The TT Pilgrimage Begins


It was the same routine but 3 years hence. Alarm set for 4am and out the door and into the car a quarter to five. It was the start of the trek to the Isle of Man for this year's TT. The boat, Manannan, wasn't due to sail until 11:30 am but one can never trust the M6!! The drive up was uneventful, just the normal crawl passed Birmingham.


The entrance from the Dock Road to the where the Steam Packet check-in desk is situated had changed and had been upgraded, although there was minimal signage as to where to go. We arrived at a quarter past nine and we were by no means the first in the queue which built up rapidly as we got near to boarding time.

The scene at Liverpool

In days of yore this sailing would have been full of hockey players going over for the Whitsun Hockey Festival. Sadly this no longer takes place. There were always plenty of hockey players watching the first TT practice after they had finished playing at the Bowl. There were still plenty of foot passengers to complement the mass of motorbikes and cars.


The lure of the TT brings bikers from far and wide, waiting to get on the ferry were bikers from Austria, Germany, France, Italy and Spain as well as from the UK. The TT wouldn’t be the same without the influx of the continental bikers.


True to form, and nothing changed, Manannan departure was delayed due to the volume of traffic. It never ceases to amuse me that the Steam Packet cannot load and tie up the bikes, cars and lorries in the allotted time. The boat was full but not crammed as has been the case sometimes. To be fair, the Captain made up the time on the journey and we arrived in Douglas on time. 

Manannan's bike deck

It was the normal chaos trying to exit from the port onto the road and then onto the promenade. We had no trouble negotiating the infamous ‘roundells’ at Greensills Corner and the bottom of Broadway. The ‘roundells’ are not roundabouts nor are they a straight road, it is first come, first served when one arrives at them.


We stopped off at the Grandstand where there was a lot of activity by local tradesmen finishing off bits and pieces. It was also a chance to have a look at the temporary Scoreboard, in use for this year’s TT…….. I will reserve judgement.

TT Scoreboard


I collected my marshal’s pack from the Teepee, unusually there wasn’t a queue and I was the only one there at that time. The paddock was full and the teams were already working on their bikes for Sunday’s first qualifying session. Yes it is now called qualifying and no longer practice!! I think this puts more pressure on the riders to post a time rather than building up gradually throughout the week. Time will tell.

Peter Hickman's awning


Mike Hammonds