Birty Dastards Off-roading 10th Anniversary Event

Birty Dastards Off-roading - 10th Anniversary Event

This years Birty Dastards main event was their 10th Anniversary celebration. The weather was surprisingly good seeing we were expecting some rain – we always expect rain!

It being an Anniversary year the event was opened up to other clubs with additional food stalls and musical entertainment provided.

There were no major incidents thankfully; the truck that was on the verge of rolling over was stabilised and brought back down onto four wheels and the people that got stuck in the ‘sheep-dip’ were all laughed at and then winched out.

Although punches are put out on the site they are only used for people to try out different areas and to give a goal to reach. Most of the time they provide entertainment for the people stood around giving friendly advice / abuse 😉

Going to the same sites every year doesn’t really allow for a large variety of images. I tried to add the perspective of the slopes to the images this year but I think next years events I will try a different photographic tactic (unless it rains!). I have found that travelling around in one truck tends to mean that I focus on that truck. Walking the site instead of being driven may mean that I get to be in areas I may not normally find myself in.

Birty Dastards Off-roading – Cheapfest 2013

Birty Dastards; Cheapfest 2013So September was time again for the annual trip to Cheapfest – I know this blogs a little late! ;).  The Friday turned out to be good weather for putting out the punches, the night however was horrendous rain, turning parts of the site to a muddy mess.

Cows were the main feature of the first day of the event, 35 of them in fact.  They had pushed through a fence and invaded the site breaking apart into small groups.  Messages came over the CB of calls for help to locate and round them up.  It was not an easy task on a 500 acre site!

Birty Dastards; Cheapfest 2013For the first time in a while there was a night drive up to the trig point and a small but impressive fireworks display.  Rich lead the convoy of cars to the point. However, he didn’t lead back since he got lost. He won’t be allowed to forget that in a while!

Although the days away are all about trucks when the men are stood around chatting about the best lines, through the trees my attentions falls to the forest itself – not to say that they are boring me…honest! ;).  There are not generally any animals on the trails however this year we had to watch out for piglets! They had dug out of there pen and no one could catch them, not exactly natural wildlife but very cute.

An eventful trip – looking forward to seeing what Cheapfest 2014 brings!

Birty Dastards Off-roading – West Harptree 2013

I was putting my foot down this time…‘The tent’s just not big enough, we need more space!’ As I’ve mentioned before, camping is not high on my list of favourite things and I have decided space is one of the problems.  So we headed off to Go Outdoors to get a new tent. It’s so much better – about a third bigger than the last one, you can stand up in it and it has carpet to put down! The result? A much happier me! All it needs now is central heating 😉

Birty Dastards - West HarptreeFor the off-roading trip this time around, we were off to West Harptree, a new site we had never been to.  From the top of the site it looked quite flat but once down over the dip, there were loads of places for the trucks to play.  I normally walk around a lot of the site but this one was a little too steep and rocky, so I had to get a lot of lifts. It was nice to go to a new area with new challenges and the guys think there is a lot more to explore next time.Birty Dastards - West Harptree

We did unfortunately have a few breakdowns and one tip over, something I have never seen before but it was very slow so no injuries, just a lot of muddy water in what was a fairly clean truck!

It was a great weekend and nice to get out into the countryside. The tent was that nice that I might even venture off for the odd weekend camping! 😉

Cheapfest 2012

Cheapfest2012-061Cheapfeat is the annual Birty Darstards event near Stourport-on-Severn. I was very pleased it was a dry and sunny weekend. I have to confess I don’t really like camping much and seeing there are no showers just portaloos, I’m just glad it wasn’t muddy!

I have got much better at offroading, I squeak a lot less while in the jeep getting to the top of the site. I still don’t like it much when it tilts too much to one side or the other. I know it’s not going to tip over, but I can’t help it that my fear comes out as a squeak! It does, however, seem to amuse everyone on the CB!

