Seventeen Wakefield & Barnsley MAG members, met at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on the Friday morning for our much awaited trek north, for this years Edinburgh MAG Ag Ol Anns An Achadh Rally. The rest of the Wakefield contingent (Pingy, Sue, Lorna & Mo) had travelled up the night before, stayed overnight in Jedburgh, and were going to meet us en-route. Janet & Richard from Barnsley MAG were to meet us at the rally site itself, intending to set off later in the day.
The weather was warm and sunny in Wakefield, but unfortunately, the forecast in Edinburgh for the weekend wasn’t so good. Suitably breakfasted, we set off just after 10:00.
We had good weather for the first 50 miles on the A1 and then it started raining, on and off. Leaving the A1 at Darlington, we took the far more scenic A68 all the way to Edinburgh.
Our first petrol stop was at West Auckland on the A68, then we pushed on to a suitable café for a spot of lunch. We stopped at the biker friendly Camien Café, on the A68 near Otterburn ranges, right in the heart of picturesque Kielder Forest. Just behind the car park is an ancient Bronze Age dwelling, now used as a sheep shelter, complete with somewhat smelly dead sheep inside.
We had timed our lunch stop to perfection. Within 10 minutes it was hail stoning like mad outside, so had been saved a guaranteed soaking.
Following lunch, we pressed on, in the intermittent rain and noticeably lower temperatures. Our advance party in Jedburgh had decided to press on themselves rather than waiting for us in the rain, so we were to meet them at the rally site instead. The A68 is a cracking road and very scenic indeed around the Scottish Borders.
We hit the A720 Edinburgh ring road, bypassing south of the city and picking up the A71, towards West Calder, our destination.
We arrived around 16:00, met our advance party and camped in exactly the same spot as we had occupied the previous year.
It wasn’t raining but it was very cold, and the temperature was in single figures pretty much all weekend. Not that it bothered us too much, we were in another country, we had bands to see, proper farm cooked food to eat and cheap beer to sample.
Great to bump into Mark, Ruth, Ross & Jo from Huddersfield MAG too, who had also made the long journey north. Yorkshire folk almost outnumbered the Scots at the rally.
We all partied a bit too hard on the Friday night and consequently, felt a bit delicate on the Saturday morning. Still, nothing that a full English (sorry, Scottish) breakfast didn’t fix.
Following the recommendations of some of our (gloating) contingent from the previous year, we all headed to the local hostelry at lunchtime for a carvery. I’m pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint. A choice of 3 different meats, together with lashings of vegetables, all for the princely sum of £3.50, a veritable bargain. We made our way back onto site for a bit of a siesta (sleepy after all that food), ready for the Saturday nights entertainment.
Eight of us donned hi-viz vests to help Steve Wykes (Scottish Regional Rep) and his team marshal the event, on the Saturday evening, and in doing so, doubled our branch points allocation.
Wakefield MAG were most successful with the rally awards (again) on the Saturday night. For the second year running, we won the biggest club turnout award and Sue’s trike won the best paint award in the bike show.
The bonfire was supposed to be lit at 22:30, but ended up getting lit much earlier, which was a relief to everyone as it was freezing.
Saturday night’s bands were most excellent, especially the female fronted one, who could really belt it out.
All too soon it was all over and it was Sunday morning and time to pack up and make our long way home.
Another cracking Edinburgh MAG rally was had by all.
The attendance was noticeably lower than last year, and I can’t quite understand why. This rally really is an absolute gem. The site is a proper farmyard (no marquee, just cow sheds !!!), excellent food (laid on by the farmer), cheap beer (£1.50 for Newcastle Brown and Real Ales !!), good bands, proper flushing toilets and a lovely relaxed atmosphere.
The weather could have been better (considering it was June), not too much rain, but most of us spent the entire weekend frozen stiff and wearing all the layers of clothing we had brought with us.
Well done to Edinburgh MAG for putting on this great little rally !! Looking forward to next year’s rally already, just hope it will be a bit warmer.