Rory WhiteSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Rory White
Another nail-biting few hours resulted in success last October; we’d logged on to the Glastonbury ticket website with no fewer than nine (yes, nine!) devices and come away with another five passes to the world’s greatest music festival.
As the months passed, we discussed the possibility of sleeping under canvas for the duration. ‘Doing it properly’ if you will. But with another very kind offer of Practical Motorhome’s Bailey Approach Advance 665 on the cards, the memories of last year’s warm showers and dry, comfortable sleep meant it didn’t take long for our party to change allegiance. The motorhome it was, then, and thank goodness we did, because this year’s Glasto turned out to be one of the wettest in its history.
The issues started as soon as we turned right off the A303 and made our way north on the A37, where the traffic ground to a halt some eight or so miles from our pitch. For the next six hours we inched towards our field, only to be told that it had been closed as the conditions inside worsened. Desperate by this stage, we noticed a sprawling country house tucked away down a side lane just a few hundred metres from the road block, and as luck would have it, the owner was just pulling in. Some persuasion – and a large bar of chocolate – later, we were cooking our pasta before bedding down on the kind owner’s driveway.
But after just a couple of hours of sleep we were up again, determined to reach our final destination, although it soon became clear how bad things were. Another two and a half hours of queuing later, and some 21 hours after leaving London, we were finally at the field entrance. ‘Fit your towing eye please’ was the call from a chap in high-vis, ‘we’re dragging you in’. And sure enough, tractors were towing in the thousands of motorhomes one-by-one across the churned fields. No wonder it had taken so long to get everybody on site.
It was carnage inside, with cars, caravans and motorhomes dragged into position and left with mud halfway up their wheels in some cases. Thankfully our own pitch was relatively dry and using the ’van’s levelling ramps at its front wheels removed much of the pitch’s slope, too.
It’s easy to stay upbeat knowing you’ve got four days of Glastonbury ahead of you, though, and it wasn’t long before we’d forgotten the whole ordeal. Even the discovery that the Bailey’s leisure battery had given up the ghost didn’t dampen spirits. Quite something, given there were three ladies expecting warm showers each morning now resigned to an icy-cold morning wake-up call.
With a couple of tents erected outside for three, a couple of us enjoyed the 665’s large, comfy rear double, while we left the spacious side dinette area in place for breakfasts and mid-afternoon meals. As it had the previous year, the Bailey proved superb at catering for a large party, its oven large and hot enough to cook a good amount of food in next to no time, its hob providing the all-important tea and coffee at a similar rate, and its overhead lockers offering ample space for food, drink and possessions for five.
The Bailey’s surprisingly fine stereo system helped to keep everybody in the Glasto mood, too. Given it’s a standard Peugeot van unit, it linked up with our smartphones via USB without any problem, its speakers providing hours of good sound.
And after four days of trudging miles through deep mud and getting next to no sleep, we were all glad of the Bailey’s comfort on the drive back – which, of course, involved another long traffic jam. All the travel seats provide good comfort and the Peugeot’s fairly slick gearbox and punchy diesel engine mean it is never particularly taxing to drive, even fully-loaded. We were impressed that it returned nearly 30mpg with us and our possessions on our journey, too.
In fact, we came away from another year at Glastonbury in the Bailey Approach Advance 665 extremely happy indeed, glad not only for the warm and dry it provided, but also for how easy it was to drive, set-up and spend time in. That there were smiles on the faces of those who stayed in it at last year’s festival upon telling them we had it again, I think, tells you all you need to know.