Highland Scooter Weekend, Aviemore, September 30-October 2, 2016
This may not be the largest event of the calendar but with fantastic roads, stunning scenery and a warm welcome, it’s one worth making an effort for.
It seems that scooterists have only recently discovered what our biker cousins have known for years, Scotland has some of the best roads in the UK. Kelso’s earned its popularity, but is barely across the border. The LCGB’s 2016 run to Mull produced rave reviews and the North Coast 500 is ranked as one of the world’s greatest road trips. We thought that the Highland Scooter Weekend would be a good opportunity to experience Scotland for ourselves.
For the past few years several Scottish Clubs have organised an end of season bash in the Western Isles. This year the event moved to Aviemore and attracted scooterists from across Scotland.
For those who haven’t visited Aviemore, it’s the perfect location for a rally, being a resort town catering for winter skiers. Most bars and restaurants are on the main road with everything from a five-star resort to hostels on the neighbouring side streets. I rode up on the A9, a great road if you need to make progress as it’s a dual carriageway for the most part. I’d never ventured this far north and found the scenery stunning.
The rally was centred around MacKenzies Highland Inn but my first taste of hospitality was outside the chippy which was great — a rally hasn’t started like this since I was 17! The rest of Friday night was spent between various bars mixing with people determined to have a good time and making new friends.
Saturday morning was a relaxed affair before the lunchtime ride out. Johnny Street had planned a beautiful route that took in all the sights of the Highlands. I ticked a ruined castle, a loch and a mountain off the list. Between these points the roads were perfect, with a mixture of tree-lined avenues and stunning views forming the backdrop as we twisted slowly upwards to the Cairngorm railway. Here it was possible to take a short train ride up the mountain or just enjoy a hot chocolate and take in the scenery.
Unfortunately Johnny’s GP chose the summit to decide its clutch needed replacing. It’s a measure of how enthusiastic the Scots are for riding that, despite the distances involved, there wasn’t a single van or trailer at the rally to get him back to the hotel.
Saturday night’s entertainment was provided by DJs from Inverness-based Ready Steady Go Go. Unfortunately the advertised 6pm start was optimistic and by the time things really started buzzing I’m afraid to say that I’d peaked!
Before the trip I’d been warned that Scottish weather wasn’t usually kind in October, but Sunday saw nothing but clear blue skies. In company with a few others I took the scenic route south. With not a stretch of dual carriageway in sight but plenty of twists and turns this really was ideal scooter territory.
If your idea of fun is riding full throttle to a mass gathering of scooters and organised events, the Highland Scooter Weekend isn’t for you. However if you take pleasure in the journey and enjoy a small gathering of like-minded people it’s a real treat.
Best Vespa: Mick Copeland
Best Lambretta: Colin Dower
Best turned out club: Aberdeen Classic Scooter Collective
Furthest Travelled: Stan from Scootering magazine!
WE SPOKE TO
Words & Photographs: Stan
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