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‘Most unusual’ bikers’ rally under way

Bikers getting ready for the traditional tour of the islands - Photo: Hans J Marter, Shetland News

WITH bikers arriving from all over the country, Shetland’s annual Simmer Dim motor biking rally seems to be as popular as ever.

And with the 30th anniversary of the UK’s most northerly bikers’ rally fast approaching, the atmosphere among the hundreds attending this year couldn’t be better.

After a damp start to celebrations on Thursday, the weather gods showed some mercy with the 300 or so camping on a field in the village of Vidlin.

The next morning, as many bikers were getting ready for the traditional cruise of the islands, the sun was doing its best to convince everybody that midsummer was indeed just round the corner.

Organising committee chairman Michael Leask, a veteran biker who has attended most Simmer Dim rallies including the first one in 1982, said the rally was now so popular that they had to turn people away since they had reach capacity.

“I think Shetland would be worse without it. It brings a lot of people from all over the world. It really is unique, has grown for 29 years and next year we are celebrating our 30th birthday. We certainly look forward to that,” he said.

In different circumstances, bikers would have been able to celebrate the big anniversary this year already but the 2001 festival had to be cancelled due to the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

Scott Crearie and Robbie Webb, both from Edinburgh, are also regulars. They enjoy the unique party atmosphere with lots of daring games on Saturday, visits from the isles’ Up Helly Aa squads during the weekend, and bands playing into the small hours.

Scott said: “We come here every year, because it is the most northern rally in the UK and it is certainly the most unusual.

“It is a five-day event and not just the usual weekend, because of the boat journey from Aberdeen, three days here, and then the boat back again. It seems to get busier and busier.

“I have been coming to this rally since 1985, with a few breaks in between. It will be its 30th year next year, so that should be quite a party – the 25th anniversary certainly was.”