Maggie & I set out at about 1pm on the Friday looking forward to a steady ride to the rally site.
All went OK until we approached the Catthorpe Interchange at the M1/M6/A14 junction. Where we came across a two mile tailback to leave the M6 to join the A14.
The M6 overheads said the A14 was closed from J23 to J27. Not knowing where the A14 J23 is I took the decision to follow the M1 & hook a left onto the M25.
We had not gone far down the M1 when the overheads announced that the eastbound slip onto the M25 had been closed.
The overheads were still giving the same message when we reached M1 J15 so I followed the diverted A14 traffic signs over to the east to join the A14 at what turned out to be J13.
I turned right onto the A14 & headed toward Cambridge. It was not long after this I realized that the A14 junctions are numbered from the M1.
J21 is where it passes under the A1. Even though it had been over an hour since we left the M6 there was still a dirty great queue from before J23. The traffic eased & by J26 it was running freely again. Apart from the M11 slowing down every now & again the rest of our trip was uneventful.
I only achieved an average of just over 30mph & we finally arrived at around 6pm. We booked in then put the tent up.The Mayflower have found a cracking site for the rally. There is a good flat well drained field for camping with a couple of large predominantly brick built buildings that house the bar & food hall.
The site also has 24 hour bogs plus a couple of Turdi in the centre of the camping area for that middle of the night express job.
The Scouts do sterling service, providing refreshments from breakfast until about midnight. The amount of equipment they bring in is really impressive. It even included a bank of UV insect killers.
The Mayflower also have the beer sorted. The barrel covers have internal piping. The piping is connected to a large cooler unit that keeps it just right.
Friday evening passed while the disco played at a level that allowed us to have a natter with people we had not seen for some time.
We had good weather on the Saturday when a number of of us took advantage of our bus passes & went into the nearby town. The tide was out which is a pity because the river looks nicer when it's full of water rather than large expanses of mud with just a narrow channel of dirty looking water.
The local carnival followed it's usual pattern. About three floats padded out with carnival queens & attendants from surrounding towns plus groups of young girls twirling batons.
Back to site on the bus for a very nice chicken curry that had obviously been freshly prepared.
The band. Blue Bark put out a very professional set of bluesy rock. I would not mind seeing them again.
Sometimes a problem with an outside bar & the fact that a lot of people arrived on Friday the drink lasted just as long as it needed to. But it was shorts only at the death. Graham Butler did say that they will order a couple more barrels next year.
Sunday morning & Maggie & I did not arise until about 8.30am. Quite a few people had packed up & left, possibly due to the forecast rain.
Down to the bar area for the awards. I made some notes of the award winners. I hope I wrote them down correctly.
They were :-
- George Ritchie from Scotland won the long distance male.
- Oil Alko from Finland won the overseas long distance male.
- Ninna Jukinen also from Finland won long distance female.
- The best bike was a FJR Yamaha.
- The worst was a BMW (Not Puker's.) The owner received a couple of lemons to go with the plaque.
- The tail of woe went to two chaps who had not checked their tickets properly before setting off. They traveled from Kent to Devon to find they had turned up at the wrong place. They had quite a trip before ending up in the right county. Perhaps they just did not want to visit Essex.
Graham Butler finished of the proceedings by calling the raffle in his own inimitable manner.
The Mayflower put a lot of effort into their events & as usual it was a well run & enjoyable rally.
Next years rally? We will be pre-booking early to avoid disappointment.
- Dave Cooper
The Pilgrim Rally this year took place at the same site in Essex as usual.
Friday night was spent sampling the ciders and Saturday saw us go to the local pub for a meal and to try one or two of the local real ales on offer.
Back to the site and the ciders were attacked again.
Saturday night saw a good live band as well as the disco.
The rally was up to its usual high standards.
- Dave Ranger