Friday the 24th of February started like most other friday’s for me. Up in the morning for the school run, home for coffee, and then the dreaded drive to work. Except this friday was a little different, as the night before i’d packed my bag ready to go to the Bushcraft forest. However this was no normal wild camp, where id be on my own with nature, this was a meet up of like minded individuals from quite a wide area. From the midlands, up to York. We all converged in some woodland just outside the official Peak District boundary.This woodland has been used for a while by some of my favourite YouTubers , Dean Read and Jay GoonieBushcraft, who were also at the meet. After a few camps together, our like minded group of friends, had decided to call ourselves the “Rat pack” after a drink we concoct out of various drinks with added military ration pack beverage powder. So after finishing work at 2 o’clock, i hurry home, at the speed limit obviously, and get changed into my outdoor gear. Setting back out around 15:30, i drive to the Bushcraft forest, excited about the weekends fun, as this was also set to be a two nighter. After an hour and a half i had arrived, some of the guys were already there, so i found a space to park, got my rucksack out the boot and proceeded to make my way to the camping spot as hurriedly as my legs would carry me.
Luckily its only a short walk in from the place i’d parked, and i was soon in the chosen camp location. I greeted the the lads already there with a big smile on my face, i was very happy to be there. Steve, Mike, Jay and Tiny were already there when i arrived, with another lad who watches our videos and was hoping to meet up. After a the hand shake and the usual banter between friends it was time to set up my shelter before it got dark. My chosen set up for this weekend was a Terra nova adventure 2 tarp, supported by my walking poles and a couple of guy lines to the trees. Under that i would sleep with my sleeping bag inside my recently purchased Alp kit Hunka XL bivvy bag, which i had been meaning to use for some time.
Once everyone had set up, and all had arrived who were invited we set about collecting dead fall for the nights fire and to cook on. This would also keep up warm, in what was to be a cold and very windy evening with a few rain showers for good measure. Some great food was cooked over the fire across the two nights, with bacon and belly pork being some of it. All washed down with a few choice beers and the now obligatory “rat pack punch”. But as nice as these things were, my personal favourite has to be the improvised oven that Mark brought with him. This oven was none other than a simple ice bucket with a small grill tray inserted and the opening covered with a section of tin foil. Part of the fire had been sectioned off, and the bucket oven was placed over hot embers. Inside the oven was placed a whole chicken, and it was left for around two hours, though honestly i’m unsure of the exact length of time. Now to say this worked would be an understatement, the chicken came out perfect, pure white all the way through, still juicy and even the skin was browned off. simply delicious. . Now the more we have camped together the better friends we have become, and as friends do, we sometimes gift items to each other. Now on this trip i was lucky enough to be gifted a few items. These items were, a modified shot gun cartridge (used) , containing matches and a striker, this was from Craig “Hull Bushcrafter”. An American ration pack called a MRE (meal ready to eat), this was from Jay “GoonieBushcraft”. I also got a long dessert spoon, like a ice cream sundae style from Mark “Derbyshire Bushcraft”, these are ideal for eating food direct from a ration pack. To top it all off, we had decided as a group to have our own “rat pack” clothing. So Mike “GINGERBUSHCRAFT” had drawn up a design, we paid him the money for the items we wanted, and he had it all made by the company that makes his work wear. I was really happy to receive all the items and will be regularly wearing the “rat pack” gear with pride.
This meet, as always with these lads, was a truly awesome time. I feel privilaged to be part of it, and i always look forward to future meets. But before i sign off on this Blog, no trip to the Bushcraft forest is complete without a trip to the cliff edge to see the “famous view” or famous at least, to those familiar with Dean Reads Blogs/ Youtube Videos. The view is certainly one of the draws of the place and is not to be missed. So i hope you have enjoyed what is only my second Blog, and if you made it this far down the page, thank you very much, as i leave you with a picture of the famous view. Regards Mark