It’s a great idea: take a group of people who do interesting, mad, terrifying journeys to far flung places and get them together in the grounds of a rather nice (and, if we’re being honest, quite posh) girl’s school in Dorset. Show the films they make along the way and you have a great way to spend three days vicariously indulging in tales of adventure and derring-do! With nice showers and hot meals. Important, that bit… It’s run by Austin Vince and Lois Pryce, both respected adventure motorcycle travellers in their own right and now a married couple that live on a Dutch barge in London.
The promo vid for the festival tells the story:
The venerable Mrs A and I volunteered to help out at the Adventure Travel Film Festival after it was recommended by Sheonagh, part of the Dusty Old Bags. Persuading my wonderful wife to do this was a challenge – she’s not known for her fondness of camping and I doubted she’d go for it. That said, she agreed it would be fun and I think she was focusing more on the films than the nights to be spent under canvas (actually nylon, but you get the point). We arrived the day before the festival started, put the tent up and were allocated some tasks, the first being to iron bunting. I didn’t know bunting needed ironing but Mrs A set to with gusto, knocking enough of the stuff out to cover a big chunk of the festival in half an hour.
The next day we met the rest of the crew and had a guided tour of the festival site, the sports fields of the school. We’d been allocated roles guiding punters around the site, either for dining or camping at different times and luckily we’d only ended up with about three hours on each day.
We saw some fantastic films and Mrs A didn’t mind the wind and rain. Ben Fogle spoke to the 500 or so attendees on the Friday night and came across really well. I didn’t know much about him but came away with a lot of respect for him. The highlight for us was the screening of Jon Muir’s film about walking solo and unsupported across Australia with his Jack Russell. I can’t recommend it highly enough – a moving and inspiring self-filmed story of a journey that took Muir five attempts to complete, three of which were with his dog.
We’ll hopefully be attending next year and if you’ve ever fancied doing your own thing on a daft trip somewhere far away, so should you. Best bit of advice I was given for camping? “Park near the dirty bikes”. Damn right.