I’ve just spent a very enjoyable day at the MIRA test track in Nuneaton, watching the exceptionally professional efforts of our Tow Car Editor David Motton and the tireless volunteers from The Camping and Caravanning Club as they go through the final stages of exhaustive testing, and exhausting judging, for this year’s Tow Car Awards.
But, such is the busy world of Practical Caravan, I’m sitting here not reflecting on the fantastic job they have done (which you’ll be able to read about in the August issue of the magazine, on sale on 18 June, as well as online at our dedicated Tow Car Awards website, but looking ahead to the next exciting event that’s just over the horizon: our annual Reader Rally.
It’s a long-weekend treat that takes place every early May bank holiday at Stowford Farm Meadows in Combe Martin, North Devon. Many of you will know about it already, of course, but it holds a very special place in my heart because last year’s event was my very first trip away in this great job. It was wonderful to be able to meet so many readers, and to find them all so welcoming and happy. It was also a sensational family getaway – I brought my wife and two daughters, and they’ll be back with me this year, having well and truly caught the bug.
For me, caravanning has always been about friends and families getting together to have a fantastic time, and our Reader Rally perfectly sums up that mentality. Whether you’re taking part in the ‘waggy tails’ dog show, competing in our impromptu ‘Olympics’ or quiz, scoffing a burger from the barbecue or simply sitting back and enjoying a cream tea (accompanied by a brass band) while the kids let off steam, the main thing is that you’re having fun, along with hundreds of other like-minded caravanners. Oh and, come rain or shine, you can always take shelter in the rally marquee and grab a tea or coffee served by a member of the Practical Caravan team!
I know that some of you feel that Devon is too far to travel to, and perhaps one day we’ll be able to add another rally to the calendar that will be more accessible to those in the north, but for now we’re sticking to a tried and trusted venue. And, of course, we couldn’t desert Stowford in the year that it marks the 50th anniversary of the family firm that still runs the site today. The fact that it’s a beautiful, full-facility campsite, with everything from an indoor pool to a pub and a chippie, and is a regular in our Top 100 Sites Guide, just adds to the appeal.
This year’s rally, held as ever in association with our sister magazine Practical Motorhome, takes place from 1-4 May and costs a bargain (we think!) £48 per pitch for all three nights, with Stowford also offering a reduced rate for further nights should you decide to stay a little longer. If you fancy snapping up one of the last places left, call now on 01271 882 476. I’ll see you there!
Caravanning is about friends and families getting together to have a fantastic time