Having had the ticket for what seems forever and having recently added a Thursday VIP ticket I embarked on a four day excursion to the Adventure Bike Rider Festival at Ragley Hall. Ok, so it wasn’t life or death survival but it was my first camping experience outside of the back garden. I lasted two and a half days and came home on the Saturday afternoon.
An early departure
I felt a bit guilty bailing early from ABR but my travelling companion had had enough of camping and was adamant he was not going to chance packing all the gear in the rain. I had flashback to a child where I was so shy I couldn’t enter a birthday party but when brought home I was inconsolably upset because I felt I was missing out. They took me back three times but I couldn’t go in. I sat at home on the Saturday night thinking of all the things I was missing out on.
Anyway, I did enjoy the festival once you removed queues for food, bars and the toilet.
If it would just stop raining!
The weather was also cruel in a few ways. There was a period in the afternoons where the clouds parted and it was like a warm and sunny June day. But the drizzle would start in the early evening building to very heavy rain that would continue until the following morning. It made camping hard and it made many avoid the trails as they were sometimes sketchy. The jobsworth security didn’t help, certainly in the Friday morning as they were denying us entry to the festival marquee until 8:30 even though we had no other shelter other that to sit alone in our tents.
While my mate will never accompany me when camping is involved I will do it again. I hated it at first but it was because I had a few things wrong. I’ve never camped so my decisions were made on advise, research and price. I didn’t want to spend too much in case I never used it again. The bad experiences in camping were also amplified by the bad weather. The bit that went well was on the brewing front though that had had previous use.
What would I change? Well, my mattress was crap until it popped and then it was crap and useless. I sleep like a crocodile so I sometimes woke up in a predicament that Houdini would struggle with in this mummy bag. I needed to stand up so my tent was useless. It had no covered area so I couldn’t sit and brew in shelter. This also meant that as soon as I zipped open the front flap it was like being dunked with a bucket of water on Tizwas.
My mate will not go again so the final point can be fixed. He’s not a drinker and likes an early night. I should have let him just go off to his tent without me bunking down to. This would have allowed me (bar queues permitting) to have got enough beer in me to see me though the night without being kept awake by other campers talking loudly to the early hours.
Then again, much beer and old age means night time requirements…. I’ll leave it there.
Edit: For those readers who are perhaps still wondering what an ABR Festival is…