We’re part way through National Camping and Caravanning Week now, and the first three legs of The Camping and Caravanning Club’s epic Cycle Challenge have been completed successfully. And with mixed weather these last couple of days, the team has most definitely relied on its support vehicles, an Esprit 484 and a Marquis Majestic 180 motorhome supplied by supporters Swift Group and Marquis Leisure.
“It’s been a tough few days, and we’ve got more hills to come, but it’s been a great experience,” one of the weary Club Challenge team told me, after successfully completing the Cambridge to Stamford leg on day two. “See you for a glass of wine at Scarborough on Friday!”The team set out on Monday 26 May from Wantage, in Oxfordshire, which is the site of the Club’s first meeting back in 1901. And the Club’s Facebook page shows they’ve completed the first three legs, as far as the Club’s Teversal site.
The plan is to complete a 420-mile route, with the aim of raising money for Sustrans. The team members are camping at Club sites along the way, and they’ll also take in parts of the gruelling Tour de France stage routes. Oh, and to make things even tougher, they’re riding in traditional tweed cycling outfits.
The Cycle Challenge team will also pass through Peterborough, Nottingham, Chatsworth Park in the Peak District, Glossop, Huddersfield and Keighley, before arriving at the final destination in Scarborough.
If National Camping and Caravanning Week (NCCW) is new to you, it’s an annual event run by The Camping and Caravanning Club. For 2014, the Club has focused on the ‘year of the bike’ – and of course cycling is a subject close to many motorcaravanners’ hearts, as the perfect means of exploring off site without having to run the gauntlet of finding nowhere to park your pride and joy in local villages. Events run from Monday 26 May to Sunday 1 June.
NCCW began in 2001, which was the Club’s centenary year. It aimed to set a world record for the most people camping and caravanning at one time, and after a successful first year the event has run each year since.For 2014, the Club’s NCCW idea is focused on cycling – after all, 2014 sees the Tour de France feature stages of its annual race in Yorkshire. And of course, the Club’s history is steeped in tent camping and cycling.
The Camping and Caravanning Club was founded in 1901, as the Association of Cycle Campers. Since then, it’s grown to cater for nearly 500,000 members, and welcomes all forms of camping, including caravans and motorhomes.
I’ll be camping at the Club’s site in Scarborough on Friday 30 May to see the Cycle Challenge team roll over the finish line, where they’ll be joined by Club President and TV presenter Julia Bradbury. The Club site at Scarborough will also feature old-style fairground games and a Punch and Judy show to entertain the whole family.
The Cycle Challenge, and the event with Julia Bradbury at the Scarborough Club site, is the main activity of the NCCW, but there are other events planned at the Club’s 109 sites and 16 Camping in the Forest Sites. You can find out more information on these at the Club’s dedicated website.For information on the route and the Club Challenge team, visit the Club’s challenge website. And be sure to follow the Club’s Cycle Challenge on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and look out for the hashtag #needfortweed.