The location of the second gathering taking place this weekend was West Hall, or rather the grounds of what was once West Hall, the former residence of a local magistrate which was demolished half a century ago. To the north lies a kennels, to the south a scout camp, and it was here that I met the participants of The Celtic Gathering. They weren’t boy scouts.
As I found out, they weren’t Celts either for this was a motorcycle rally. As Steve, one of the organisers explained, most biker rallies tend to be associated with heavy metal, so in the interests of something “a bit more folky and fiddly” the Celtic Gathering of bikers from across the country came together for the first time four years ago.
Meeting on the Friday, they set up their tents, cooking and performance areas and enjoy a couple of days together, a couple of live bands and a couple of beers (or more) before heading home on the Sunday. The event is certainly a success; originally attended by about 80 bikers, there were three times as many on site this weekend, and more continued to arrive which was creating some logistical problems in terms of finding remaining spaces to pitch camp and park up.
Wandering amongst them in a sea of black leather and death’s-head t-shirts I encountered a really friendly bunch of people, with some amazing machines, and I was invited back for the live entertainment later that night. Having had our own party at home we didn’t make it however (walking in a straight line was proving problematic) but thanks to Steve, Dave, “Trog”, “Scratch” and everyone else who made me welcome with my camera. (click on any image in the gallery to open larger versions in a carousel)
As you can see, the motor enthusiasts in Whitburn aren’t confined to two or even three wheels.
My portrait today is of Steve who sat me down and gave me the history of the event, and the thinking behind it. Shooting in a tent and under trees gave me little light to capture something really sharp, so whilst this isn’t technically great quality, and does feature a little movement blur it’s fitting that he should have pride of place and I still like the way it has turned out and the way it captures this nice guy.