One of the Land Rover clubs I am a member of is the the Invicta Land Rover Club which is based close to me here in Kent where I live. Also not far from me is a living museum called the Whitbread Hop Farm at Paddock Wood which celebrates the fact that Kent was always know as the place where large quantities of hops were grown for beer production. It's in a beautiful part of the countryside and it is typical of the Weald of Kent where the Darling Buds of May books by H. E. Bates, and the television series starring David Jason and Katherine Zeta Jones were based. The Hop Farm stage many events throughout the year and over the early May Bank Holiday they held the Kent Country Fair there. About 12 weeks before the show the organisers contacted the Invicta club and asked them if they could make use of the on site off-road course there, which rather caught the club on the hop. Some of you older readers may remember that in the past many off-road shows were held at the Hop Farm, and in those days there were two courses. One was built on the edge of one of the camping fields, and is in full view of the public camping area, and the other was within the woods nearby. The club and the site management decided to offer courtesy rides around the course and all the money they collected would be donated to the Kent Air Ambulance Trust. Needless to say as is traditional here in the UK when we are all on holiday, the rain lashed down over most of the weekend non stop with high winds thrown in just for good measure, and we all know that on the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday when we all have to troop back to work it will be a blazing hot lovely day.
One good thing though was that although it kept the punters who wanted a ride down to the minimum, it quickly turned the course into a quagmire and filled all the bomb holes and gulleys up with water. I went over early on the Saturday morning and before the show started and the punters came over for a ride around, the members took the opportunity to have a bit of a play on the course to hone their off-road skills. I must make it clear straight away that in the pictures I took, none of the people attending who paid for a ride around were involved in any way, and it was a chance for us to have an half hours play time amongst ourselves on the course before the show opened. The club did a sterling job over the weekend under awful conditions and our Chairman Shaun Chalk, and his committee did a good job considering they only had a few weeks to sort out all the logistics and the necessary paperwork and safety issues etc.