Departure day dawned, with some sun and happily no rain. The organised – or holiday rich – stayed at Bisley overnight and sauntered over to the Surrey Hut for the prescribed 10am kick off for team packing. The rest of us, having negotiated the normal morning traffic delays, arrived flustered and apologetic during the course of the morning.
Matt Millar, undertaking the onerous task of team baggage master, excelled, so much so that order was imposed on the baggage mountain in what seemed to be record time and a relaxed team was able to enjoy lunch at the North London Rifle Club, along with the Under 25 team who are travelling out with us.
The Captain took the opportunity to present the team with our tour badges, and, importantly, our new GB cap, Paul Lanigan, with his GB badge and colours (resulting in some nifty needlework by the latter).
Somewhat to our surprise, the luggage did all fit into the coach! We said goodbye to Robert Stafford, captain of the famous 1993 GB team to South Africa, who had kindly come to wave us off. And the captain presented Matt with the team radiator award for part 1 of his role.
An hour later we arrived at Heathrow and our luck deserted us. A slow check in was compounded by delays in getting the rifles screened. An anxious team waited airside by the Customs desk to clear the rifles and then tape the boxes to protect therm in transit. Perhaps for the first time ever we welcomed an hour’s delay being posted for our flight!
Finally, all was sorted out and we processed to the plane, ready for supper and the overnight flight to Johannesburg.
South Africa here we come!