Rat Pack at Camp Stupid

Camp Stupid gets its name from its creator Steve “Frogmoon wildcamps and wanders”. He is one of the outdoor YouTube channels i have been watching the longest. Now the name stupid, is due to the camps location, its in a small wood in close proximity to two A roads. “That’s stupid” i hear you cry, but first, let me explain….. The camp was set in this location on purpose, in response to some people who had commented on his videos, claiming that they lived in such built up areas, that they had no way of getting on a wild camp anywhere. So camp stupid was born, to prove that if you really want to get out, you can, and it is still going strong today. Now late last year i was really excited to get a chance to visit, and stay at Camp Stupid, so when that chance came up again, it didn’t take much thinking about, and the date was soon penciled in to my diary. Well, as you can imagine the time soon arrived, my bag had been packed the night before, and on the Friday after work i made my way to the meeting point. It was pure coincidence that the meeting location was a pub car park, honestly. The pub is in reasonable walking distance to the camp, and it was a place where Steve knew the owners. So after giving the landlady the agreed box of chocolates, for allowing the group to use the car park  overnight, i had a quick pint or two, with Steve, Paul and Craig, who had come down to meet me. They had already been at camp most of the day, and had set up there shelters and had left another lad, Michael, to watch their gear. After the drinks, we all headed to Camp Stupid together. On arrival it was clear the guys had been busy whilst down there. Their hammocks had been put up, and a communal tarp had been set up in case of rain. Also the bushcraft benches had also been set up to provide a seating area for everybody. A small fire had also been prepped and was ready to be lit to keep us warm, which Paul promptly started, using a steel striker, flint stone and char cloth. IMG_5129[1]

So with the fire lit, i decided to sort out my accommodation for the night. I had packed my tarp and bivvy bag, but Camp Stupid also has two builds on site, one is a rectangular shelter with a folding side for a door, that was where Steve was going to spend the first night. The other was a awesome teepee he had built, so to save me time, Steve said it was ok for me to stay in there for the first night. I quickly unpacked my sleeping bag and air bed, and placed them inside my bivvy bag ready for night time . With the fire burning nicely and my sleeping arrangements made, this left one other important matter, food. Now on these meets, its very rare that we only have simple camp food, and this meet was to be no exception. The oven method made another appearance, this time the chicken was replaced with a lamb joint, and Steve had also brought wraps and mint sauce. Whilst it was cooking we drank a beer and talked in the fire light. Before long it was ready, we sliced our own meat off the joint and put it into the wrap and added the mint sauce. Now to say it was nice would be a massive understatement, it was incredible, and definitely ranks up there with my all time favourite camp fire food ever. IMG_5131[1] After a few more drinks it was soon time for bed. As everyone made there way back to their shelters, i made my way into the teepee. This shelter is incredibly well made, using wood from the forest, it was wrapped in black sheeting for waterproofing, and coated with layers of Laylandii branches to blend into the surrounding environment. Once i had made my way into my sleeping bag, made more awkward, due to the fact i was also using my bivvy bag, I was soon fast asleep, in the very cosy teepee.

