UK National Tandem Rally
18th. - 25th. August 2012
Kettering Rugby Football Club
This event was organised by Bill Grove and took place in the grounds of Kettering Rugby Football Club with campers pitched on high ground overlooking the marquee, clubhouse and pitches.
Each day we were offered a choice of three lengths of route. The rides all had interesting stops for coffee and at lunchtime a park suitable for families.
The market town of Kettering lies on the River Ise some 80 miles North of London and some 50 miles East of Birmingham. In the 19th. and early 20th. centuries the town was noted for its boot and shoe industry with such famous names as Dolcis; Freeman, Hardy and Willis; Frank Wright and Timpsons having factories there.
Frank Bellamy (1917 - 1976) was one of Kettering's notable inhabitants and for a short period was the illustrator of the Eagle's Dan Dare comic strip.
Wicksteed Park was a short walk away with 147 acres and a mixture of rides, attractions, fishing, synthetic ice rink, countryside and wildlife.
Early arrivals were able to take a short ride via Grafton Underwood, Geddington and Newton Dovecote. Pretty villages with memorials to the airmen who flew from nearby airfields during the Second World War. Newton Dovecote is one of the largest in the country. The day ended with a cheese and wine party.
We cycled to Brixworth Country Park and circumnavigated Pitsford Water with some visiting the Northampton & Lamport Railway. To complete the day a fly past by the Red Arrows just for us. (Yes really!) In the evening we had a beetle drive played to local rules giving people the chance to move around and meet other player. The traditional rules can be found here.
Was the Velocio Trophy so competitors and non-competitors had to work out the route to the hill climb at Little Addington. Even the tea ladies in the village hall had a try. The day was rounded off by a barn dance in the marquee.
A visit to Rothwell and the Bone Crypt in Holy Trinity Church started the today's ride with lunch in Welland Park. Here we found an amazing collection of unusual playground equipment for the children to play on. After lunch we had the experience of travelling through two long railway tunnels on the Brampton Valley Way. (Lights and wellies required). Lots of fun in the evening for the Tandem Games Alympics.
Was a free day. Some chose to join a group to travel on a narrow boat through Blistworth Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal. Others visited Wicksteed Park just down the road. A curry evening followed by Mike's slide show ended the day.
After visiting the Triangular Lodge, depicted on the rally badge, some of us stopped for coffee at the local funeral directors. They were holding a coffee morning in aid of a children's charity and must rate as the most unusual coffee stop of any rally. On to West Lodge Rural Centre with children's play area and tractor/train rides. Lunch was taken at East Carlton Park with lots of activities for both children and adults. For the evening entertainment there was a cycle jumble and a selection of 'funny bikes' for people to try. The bikes were brought by Tools For Self Reliance (Northampton). A video clip of the evening can ve viewed in the right hand panel. A short video of their work can be seen here.
The last ride of the week took us out to Earls Barton with coffee at Sywell Airport and museum. For lunch we had a choice of Sywell Country Park or going on to the Jeyes Museum (of Jeyes Fluid fame) in Earls Barton.
To end the rally we had the traditional barbecue/picnic with music by Sonny and the Honeydippers an eight piece band playing Jump Jive, Swing and 50s Rock and Roll.
Map showing the location of Kettering Rugby Club