10 days, 5 People, 5 bikes, and 2 years in the making – our Guernsey trip eventually happened.
Initially planned as a joint visit with the Gloucester Meteors, celebrating the 75th Liberation anniversary together with the Guernsey branch in 2020, we now were treated to a Trifest as well.
Riders from across the UK, and some even coming from as far as Finland and the USA, made this a truly international event.
On Thursday 5th May, Paul joined Sue and Mark in Needham Market for an early start to the Premiere Inn Poole North Hotel, our meeting place for the night. Andy and myself set off a bit later in the morning held back by my work – doesn’t it always get in the way?
The hotel is about 15 minutes from the port making it an ideal rest place for a morning sailing. It has good parking, a nice restaurant and bar, and friendly staff. After a pleasant meal with banter and discussing Paul’s temperamental spark plugs, we went to bed well primed for a great holiday.
Good night sleep, breakfast, pleasant weather, bikes that start – what more would one want? Smooth ride to the ferry, more Triumphs already waiting, onto the ferry we went. Goodness how we all hate clamps, but the staff was helpful, up the stairs – and relax! Dosed up on Stugeron, Andy’s recommendation against sea sickness, we all enjoyed the trip and were greeted on the other side by the Guernsey branch.
Our little group as well as some of the Gloucester Meteors stayed at the Wayside Cheer hotel on the North-ish end of the island, with a west facing beautiful beach just across the road, providing the most spectacular sunsets. We stayed there before and we were greeted back like family. This time some of us had the chalet rooms across the courtyard, which don’t have sea views but a lovely lawn with tables and a swimming pool right in front. No climbing stairs with heavy bike gear and after a day out we just sat and relaxed over a cuppa and nice biscuits, provided by the hotel. Life is good!
Day 1: Herm Island
We took a break from the bikes, hopped on the bus that stops right in front of the hotel, and made our way to St Peter Port with the intention to enquire about a boat trip to Herm. On arrival at the ticket booth the ferry was just about to leave and so we hopped on. Not knowing what to expect we were treated to the most beautiful sceneries in glorious sunshine. And then there was a pub called The Mermaid Tavern serving a beautiful beer named ‘Sin Bin’ with a band called ‘The Travelling Wannabees’ playing. We were in heaven! Sunburnt and happy, all worries dropped off our minds and we were ready to enjoy the week ahead.
Day 3: 77s Liberation Anniversary
Starting off with a visit to the German Occupation Museum we moved on to the celebration part of the day. Fun fairs were arranged across the island with a parade of about 150 WWII vehicles running along them. It was spectacular.
We attended the Mallard complex fair, with 5 bands playing all day long including ‘The 3 Sixties’ again, special Triumph motorcycle parking space was arranged, and then there was a baffled BBC Guernsey reporter, interviewing our very own Vice Chair Andy live, opening with the question: “So, what are we doing here?”
Response in typical Andy fashion: “We are standing here and you are holding a microphone into my face, I think we are doing an interview!”
With the official part done everything that followed became a wonderfully relaxed blur. Starting each day with a hearty full English, we looked at the map, decided on a general direction mostly guided by toilet and coffee cup signs, and off we went. Bikes parked in a preferably photogenic fashion, we then walked the most beautiful coastline. We found so many unexpected views, rested when we felt like it, ate fantastic cakes, and just had a good time in the sun. Oh yes, and we made sure Paul found the best smelling hand sanitisers wherever we went.
The only day that differed happened when Colin and the TOMCC Chairman fixed my bike. While Mark, Sue and Paul went up the Pleinmont ObservationTower, Andy and I went to see Colin in his impressive garage/workshop to investigate the weird rattle of my bike. It turned out that my exhaust seemed to disintegrate on the inside.
Colin being Colin, found me some Harley defyingly loud exhausts on the island. After many more cuppas they were fixed on my bike and off I now go, clearly audible throughout the entire continent. Such are the Guernsey people, generous, entertaining and just lovely.
But all good things must end, and so we packed up to fetch the overnight ferry with the plan to have one for the road on the boat, and to have a good night sleep for a relaxed ride home. Despite the late hour a group of the Guernsey branch came to the port to bid us farewell, and then we waited, and waited some more. Instead of 11PM we sailed at 1:30 AM. We slept rather well without the one for the road, woke to a really good breakfast on the ferry that was included in the price, got our bikes out of those stupid clamps and off home we went, blessed by great weather still.
And now it’s all a memory, one that will be much cherished. But we know, that all be well, we’ll be back. There are still a few miles we haven’t walked and a few views we haven’t seen