East Antrim DUP Ride Out

bugatti1On Saturday 5th October, I joined over 60 riders on the East Antrim DUP Ride out, which started from Larne Town Hall with breakfast bacon baps and tea and coffee.

Missing last year’s ride out because of attending motorcycle events in Germany, it was a welcome return to explore some of Northern Ireland roads with fellow riders.

With a full introduction to the ride and rider briefing, there was a bit of milling about before assembling and starting off.

Sammy Wilson MP joined the ride out as he does, Sammy has again asked questions of government departments, this time regarding the Roads Service consideration of free on-street dedicated motorcycle parking, which we recently reported on at Right To Ride.

The ride out had two stops, the first visiting Dan Winters Cottage at Loughgall, situated at the centre of the site at which the Battle of the Diamond took place in 1795 and which led to the forming of the Orange Order. Now whatever your persuasion, whether it be a Japanese, American, German or British motorcycle you ride, it was an interesting visit.

The lunch time stop was accompanied by a hog roast, with the smell of burning turf wafting from the open-hearth fire.

A few riders had occasion to exercise after lunch, when a historic Bugatti car stopped outside and failed to start again, a quick push to get her going again was all that was required.

The ride resumed again as before on roads that I had never travelled on, with instances of not really knowing where I was but the drop of system at junctions and catch up points, ensured the ride was as smooth as possible as we wound across the countryside.

Ulster Aviation Society

aviation1The second stop was a visit to the Ulster Aviation Society www.ulsteraviationsociety.org  a group I had never heard of before, who are   situation on what was the former WWII airfield at Long Kesh, yes the same location as the now former Maze Prison!

The society is a group of aviation enthusiasts and what waited behind the two nondescript hangers, well as nondescript as two great big grey bloody aircraft hangers can be, for this rider was absolutely amazing.

The aircraft the society has in its collection include: Grumman F4F Wildcat – Blackburn Buccaneer – Canberra – Westland Wessex – BAC Jet Provost – Shorts Tucano – De Havilland Vampire – Hawker Seahawk – Robinson – Aérospatiale Alouette – Shorts Sherpa – Shorts SD-330 and a Fairey Gannet tucked away being restored.

Guided around the hanger by one of the many enthusiastic volunteers, the tour included not just viewing and hearing about the aircraft, there was the Engine Room, Radio Room, Library,  and an interesting talk about The Royal Observer Corps.

The Royal Observer Corps was an uniformed civilian organisation that acted as the eyes & ears of the RAF during the Battle Of Britain and on through into the Cold War.

All too soon it was chocks away, so to speak and across over to Larne for the final stop and dinner.

Thanks to Sammy Wilson for the invitation and to all those who organised a great day out and that includes the fantastic weather!

Trevor Baird – Right To Ride

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