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Dubs at the Castle, Caldicot Castle

The schools were about to break up for summer which provided an excellent opportunity to get away for a few days and the timing was right for us to head into South Wales to attend Dubs at the Castle.

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Welcome to Wales!

A VW event AND a thousand year old castle and grounds, what could be better!

We hit the road at around 4.30pm and headed west. We normally avoid motorways in favour of ‘A’ roads and open countryside, but in this case the M4 was the most direct route so off we went. We crossed the Severn Bridge at 6.30 – a real experience on a windy day! – arrived at Caldicot Castle shortly after 7pm and began hunting for a decent camping spot.

The weather forecast for the weekend was warm and sunny so the site was already very busy, but we eventually found a secluded spot in one of the fields behind the castle and set up for the evening.

View from the battlements!

View from the battlements!

As the light began to fade we went for a wander around the ‘entertainment’ field where the bar and music marquees were in full flow. There were a few rides for the kids, bumper cars etc, and some food stalls which provided an easy solution for dinner!

The morning brought us a clear blue sky and sunshine, a rare occurrence so far in 2012, so we sorted out breakfast and went off to explore the ‘display’ field. There was a good selection of show and shine vehicles to look at and plenty of VW related accessory stalls along with one or two activities, aimed mainly at children.

Entrance to the show included free entrance into the castle, which is where we had lunch, then we spent the afternoon exploring the ruins and following the history trail.

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SUN canopy!

The bright sunshine stayed with us all day, so for once we could use our sun canopy for its intended purpose rather than as a rain shelter and for the first time this year we could use our portable BBQ. With our evening meal all sorted we added a crackle log which provided a small amount of heat on a chilly evening, but more importantly, kept the mosquitos and other bugs away as we sat out enjoying a relaxing evening drink.

There is rarely an electric hookup (EHU) at these events, so on this occasion we had also brought our new portable generator which we wanted to fully test. We set it up behind our van and ran it for approx 30 mins to give our leisure battery a helpful boost, and while it was a bit loud, it did what was needed and will be very useful when ‘wild camping’ in the future. (There are quieter generators available, but these tend to be quite expensive)

The great weather continued on the Sunday morning so we had a leisurely breakfast then packed up and relocated to the car park near the exit so we could have another wonder around the show.

All done and we headed East once again with some picnic provisions to be used at the inaugural Brazilian VW Bay Southern meet at Barbury Castle in Wiltshire. We spent the afternoon here chatting to some other Brazi Bay owners and flying kites before wending our way the rest of the way back to Reading.

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Twins?

Dubs at the Castle is a small but well attended event with lots to do and see, especially for the kids, due in no small part to the castle access included in the ticket price. An event for a slightly younger audience with a large number of newer T25, T4 and T5 campers and not so many T2s (splits or bays) compared to other shows. As far as we know, Tallulah was the only Brazilian Bay that attended and attracted lots of attention, points and stares as she was newer than the majority of campers there!

It was great to meet up with some of the Southern Brazi Bay crew on the Sunday too, and the weather was excellent throughout.

A great weekend all round!

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Zoom in to see Tallulah!

Dubs in the Forest, New Park Manor, Hampshire

Dubs in the Forest was the first VW event we were due to attend this year, an event organised by the New Forest Dub Club and held in at the New Forest Showground at New Park near Brockenhurst.

We made good time heading South, arriving at the site at around 6pm and found ourselves a quiet corner suitable for us and the two other Brazilian campers who would arrive a little later.

Preparing supper in the sun!

Despite the wet weather that had been forecast – we’d dodged a few showers on the way – the evening turned out to be dry and bright although the clear sky did mean we were in for a chilly night. The other campers arrived and the field slowly filled, and we sat around a picnic table chatting and enjoying the sounds from the entertainment marque at the other end of the field.

Saturday morning started well with our normal breakfast and tidy up routine, but rain soon arrived so we donned our waterproofs and went off to investigate the trade stands and displays.

Dubs in the Forest is a relatively small show, although it gets bigger each year, so there were only a few trade stands to look at. That said, there was a good selection and several we’d not seen before, so great to have a good look at everything they offered.

There were a few displays and activities organised, and although the weather was trying hard to interrupt things, everything went as planned and those who braved the conditions (including us!) enjoyed them.

We treated ourselves to fresh baked pizza for lunch, thanks to the Great British Pizza Company then headed back to our campers to catch up with a few other Brazilian camper owners who had come along as day visitors for a visit.

The weather continued to worsen into the evening, but there was a great band playing in the entertainment marque and a supply of good beer from the bar so everyone continued to have a good time.

Packing up in the rain

On Sunday morning it was obvious just how much rain had fallen over night and several of the campers (mostly T4 and T5s!) struggled to get out of the field. A few needed ‘extra’ help and one or two needed to be pulled out with a 4×4. I’m pleased to say that all the Brazilian campers made it out of the field without any problem although they would all need a good clean to remove splattered mud!

Once packed up we joined the cruise through the New Forest to Lepe beach, the route had to be altered due to local flooding and only half of the car park at Lepe was available for the same reason, but lots of people stopped to look at the convoy and once again everyone had a great time.

Looking forward to Dubs in the Forest 2013 and hoping for better weather!