Trinny’s 1st Festival (& ours!)
Way back in April I spotted a post on one of motorhome groups offering free tickets to the Nedwood Festival in Leicestershire. Embarrassingly neither of us have ever ventured to a festival. Although I periodically mumble about wanting to go to Glastonbury, it’s just something we have never got round to actually arranging. Unusually we didn’t have any weddings booked for the August bank holiday so signed for tickets.
At the time we imagined a leisurely drive up to Leicester for a weekend of music and dancing in the summer sun. Well, we all know that things don’t always go to plan! I have recently picked up a temp job, which is great for the travelling fund, but meant that we departed from Kent in rush hour on Friday on bank holiday weekend – not a good combo! To be fair once we had got past the nightmare congestion that permanently surrounds the Dartford Tunnel (even though nobody has to stop at toll booths now) the roads were reasonably clear.
We arrived around 9 pm. The second thing we hadn’t originally imagined was me being on crutches having dislocated my ankle slipping off the motorhome step a few weeks ago (what a klutz?!). The festival organisers helpfully offered to let us park in the staff/glamping area which was less of a hobble to the main arena. The third thing, which we hadn’t factored in, although being a festival we probably should have, was the weather. After weeks of scorching hot, dry weather the forecast for the next few days is at least 10c colder than of late with heavy rain due on Sunday. A wet muddy field on crutches is a recipe for disaster so it may just be a one day festival for us!
On arrival, there didn’t seem to be a lot of activity, it turned out that due to the heavy rain that had been falling for the last couple hours there was was problems with the sound equipment so no live music today. We weren’t too bothered as a glass of something and our bed seemed most welcome. We rose to the sun and blue skies Saturday morning, although still rather chilly compared to the last few weeks. We enjoyed a leisurely start and hobbled up to the main area just after midday – still not a lot going on we returned to Trinny. We sat out enjoying a beer in sun chatting with our temporary neighbour.
By early afternoon things finally seemed to get going. We spent the day enjoying the sunshine and being entertained by a wide range of singers and bands. Although the T&Cs stated that no drink could be brought into the arena I’m afraid we disregarded this after finding that the bar consisted of a tent offering only cheap wine or warm Carling at an eye-watering £3.50 per can. Late evening after listening to Skadust we headed back to Trinny.
As predicted the heavy rain returned on Sunday. We were quite happy to have a PJ day but didn’t relish the prospect of having to be towed out of the bottom of water laden field so headed off. All the CL sites offered by the Camping & Caravan Club nearby seemed to be grass pitches and most probably would have been fully booked as it was a Bank Holiday Weekend. We headed to one of the carparks at Rutland water, however, although it was almost empty due the inclement weather it was only possible to stay until 8 pm.
After a little research, we headed to a country park near Peterborough. It appeared to a nice spot overlooking a small pond, perfect we thought. However all through the afternoon late into the evening, there was a lot of dubious coming and goings. Neither of us felt that it was a place we wanted to sleep over at so at 11 pm we were on the road again looking for a suitable place for the night. After checking out a couple of spots suggested on the Park4Night app and Search For Sites which weren’t suitable we settled down for the night in a large carpark in Saffron Walden, Essex. At one of the spots, we were even verbally abused by an irate man who informed us in no uncertain terms he “was fed up of us lot!” and refused to calm down even after we tried to explain to him we didn’t intend to stay there and were looking for a more suitable place to go. After spending 6 months travelling around Spain, Portugal and France and on the whole easily finding places to stop, this experience has certainly brought us home to us how unwelcome motorhomes are in England.
We spent an undisturbed night and woke to the return of sunny skies. We decided that we would make the most of our unplanned stop and explore Saffron Walden. We were pleasantly surprised. We visited the 11C castle ruins and St Mary The Virgin Church, the largest church in Essex. The overall length of the church is 183 ft and it boasts a 193 ft spire. After a bit of shopping (fortunately for Mr B only a handful of shops were open as it was bank holiday) and a spot of lunch, we headed back to our seasonal pitch in Kent.
Well, our first festival experience wasn’t quite what we had imagined, nevertheless, we still enjoyed our mini trip and visited places we probably would never have planned to visit.