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I joined the NCTS in 1978. If I remember correctly the lads in charge on the trips were Allan Fawcett from Barnoldswick, who worked for Rolls Royce, and John Wade. When we joined the coach, off the M66 at Bury, the first thought was, “Is this coach going to complete the journey”, which for the 1979 Grand Scottish tour it didn’t.
As you can see from my membership card I had a lot of happy trips out, how I managed to get though the following Monday at work still amazes me!
My first and only Grand Scottish trip I remember well, it, as I recall, didn’t go smoothly, with the coach breaking down on the second day. Also, my feet were killing me because I had a pair of new shoes on, bad idea on such a journey. When we finally got to Edinburgh (second night) for the overnight stay in the YMCA we were running very late and a large group of us went in search for some proper food. I was at the front and saw a restaurant with a board outside and as we approached the manager came out to collect the board. I asked, “Are you still open?” he replied, “No just closing”, then asked “How many is there”, “About thirty” I said, his reply “OK, we are open”. It was down stairs and into the restaurant and a good steak followed with plenty of red wine. It was the only time I saw my brother under the influence. As I staggered up the steps out of the restaurant a few hours later, I was singing, “We are the famous Man United and we are off to Wembley!!” Two policemen came up and asked, “Are they still open?” “Err yes” I replied. They said to each other, “Come on we’ll get a drink in here” and promptly disappeared down the steps.
I have lots of memories of creeping around places like Hoo Junction in the middle of the night. The daftest was crossing the four tracks trying to bunk Gateshead from the rear of the depot (which to be honest was a very foolish and stupid way to try and bunk the depot). We had just got across the four tracks when a pair of 40s came round the bend and with horns blaring went onto the depot. Well that was enough for two thirds of us and we retreated quickly back to the coach. I was though a little annoyed when learning from the few who had entered that the 03 I was after was on the depot. Anyway, back on the coach, next stop Newcastle-upon-Tyne station. All off to see what’s there. We got back on the coach and were followed on by a large police sergeant!! He said, “I know where you lot have been and we will be watching you!” Sorry to say, but a little later a certain member broke a window at a stabling point to try and get a Class 08s number! That was tour 80.15. I think that night I saw the beginning of the end.
My brother George sadly passed away years ago but Raymond Smith is still going strong, the three of us were usually together.
Happy days and lots of great memories.