Harley-Davidson in the City Motorcycle Festival.
If you are a fan of motorbikes then you may have missed a real gem in Scotland events calendar, in the Cathedral city of Brechin which sits a mile or so off the main A90 in Angus gathers an array of motorbikes from the classic American Harley Davidson to European and Asian and commercial and hand built trikes.
Why here? To answer that you have to go back 100+ years to a small cottage 3 miles outside the city and you will find it is the childhood home of two of the Davidson brothers Arthur and Walter, they like many other Scots left their home to find a new life in America and that little cottage is where it all begun – The cottage is a now a museum and welcomes visitors from all over the world.
This year (2018) the seventh 'Harley Davidson in the City' was held the weekend of the 14th July with the large range of bikes and riders meeting at Brechin Castle the seat of Dalhousie for the now famous ride out where the bikes leave the castle, with the Brechin Pipe Band leaving towards the city signalling the start of the ride. The ride heads into the city and then out into the country, the spectacular sight and sound of nearly 600 bikes and trikes on the roads of Angus. This year the ride out was longer and the line went through other Angus towns such as Montrose and Forfar stopping at the Davidson cottage to pay homage to the family before finally entering the city again and parking along the city streets so the visitors can admire the bikes, swap stories of their motorcycling youth, or day dream of the what may have been if life had not got inthe way.
While the ride out is winding its way through the towns, in the city there was plenty to do and see, live music is played on a central stages and various bands came and entertained the massing crowd, stalls selling a range of good some connected with the world of biking and others not so much but still attracted buyers. Along with burger vans, ice cream sellers, climbing wall for those who feel the urge, but the kids looked like they enjoyed its and a simulator ride. There seemed to be a problem with the stall area, it was over crowded and difficult to get near the stalls, talking to some of the visitors they found it a little crowed and a couple of visitors said they found it claustrophobic, also a few of the older visitors said that it would have been nice to have an area where they could sit as its a long time standing from the bikes leaving to the ride out to finishing on the city streets. Many of the normal city shops where open for business and they have taken great effort in producing window displays for the event and not only do the stalls make money but this event brings in well needed trade and introduce the city to people who have not visited. Even the army turned out with a armoured vehicle a range of weapons and a quad bike which is set out with a trailer which in this case was set out carrying a stretcher. The company who owns the name and produces the bikes had a centre stand with a small range of their motorcycles along with a stall you can either purchase a Tshirt or why not become a HOG and buy yourself a ride.
The return of the motorbikes was announced with the police out riders and the second parade of the bikes began before they started parking up which was split into their country of manufacturers, the trikes had their own area. many people enjoyed the range of bikes and many of their owners enjoyed talking about them and answering questions. The arrival of the trikes was announced by the use of whistles and peoples in florescent vests signalling to the crowds to move to the sides, which many did a few people took their time and a few children were running about without guardians. Maybe next year a loud speaker to announce which bikes were coming, where they would be park and asking the crowds to step to the side. With the music still live from the stage and stalls doing business, the crowds seemed to expand as the streets become full of visitors and everyone seemed to be having a great time and those I spoke to after the arrival of the bikes said they loving every minutes of the event and even one family from the USA who spotted the sign for the event on that day had a real good time and they were more than glad they followed the sign and when asked if they had entered the Teacake eating competition he said “Point me in the direction” I hope he did well. The World Tunnock's Teacake Eating Championship, eat as many as you can in 4 minutes and then drink a can of Scotlands other national drink, Irn Bru which the final was held on the Sunday.
Overall with this being the seventh Harley Davidson in the City it has grown well, with the let down of last year with the weather and a small group of disgruntled riders, this year has made up for it, the weather was fantastic, which for Scotland is a bonus on any day, the riders did themselves proud turning out in their hundreds, with stunning array of motorcycles, the range of stalls and additional events of the tea cake eating. This is the first time that the event has been held over 2 days and it was announced that 2019 is over 3 days, I will keep you updated about that.
Brechin gets some stick for being the city that never was, we get shoved aside for much bigger events held in other towns, but when it is called upon to produce something really special, with all the cities problems the city came together as a community with its ideas and its hard work to produce something as spectacular as this event. Lets hope that companies and employers who are looking for a place to site their business look at Brechin before they look at other towns
in Angus as we have a work force, we have ideas and we are one of the best places for your business. Finally a big thank you from Highland Adventures to the event organisers, Harley Davidson of course, the people who work hard behind the scenes, the police, first aiders, the stall holders, the shops for windows displays and finally those who have come from all over the UK giving up their time to join in. See You 2019.here