Saturday 30 October 2021

A Horror film for Halloween

For those of you with a sensitive constitution it may be best to avoid this tale. Personally, I got a helluva fright the other night. There I was just catching up on some YouTube video and I came across the British Rally Championship filmed report on the 2021 Beatson's Building Supplies Mull Rally.

The film started with an aerial view of dark white capped waves rolling on to a desolate beach with a voiceover that was eerily familiar. Various shots of bleak and grainy island landscapes followed before the camera revealed the face of the voiceover. It was Chris Paton. Chris was one of the first Scottish rally drivers to discover the Mull Rally in 1970 and it was he who set the scene.

Way back in 1969, the call came out across the land for Marshals to officiate on a brand new event, the first Tour of Mull Rally, organised by a motor club from Lancashire in the deep south. Heeding the call, a band of hardy stalwarts from Lanarkshire Car Club led by Stuart Clink and other experienced off-roaders and 4x4 recovery specialists set sail for this little known isle to offer their services. Services which were indeed required as the dangers were manifold.

They returned full of tales of high speed pursuits, treacherous terrain and heroic rescues from this uniquely challenging motor sports quest. There were no stretches of two-lane blacktop back then, just miles of very narrow roads twisting tortuously around the rocky island landscape. And there did brave souls battle with their mechanical steeds against the dark and scary elements which made up this adventure little knowing then that it would enter the annuls of motor sporting folklore.

But back to the film, after the initial shots of the lonely beach and deserted roads there came into view a rather hirsute figure. One which would rival the lurid tales of Tam O' Shanter's witches and Highland banshees, it was the first public sighting of a 'Jaggy'. Indeed it was the late Drew Gallacher who first coined the term 'Jaggy Bunnet' following a Hackle Rally in Blairgowrie, but to most folk this sighting appeared to be a figment of whisky fuelled imagination, but there it was, captured on celluloid for posterity.

The film maker was most likely another Lanarkshire CC member, the late Brian Wilson, who was part of that small band who made that first foray on to the island with his cine camera. No doubt the BRC videographers who used these images to open this filmed record of last month's rally didn't realise what he had unwittingly captured. A rare sighting of this fabled figure.

Far from being a fearsome figure, the Jaggy was indeed a most helpful and benign spirit with one of his kindly acts recorded unknowingly as he erected a 'White Horse Whisky' banner ahead of the rally on behalf of the organisers.

It was just a glimpse, but there it was, incontrovertible proof. No wonder I was shocked, my Big Pal captured on film, engaged in peaceful pursuits. Honest, this is a true tale, the camera doesn't lie, does it?

It's not a long film, but if you have the stomach for it, here it is:


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