Following a late call off 47 athletes and 8 coaches headed off from Giffnock North on Friday the 11/9, destination Stornoway, to compete in their annual Tri match; albeit there were actually 5 teams competing. These comprised of Corstorphine AAC, Edinburgh AC, Giffnock North AAC, Stornoway RC and a combined Uist isle’s team.
It was a nice sunny day so the journey to Ptilochry passed quickly. As we drove into Pitlochry Jim our driver entered into the spirit of things by cracking a funny about’ what’s the difference between a hitch hiker and a passenger?’. Of course half the kids didn’t know what a hitch hiker was!. Jim was in his element and quickly pointed out that if they were not back on the bus in 45 mins they would be hitch hikers!.
Our coffee break was followed by the obligatory quiz which would pass the time until our next break at Aviemore. The quiz master was Gill Menzies & the lack of Wi-fi meant that the kids struggled to get the right answers off the internet. Having said that even if they did have Wifi they would have still struggled to get the answers to Colin’s questions!! . A scrutiny of the answers revealed that the winners were “Ping’’ although some of the other teams’ answers were very questionable i.e. the patron saint of Glasgow is not Frank Salmond.!
We had a fairly uneventful al fresco lunch in Aviemore and then we were back on the bus to Ullapool and arrived in plenty time for the Ferry. As soon as we got on the ferry the kids queued up for their meal which was quickly polished off. Some of the boy’s table manners left a lot to be desired but thankfully the girls cleared up behind them. By the time the athletes had covered every inch of the new ferry and we had attempted to do a team talk on the top deck, we were docking in Stornoway.
On disembarking we were quickly ferried to our respective hotels and all were allocated their rooms. Having got everyone settled the coaches sat in the hotel lobby for some 2 mins of relaxation and to fine-tune the arrangements for transporting the athletes to the track for an early start at 9.00am the next morning. However some athletes decided to practise their sprinting, Long jumping, wrestling and trampoline up and down the hotel corridors and bedrooms oblivious to the other guests who were in the hotel! Colin didn’t help matters when he suggested to some of them that they were for the HJ. The dust finally settled about 11.30. A long day, how would they perform tomorrow?
To their credit all were up early and we tucked into a hearty breakfast. Of course some had to be reminded that they were running as their plates seemed a bit overloaded. Despite the numbers involved all clubs were at the track ready to start at 10.00. We got off to a good start in the sprints but as we went up the age groups the Edinburgh athletes started to come to the fore. Stornoway RC and Corstorphine athletes performed well in the distance events. All in in all it proved to be a very competitive event. Lunch was served up by our very hospitable hosts Stornoway ( 6 varieties of homemade soup and sandwiches), and a special vote of thanks are due to the catering staff who served up a great spread. As usual we finished off with the relays where we won 3 out of the 4. That coupled with the various points update suggested that we were in the lead, so the signs were that we might win the match, subject to scrutiny. However all would be revealed at the Buffet/ceilidh at the golf club later in the evening.
After everyone was showered & dusted down and some in the other hotel had celebrated Kate’s birthday, we headed off to the buffet at the Golf club which was already busy as Corstorphine had beaten us to the best seats. As you can imagine the place was packed with hoards of hungry athletes who had to be restrained when some snacks appeared as the majority of the buffet still had to be served up. Ross Munro gave a speech on how well the day had went and offered a well-deserved vote of thanks to all who had made it such a successful event, which I would echo. Ruairi MacIver then produced a very prompt set of results and these revealed that Giffnock North were the winners by a huge margin followed by Stornoway, Corstorphine, Edinburgh depleted team) and Uist’s combined. A full set of results revealed that a lot of our athletes had pb’s across the board. Please see the attached scrutinised results and photos.
Needless to see everyone had plenty to eat and drink and a great night of disco & ceilidh was had by all, before we headed back to our respective hotels. Fortunately we had a peaceful night as most of the athletes were eventually tired out. Sunday was a long lie, which was just as well because it was wet & windy. We had to vacate the hotels by 11.00 albeit the ferry didn’t leave until 14.30. Not only that the manageress of the hotel, informed us that there was 50/50 chance that the ferry might not sail at all. However the weather cleared sufficiently to allow us to go for a cultural walk around the Castle & grounds before heading off to the ferry which thankfully would be sailing.
The crossing was pretty rough and there was quite a few who were unwell but they soon recovered on the bus journey home. Again we hosted a quiz, this time based around the weekend and match day in particular. Needless to say we had many laughs which only the athletes themselves will understand!….
For example Stornoway is more famous for black pudding as opposed to Haggis from Edinburgh (ask Christine !!), Emma and Cristobel from Edinburgh are now good friends of Giffnock North ( ask Fraser!). Edinburgh didn’t forget their A team they just had reduced numbers (ask u13 girls !)
The winners were the Hitch hiker’s team, who sneaked onto the bus. “Too hard” were right they finished last. Team “We’ve lost” were pretty perceptive they did. All the results were verified on Billy’s Blackberry network (ask the coaches!!)
The bus arrived back at Giffnock North at 11.30 to be greeted by relieved waiting parents, or was it the coaches who were more relieved? Regardless a great time was had by all and I’m sure the athletes will have fond memories of the trip in years to come.