HUBB UK - Supported by - Inspiring, Informing and Connecting Overland Adventure Travellers


By Sam Manicom

Well, it’s happened, the 2014 HUBB UK I mean. There was a lot of fingernail biting going on in the run up to it this year. Just 7 days before set up was supposed to start, much of the site was flooded. In some places 5” of water laid on the ground. To make things worse one of the UK’s biggest rock concerts was held just before us and we expected that the grounds would be trashed, perhaps even that we wouldn’t be allowed on site! Tense times.

Then, suddenly the sun came out and it stayed. Perfect. The lovely Donington Park Farmhouse site dried out and the grounds men left us with a site in near perfect condition. We simply couldn’t have wished for better.

And that sun stayed with us right through both the set up days and for the 4-days of the HUBB UK. To everyone who brought a pocketful of sunshine with them, cheers!

For Iain and myself it was the wonderful atmosphere that made us smile the most this year. How do you have a big event with loads of strangers wandering around, and have the mood where everyone talks happily to people they have never met before? Where it doesn’t matter what vehicle you drive or ride? The answer is easy isn’t it. Everyone has overlanding in common. Fantastic. It didn’t matter where we went (except first thing in the morning when a few hangovers where involved) there was always a relaxed and friendly mood. On Saturday night I was over by the fire drums talking to 4 blokes. They were laughing and joking as if they had known each other for years. Nope, they had all met that day and were a mix of expedition vehicle drivers and motorcyclists. 2 were experienced overlanders, 2 were not. Just that one bunch of guys summed up a lot. Cool.

Iain and I have had stacks of brilliant feedback from people and we’ll be publishing some of that when we are sorted, but in the meantime this sort of thing is what has been said directly to us. ‘There was so much to do, yet no pressure to do anything.’ ‘This was my first time. I intended to go to loads of presentations but ended up spending all of my time meeting and making friends with great people.’ ‘What a phenomenal range of presentations. I had no idea how good they were going to be.’ ‘I thought it was going to be a show, with all the exhibitors, but it’s not is it. I really enjoyed talking with them. What friendly, knowledgeable people.’ ‘I had no idea so many authors and film makers were going to be there. I talked to famous people – then realised that they are all good blokes. I bought loads of books too!’ ‘The camping sites and loos were so clean, all the time. I’ve never been to an event where that’s happened.’ ‘The Roadkill Cookout Demonstration was as amazing as ever. How do Danny and Fil do it?’ ‘I’d never ridden off road before and having gone on the Skills Course I think I’m going to have a try. The instructors were amazing.’ ‘I went to watch the slow bike race. Thought it might be a bit lame. It wasn’t. I had a go myself. And failed. I was laughing too much.’ ‘That raffle was amazing! I’d never heard of Shelterbox.’ ‘The live music! Wow! Both nights! And I loved those Firedrums!’ ‘What a lovely camping site – planes are a pain but I didn’t notice them after a few real ales. That beer was good too and not expensive. Great!’ ‘Almost nirvana.’ And one of the best bits of feedback? ‘We are already planning our own trip!’

And we’ve had lots of written feedback which just goes to show the type of people who come to the HUBB UK – more on that coming soon. In the meantime we were blown away by the number of people who made a point of asking us to thank everyone who make the HUBB UK happen. We had people on the Welcome Gate, Registration, the Presenter support crew, First Aid, Fundraisers for Shelterbox, Litter picking and Recycling, Skills Course and Slow Bike race, and all the Competitions. Some of the guys mucked in for a couple of 2 hour stints and quite a few more volunteered for far more. So, of behalf of everyone who asked me to say it, “Thanks very much to you guys”. And the volunteers had feedback on everyone who came. ‘99% of people who came were fantastic to help. What a brilliant way to meet people. Loved it.’

A special thanks needs to go to all the amazing presenters, the team from Moto Adventure Nights and Touratech Germany who organised the Dover to Donington ride with Grant and Susan, the travel equipment and tour exhibitors who slotted right into the mood and provided such excellent prizes for the raffle, the people who put on the live demonstrations, to the magic Steve McGill and Radio Mary, to our main sponsors Adventure Spec, to Code AV who provided all the excellent audio visual equipment, to all the other companies who sponsored sections of the HUBB UK, to Danny and Fil who worked so hard to make their area work so well, to the staff of Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel, and to all of you who came and made the HUBB UK such a special place to be. An oasis of travel.

Last but not least, we want to thank Grant and Susan Johnson for everything that is so good about Horizons Unlimited! Fantastic!What next? The HU Meets at Enniskillen in Ireland in July and Haggs Bank Bunkhouse in Cumbria in September. Do get to them if you possibly can! Loads more fun and inspiration to be had!

HUBB UK Event Organisers

Sam Manicom and Iain Harper
Sam Manicom       Iain Harper

About Horizons Unlimited

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle. The website, HUBB forum and regular events across the globe have inspired thousands of people to follow their dreams and take the road less travelled.

Susan and Grant Johnson
Read more about Grant & Susan's story
HUBB UK - Supported by - Inspiring, Informing and Connecting Overland Adventure Travellers