New to Rallying? Do you own a motor home? Does it spend too much time on your driveway or in the storage compound? Do you wish you could get anyway more often? Do you always stay on commercial caravan sites and find them too expensive? Do you wish there was a cheaper alternative where you didn’t have to travel too far?
If the answer to all these questions (or some of them at least!) is “yes”, then why not come and join Kent Group MCC at one of our rallies.
If you are new to motorhome rallying, or have never tried it, you probably have lots of questions. So I have put together some information and some tips on how to prepare for your weekend.
What is a rally? Rest assured. It doesn’t involve a stop watch and muddy forest tracks! It is a gathering of MCC Members who enjoy weekends away with fun and friendship thrown in for good measure. Use your motor home all year round in lovely surroundings at reasonable prices. You can enjoy a natter, have a laugh and perhaps a drink or two - a real opportunity to make new friends and visit new places.
Who goes on rallies? People like you. There is a complete mixture of people ranging from families with young children, families with teenagers, people without children, people whose children are grown up, retired people, people on their own, people with their dogs (and cats and budgies and hamsters!). One thing all these people have in common is enjoying the freedom offered by a motorhome.
Where are these rallies held? The Club holds rallies throughout the UK, and sometimes in Europe too. The Club have various Groups that are roughly based on counties or significant areas of the UK. The good news is that as long as you are a Club member you can visit any rally at any Group. You do not need to join another section of the Club or District. For us, (being the Kent Group) most of our rallies are held in the County of Kent.
What is the rally field like? Typically, winter rallies are held at schools where we can use school buildings (halls/classrooms) in the evening for social gatherings. They also have lots of hardstanding/playgrounds where we can park. In the warmer months, when the ground is firmer and we can park on grass without getting stuck, we have a choice of venues from airfields, country houses, campsites and schools. Some of the sites are in or close to towns and villages whereas others maybe some distance from shops so it is also best to pack your van with fresh food/drink accordingly.
Are there fresh water/toilet emptying points etc? Yes. There will always be somewhere where you can get fresh water. But, we strongly advise you carry a fresh water container as we cannot guarantee you will be able to get your van close enough to the tap to fill up with a hose. Personally, I prefer to fill up before I leave home and top up if necessary.
There is always a toilet emptying point at each site. Typically these will just be a manhole somewhere so you’ll need a separate water container to rinse through (DO NOT use your fresh water container or the tap for obvious reasons!)
Waste water can be disposed quite easily either by a bucket down a suitable drain or away from the motorhomes around a tree or bush. Don’t let it drip on the ground as this will smell and will be obvious when you are parked on a playground!
Is there electric hook up? Rarely. Modern motorhomes can survive quite easily on their own internal 12v batteries but I would advise that you fully charge them before arriving on site. If the rally is being held on a campsite and there is hook up available we will let you know. It is best practice therefore to always assume that there are no electric points available.
What goes on at a rally? Lots! Generally, the day time is available to spend at your leisure although sometimes optional activities are available (such as fishing, walks, cycling, wine/beer tasting, organised meals, trips). You can take part in as much or as little as you wish - there is no pressure to join in anything or everything. A competition or quiz is often provided for you to work on over the weekend. On the Saturday evening a social event, sometimes with food provided, is often arranged. Again, attendance is entirely optional but the social can be the highlight of the weekend. You never quite know what to expect - but you can guarantee an enjoyable (if sometimes unusual) evening. We usually have a coffee morning at least once (usually Sunday). This gives the Chairman a chance to talk about forthcoming rallies, thank the hosts, draw the raffle and announce any competition winners.
What are Hosts? Host are volunteers, members of the Group, who put themselves forward to organise the weekend. The venue has been arranged by the Committee but it is the Hosts who decide what happens. Everyone has a different idea of what they want from their weekend which makes it all the more interesting for the rest of us. We never know what to expect.
The Group survives on its volunteers. The Committee have volunteered their time to ensure that the Group’s admin is covered off but we strongly urge and encourage all members to get involved. It doesn’t have to be much – perhaps make some coffee, arrange a quiz, help put out the signs or help put up the marquee. We usually find that the more you get involved the more you will enjoy it.
How much does it cost? This is the great thing about rallying. Prices obviously vary depending on the venue but some rallies can be less than £10 per night. Other venues may be more expensive, for example, if we have hired a hall for the weekend, arranged professional entertainment or perhaps laid on some food. Typically the total weekend cost for a unit will be around £25-£35 for two nights. Bank Holiday Weekend and special weekends may be more. We try to publish the price on our internet site/Facebook page beforehand so there’s no surprises.
How many people attend a rally? This can vary greatly from rally to rally. Some rallies are small with less than ten motorhomes attending. Others, especially those near a popular event, attract over 30 units. At the top of the scale is Club’s National where hundreds of units will attend.
Do I need to book? Usually, no. There great thing about our rallies is that you can simply turn up, either when the rally starts (usually Friday evening) or during the rally (perhaps on the Saturday). I say “usually” because there are some occasions where we need to know numbers beforehand where perhaps space is limited or we may be arranging a special event or meal. In this case we will make it known that you need to book.
What if I have more questions that you haven’t answered here? Send me an email via our website or post the question on our Facebook page. You will always get an answer.
I’m nervous. I’m not sure if this is for me! That’s understandable. You probably feel that you will be an outsider surrounded by an exclusive group of people. Rest assured, you will be warmly welcomed at any of our rallies, but, if you want to give it a try why not just pop along for a visit first and meet some of us. We are quite normal. (well, most of us!)
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