Booked out since early summer, this year’s Thunder in the Glens is sending thousands of Harley-Davidson owners from around the world into the strath for a long weekend – and organisers are asking them all to ‘cut some slack’ with local hospitality staff.
After the long Covid break, biker Bob Laidlaw posted to fellow rally-goers ahead of their arrival: “Looking forward to being back. Just one big favour to ask all attending, be it all weekend or just a day trip – please be patient as Aviemore town is having serious staff recruitment issues, so it may take a wee bit longer to get served or get a table.
“Trust me they all love to see us back and will do their very best to welcome you and look after you, just cut them some slack. Thanks.”
Mr Laidlaw explained his plea to the Strathy: “I just want everyone to enjoy it and understand the situation.”
Local concerns were aired by Aviemore man Ian Chadburn as he prepared to join others in welcoming back the bikers.
He said: “It’s good news and bad news. It’s great that this cherished group are coming back but Aviemore cannot cope with the huge crowds, leading to queues at the very few establishments in the village.
“And visitors already booked to stay in the area will leave with the wrong impression, especially when there is no funicular to go on…”
But the man at the heart of it all, George ‘Mad Dog’ McGuire of the Dunedin chapter, a veteran of countless rallies over the years, had no fears.
He told the Strathy: “We’re looking forward to a fantastic return and we’ll see the biggest ride-out ever on Saturday afternoon. There’s a packed programme lined up and we just can’t wait.
“I would certainly endorse Bob’s request for patience from everyone. They’ll all get served but with the way things are in the hospitality business at the moment in Badenoch and Strathspey we will all have to wait our turn.
“All in all, though, things are looking great for our long-awaited return to the strath.”