For the sixth annual gathering, we headed north to Dumfries and Galloway to camp on the edge of Kirkcudbright Bay.
Pitching on Saturday was in glorious sun, however Sunday brought rain as we delayed the start till 1000 hoping things would get better. In reality they did and it was only once more that the weather turned against us on a ride. We headed to Gatehouse of Fleet through the drizzle with barely a car in sight and dried out at the Mill on the Fleet tearooms whilst the children played upstairs and the 'teenagers' dressed up. North to Laurieston with lovely views and back to the site via the Old Schoolhouse tearooms.
Monday was a cunning design where a figure of eight ride meant a lunch/tea stop at Kirkcudbright whilst visiting the beach at Brighouse Bay. Egged on by the low distance and the lack of any big hills, Finlay and Christopher made their first outings on solo bikes. Heading out we circled to the east of Kirkcudbright before circling west and finishing at Brighouse Bay. Dan, Ieuan and Jonathan tried the water out whilst sandcastles were built and we chatted in the sun.
Tuesday or Gourmet day, took us to afternoon tea at the Balacary Bay hotel. To rustle up an appetite some of us walked the cliff path to Balcary Point. Two of us made it, as it was very windy and the views were grand. We needed a good appetite as 4 hours earlier we had been entertained by the ladies at Dundrennan church. They get 1000 visitors a year so 50 cyclists was a big bunch for tea and cakes, and very good it was too.
Wednesday is the traditional rest day and the majority of us rested up at the site with the pitch and putt, table tennis and pool. Of course, rest was important as the evening brought the now tradional softball match at the beach. So how did it go. Put it this way the Scots are checking out any of Babe Ruth's (famous baseball player) relatives to see if they have the tiniest bit of Scottish ancestry to help them out next year.
Thursday was ice ceam day at Cream O Galloway. Between that, lay the tearoom at Gatehouse and the cyclepath through Cally Forest. We negotiated the buns, cakes and lattes at the cafe but the forest led to a breakaway down a rough track as we looked for the lunchstop at the folly. Finally found, we regrouped at Cream O Galloway for the ice cream tasting and the plethora of wooden obstacles. Being stuffed into a dustbin and dropped down an improvised shoot was my favourite. Rainbows and seaviews ended the ride. Three years ago we started a take away night where we pushed all our tables together and placed an enormous order with the local establishment. Tonight was Chinese and the prawn crackers flowed.
Friday took us along quiet lanes to Castle Douglas where some of had tea in the garden at Designs. We split into two groups here. Half with the younger children went to Threave for a walk around the gardens, the rest went to Dalbeattie via Haugh of Urr - a longer trip. The evening brought a BBQ and Dave's final speach highlighting the week, always enjoyable.
Next year it might be Cheshire, Herefordshire or somewhere else, wait and see