This factsheet is meant as a short guide for anyone who hasn’t attended a SSAGO rally before. As each rally is different, this factsheet will only cover the basics of what to expect during a rally.
As there are three rallies a year - autumn, spring and summer - the weather tends to be quite different; with the autumn and spring rallies tending to be very cold (especially in the evenings). Therefore, remember to bring plenty of warm clothes. There is a kit list which lists recommended equipment that you should bring with you. There could be over 200 students at rally so be prepared for a rowdy, yet fun, weekend.
You need to book on to the rally in advance using the website (rally.ssago.org). Booking opening will be announced through an email to all clubs and on the SSAGO Facebook group and Discord. Some activities will book out quickly so if there is something you really want to do then it is advised you book on as soon as possible.
When booking on, you are required to give emergency contact information as well as your date of birth and any medical conditions. This is to ensure the rally team has all the necessary information in case of emergency. You will not be able to book onto rally if you leave any box unfilled on the booking page. You are also able to select your Saturday morning & afternoon activites when you book as well as notifying the rally team of any dietary requirements so you can be catered for at the event.
There are many ways of getting to a rally, the main ways that are catered for are by minibus, car and train with the rally staff offering pick up from Durham train station. It may also be an idea to contact other local clubs to you as they might be using their own transport and may have spare spaces for you. Contact details can be found in the ‘Club Directory’ on the SSAGO website, and there may also be a transport sharing page when booking. For more details on how to get to Viking Rally, visit our Getting to the raid page!
If you are from a new club then one member of your committee should attend the Reps Meeting which is likely to be held on either Saturday or Sunday morning. A representative of each club present must attend this meeting. This is where policy changes are made and members updated on any changes or progress of SSAGO, although most of the formal voting happens online nowadays. You should be sent an agenda for this before the rally and will be asked to submit a club report as well.
Sign in and registration
Arrive on site and follow directions to sign in/registration. Here you will check in. Be sure to tell the rally staff if any of the emergency or medical information has changed since you booked onto the event.
At some point in the evening tea will be served. If you are early to arrive you may have to wait for this and if you are very late the catering team may have headed to bed. You can see what food we will be serving on our Menu page
It will be necessary that you provide your own cutlery and crockery (as stated in the kit list) and wise to leave this near the top of your bag in case you eat before pitching your tent.
Setting up camp
If it isn’t obvious ask the staff at registration where you are to pitch your tent. It is best to get this up sooner rather than later in the evening!
Once your tent is pitched take a few minutes to set your bed up as it’s easier now then after you’ve been to the campfire.
Friday night’s activity is a campfire so bring your own drinks and follow the noise to the campfire. Around the campfire you can expect lots of singing, shouting and talking, it’s quite a relaxed atmosphere so you can come and go as you please.
Other Evening Activities
We will also be running a number of other activites on Friday evening, including a quiz and watching a movie.
Wake up and breakfast
You will be woken up at around 8 by some of the rally staff. This means that breakfast is ready so grab your cutlery and crockery and head off to breakfast. Once you’ve eaten there will be a washing up bowl placed nearby for you to wash your crockery.
After breakfast you need to follow the directions to the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony will pretty much welcome you to the rally and give out any announcements that the rally team or national exec have.
Saturday morning activities
The Saturday morning activity takes the form of a wide game in Newcastle, however we have a number of other activities planned for people who wish to do something less intense.
Saturday afternoon activities
These are the activities that you will have chosen online whilst booking onto the rally. Depending on the activity you might need different equipment or clothing. I.e. an activity taking place indoors might require clean footwear, a hike will require decent boots or an activity taking place in a pub will require you to take off your neckerchiefs. Details of what you require should be given to you prior to rally, if you are concerned be sure to contact the rally staff beforehand.
The Cèilidh is the chance for SSAGO members to show off their dancing skills and fancy dress costumes. The Cèilidh takes place undercover in a large marquee type tent. There should be plenty of space to stand at the side to relax or to sit out a few of the dances to get your breath back! Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself when dancing, everyone will be. Those dressed up are asked to parade around and it is usual that the Cèilidh band will judge the best group and best individual costume.
Same as the night before, it often starts before the end of the Cèilidh.
Wake up is the same as Saturday! If the rally you are attending is the spring rally then after breakfast there will be the SSAGO AGM where you get the chance to elect the next SSAGO Executive and the location of future rallies and balls. At Viking Rally, there will most likely be an EGM to vote for the Autumn 2022 Rally. If it is the autumn or summer rally then it is likely to be silly games time, this means that you need to get into some old clothes as it could get messy. You will be informed of what to do during the games.
This is where the winners of the games and competitions are announced. Forfeits will happen to return club mascots. Any other announcements will be made, either by the rally staff or SSAGO executive.
After this is it is time to pack up and leave site. If you are catching a train be sure to see the rally staff on the Sunday morning to find out what time bus you will need to be on to get to the train station on time. You may need to take some time out of morning activities to pack your tent etc if you need to leave before or soon after the closing ceremony.
As a rule you should take all the equipment listed below but check the weather before you set off to the rally and always be prepared for the worst as you’re likely to be outside for most of the weekend. Below is not an exhaustive list but the bare minimum.
Tent, Roll Mat, Sleeping bag, Plate, Bowl, Mug Knife, Fork, Spoon, Warm Clothes (layers work better than one thick single layer of clothing), Hat, Gloves, Old trainers, walking boots, Barn Dance costume (sometimes clean shoes for venue), Torch, Drinks Bottle, Drinks for around the campfire (check rules about taking glass bottles), Change of clothes, Wash kit and towel, Waterproofs
Throughout the weekend, there will be a dedicated quiet room available for those that wish to be in a calmer environment. This space will likely have an assortment of activities available to do, as and when you please, such as puzzles and crafts.
All clubs should bring a mascot along with them, that are allowed to be "stolen" during the rally. For more information, check out the seperate SSAGO Mascots factsheet.
If you still need some information as to what to expect on a rally, feel free to contact the rally organisers, the SSAGO executive or someone who has been to a rally before. We have a Q&A you can find here.
If you experience any issues in the booking process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.