Annual New Years Eve Rally Point With OB
The inaugural Overland Bound New Years Eve get together started as a one off trip where a few members got together to complete the North Coast 500 Route around the North Coat of Scotland and came to be referred to as the NY500 Rally Point a phrase used by Overland Bound for events where members get together whether to just meet and enjoy a few hours or nights chilling, exploring Green Lanes or in this event it was completing the NC500.
For those who haven't heard of the North Coast 500 (NC500) it is a 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness. The route was launched in 2015, linking many features of the north Highlands of Scotland in one touring route. The scenery is stunning and the weather can be inclement to say the least. But don't be fooled to think that completing the route you will see everything the NC500 has to offer as it is by deviating from the main route that you find the often overlooked hidden gems that these areas have to offer.
With Covid the popularity of the NC500 expanded exponentially resulting in stories of inconsiderate campers leaving mess and waste behind much to the irritation quite understandably of the local population. Even now the routes popularity and number of visitors is a concern as the infrastructure struggles to cope but by planning in advance, being considerate and respectful we personally have never had any issues during our visits.
Back to the inaugural OB New Years Eve Rally Point. It was 2019 / 2020 and our trip ended 3 days in on New Years Eve near John O'Groats when an ECU failure brought our Landy to a stop and no attempts to restart it would get it going. Google searches resulted in the realisation it was not going to be a quick fix. Topside Switch Failure of the ECU meant it was over and we spent the rest of New Years Eve gutted at not being able to complete the route and getting a relayed recovery home. After all our years of travelling and 10's of thousands of miles this was the first time Wilson had ever let us down so completely that we needed to be recovered. But whilst we couldn't carry on the rest of the OB Members continued and completed the route despite some wild windy weather.
2020 / 2021 was the year of Covid and as such it meant that a trip really wasn't warranted much to every ones disappointment but at the time in the UK cases were rising once again and it seemed prudent not to plan anything official with OB and instead it was left to individuals to arrange themselves as they saw fit.
2021 / 2022 was a chance to get together again and in this instance Craig and Julie of Overland And Borders found a nice spot near Blairgowrie where a number of us could get together for a couple of nights to see in the New Year. Further south other members who couldn't justify the long trip up to Scotland got together in small groups to see in the new year and do a few green lanes.
Planning for the 2022 / 2023 Rally Point started early with many members wanting to get together. Finding a single spot in the UK where members from throughout the UK can visit easily is a bit of a challenge but Lee of Overland Faction took on the challenge. The venue was to be a private 50 acre woodland in Cumbria which was rented out for 2 nights and once confirmed the planning next changed to food.
Again Lee stepped up and arranged things so we could cook Pit Roast Lamb and Pork, another member arranged a delightful Nut Roast and everyone else chipped in with vegetables to pit roast. All washed down with copious amounts of Champagne, Beer and Toffee Vodka amongst many others
These events with Overland Bound are always a family affair and we had children ranging in ages from under 2 years to 11 years old. Dominic loved the freedom in the forest and by the end was absolutely shattered from exploring and hiding out with the other children. Even Kenzie was shattered having spent days running wild with his old mate Harley who he met at the Adventure Overland Show earlier in the year.
Kenzie's first meeting Harley
As to be expected and prepared for at this time of year the weather decided to challenge us all with almost constant rain for 2 days but undeterred we built a fire under tarps in the forest as a communal area. For ourselves we also took the Oztent RV4 with the wood stove. The time taken between Christmas and New Year to prep the tent by fitting a chimney flue was well spent and justified as this did make a massive difference to us giving us a warm, dry if sometimes smoky area, where we could escape for a short while and also dry out the seemingly never ending procession of wet clothes from Dominic.
The original plan had been to do the pit roast New Years Eve but a combination of drink and the realisation it would be midnight before we could eat the plan was changed to do the pit roast new years day.
This meant the drink flowed freely with much hilarity and chat resulting in a few drink related incidents including lost phones, mud splattered clothing and numerous sore heads next morning.
New Years day started slowly as people woke and attempted to sort themselves out with a few hardcore members who started getting the fire pit and food prepared and one clearly deranged member who shall remain nameless (Heather) who decided to put on a swimsuit and lie in the freezing stream. By lunchtime the pit roast was started and we all huddled around the fire laughing and joking about who did what the night before. Nate was the winner of the drunkest member, having fallen over logs, seats and mud banks and in the process losing his phone, trampling his Diesel Heater Conduit and walking up in a water bed tent next morning. He found his phone next morning that had been out on the forest floor in the torrential rain and mud all night and surprisingly still worked perfectly.
The final evening we spent enjoying a perfectly cooked pit roast washed down by a few more beers and cider however everyone was heading off to bed much earlier than the night before.
At some point through the night it stopped raining but instead we woke to frozen zips and canvas as we all proceeded to pack up and get ready to start our various journeys home. In our case a 5 hour journey north.
As always with the Overland Bound meets it was great to catch up with friends old and new and we are looking forward to a busy 2023 of meets trips and Rally Points.
The end of the Rally Point as we all head home
Photo and Video credits to all the members of Overland Bound who shared their photos and videos throughout the group.