bob.
I didn’t really know what to expect, other than a group of like minded bikers getting together for a wee social. What I didn’t expect was to be the only woman in a group of about 38 folk. Anyone that knows me, will appreciate that I wasn’t in the slightest bit fazed by this statistic. In actual fact, by then end of the weekend, I sort of felt like ‘one of the lads’. That’s rich, considering that during my (on going) Observer training, I have given Martin a hard time for addressing me as a ‘gent’.That I have to draw a line under.
The hotel itself was just fine, clean bed, good breakfast and surprisingly a 3 course meal on the first night, with coffee to back it up. Impressed. The food was fine, considering we were paying £35 for dinner, bed and breakfast. Dare I criticise? Nope. Actually, I should, the bar staff were beyond impressive. Really, they knew that that had a bunch of bikers in addition to the other residents, they should have been marginally better switched on. Dinner was a starter, main course and dessert.
The first night was a good laugh, I won’t go into details, however, it was pointed out to me that the comments made to me by a certain person, would make most women make a sharp exit from the bar. Me? Sod it, I’m used to it. I can’t help being a little bit noisy and be slightly ‘top heavy’, if someone wants to take the piss, that’s fine by me, I won’t run for the hills. I am no shrinking violet (apparently)! No names, not right now!
With an early start in the morning and a totally pants guy playing a guitar, bed was quite attractive. Don’t get me wrong, it was ok having entertainment, however, John (Dr John Anderson…. of should he be called that given he is a surgeon?) was getting a sore throat from shouting at everyone, and everyone else was getting a sore throat from shouting at John. “What? Speak up!!!” Luckily, when Mr guitar was having a break, we were able to plot our plan for the next day. There was a group of us that decided we wanted to ride in a smaller group. Fair enough. I signed up. Off to bed, with the prospect of an early start in the morning. A good night’s sleep, I needed no rocking. Having a double bed to myself was great, so I did a cat impression. Spread out over the whole bed.
The next morning, I tried to get a cup of tea for company as I got ready. I filled the kettle. Switched it on. Nothing. Oh well, I forgot all about it, besides being marginally disappointed. Must tell reception. I forgot. Breakfast was good, bit of a cheek, considering the dinner the night before, however, it was going to be one of those days, you don’t ‘really’ know when you will eat next, so, fuel up. Talking of fuel, Martin, why the hell didn’t you fuel up before the Saturday morning. Good god, man!
So, our wee group consisted of Dr John, Robert, Martin Richardson, Rennie Ritchie and myself. I don’t think that’s good English, however, I don’t care. My blog, my rules. I was a bit worried about my ability to keep up, to be honest, I haven’t ridden much in groups, so I gave Martin a good grilling over breakfast, admitting my weakness, and looking for guidance. I followed the rule of ‘if you don’t ask, you will never know’. So, armed with the necessary information, we headed off in our wee group. It was ace, I kept up, I did get advised today (Sunday) that I could have been a bit closer to the rider in front, however, I was comfortable where I was. There were some overtakes that I chose not to overtake, I would have to wring poor Smoggy’s neck for that – Smoggy being my wee bike….. It’s all well and good, but I had the smallest cc bike in the company, and sometimes you have to make your choices!
We headed from Aberfoyle, Balloch and up the nightmare that is the A82 up to Arrochar. Dr John was in the lead. After the Balloch roundabout, he tried to get us all back together, it didn’t work. I pulled in, then very swiftly pulled back into the traffic again, only to lose Rennie and Martin. I knew that they would reappear soon. A GS caught up with me. I gave him a foot wave. Well, I thought it was Rennie, GS, hi-viz, white helmet. No, it wasn’t him. As soon as he hosed past me, I got the hint. Where the hell were they? Eventually, I got the chance to get the message to Robert, that we had kind of ‘misplaced’ Rennie and Martin. We pulled over in the layby on the Rest and be Thankful and waited, we didn’t have to wait long, they appeared within a few minutes, Martin with a full tank. 🙂
Onwards, we had decided where to stop. So, Dr John treated us to coffee at our stop. Cheers John! In the meantime, the main group zipped past the door.
Through to Lochgilphead, across the Connel bridge, and up to Castle Stalker for a bite of lunch.
By this time we were joined by Iain and Gordon who had not managed to ‘find’ the main group. This is a great wee café with fabulous views and very tasty food. The sun was shining, so we all crammed onto a picnic bench and ate our lunch. The craic was great, before heading away, Dr John announced, “You should never pass a toilet.” This was closely followed by, “You should NEVER trust a fart.” Then Rennie’s words of wisdom followed, “You should never waste a hard-on”. Laugh? I nearly fell off my seat.
Through to Ballachulish, and round the Kinlochleven loop, where we had the road virtually to ourselves. Through Glencoe for a wee ice cream at The Green Welly Stop. That was a bit odd, it was the first time I had parked up my bike in the bike park, well, on the gravel. Don’t really know what people moan about, it’s easy!! Said a wee hello to Ed, who met the gang, then it was on our way back to Aberfoyle via the Duke’s Pass. Challenging, it’s covered in gravel, and pot holes, however we all managed to get back in one piece!
I had a quick shower to get rid of my helmet head, then found the lads sitting on the picnic bench enjoying a beer or two. A cider hit the spot, cheers, Iain. Once again it was a great laugh, the highlight of which was Rennie, once again entertaining us. This time, he launched into IPSGA, which is the core to a planned system of Advanced Riding (and driving). For my readers who may not know what IPSGA is all about it stands for: Information, Position, Speed, Gears, Acceleration and is the heart and soul of Advanced Riding. This wee diagram shows that the Information part of the ‘system’ is used all the way through… This continual use of Information is supported by ‘TUG’, Take Use & Give all information around you….
That’s when Rennie suggested that our planned system of riding can also be used for sexual purposes. OK, Rennie, I so wish I had had a voice recorder playing at the time… It doesn’t take much imagination to transform IPSGA into a sex manual. Gents, you were all cracking entertainment, Dr John your tales of experiences and antics as a Surgeon in Northern Ireland were fascinating. I am glad we had finished dinner by the time you told the stories.
In the hotel that night there was a drag act on the cards. There were some strange sights in the bar. I took a sneaky picture of this guy, wearing a red and black leather top and a leather kilt. OK, whatever floats your boat, I guess.
The chat in the ladies toilet was pretty rank too. I didn’t join in! We were treated to a nae bad 4 course dinner! We didn’t stay for the drag act, we bailed to the bar.
A wee blether with the boys, particularly Mike, a fellow Forth Valley member. I hit the hay by 10.30, I had an early start the next morning. Observer training. Set my alarm, before snuggling into bed. What was that noise? Eh? It was the kettle boiling. It had taken 15 hours to come to the boil. At least I got a cuppa the next morning, before heading away with Martin to Stirling. The Observer training though, will be another blog! All in all, a fantastic weekend. By the time I got home on Sunday afternoon, I was completely gubbed and my wee pea brain was fried.
Thank you to all the IAM crew for such an entertaining weekend, and in particular to our wee exclusive splinter group for a lovely ride out. Count me in for next year, and hopefully on the Sunday I won’t have to go to Observer training!