Bikers enjoy new base at South Nesting
Vidlin’s loss was Nesting’s gain – that seemed the main feeling surrounding this year’s Simmer Dim bikers’ rally.
Around 300 tents were pitched on the field below the South Nesting Hall, with an estimated 500 campers, while many more came in their droves from all over Shetland to enjoy the weekend’s events.
Many of those involved were wearing a purple ribbon in memory of a biker known as “Bubbles”, who was tragically killed recently when she was hit by a car near her home in Southampton.
On Saturday afternoon festivities were in full swing, with food in the hall, a barbecue doing a roaring trade and plenty of ale being swigged in the beer tent. Musicians were performing while the Lerwick Jarl’s Squad, led by jarl Ivor Cluness, made its customary appearance.
Laurel Sinclair, 54, from Kinmuck near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, has Shetland connections as his father hailed from Unst and his mother from Effirth.
He has been visiting for many years, only missing four of the 31 rallies since the event began, and didn’t think the move away from the usual location a few miles north had affected things too much.
“When you’re in the marquee you might as well be in Mars,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter.
“But I suppose it’s a shame it’s not in Vidlin. There are special memories of being there. I’m just happy it’s going ahead anyway. The local people have really made us welcome.”
Inside the beer tent stands a man with a jacketful of badges and a wide grin. Alan Hamer has been coming to the Simmer Dim for about 10 years and “enjoying it as much as ever”.
Alan is from Stockport, he tells me, which officially is in Lancashire although he maintains he resides in the “posh end” of the town which technically used to be part of Cheshire.
“It’s great this,” he says. “I don’t know what it is mind you, it’s just a special atmosphere.”
Local man Stuart “Animal” Fraser, 53, from Scalloway, has been a participant for more years than he can remember, and this time he even gets a mention on the sign at the entry to the field: “No Animals (except Stuart)!”
“What do I like about this? Everything! Well maybe not the weather, and the fact that they used to have a wet T-shirt competition for women. They’ve stopped that.”
• More photos and stories in next week’s Shetland Times.