The Simmer Dim Rally was in full swing on Saturday afternoon with day three for some of the bikers showing few signs of having taken its toll.
It was another full house for the ever-popular event with about 400 to 420 local and visiting bikers. “It sold out in three days – quicker than Glastonberry,” said one of the local bikers, Michael Leask.
Mr Leask who has in the past served on the Simmer Dim Rally committee added: “It has exceeded all expectations, and my expectations were high.”
It was a view shared by those spoken to by The Shetland Times . Few showed signs of fatigue after participating in lively celebrations that had lasted well into the morning. One enthusiast reportedly suffered a cracked rib and was whisked to the Gilbert Bain Hospital. Undaunted, he returned by taxi in the wee, small hours after being checked over by medics.
The tempting smell of sizzling steak and burgers permeated the air at the entrance to the site around the South Nesting hall and guaranteed a high turnover for the grill. Other attendees were content with a measure of Pimms or two.
Of course many of the bikers had travelled up from South or further afield. Tark Garwood from Stoke first made the trip in 2012 when the rally was still based in Vidlin. “We decided we would come again and we are thinking about coming again in future,” he said.
Mr Garwood along with colleagues Guy Clowry and Luther Shaw and his father left Stoke on Sunday, riding mainly the back roads and stayed in B&Bs on the way up. They caught the boat on Wednesday.
Mr Shaw, also Stoke, made the 500 mile trip on a 50cc bike and his father came up on a trike. Another mate, who has just had a baby, is thinking about coming up with a side car next time to take the whole family.
Mr Garwood said: “It’s just as good crack ain’t it? It’s one of the best rallies. Everybody’s here for the same thing. It’s very good humoured.”
Mr Clowry said that the fact you had to be invited in order to apply for a ticket, added to the appeal. He had waited 10 years to apply.
“When you do get here, it’s rather special, because it’s hard to get in. You cannot get any further away from Britain and still be in Britain,” he chuckled.
Long running rally attendee Amy Cheyne, who was getting stuck into apples for breakfast, said: “It’s just a big get-together. It’s the highlight of the year. The atmosphere and the spree are second to none.”
The Simmer Dim ale had sold out by Saturday dinner time – the 10 barrels having proved no match for the thirsty bikers. Six had gone in one day – apparently something that has never happened before at the event.
Saturday afternoon is also open day for the public and visitors mingled with the rally goers – a fine display of bikes of all shapes and sizes was on show. The Jarl’s squad arrived and the games were to begin after that.
Organisers this year have spread hay on the marquee floor, a crafty move to keep the tables spotless despite the communal table dancing that broke out on Friday night.
John Frow, otherwise known as Froggy, from Scunthorpe was resplendent in red military jacket and Prussian pickelhaube. He was at his third rally and on good form, proudly giving an account of the incorporation of his home town from six villages in 1870.
“We have a lot in common with the islanders,” he said. “We want some fun and get drunk. It’s a lovely, friendly place and this is how biking should be.”