So drive carefully and take it slowly – the major problem last year was when someone tried to get past where they should not have tried to, and ended up partly in a ditch and causing a nice traffic jam – which the venue sorted out as quickly as they could using a tractor. The vast majority of people managed without too much difficulty, and if there were any deaths we’ve managed to hush it up very effectively!
There is only the ONE road – don’t go thinking that this one is only for traders…..
With considerable regret, I have decided that the next NLHF will not be in March, as we had planned, but will be in November 2013, probably (!) the 9th & 10th.
Because of the issue over the timing of confirmation of dates for March 2013, Onley Grounds EC had already accepted a firm booking for an equestrian event that requires both their Indoor Arenas.
A huge new Arena is being built, but with the ongoing wet weather, the venue can’t guarantee that they will have the new building up and ready for March.
We have explored possible ways around this involving the hire of Marquees, Portaloos, Generators, Lights, etc. but this would need to be sited in a field which is a considerable way from the Shower block and Bar and still the ongoing wet weather could lead to vehicles getting bogged down and the whole thing losing support from traders and customers.
Although giving March 2013 a miss may mean some loss of the momentum gained from having a great event in November 2012, we will benefit from the considerable improvements taking place at Onley, which should all be in place for November 2013. There will be the new road, (hopefully!) the huge new Arena (which will mean we won’t ever again have the double-booking issue), tarmac parking areas, revamped catering, and a roof over the roadway between the existing Indoor Arenas.
On a more positive note, we are currently looking at needing to use both of the Arenas because of all the bookings coming in from traders unable to be with us last time around. There is now a superb Log Burner in the Bar, and footings, kerbstones, and drains are going in around the Arena which we used in November in preparation for the resurfacing and the new road.
I am very sorry to disappoint everyone, but I want this to work in the longer term.
Well, that was one amazing re-start!! Many many thanks to all the wonderful traders who supported it, and who made such a superb show with so many lovely things displayed for sale – I’m so glad I didn’t run a “Best Looking Stand” competition, I would not have been able to decide a winner. Lots of lovely photos on Facebook, I’m not going to clog this website up with them and make it slow to load.
OK, there were a few problems, much exaggerated in some quarters ( so much so they made themselves look silly!!), and nothing that we cannot work with the team at Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre to sort out – in fact, I am told that plans are already in hand for a new access road and to get the car parking area to resurface. However, on the plus side, the cafe was excellent and good value, the bar was brilliant and greatly appreciated, the toilets spotless and very well equipped, and the staff friendly and helpful.
We look forward to March, when we will have a lot more traders for visitors to spend money with, including many old friends who were unable to be with us in November.
I won’t bore you all with the details of the places that didn’t meet our requirements, from Racecourses to Showgrounds to Scout Camps to Farms…but it was beginning to be very frustrating. Then I found the Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre, made inquiries, arranged a meeting, and I was absolutely gob-smacked! It was everything that I could have wished for, and then some more!!
A thousand acres, water provision everywhere, great location just 9 miles down the main A45 / M45 from Ryton, brilliant and supportive management, and more Indoor Space than I can envisage filling even if every re-enactment trader in the world wanted to take a stand! Currently 4,520 square meters, and they in the process of building yet more!