The Gathering 2023 Rally Report

2022 it is fair to say, the Gathering was held ( a week late which was unfortunate weather wise as the “normal” week had been sunny) in biblically wet conditions. And while everyone had a good time, it curtailed a lot of the activities we could arrange. The ride out was cancelled on Police advice, and the outdoor events were a race to complete before the next deluge; surely the weather gods would take pity on us in 2023?

This could be practically anywhere on the Continent.
Burnsy got the Rally underway with the formal opening of the Dip Dab

And indeed they did, in epic style! Hunters Quay was bathed in warmth, sunshine and blue skies from dawn to dusk from Thursday when the Advanced party started arriving to set things up through to the end of the party on Sunday night. At any time, you might have been on the Continent, given the weather.

Friday was mostly a day of arrivals as you might expect with chapters and individual riders arriving at Hunters Quay throughout the day. Jigger having torn himself away from a quick 10 “ends” at Airdrie bowling club, (I was thinking of getting the Henselite Evo’s tuned and wanted to swing a few “woods” in a test before the rally) brought the Clyde Valley ride out from West Coast in at 2pm and the party started in earnest with Burnsy’s formal opening of the Dip Dab….if Guinness did Dip Dabs…..I dinnae even want to think about the mess….

Jigger leaving West Coast
Jigger leading the chapter ride out from West Coast HD
Stopped at the Rest
Waiting at The Rest and Be Thankful

The Cult of Lairdy

It started with Lairdy, Clyde Valley’s answer to Arnie “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger.

Hasta La Vista Baby

Not content with a strap-on, at Campbeltown he also decided he was to be strapped up. Deciding the night was yet young he spent many a happy hour (well into the wee small hours) in the company of the Argyll NHS’s finest having his arm relocated in the socket which it had decided to dispense with. It will never catch on…or so you may have thought

Fast forward now to the journey of The Gathering Advance Party and Shas travelling with your webmaster and photographer Kenny, she on her wee 125 and Kenny behind on his Road King Special, had a wee difference of opinion with a bend in the road between Drymen and Gartocharn. The road wanted to turn through about 90 degrees while Sharon tired of this turning malarky, decided to go straight on having only completed about 2/3rd of the required turning angle. Not content with merely learning to ride a motorcycle, she also decided to learn to fly, with no instructor in sight. It was never going to end well and after a rummage through the undergrowth, wee Sharon was found by Kenny and extracted with the assistance of an Ambulance crew, for a wee visit to Inverclyde NHS’s finest at Paisley where they discovered after nearly 12 hours…well into the wee small hours of Friday, that she had taken her first tentative steps into the Cult of Lairdy. She too had decided that her right shoulder had spent too long in this particular socket and would be much happier living free of the shackles of the tedium of tendons. muscles and joints. After much pulling and tugging Sharon’s upper arm was restored to its rightful place before she was sent on her way but not before she managed to give us all the first indication of Cult membership.

Are you seeing the similarity here?

Shas’s first recorded use of the Cult of Lairdy hand signal.

While a wee bit battered and bruised like he who she looks up to, Lairdy, she was determined to be back on a motorcycle ( this time as a pillion) for the ride to Dunoon on the Friday ( quite a remarkable feat given the aerial acrobatics and inevitable failure to resist gravity a mere day before).

Shas riding pillion not 12 hours after her arm being put back
The observant will notice the special hand signal on that right hand of the Cult of Lairdy while Shas enjoys a medicinal Prosecco.

We can only hope it doesn’t result in her wanting a girly trike… Lairdy.

Suits you sir

On a more serious note Lairdy is about to have a wee procedure this week (apparently to sort his shoulder out, though we have suspicions a “strap on” may be involved )… but everyone at CVH wishes Lairdy a speedy recovery and we all look forward to seeing him out on the Road King later this season. Shas hopefully will be back on the road soon as her wee learner bike gets patched up ( it was mainly all plastic damage) and once her bruises and bumps have sorted themselves out.

Let’s Get This Party Started

The Ladies of Harley got the main events underway with the LoH Prosecco Party.

And after more drinks on the new (sun-drenched) patio the first night’s entertainment was underway with Eric on the Decks and Reischam City Rockers, a Bon Scott era AC/DC tribute band all the way from Germany.

Saturday: The Seven Lochs Ride Out

With Covid and then last years deluge it has been 4 years since Clyde Valley Chapter could run our Seven Lochs Ride Out and with the weather conditions being beyond perfect, this was the main event of Saturday and for many, we suspect, the jewel in the crown of a stunning weekend. We had dry, warm clear conditions, very quiet roads and great views on our grand tour of the Cowal Peninsula. We heard remarks from some Dunedin members that they rated it higher than the Thunder in the Glens Ride Out for roads and scenery, which we would modestly agree with.

Jigger led the ride out past the Seven Lochs with an escort from Police Scotland and a slick operation from the CVH Road Crew to get around 80 bikes safely to their destination of Lochgoilhead and back, after a BBQ.

The Seven Lochs are in order of us passing them:

  • Holy Loch
  • Loch Loskin
  • Loch Tarsan
  • Loch Striven
  • Loch Fyne
  • Loch Goil
  • Loch Eck

After the ride back along the final Loch of the ride out, Loch Eck in glorious weather, it was time for the traditional Loudest pipes competition won by the traditionally exceptionally loud Sportster of John Hamill. Heather was busy in the main hall sewing on all the patches being brought in, then it was time for Whisky Tasting. Those who don’t like a drop of the Uisge Beath were chilling at the patio bar where Gordon Reith was entertaining the troops.

Saturday night party

After the traditional piping in of the committee which held the rally spellbound…well, Kenny’s kilt was only partially buckled up and could have gone anywhere….

… it was on to the evening’s entertainment of John Beatties Ruckstars who played a mix of tunes that had everyone up dancing. Well done too, to the wee lass that got up and joined in with the band on a rendition of the Amy Winehouse classic “Valerie”. Her singing was infinitely better than big Sean’s it has to be said.

Sunday: Inverary Rideout and More Shenanigans

Sunday started with the Custom show, where some gleaming Harleys were exhibited in yet more brilliant sunshine. Then it was off to Inverary for Ice Cream, a pie or chips (or all three!) (depending on your particular level of hunger) with about forty odd bikes. Yet another stunning day to be on the road. On the return it was Chapter games ( all sort of silliness on motorcycles) and tug of war.

Finally on Sunday night the party wound up with the brilliant Overdrive playing in the main hall, which was epic in all sort of ways, not least from the sheer entertainment value of the arthritic bunch of old fogies who got up to head bang.

Al the photos from the Gathering 2023 can be seen on our Flickr Album

Flickr Album of The Gathering 2023

Read more of what we have been up to in the items below