And so the day arrived. GCT 113 would be attending her first bus rally in private ownership. This would also be the first rally for a shade over a year, since Showbus in 2016 was the last occasion she was rallied by Stagecoach.
With fine weather forecast, I knew there would be no issue with soggy seat vinyl on the upper deck and no need to use the plethora of umbrellas left in the bus by Stagecoach. It was fine and dry and the bus made good time heading to Bourne, where she would be attending the Delaine Heritage Trust Running Day. While this isn't the first running day organised the Delaine-Smith family, it is the first one since the Delaine Heritage Trust was set up in December 2015, and having assumed the responsibility for preserving and maintaining the history of Delaine Buses, it would be the Trust that would ultimately be putting on today's event.
We arrived at 1020 and a recently modified fuel bay meant buses could now drive through it and into the extended area to the rear of the site. Recently preserved ex-GCT Leyland Tiger/Alexander P, 30 (E930 PBE) was visiting and was already parked up and space was made for GCT 113 to park alongside it, recreating times past in quite an unusual location.
In a bizarre twist of fate, while opening the cab window in order to stick my head out to ensure the reverse move was undertaken flawlessly, it resulted in the cab window smashing into a million pieces and me being left with the grey metal slider between my fingers. How frustrating! Yet the preservation fraternity soon rallied and I had ordered a new side glass before leaving that afternoon. In fact the most frustrating part of the episode was the time taken to clear up the shards of glass from the cab floor.
Due to the set-up of the running day, with buses every 30 minutes between Bourne and Stamford and an hourly tour of a route to the north utilising a privately-owned preserved Delaine Bus, the true numbers attending couldn't accurately be calculated, nor was everyone at the depot at the same time. In many ways this was a good thing since it enabled photography to be undertaken with relative ease.
With a number of other preserved buses and coaches attending (in addition to the GCT contingent!) there was a genuine rally feel to the day and save the cab window misdemeanour, it was a great start to GCT 113's life in private preservation. I'm fairly confident GCT 113 hasn't been parked so closely with ex-Viscount, Northern, Eastern National and Western National vehicles before.