Auto-Trail Owners’ Club

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Auto-Trail Owners’ Club 2017-02-27T10:06:56+00:00

A day in the life of a rally steward

Organising a rally requires hard work and attention to detail. There are campsites to book, ferry crossings to arrange, excursions to set up and entertainment to consider. But when the careful planning and extensive preparation comes together, it makes for a highly successful and enjoyable trip for all.

We invite Tony Read, an experienced rally marshal for the Auto-Trail Owners’ Club, to give us the inside story on the recent rally from Luxembourg to Bavaria, organised with a helping hand from Alan Rogers.

Auto-Trail Owners Club

June 14th

We cross the channel from Dover to Calais and head towards Luxembourg where our rally to Bavaria is going to commence. We always arrive at the first site the day before the rally in order to inspect our reserved pitches and prepare for the group’s arrival. The Auto-Trail Owners’ Club has well over 1,000 members spread across the UK, many of whom will not have met before. In order to break the ice, we have arranged a wine and cheese evening – the perfect way for our guests to start making friends.

We reach Camping Kockelscheurer in Luxembourg, inspect the pitches and prepare for the following day. With regret, we learn that two couples have had to pull out due to unexpected circumstances, but this still leaves us 23 vans strong, and anticipating a good rally.

Auto-Trail Owners Club

June 15th – 17th

The first two days of the rally are a resounding success. The cheese and wine evening goes down well and before long there is a buzz of conversation and laughter as the members get to know each other. An atmosphere of conviviality permeates the social room where we’re gathered, helped along by the traditional German drinking song we are practising ready for our arrival in Bavaria.

We are treated to fine weather and a cloudless sky for our stay – the perfect conditions in which to see Luxembourg City and its impressive fortifications and wonderful views. Within easy reach of the campsite, the old city is charming and a walk along the ‘Balcony of Europe’ is a superb way to spend the afternoon.

The final evening brings us all together in the social room for a quiz and some readings of Pam Ayres’ inimitable poetry. After a thoroughly enjoyable evening we turn in, looking forward to our drive to Germany.

June 18th – 23rd

Accompanied by more hot weather, we make the trip first to Stuttgart and then on to our campsite, Alpen-Caravanpark, in Bavaria. Set at an altitude nearly the height of Snowdon, the site has lovely views of the surrounding mountains. We meet up for drinks on the terrace in the late afternoon sun while a local Bavarian band serenades us, and it isn’t long before the owner, dressed in traditional costume, invites several of the ladies to dance with him. One member is brave enough to join in the Schuenplattler dance, which involves a lot of thigh and heel slapping, before we sit down to a delicious three-course meal.

Auto-Trail Owners Club

We have organised three coach trips for the following days, the first of which take the members to a pilgrimage church at Wies, where the wooden figure of Christ is said to have shed tears. On the same trip, we also visit Oberammergau, with its colourfully painted houses and peaceful atmosphere. Every ten years, a Passion Play is performed by over 2000 villagers, and lasts for six hours! The final stop is in Ettal, which has an ornate Benedictine abbey and church and is bordered by the stunning mountains and forests of the region.

Over the next three days, the members are free to explore the area as they choose. Some take the local free bus to nearby villages, and others enjoy the picturesque walks through the countryside. A few are even bold enough to tackle the 4 mile walk through the Leutasch gorge, crossing bridges and walkways high above the rushing river.

Auto-Trail Owners Club

June 24th – 29th

We set off on our second coach trip, making for Schloss Neuschwanstein, a fairytale castle built by Ludwig II in the 19th century. Despite heavy rain, spirits are high and everyone enjoys the lavish furnishings of the castle and the dramatic views of the valley. One rallier comes back with a rather handsome Tyrolean hat to shelter him from the rain.

The final coach trip takes us on the following day to Swarovski Crystal World and then onto Innsbruck in Austria. The former is a fantastic display of crystal art arranged in 14 underground Chambers of Wonder; the latter is the capital city of the Tyrol set in the heart of the snow-capped Karwendel Mountains.

More and more members of the party are now sporting Tyrolean hats, and the ladies are comparing their purchases from Swarovski.
The last three days include a coffee and cakes afternoon, during which we indulge in delicious gateaux, and the more energetic among us work off the calories with a game of table tennis.

On the final evening we lower the ATOC flag and the members offer a kind vote of thanks to Audrey and me for organising the rally.

Auto-Trail Owners Club