Something was not quite right.
We had sun, There was no Rain
It was warm, There was no mud
No cars had to be towed off site.
This year made up for all of the wet and cold Easter Rallies we have had for the passed few years. Well it was the end of April; we have had our rallies in March and the beginning of April for a while. I had predicted that we would only have had a few visitors to this rally, especially with the price of fuel being what it is. I was proven wrong (and glad to be at that) as we had 57 units camping at Wetherby. The weather was glorious over the whole weekend, though it did tend to get a bit chilly at night. We had Reliant Owners Club members join us from branches around the country; these were augmented with guests from the Micro-Maniac club, the Reliant Kitten Register and the R3W internet forum.
As this was our first visit to Wetherby we were not sure what to expect, the hall was fairly well equipped, though it did lack a fridge. There are no electric hook-ups for caravans or tents (I understand that the electric hook-ups at Ripon have now been removed) there was another group of people from one of the big camping clubs on a different area of the racecourse, and in another area there was car boot sales on Sunday and Monday morning so there was plenty to do without going far from site.
The site was a bit uneven in places, but plenty of space so there were no big problems in getting a level pitch. The hall has a very different layout to Ripon, and it had heating! Not that this was needed until late at night. The hall does have a concrete floor with no carpeting, and with the corrugated roof and its supports in view, (Ripon used to be like this until about ten years ago), it could feel cold and damp if the weather was a lot worse.
Downsides for Wetherby included not having any showers or hot water, and the toilets were in port-a-cabins away from the hall. This meant having to walk down an unlit passageway between buildings, and one of our members was very unfortunate and tripped over a step, and ended up with a black eye and grazed face. Thankfully Terry took this on the chin (literally) and it did improve his looks for a few days!
Wetherby is within walking distance, but most who did venture into Wetherby went by car. On Friday we did get some excellent Fish and Chips from the Wetherby Whaler fish and chip shop.
Our trip down on the Friday morning was uneventful; we came down the A19 and missed the bank holiday bottleneck at Scotch Corner. Once we got set up I never left the race course, I was able to take the dogs for some long walks within the perimeter of the race course. The catering was excellent as usual, with Hot Dogs or Hot Beef sandwiches on Friday evening, a 50th celebration buffet for all on Saturday, the anniversary cakes and some music from the sixties provided by Richard Bell. Sunday there was a Hot Broth prepared by Rachel.
On Saturday we had our fancy dress competition for the era; most of us who took part in this appeared as Hippies! Trevor had a moustache and a wig; he could have been auditioning for a part in a series of well known TV adverts for directory enquires. This all added to the fun of the weekend along with all of our usual activities.
Sunday night we had some Chinese lanterns, 50 of these were sent up into the night sky as part of our 50th anniversary, I can’t imagine what the drivers on the nearby motorway thought of these strange objects floating to the North West!
Monday was again a bright warm sunny day, and it was soon time to head home. It had been a great pleasure to have been actively involved in the North East branch rallies, from our first Easter Camping weekend at Newsham, off the A66 between Scotch Corner and Bernard Castle, and seeing the rally evolve to being one of the biggest attended rallies in the Reliant Owners Club calendar. This success could not have been achieved without the determination, commitment and encouragement of Elsie Gibson, Ruth and Trevor Lewins and their family & Joan Dodds all who have been involved with the club for many more years than Christinne and my 19 years as members.
I must not forget that there are many other members, past and present, who have given their time, their skills and commitment to making this rally the success it has become. As with all rallies, members of other branches and guests also pitch in and help with some tasks, whether helping with the catering, selling raffle and bingo tickets or even helping to clean up at the end of the rally.
Thank you to you all, and hoping for many more successful years of our Easter Rallies.
At least, we can now relax and let other branches get on with organising their rallies, until it is our turn again next Easter.
Report written by Peter Hayton