pensnest: bright-eyed baby me (Camp Sparkle)
[personal profile] pensnest
Hi again,

a bit more detail about travel to and from Camp, as some of you may want to get busy sorting out holidays and flights in good time.

The trip from my house will probably take about four hours, plus a lunch break. (Digression #1: if it is a nice day, I vote we take a picnic and go via Snugbury's Ice Cream - the place which had the Giant Straw Dalek this year. They have some awesome flavours! There probably won't be a giant Dalek next year, but these things deserve to be rewarded, I feel. If it's not a nice day, we'll find a services station—with a roof—somewhere.)

I'd like to leave at around 11am on the Friday morning - which should, with reasonable traffic (Digression #2: there's always heavy traffic north from London on Fridays, and in the commuter area around Birmingham, so we really don't want to leave it as late as lunchtime to get going), mean we get to the Ship Inn at about 4pm, which is when we'll be able to get inside. I don't think it's feasible to collect anybody from Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted on Friday morning, as Gatwick and Stansted are completely in the wrong directions, and a Heathrow diversion would add at least an hour to the travel time, most likely rather more. We could pick up from Luton Airport or Birmingham Airport on the way on Friday morning.

If you're coming to one of the big London airports, ideally you'll either come a day or so earlier and stay with me (I'm happy to pick up from Heathrow and Stansted (and Luton) as usual, and the train from Gatwick to St Albans is the best way to get from there to here), or you'll get yourself from the airport (or elsewhere in London) to St Albans Station or Hemel Hempstead bus station on the Friday morning. (I know some of you spent a few days in London before/after Camp this year.) Train Service from St Pancras to St Albans is very good, and there is certainly a bus service from Heathrow to Hemel Hempstead and another from Stansted that goes to Oxford via Hemel—and of course a bus from Victoria Coach Station to Hemel, too, which is probably cheaper than the train.

I have bed space for six (if some of you are okay sharing, which I'm sure you are) and a spare mattress and some airbeds and a decent couch—basically, if you need to stay with me, I'll find you somewhere to sleep!

If flying in to East Midlands or Birmingham is possible for you, you could probably be picked up by [ profile] nopseud, and possibly stay with her in advance (or after Camp), if handy. Best check with her if you're looking at travelling on Friday 13th.

The return trip will also (presumably) take four hours or so, plus a break at some point (traffic willing). I expect we'll leave somewhere between 9-10am. People can be deposited at Birmingham and Luton on the way back, and I might be able to cover Heathrow as well, but if you need to return home on Friday, do make sure you've left plenty of time for the journey and your check-in! You can stay chez me and be ferried to Heathrow or Stansted over the weekend—it still remains a more efficient option to go to Gatwick by train, but that's easy. Or, of course, make suitable arrangements with [ profile] nopseud if you're going from a Midlands airport.

[ profile] turlough mentioned the possibility of flying in to Manchester, which may necessitate getting a train to Old Colwyn, or it may be possible for someone to pick you up, we're not sure yet. Could be worth looking at, if there are handy flights to Manchester. I expect we could figure out a larger scale pick-up from there if it turns out to be useful for several of you—I expect it might be worth considering for [ profile] chalcopyrite at least.

There are trains which would get you to Camp, if you can't make the minibus, but if that's going to be the case, you should haunt the advance ticket places in the hope of getting something that doesn't cost you £100. Bargains can be available, but definitely need to be booked early. There are also buses and coaches from London to Chester which take 5.5 - 6.5 hours and cost £29ish for a round trip, if you can stand it - so if you can't get there with the minibus, all is not necessarily lost. We should be able to pick up from Chester if we can manage to do it just once—there is a train station in Old Colwyn, though, so you can get there easily from Chester. This website may be a useful place to start looking. Also, [ profile] nopseud checked out the train details, so ask her for guidance.

My personal recommendation would be: come a day early, and stay overnight with one of us, then plan to return home on Saturday or Sunday after Camp. If you can. :-)


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Camp Sparkle - a yearly UK popslash get-together

September 2017

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