10 things to pack for a day at the races


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Some people live and breathe the TT, while the rest of us Island residents lap up the buzz and try to get out to watch to watch the racing at least once during the week. There are loads of great vantage points around the 37.7 mile course and many are well off the beaten track. You’ll need plenty of supplies, so give this handy guide a read to make sure you’re set-up for a grand day out.

#1 Food and drink

Unless you’re planning to watch from a busy area with plenty of food outlets and watering holes, you’re going to need to pack your own.Bottled drinks are far more practical because you don’t need any additional cups, the risk of spillage is lower and, when chilled, they double up as cool packs for all your other picnic bits and bobs.If you’re more focused on liquid sustenance, don’t forget your bottle opener! The novelty of opening metal tops on your molars will wear off pretty quickly.Don’t forget a bin bag for all your rubbish.

#2 Wet wipes

As a Mum I can’t contemplate leaving the house without a pack of those conveniently damp but environmentally damaging suckers. Even pre-kids, I kept a small, discreet pack of ten tucked away in my bag like a total Nana.One year, I headed out to watch the Senior Race from some glorified scaffolding I’d paid a princely sum to squeeze my tush on. The lady in front of me got totally bombed on by a seagull.It was everywhere: her hair, face, maybe even her mouth. I laughed, but I quickly whipped out the wet wipes and offered them up. She was in such a tiz with the clean-up, she didn’t even say thanks and I didn’t feel (as) bad about laughing.

#3 Sunscreen and hat

Sunburn isn’t big and it isn’t clever! It damages your skin, it’s sore, it looks ridiculous and you don’t want to be glowing like a sweaty beacon at Gef’s Big Top later in the evening.You can even get spray stuff that’s not greasy and stays on all day, so you’ve no excuses. Get that noggin covered up with a hat too. Those TT branded bucket hats are God awful to look at but will do the job.

#4 Raincoat and plenty of layers

We all know the score with Manx weather. One minute you’re basking in sunshine declaring the Isle of Man ‘the best place on Earth’ and the next a stiff breeze kicks up, the heavens open and we start shouting about the ‘bloody Manx weather’.Use an umbrella at your peril. They’re a bit eye-pokey and generally annoying.

#5 Camping/foldup chair and picnic blanket

Make a long-term investment or borrow them from your Ma and Pa; either way you won’t regret it. Much comfier than the ground and you won’t get a wet patch on your bum.

#6 Mini first aid kit

Bit much for a few hours away from home? Perhaps. But you never know when you might need a few plasters (including those magical blister ones), antibacterial wipes, hand sanitiser and some Anthisan sting cream should you fall into some jinny nettles or get attacked by one of those nasty old wasps.

#7 Mobile phone

I honestly can’t fathom how life happened before we all had mobile phones. How did we meet people at the right place and the right time? But our phones are now so much more than just calling and texting.Our social networks are all formed around communicating through a personally curated collection of apps, so a day in the wild without your phone may leave you bereft. And if you’re going to go to the trouble of squatting on the side of a mountain all day, you want to be able to take a pic and post it or what was the actual point? Plus, if you’re really into the racing, you can follow the live timings.

#8 Mini radio

Yes, an actual radio. Yes, I am aware you can stream Radio TT on your phone, but if you’re heading to the back of beyond you might not have 4G coverage or unlimited data.Plus, your battery will quickly die and then you’ll face the twitchy terror of not being able to check who’s liked your pics on Insta.

#9 Something to do

The microphone in Race Control crackles into life as the Clerk of the Course announces a delay to the start of the racing due to cars on the course/loose animals/fog/rain/an oil spillage etc. But you’re in position now and maybe you’re stuck there until the roads open again. There’s limited value in eye-spy and you can’t eat all your picnic before 10.30am.So bring a book, a travel sized game of Connect Four or a deck of cards and rack ‘em up for a jolly old game of S**t Head.

#10 Cash

The burger van is unlikely to take Apple Pay so stick a few sheets in your pocket, especially if you’re heading to the Grandstand where there’s soooo much good food on offer.

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