Here at Haven we do love having a good ole’ knees up! And did you know we have a Groups and Events department who help make this happen for like-minded people? We get all types of people walking through our caravans including martial arts experts, sports enthusiasts, cyclists, Jedi’s, Hobbits…no you didn’t read that wrong! A long time ago (well…March) in a Caravan park far, far away (North Wales) we had some very special guests visit us at our Hafan Y Mor Park, as this was the site chosen for the Annual Sci-Fi Weekender. We got in touch with Jonathan who writes for the Jedi News, asking him to write a blog and let us into the wonderful world of Sci-fi. We felt this was a perfect day to explore the galaxy (and beyond). Remember May the Force be with you. – Helen 🙂
At the end of March something amazing happened at the Hafan y Môr Caravan Holiday Park in North Wales. Hobbits and Dwarves descended on the park with Doctor Who, whilst Stormtroopers patrolled the grounds accompanied by Maverick from Top Gun.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that I’d gone slightly insane – perhaps I’d had too much of the clear and intoxicating Welsh air – but it’s completely true. And I wasn’t the only witness – a couple of thousand other people saw it too.
The Sci-Fi Weekender is an amazing get together for fans of the weird and wonderful – science fiction and fantasy TV shows, movies, books, cartoons, cosplay, collectables, memorabilia; you name it, the chances are it’s going to be there. The event is held towards the end of March at the Haven park in the beautiful Llyn Peninsula, nearby Snowdonia, and it’s the perfect place to have it as the journey to the park is an adventure in itself. I was attending the show in a press capacity and, being a huge Tolkien fan, I was looking forward to interviewing Royd Tolkien, JRR Tolkien’s great-grandson, so I had Middle-earth on my mind during the long drive there. As we passed through the rugged mountains of Wales and through the Snowdonia National Park I almost lost myself in the world of Tolkien – the mist-shrouded mountains, deep valleys and broad rolling hills we travelled through seemed to have leapt from the pages of my beloved ‘The Lord of the Rings’ books. Straight away I had been put in the mood and I enjoyed the journey through this beautiful landscape enormously.
Our accommodation had been arranged quickly, easily and without fuss, and we were going to be staying in a 3-berth caravan on site for two of the four days the convention lasts for. The park was well signposted and easy to find. Many other attendees had already arrived and a queue had formed, but the staff took care of the checking in as quickly and as professionally as they were able to and, once we got hold of our keys, we quite quickly found our caravan on the large and easy to navigate site.
The caravan was perfect for our needs. Three bedrooms, two doubles and one single, with a wonderful lounge/kitchen and toilets/shower. It was warm, comfortable and clean and the television in the lounge was constantly streaming sci-fi and fantasy movies, so the atmosphere was always one of otherworldly enjoyment.
You could park next to your caravan but everything on the site was within walking distance. From where we were we could walk to the venues within a few minutes. With a store, bars and eateries there was always something on hand to eat and drink, and the spacious halls that were in use gave every attendee plenty of room to sit around, browse the merchandise stalls, watch panels discuss their favourite things, listen to interviews with the stars of the shows and books that we all held so dear and watch movies. All the while people dressed as their favourite characters and icons walked about the place and the costumes were extraordinary. At one point I asked the dwarf Thorin and his friends where the fish shop was, and was greeted in there by the elves Thranduil and Tauriel as they waited for their chips. Over my shoulder Doctor Who was laughing loudly with the Joker as Stormtroopers looked on with mock disapproval.
And it was all perfectly normal.
This is what I said in my review of the show: ‘And that, to me, is what the Sci-Fi Weekender is all about. Relaxing with fellow nerds and geeks who share a passion for this pastime, collectors and fanatics and cosplayers and gamers and movie buffs and TV show fans and writers… all kinds of people thrown together in a huge mixing bowl of creativity and imagination. I dare anyone not to be inspired by it.’
It was a shame somewhat to leave Hafan y Môr Caravan Holiday Park as it had been an amazing venue for a wonderful event. The location, the excellent facilities and helpful and friendly staff enhanced an already great weekend; in fact, I’ve already earmarked it to visit later on in the year for a ‘normal’ holiday, as I’d love to see the place in the summer with all the attractions for the family in full swing, and the Snowdonia National Park just waiting to be explored.
But I came away with my wish – I got to meet Tolkien’s great-grandson in a place nestled by the mountains, the next best thing to Middle-earth itself.
And that’s an experience that will stay with me forever.