Some 10 of us meet on the Thursday at Ayr & start our week-end there. Johnny Haynes led us via New Galloway, Newton Stewart to Stranraer & the North West Castle for a grand dinner & chat ahead of the event proper
We meet the other wasters for our usual excellent dinner at NWC ahead of a VERY early call for the ferry on the Friday, leaving the hotel at 6.45am.. That is most of us leaving at that time.
Correct, the bold David X, seemed to have a wee headache & thus departed late as well as being misdirected by the otherwise excellent hotel staff. Thus it was that David crossed paths with the frantic Alec heading rather late in the opposite direction, (he tells me he nearly exceeded the speed limit), making the boat by winging his way upwards, as the ramp was rising, on to the ferry. Dave, of course, went to Stena who had no knowledge of him. Drink can be an evil thing, don’t you think?
All well on board, bar one honker (the sea was rather unsettled). Met at the other side by a huge contingent.
Ken (Mad Dog that he is), guided some 10 of us at a more than moderate speed to our lunch stop. Don’t ask me where we went, all I could concentrate on was his rear tyre. Worrying was the sign for Toome, where we were all apparently heading, bar a miracle.
The main body went via the A2 to Red Bay for a stop, then to Torr Head to Ballycastle, & the Marine Hotel where we all met up for lunch.
Shock, horror, couldn’t believe it- started raining- not on the schedule at all!
Never mind, this time we all went as a team. Along the coast- fantastic views, via Bushmills to Portrush and the few yards to our destination, the Magherabuoy Hotel.
A great find, delighted with the rooms. The food was perfect.
The next morning was fine. A number of day visitors from the Ulster 30 Club joined us, including Mark Fenton with his wicked 3 wheeled flyer. It was as well he was there, as he helped tow Ian Cunningham’s Kawasaki to get it started.
Again we split into 2 groups, One slowish & the other, not so slowish. Ken seemed more restrained, perhaps Adrienne had a hand or elbow sorting him out? Doreen tried to control her wayward husband, to no avail. Again, as I was with Ken, I had no idea which direction we took. We did, however arrive at a cliff-top, where the Lotus owners Club had gathered. Very nice too, & so were the cars. We did venture into the Republic a time or two, but finished up for lunch, again in harmony at the Presbyterian Church Hall, in Strabane, where we’d been before. The Staff were great & it was enough to eat.
Again, headed back together via great wee roads finishing up on the outskirts of Coleraine & the short distance to our hotel. The hotel put on an Air Show for us, within budget. The fast aircraft such as the Red Arrows also participated in the Ayr Airshow, since they were only a minute ot two apart!
Sunday started damp, which curtailed cornering as George took us round the North West 200 Course. In addition, the traffic was grim, as the Airshow ran into Sunday. Ian Cunningham’s bike was struggling (suspect as a result of languishing unloved for so long) & was trailered to the ferry.
This time George took us all a great variety of roads, & we stopped at The Dark Hedges, featured dramatically in the Game of Thrones. Loadsa tourists gathered & we made sure to block the roads to trap them.
Broughshane was our lunch stop at the Thatch where we’d been a number of times. Imprinted on our memories were the enormous portions, and this has not changed- great value & very nice too.
Some 30 miles on & we arrived at Larne to board the fast craft, which is only used when the sea is calm. Ian didn’t think it was calm, & given the unusual event of him actually eating his lunch, we all felt for him, well most of us did.
Arrived on time & in sunlight- absolutely perfect. So was the weekend & many thanks again to George & Ken