Highlands & Islands

Riders take part in 20th Thunder in the Glens in Aviemore

Thunder in the Glen Image copyright Paul Campbell

Bikers have been taking part in one of Europe's largest annual gatherings of Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts in the Highlands.

More than 2,500 riders snaked through the glens around Aviemore on Saturday, on day two of the three-day Thunder in the Glens event.

When it first started, the gathering involved about 200 riders.

The event is hosted by Edinburgh's Dunedin Chapter of Harley-Davidson owners.

Image copyright Paul Campbell
Image copyright Paul Campbell
Image copyright Paul Campbell

The chapter's George McGuire told BBC Radio Scotland that the riders, many of whom live in cities, enjoyed the "freedom" of the Highlands' "open, twisty roads".

He said the riders were welcomed by the community in Aviemore.

Making reference to the 1953 outlaw biker gang film The Wild One, Mr McGuire said: "I'm sure in the beginning the local residents would have thought 'we have got Marlon Brando and his crew coming into town to wreck the place'.

"In reality, when they saw it happen, they saw we were here for a good time, to share that good time, and not to close it off and keep it to ourselves."

Image copyright Paul Campbell
Image copyright Paul Campbell
Image copyright Paul Campbell
Image copyright Paul Campbell

Businesses in Aviemore said the annual gathering was important to the local economy.

Samantha Faircliff, of Cairngorms Brewery, which produces a beer specially for the occasion, said thousands of people come to the village to see the bikers.

Aviemore businessman Alex Burns-Smith said when locals heard of plans for the first Thunder in the Glens there were some concerns it would involve "headcases on motorbikes".

He said these worries were dispelled after the first event when villagers found that the bikers were "incredibly well behaved" and were contributing to the local economy.

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