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Cotswold Wildlife Park
Weekend Event 21sy May
Owners Club Spring Rally
We were promised a day out at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford where we could view the “full range of animals”. As it eventually turned out the “full range” were not quite all on show !

The days leading up to the Rally were very wet and the weather forecast for the actual weekend was not good either, making those of us planning to camp on the Saturday night a little bit nervous, especially those members for whom this was their first camping trip. Despite the threat of rain a convoy of 13 5’s left the Eastern Region on the Saturday morning with roofs down and took the pretty way to the Cotswolds.

Apart from a short shower it ended up reasonably dry for the whole journey, finally all arriving at the campsite at Hardwick Park mid afternoon. Much head scratching then took place to find the best spot to pitch camp as there were already quite a number of OC members tents there. However with the decision made we got the tents and the official ER HMF gazebo erected, all in the dry, but with a keen wind blowing. A few less hardy (but more sensible) members then headed off for their nice comfy, heated, dry, hotels whilst the rest of us got organised to do some shopping for the evening BBQ. The shopping nearly ended in disaster when we discovered that all the cars we had brought on the trip were still full of camping stuff with no room for the BBQ’s and burgers etc. Fortunately some very creative packing saved the day and we set off back to the camp site. This was the first ever Eastern Region Spring Rally BBQ without Darren W in attendance and as a result we struggled to get them things to light and to make any heat! (Should have bought Tesco’s ones apparently!) So whilst all the other campers were tucking into their grub we were still desperately trying to get something / anything to look edible. We however got their in the end and all ate well with “new boy” Les doing sterling work with the hot coals. The evening went well and as is our usual aim the Eastern Region were the last too bed again!

After a few showers in the night we were grateful to see some sunshine in the morning. However this was very short lived and almost as soon as we got everything packed away the rain started again. We left in convoy for the rally site a few miles away in the pouring rain and on arrival it was still raining. The Eastern Region ranks were swelled at the Rally site by more members down just for the day and I believe we eventually had at least 19 cars in attendance. Not a bad turn out considering the weather which continued to be wet for the remainder of the day. The actual Cotswold Wildlife Park appeared to very a very nice venue but in the rain maybe not so good. So wet was it that the promised “full range of animals” were in many cases, far more sensible than most of us, staying out of site, inside, in the dry!

As with all National Owners Club events the chance to meet up with old friends, make a few new ones and check out a few more 5’s is always worth the trip, no matter what the weather does. And this must be true for quite a lot of the club's members as in total some 401 5’s were checked into the site which I understand is a record for a spring rally. Could have been even better with a bit of sunshine. Several of the planned activities got rained off but the Best Kept 5 competition still went. This was won by Eastern Region member Steve Hider who now has another trophy for his cabinet. Congratulation again to Steve, check out the photos for a picture of Steve’s engine bay and the trophy and see if you can decide which is shiniest.

The usual slightly chaotic but entertaining Eastern Region homeward convoy (wet all the way) saw the end to the Spring Rally 2006. Certainly not a wash out as we still enjoyed it but I for one was still getting various bits of camping kit etc dry a week later. Lets hope for better weather for the National in September.

Martin Curtis

Cotswolds Camp Site Sunset

Spot the trophy!

Martin's Photo Album and Mark Fulgoni's Album.

Many thanks to the contributors of the above photographs.

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