There could hardly have been a more world-famous destination. Glencoe. The name nourishes the imagination to create, or to recall, the dark bulk of great mountains, flashing torrents, a deserted swathe of moorland, puddled by lochans. And a history of cold-blooded deception, disloyalty and murder. Fortunately for the almost-70 crews entered in this year’s Scottish Riley Enthusiasts National Weekend, that history – still capable of inducing a shiver – lies well behind our 21st Century reasons for taking time in one of the planet’s great places. What an inspired move, for our Central Area Team to take us there!
Our London to Edinburgh crews had barely time to draw breath, before they and the rest of us set off for Glencoe, the village on the southern shore of Loch Leven, which is the northern gateway to the mighty Glen, itself. So it was that by early evening on Friday 22nd May, the Isles of Glencoe car park was already near-full with glowing Rileys from the 1920s to the 1960s, as the golden light gradually crept up the slopes and crags of the surrounding mountains. Some of us had journeyed, of necessity, in our moderns, but the turnout of Rileys and the range of models were a joy to behold. The Central team’s gamble of luring SRE members and friends to the West Highlands had paid off handsomely!
A very sociable evening’s blethering was followed by a handsome breakfast on Saturday, sufficient to bolster spirits and stamina for the day’s chosen activities. And what a choice! The Central organisers had laid on a cruise on lonely and atmospheric Loch Sheil (actually 2 cruises, such was the demand!), while daring “mountaineers” drove to the Glencoe Ski Centre, there to be borne aloft, to enjoy the thrill of a 360-degree, breathtaking vista among the massive Glencoe Range, over desolate Rannoch Moor (the view as far as Schiehallion, in far away Perthshire in the east), out through Glen Etive towards the distant sea and north to the huge mass of Ben Nevis. Perhaps climb it another day, eh? Meanwhile, our intrepid Riley explorers headed away out west, across the Corran Ferry, to reach the parts others didn’t – notably, the breathtaking scenery of Loch Sunart and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, or the Sands of Morar.