Let me introduce you ladies and gentlemen, to the ever talented Mumford & Sons.
There is a corner of my world which is reserved for these 4 men and for the past two years Jason and I had been trying to track down tickets to see them perform live however this was proven difficult considering they hadn’t planned a tour until this winter. Fortunately we weren’t out of luck as news was released that they were planning another Gentlemen of the Road tour which they organise and structure themselves, visiting local areas around the world and holding a 3 night long festival packed with artists handpicked by themselves. We had agreed that no matter where it was being held, we would make every best effort to go.
After browsing through the confirmed destinations we soon realised that the closest to us was still 500 miles away, nestled within the Cairngorms National Park, Aviemore. But, a promise is a promise….right?
We packed for a long 5 nights away in late July knowing 2 of those would be spent sleeping in the car as we embarked on our 8 1/2 hour journey north with a car boot filled to the windows with blankets, an oversized tent, blow up mattress, wellington boots and of course a whistling kettle (no, we did not use it).
We set off wednesday evening around 5pm and the journey was long, amusing and dark. Initially we had planned to drive over halfway, stop in Edinburgh, maybe grab approximately 2 costa coffee’s on the way and catch some kip before travelling the remainder of the journey in the morning.
…That did not happen.
Instead, Jason encouraged me to go to sleep and in the mean time decided to drive the majority of the whole journey before trying to stumble across a concealed place to park whereby we wouldn’t be woken by an angry scotsman asking us to get out of his driveway. That nights sleep was eventful. There are limited circumstances that would leave me offering to sleep in a cold and uncomfortable car however trying to make the most of the situation I insisted we found somewhere warm to fill ourselves with a full scottish breakfast (knowing full well Jason wouldn’t even have to question if he could have black pudding or not) and most importantly a sink so that brushing our teeth wasn’t going to be too much of a struggle for one who hasn’t even brushed their hair before answering if i’d like my eggs fried or scrambled.
We’d arrived. After trailing our luggage through a car park, down a fairly steep hill and across a field we picked our spot for the weekend and began to set up. The scenery was beautiful and strangely the air was clear, with a peak of sunshine even. One of the inviting things about this festival was the scenery and made the whole experience feel very ‘worth it’ once we’d settled with a drink and popped up our camping chairs outside the doorway of our tent.
Usually when Jason and I take time off work together, we use this time to spend in each others company and can often be quite anti-social with other holidaymakers if we know our main aim is to relax however to put it bluntly, we knew this trip was going to be nothing of the sort, therefore day 1 consisted of adapting to our surroundings and by this I am referring to the teenie weenie 2-man tent that had pitched up directly next to ours. The label may have advertised the tent was suitable for two however the practicality of it offered something far different and it wasn’t long before I clocked a chaps right leg hanging outside of their door. I don’t even think I gave Jason much option in the fact that I was about to invite the young couple to stay in the spare compartment of our tent to save themselves from the elements that the forecast was warning us of and before we knew it, we’d shot straight southern comfort out of plastic cups as a result of a card game and began planning our route to the front row for the first main act of the festival.. Ben Howard.
It wasn’t long before we became victims of what I can only recall as a wet Scottish monsoon and the grass no longer had any speck of greenery. By this time we had already made our way through half of the crowd and were determined not to be defeated by the rain. We pushed on, we shivered, we got squashed, very squashed indeed but we sang our hearts out and we DID get to the very front row. Although amazing, I did have to battle a drunk guy who we’d somehow nicknamed ‘the hulk’ due to his brightly coloured green raincoat and excessive saliva that was spraying across our faces as he laughed, not that this was highly noticed due to the pelting raindrops that were hitting our eyelids.
Day 2 arrived and with a slight sore head we took the day in our stride preparing what we knew would be an amazing evening ahead of us and something we had both waiting a long time to see. There were only two things on the front of our minds, one a question of how can we dry out last night’s clothes in conditions that are far from warm and dry and the second being a unanimous decision to make it to the front row for a second night, if not the most important night.
We didn’t disappoint. This night was one I will never forget and one I hope to re-live in the near future. All thats left now is to share some visual memories of the evening with you in the hope that you can visit somewhere or attend something on your bucket list even if the weather does not permit it!
Gentlemen of the road 2015 – Aviemore Stopover / Instagram