Bradwell – Castleton Garland – May 2023

Our rally weekend was based in the Peak District village of Bradwell at the pleasant Eden Tree Campsite. Being a bank holiday weekend the site was fairly busy but quiet nonetheless and the site warden couldn’t have been more helpful. Tim and Katrina were stewarding the rally which happens to be in their home village. Bradwell is situated in close proximity to both Hope and Castleton and so was an ideal location for our weekend.

Ruth and I had been spending a few days in Northumberland prior to the rally and so this was sort of on our route south towards home. We had taken our tow-car to Northumberland but a clutch failure led to it taking a separate journey home on the back of a recovery truck.

We all arrived on the Friday and after settling in on our pitches, Tim and Katrina took us on a tour around Bradwell village followed by a fish and chip supper. There were various options for activities over the weekend but as the weekend weather was good we chose not to spend too much time on the bus.

On Saturday John and Bron spent a quiet day at the site whilst Ruth and I decided to take a walk over Pin Dale and into Castleton. It was some years since we had last been in the area and we thought we knew it reasonably well. We also thought we knew the route across from Bradwell to Castleton over Pin Dale but that turned out not to be so and we ended up at a dead end in the middle of the cement works. It was hot and we regretted making such a silly mistake so we back tracked to Bradwell and with the aid of a map this time found our way over Pin Dale and into Castleton.

Malcolm and Judy had decided to join us for the rally and it was so nice to catch up with them, especially after Malcolm had just been given the all-clear to drive following his ankle replacement.

On Saturday evening Tim and Katrina had prepared a BBQ for us and we all sat in the splendour of their garden with the fantastic views of the surrounding hills.

Sunday, some of us had decided to catch the bus into Bakewell although that plan had to be re-worked because it transpired that some of the buses would not be operating. Tim and Katrina to the rescue and they drove us in to a rather busy and crowded Bakewell on market day.

Bank Holiday Monday was Castleton Garland Day. The Castleton Garland is an annual celebration held on or around Oak Apple Day and is said to be related to the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. The main event is a procession through the village led by the Garland King and Consort on horseback who are heavily decorated in garlands of flowers and oak leaves. They are followed by a procession of locals including a brass band and children dancing. The procession moves it’s way through the village from one pub to the next and at each, all members of the procession are rewarded with a drink.

Some of us had gone into Castleton via the bus although Tim and Katrina had driven most of the way leaving a short walk into the centre of town. Fish and chips from the local chippy was the order of the day and very popular is was too. We joined the queue, waited our turn, and then sat outside the chippy to eat what was probably some of the best fish and chips we have had.

By this time was Castleton was very busy. The road through the village had been closed earlier in preparation for the procession and everyone was free to wander although many were crowded outside the various pubs. We got a vantage point outside Ye Olde Nags Head and after the procession had stopped there for refreshment we moved to a table outside The George which was the last stop for the procession. There were some more elements to the event following this but we all decided it was time to make our various ways back to the site.

Back at the site we were having a well-earned glass of wine with Tim and Katrina when the mobile rang. It was John, they had intended to catch the bus back from Castleton but they had all been cancelled, as it seemed was any kind of taxi service in the area. Tim to the rescue, he jumped in the car and recovered our stranded companions.

All in all a very enjoyable rally. Good company, great location, fantastic weather, lovely surroundings, and a memorable local event.

Paul Lawrence

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