Cheapfest2012-001The first task is always setting up the punches and then the trials sections. Punches are an orienteering punch attached to a measured length of string, secured to a stake or pole then hammered into the ground. The idea being the driver has to get the passenger wing mirror as close to it as possible for the passenger to punch the card attached to the truck. It’s all done in good fun and punches in more challenging locations on occasion miraculously move from their original starting point 😉 The trials section are a series of gates or markers which the driver has to pass through without touching them, stopping or reversing.

Cheapfest2012-112Some new friends were at this year’s event 🙂 They were very friendly and were quite happy with a scratch on the nose.

Let’s hope next year’s event is just a sunny!



Windfest 2011

Hey guys, it’s been a while! Sorry for the lack of updates of late, it’s been a busy summer! I headed down to Sandbanks again this year for Windfest which had another great turnout. Although it was due to rain, the sun decided to stay all day, much to everyone’s delight.

Windfest has an amazing assortment of sports from windsurfing and kite surfing to paddle boarding, beach volleyball and ultimate frisbee

The Animal Bike show as always was awesome Martyn Ashton and Blake Samson entertained the crowds with their amazing skills. They do shows all round the country so check them out next time they are in your area.

I feel my wakeboarding pictures have improved from the last time I photographed the sport. I was less fearful of getting close to the action, which I’m sure has helped me get much better images, though you do have to be fully aware of what’s going on around you not just what’s happening in front of you!

Congratulations to all of this year’s competition winners!

Here’s hoping the weather for next year event is as glorious as this year’s!

For now, stay tuned to see what else I’ve been up to over the last few months!

Birty Dastards, Clyro, June 2011

01 BirtyDastardsClyroJune2011-466At the beginning of June I was invited by Birty Dastards to go off roading with them. I had never been off roading so this was going to be a whole new experience

I met the guys at Baskerville Hall Hotel, Clyro in North Wales.The Saturday was a little overcast but not raining so all was good. The first task I was faced with was getting to the top of the site! One of my friends is a member of the group so offered to drive me to the locations. As we were last in the convoy I got to watch all the other trucks slip back down the hill! Now I’m the type of person that is never a passenger in a car, I always drive. I trusted my driver, so I could do nothing but believe him when he said ‘It’s fine we won’t slide like that!’ – hmm yeah right!! We slid sideways and backwards!! Once I had realised I could escape the truck at any point and walk, I was much happier and had the great excuse of ‘but I need to be out there to take pictures!’

Having never photographed this subject before i didnt entirely know what to expect, the only certainty i had was MUD!! Mud that gets flung through the air as the traction doesn’t hold and the tyres spin like crazy. Once I had experienced this and knew the camera wouldn’t come to any harm, I got a little closer to the action…well as close as it was so I was safe!

Sunday was a great day. The sun was shining and creating lovely light through the trees on the site, with the added advantage of the mud drying out a little. I was based primarily with two drivers who were testing out a new section of trail, which meant they were taking the course slowly and allowed me to walk out infront of them to take shots of them driving each section.

By the end of the weekend I had gotten used to some sections of the trails and didn’t leap out of the truck quite as much! Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I’m looking forward to the next off road adventure in September.

Animal Windfest 2010

On Sept 12th I spent the day on the beach at Animal Windfest. Sandbanks, Dorset, is the beautiful location for the annual Windfest which is now in its 12th year. The organisers do an amazing job.  Animal Windfest is the only free daytime beach sports festival in the UK. The schedule for the weekend is immense; Animal Bike Show, Red Bull Skate ramp, Ultimate Beach Frisbee, Beach Volleyball, Red Bull Matadors Aerobatic display, Wake Boarding and the list goes on.

It was a great day, the sun was shining, though unfortunately the weather didn’t provide the wind needed for all the water events. I love photographing the Animal Bike Shows and the Red Bull Skate ramp. Have to confess I have never actually been on a skate ramp before, had to ask how to get to the top; run!! How to get back down; yep run! I took the girly option and slid back down the ramp on my butt!!

If you live in the Dorset area I definitely recommend checking out Animal Windfest next year…