My first trip with the Northern Counties Transport Society was in October 1969. Dave Felton arranged for me to meet Van (Dan) Bramall and Michael Rose at Macclesfield station on a Saturday afternoon. Why this was arranged I can only guess. Was it to help form a good relationship between the merging societies? Michael Rose must have spent a fortune on notebooks as he only entered ONE loco number on each page!
The trip was an East Anglia and proved to be very successful, a friendly group and loads of locomitives seen for the first time, referred to as 'cops' by us locomotive spotters. The trip ran to time despite the usual autumn fogs in The Fens.
Travelling by coach for long periods is very boring. This was relieved by singing, joke telling, card games and quite often a game of Pub Cricket. Two teams were chosen, one bowling, one batting. The bowlers gained a wicket by spying a pub wirth a royal connection (e.g. The Crown). The runs were scored by seeing a pub name depicting legs (e.g. The Fox). A fox has 4 legs - 4 runs scored. When 10 wickets were taken, the innings was closed. There were many discussions about various names - The Prince Of Wales - definitely royal, but also has 2 legs. The Orb & Sceptre - 1 wicket or 2? What about Dukes, Earls, Lords etc. - royal or not? Hen & Chickens - the ruling was that a plural would count as 2 - hence 2 runs for Hen + 4 runs for 2 chickens. The Shoulder of Mutton - ??? I can't remember how the disputes were settled, but an agreement was always reached.
On one trip a few of us decided to make up new club rules. Amongst those discussed were; 1. Ties must be worn; 2. military style haircuts; 3. No jeans allowed; 4. Non-smokers not allowed - nobody allowed on the coach without cigarettes (Preferably a 20-pack); 5. Trespassing on BR property not allowed.
On a Grand Scottish trip our first overnight stay was Inverness. The coach was unable to proceed down one street because of badly parked cars. Several members left the coach and carried several cars out of the way. Later, a group met in a bedroom to form the ton-up club (see picture in Members Gallery). The weight of us exceeded one ton. Amongst those present were Adrian Eden, Evander Bramall, Malcolm Littler, Keith Dolby, Keith Stanley, Paul Hooton. Apologies to those whose name I never knew or have forgotten. Sadly, the bed did not survive the encounter!
Travelling through deepest Somerset, early one Sunday morning, we came across a milkman. The coach was stopped and many bottles of milk were bought. The poor milkman probably needed to return to the depot in order to complete his deliveries.
On the South West Easter trip the last visit was the Severn Valley at Bridgnorth. Tradition dictated that a dart game of "Killer" was played in the local pub. Players were allocated a number betweem 1 and 20 and given 3 lives. Each player threw 3 darts in turn. Each dart that landed in an oponent's number took a life. When 3 lives were lost, that player was out of the game. The winner was the person left with lives.
When asked about the NCTS experience, the much missed Van Bramall stated "ONE WORD - FUN".