A little over ten years ago, on a miserable rainy winter Sunday I was sitting on a sofa in a local pub with a couple of friends. We were wondering how to generate enough excitement in our lives to keep us going until the summer came back.

We decided to book a week in Cornwall to coincide with Run to the Sun. It seemed like the best of all worlds, sun, sea, the magnificent North Cornish coast and Beetles and Campers everywhere you turned. Suddenly, it was worth trying to survive Monday mornings and the rest of the long dark winter.

beetle newquay rtts 2002

Run to the Sun has been part of the VW community’s lives for just slightly longer than Fergie has been part of Manchester United. 27 years ago in 1987, there were just 70 completing the Run to the Sun rally, now the numbers can be in excess of 100,000 as the movement has grown into one of the biggest custom car and music festivals in Europe year on year.

So it was a shock to hear that this year’s Run to the Sun will be the last one ever. RTTS announced the sad news to their 15,000 Facebook fans with a status update – the final chapter was coming. Run to the Sun and Newquay have been synonymous with each other for so long it will be hard to imagine the place without RTTS as part of its annual calendar.

Cranster Holidays, the company that runs Trevelgue Holiday Park, the regular base for the RTTS merrymakers, also confirmed that this year’s event would be the final chapter saying that they are heading in a ‘new direction’.

Cranster said that despite the economical situation in the UK, RTTS 2012 performed well and there was even an an increase in numbers attending the traditional Show n Shine last year, which was held at Newquay Airport for the first time.

The Cranster spokesperson went on to say that the decision followed a core business strategy review (a what?) and that the business will be heading in a new and exciting direction with details to be announced soon.

Of course, naturally there has been some criticism of the event and the increasing amount of unsociable behaviour that the long weekend has tended to attract in recent years which has in turn led to a much heavier police presence. But this is inevitable with an event this size I guess. Some have also lamented the move towards a more universal style of festival, but with growth comes the need to open up your doors and embrace all, but the core, right to the end, has always been about the VW scene.

Water pistol fights have been part of the tradition of Run to the Sun for some time, but even this harmless bit of fun has also been tainted with shall we say, unsavoury solutions being added to some miscreants’ pistols. But regardless of what’s being fired at you, one soon learns to rapidly shut windows whenever you go round a roundabout – or under a bridge if you have a sunroof!

beetle beach

The one abiding memory of Run to the Sun that sticks in my mind is the night we went to Senor Dicks Mexican Restaurant on a balmy summer’s evening. As we waited for our meal sitting outside the bar, three tiny girls under the watchful eye of their smiling parents challenged a campervan to a water pistol fight.

The van pulled to a halt, the sunroof was rolled back and a brief water fight ensued. As the camper succumbed to an onslaught of water, one of the guys retreated back through the sun roof, dropped his water pistol and promptly returned with an umbrella which he put up in front of his face signalling their surrender to leaps and cheers from the girls. Along with good food, smiles all round was the order of the day.

The final Run to the Sun is on 24th – 27th May at Trevelgue Holiday Park in Porth. More information can be found at runtothesun.co.uk.

So as the sun gets ready to go down on this the final chapter, I’d like to say thanks, it’s been fun.

Sunset image from chelsearaephoto.blogspot.com

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