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Monday, 23 July 2012

Sustrans Festivol 2012

Festivol 2012 was held last weekend in Nottinghamshire at the Walesby Campsite, which is between Ollerton and Retford, a few miles from Clumber Park, and amidst some great off- road cycling countryside.
About 100 Sustrans Rangers came from far and wide (Inverness/Canterbury/Cornwall/Penrith/Wales, and even a couple of guys from Derby) to enjoy a great fun weekend, joining together for organised cycle rides to various local beauty spots and to participate in many other acivities.
The hard working Sustrans staff came up from Bristol in a hired van bringing all the necessary kit, and Rangers came by train, car or bike, bringing a variety of tents, caravans and motorhomes for overnight accomodation. There was a bunkhouse available on site as well and excellent breakfasts and evening meals were provided for all.  Two large marquees on site were available for various activities.
Although the previous week had been wet, the sun came out on Saturday morning bang on cue for the organised rides and it was wall-to-wall sunshine through to Monday (except at night of course).
Peter Ford and I led the rides on Saturday and Sunday from Walesby to Creswell Crags, a distance of about 32 miles, mainly on scenic forest tracks and quiet country lanes, the only problems being the crossing of busy trunk roads, and incurring several punctures amongst the group . We did have the luxury of an emergency phone number, however, which brought along the rescue van,  and we did use this on one occasion to collect a problematic punctured Brompton and swap it for a reserve bike.

Entrance to the Camp Site, a large grassy area surrounded by trees.

Rangers pose for the Group Photograph wearing their new tee shirts.
One of the many fun events was a fancy dress competition which, since we were in Sherwood Forest, had the theme of Robin Hood. The small entry resulted in one brave (male) ranger as the outlaw himself,  several (female) Maid Marions, and a solitary "Beast of the Forest".
The three ("First Prize" ) winners were awarded Gold (ie cardboard) Medals by Katie who was the brilliant organiser of this and many other fun events over the weekend.
Here is a video of the of the Fancy Dress Parade.

Another Robin Hood (see below) was unable to participate in the parade, as he stood on a plinth at the entrance to the camp site and appeared to be made of concrete.
Legend has it that Robin Hood used to rob the rich and give the proceeds to the poor, whereas the present crop of politicians and bankers  have the opposite philosophy.
Strange thing that if people rob banks, they go to jail, but if banks rob people, they have a bonus.
Come back Robin Hood, all is forgiven.

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