Tour – 2024 Spring Run

2024 Spring Run

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This years annual Spring Run began at Moffat Woolen Mill, where entrants enjoyed a breakfast roll and refreshments whilst collecting the route directions to Slaley Hall Hotel.

A stop at the Pottery at Bardon Mill broke the journey with an informative tour around the factory and a chance to buy, if you had the car space! It’s the last commercial pottery in Britain that continues to utilise traditional practises. Fabulous garden pots competitively priced and a very enjoyable visit.

Arrival at Slaley Hall Hotel in the afternoon meant members were able to relax and recount the day.

There were a number of variations on the routes taken as unplanned detours occurred, with one unlucky breakdown which ended happily with only a stone in the brake disk. Dinner ended a great start to the event and our first evening.

Day 2

Following breakfast the route to Raby Castle with some stunning views, alas no pictures! The run was just under an hour with tour guides awaiting our arrival.

A cold day with everyone well wrapped at the start of the tour prior to entering the castle.

Once inside all listened carefully to the guide as we moved through some fabulous rooms each with their varied stories, portraits and furniture.

Many stairs linked the different parts of the castle.

Guide Stephen took the first group who were very interested to learn that Lord Barnard had one of the first motorcars in Britain. Stephen had done some research when he heard of our visit. He elucidated the delivery driver was hired as Lord Barnard’s chauffer and went on to work in the post for over 40 years. There was a copy of a wage slip from 1908 for the ‘Motormen’. A 4 week wage was £8 for the driver.

Raby Castle was full of varied rooms and stories. A visit that was enjoyed by all. Some pictures from our tour give an impression of its splendour and interest.

To round off the visit we enjoyed a packed lunch in the servants quarters.

Day 3

This saw many members taking the morning to explore the surrounding area. Some utilised the route instructions to visit the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. A few members met others whilst exploring the quaint historic town of Corbridge. A lovely little town with an abundance of coffee/gift shops and quite a few antique emporiums.

The afternoon was taken up by a choice of activities:

Clay pigeon shooting; Chris Paton, Hugh MacKinnon, Tony Fleming and Gordon Hood took part in the clay pigeon shooting. The final scores showed Chris and Tony equal best on 16 hits so the instructors organised a shoot out based on both guns trying for the same clay, on a ‘first hit wins’ basis. Chris buckled under the pressure missing all four shots with Tony scoring a hit on his fourth to win.

Archery; The rescue of Maid Marion from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

Robin Hood (Mid Bruce) and Little John (Charlie Young), complete with bows and arrows were sent off on a quest to rescue Maid Marion from the evil Sheriff. Unfortunately, at this point neither of our two heroes had any idea what Marion looked like!!

However, practice with the Bows and arrows was essential if they were to have any hope of success.

Heading for the range in the forest and despite the totally inclement weather our intrepid heroes took to their task like a duck to water, literally.

Quicker and quicker, the arrows were slotted onto the string and quicker and quicker the arrows flew past their targets!!!

Not a great start!!

However, once Little John put his specs on and Robin started to gauge the correct flight line, things improved, a little!!

Having run out of arrows and having to restring their bows on several occasions, and being soaked to boot, the heroes reluctantly agreed to call of their quest and just allow the evil sheriff should just have his way with Marion, which we are sure suited all concerned.

Thus the story ended. (archery report by Charlie Young)

Quad Biking; Suitably equipped with overalls, wellies, a helmet and gloves, Margaret Smillie, Pat MacKinnon, Hugh MacKinnon, Tom Bicket, Bill Montgomery, Mid Bruce and Chris Paton set off on a quad biking adventure among the extensive grounds of Slayley.

They tackled rough ground, deep puddles and some open land where a good turn of speed could be achieved. Everyone enjoyed the experience with one or two being surprised at the power produced by the 250cc engined quads.

Our Chairman thanked our organisers and members for their camaraderie. All had enjoyed the visit and look forward to doing something new in 2025.

The hotel and route runs were organised by board members Mid Bruce, Meg Sword and Charlie Young. Many thanks for another enjoyable event.

List of entrants:

David Allison / Marie Allison

Tom Bicket / Marion Bicket

Mid Bruce / Meg Sword

Carol Cooper

Nancy Crichton

Billy Cuthbertson / Anne Cuthbertson

Tony Fleming

Ian Gemmell / Louise Gemmell

Gordon Hood / Margaret Hood

Jim Howden / Margaret Howden

Hugh MacKinnon / Pat MacKinnon

Ian Marwick / Wilma Marwick

Bill Montgomery / Eileen Montgomery

Chris Paton / Mary Paton

Ian Smillie / Margaret Smillie

Charlie Young / Elaine McPhee

Report and pictures by Margaret Smillie.

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