Stormin the Castle 2005
Itís Friday and it is noon and the gang is gathering for the journey over to Castle Witton where we will attend this years stormin the castle rally. The temperature is hot, the weather is dry and sunny and we are going via Hartside which is much better than the A66. We decide to make Hartside a stopping point so if anyone gets left behind they know where to meet up. Today as well as carrying the communal tent I am also carrying a sofa, yes, you read right, a sofa. It was decided by the gang at last years Stormin that we needed a sofa for the T-tent, and that I had to carry it. I decided not to take as much clobber this year so I didnít have my throwovers on the bike. This made the bike a little bit top heavy. More on this later.
So we arrive at Hartside all safe and sound and dismount our steel horses and have a cuppa, before setting off again. The ride to Stormin was uneventful except for Terry overtaking a 4x4 which decided to speed up with a sharp corner looming. He was hoping that I hadnít gone with him and a quick look in his mirror confirmed I was right up his arse and looking forward to the corner. It was ok and looked worse than what it was, we should have held hands while we went round it.
So we show our wristbands and head for the first field where we are greeted by Geri and Sheena (who arrived in Tracyís van to a bike rally, remember Bute, Iíll say no more on the subject for now) who are pitching their tents and left plenty of space for the rest of us. We all get our tents up and we get settled in before starting to blow up the sofa and a chair which Caroline has brought along (you didnít think it was a real sofa on my bike did ya). Our inflatable seats prove very popular with everyone wanting to have a sit and much amusement as people fall off them and get dived on (a bit like the Bute fight) and squashed. Mark returns with the beer after offering to collect some for me from the local off license, my hero. We are sitting around looking like lord and lady muck wondering how to improve the communal tent for next year (a chandelier has been suggested as well as a china cabinet, kitchen, shelving cooker the list is endless, Iíll let you know what happens next year.
We have a few cans and head down to the Castle where we sit in the foyer bit for a couple of pints and then head to the rally site. We can hear the band and meet up with the Furness mob who are here in great numbers (4). We have split up by this time and we are told that the rest of the gang are listening to the band in the front and to the right of the marquee we head over there and canít find them so we donít bother looking and stay where we are. One of the bands was called Hayseed Dixie who were a cross between ACDC and Deliverance, you know what I mean, ďWhole lotta rosie twanga twang twang twang twang twang twang twaaanngĒ on a banjo. Not my cup of tea but I canít get a tune out of my head, you know, the one what they played on deliverance with the banjo and the guitar. Twanga twang twang twang twang twang twang twaaanng. Do do do doo dooo. Enough enough. We go looking for food and find a fish and chip van and order some up, they taste very good and are whoofed down and enjoyed. I make my way back to my tent, I think because everything is a bit blurry. We didnít get to have a cup of tea for two reasons. Reason one is there wasnít a woman around to make it and reason two is because we had run out of gas. I had a little kip on the sofa before hitting the sleeping bag.
Saturday morning and Iím eating a bacon sarnie from one of the food vans. I have a walk around the stalls with some of the gang and then head back to the tent after checking out Neils trailer he knocked together for the rally. A little wooden table appears in the tent for placing cups on. Everyone decides to do their own thing I decide to have a kip after arranging with Mark to go visit a POW camp in about an hourís time. I am woken by some of the gang who are going out for lunch, I decline their offer and notice that a cake has appeared on the table. Oh my god itís getting silly, ďItís to have with our teaĒ shouts Sheena as she takes off for food. Mark eventually arrives back and we get ready to go for lunch and we are joined by Caroline and Jude. The run to the camp doesnít take long, we park the bikes and head into what seems to be a garden centre, we walk through the garden centre and find the office to book a tour. Glenn Millar music is being played through loud speakers which makes Caroline grab me in some kind of jive bunny hop, she doing the twirls to the amusement of several old people who obviously thought we were professionals by the way they applauded us. There was not much to see of the camp except a lot of Nissan huts as they are trying to raise money to make it like it was during the war. After the tour we had a lovely lunch in the restaurant and headed back to the site. We find Wilky and his mate Steve have arrived and got their tents up. Steve confirms that we have met before when we put a rally on in Workington, he was in charge of the site. We grab our cans and head down to the castle where we meet up with everyone. Itís a lovely afternoon, very warm and relaxed. Geri, Sheena and Tracy present me with some new gold dust caps for my bike to replace the ones nicked at Bute, how very thoughtful of them. Itís the little things isnít it. Itís my birthday soon. We head back up to the tents to get ready for the bands. Wilky is given my camera as he usually gets some very interesting photos and it gives me a chance to get on some photos. We listen to a band called FM who are brilliant and play loads of popular covers to which I know all the words which is fantastic. The next band on are Maiden England. While getting everything ready about four lads behind us start singing get your tits out for the boys, which is strange as I canít see any female band members there is one band member with nice long hair and when this is pointed out to them they fall quiet. Too much drink methinks. The Damned are not my cup of tea but I stay to the end and wait for the marquee to empty. Then its back to the tent, drink some tea, pour some hot water over Caroline, fall asleep on the sofa (again) and wake up later and get into sleeping bag. We pack up and four of us decide to pay a visit to a lead mine on the way home. Remember me telling you about the bike being top heavy, well, I pull up and think I have put the sidestand down properly (I havenít) I get off the bike and watch it drop to the ground. Caroline and Mark help me lift it up and am quite surprised at the lack of damage. A couple of scratches on the engine casing and a couple on the fairing but everything else was ok. The tour round the lead mine was very interesting having to wear Wellington boots, safety helmets and a torch before entry into the mine itself. I think itís about 4pm when we leave the mine and head for Hartside for a cuppa. I can see why MCN called it one of the best roads in England for riding a bike on. A short distance from Hartside and three police cars have pulled two bikers we slow down and pass and eventually park up. This is the first time this year I have been to Hartside and it has been warm and no wind, I think we stayed for about 30 minutes, then set off on the final run to home but not before stopping at Rheged for petrol and another break. Coming home from stormin had that easy rider feel about it, there was no rush, everything was laid back and no one looking at the time.
This was another great rally which I thoroughly enjoyed and know that it will be better next year because there will be more of us and I will definitely be there.