It was soon morning, and i awoke to the sound of pans rattling outside, as the fire had already been lit, and the first of the morning brews were being made. I was far to comfy in the teepee , all snuggly wrapped up in my bag, and to be honest, i could of stayed in there much longer. So i decided to force myself up, hunted around my back pack for my cup, grabbed a coffee sachet and crawled out the teepee to make a brew of my own. You cant beat a nice cup of coffee in the morning, it certainly makes me feel better, as i’m definitely not a morning person. Shortly after breakfast, we were joined by Steve’s wife and granddaughter. Steve had made some bannock bread that morning and offered it around to everyone, it was actually very nice indeed. His granddaughter Faith practiced some fire lighting skills with fatwood, using a ferro rod and striker to ignite it. I was very impressed with her skills, and she had no problems getting the fatwood shavings up in flames. A couple of hours passed as we talked and practiced various skills, and Steve’s wife and granddaughter made there way back home. These would not be the only the only visitors of the day, we were also expecting a few more of the “rat pack” to turn up. These included Jay, Tiny, Mike and Andy with his son Tom. They would be staying the night at Camp Stupid, whilst we were also expecting visits from Mark and Lee, who would not be staying due to other commitments. Well it wasn’t long before the first of these new arrivals made it down, and that was Andy with his son Tom. Now in the run up to the meet Andy had expressed his wishes to stay in the teepee. As most of the group, myself included, had already spent at least one night in the teepee on previous meets, we were all happy to let Andy stay in there with his son. This did mean however that i would have to move out and set up my tarp. Luckily for me, Steve’s granddaughter Faith had so much fun earlier, she had decided she wanted to come back down. This meant that Steve decided to set up a hammock for her, and also setting himself up next to her, to be sure she would be ok through the night. This left the main Camp Stupid build empty, so i happily moved in. A very simple move it was too, i just picked my bivvy bag up, complete with my sleeping bag and air bed inside, and carried it over, returned for my bag and that was it, job done.IMG_5134[1] Around dinner time one of Steve’s friends Stewart arrived, he brought with him some beer and some homemade bread his partner had made. The bread was really very nice and had been made with fosters beer. It went very well with my army ration pack i was eating, broken up in to small pieces and dropped into the packet, yum yum. After dinner, Craig and Paul went down to meet Jay and Tiny who were nearly at the pub meeting place, whilst there, they would also be collecting Faith from Steve’s wife, so it was a double pick up. It wasn’t long before they all made it safely back to the woods and Jay and Tiny promptly set up there hammocks. After a bit of catching up , i got word that Mike was nearly here, so i decided to go and meet him at the car park with Jay. Now this meeting was originally touted as a birthday meet for Jay and Mike, as the date of the meet was very close to both there birthdays. So as id got them both a present but left them in the car, this was a perfect opportunity to retrieve the presents and hand them out. So that’s exactly what i did, first i gave Jay his present, a Go outdoors voucher, which he was very happy with, and then gave Mike his voucher when he arrived, who was also happy with his gift.  We then set off back  to Camp Stupid, as we arrived at the wood, we saw Stewart leaving, so we said our goodbyes and headed into the camp. After Mike had set up, Mark and Lee arrived, though they weren’t staying it was great to see them and catch up and discuss future meets over a can of beer. It was then someone had the idea to take a group photo, i forget who, and around three people got there group shots. To save everyone having to stand around any loner than they had to, i asked Jay if it was ok to pinch a copy of his, to which he obliged.   IMG_5136[1] Well as always when having fun, time was going fast, and it wasn’t long before Mark and Lee had to leave. Now by this time, we had already had a few beers each and it was soon time for the now traditional rat pack punch, which was quickly put together and placed on the fire to warm up. This was to be closely followed by Andy’s famous Nando’s style chicken. Now with all of us being “YouTubers” Andy was under a fair bit of pressure making the chicken, as he had cameras on him from all angles, recording for their soon to be videos. He was though, more than up to the task, as the chicken came out absolutely delicious.IMG_5139[1]                                                                                                                                      IMG_5141[1] Well as always it was a really great night, a lot of laughs and great food with awesome company, i’d sure take a night out in the woods with the lads than in a pub any day. There is just something so special about being sat around a camp fire with good friends, it makes it very hard to drag yourself away and go to bed, or hammock in the lads case, or bivvy bag in mine. But sure enough, we all went back to our shelters, and to a great nights sleep.

I awoke the next morning to see Jay and Tiny already packed up, they had to make a early exit, so i said my goodbyes to them and got my morning brew on. The fire that morning had been started by Faith, using fatwood and birch bark, lit with a ferro rod and striker. I feel at even eleven years old, she is probably better than a lot of adults already at traditional fire lighting. Then as if that wasn’t enough, Faith and Andy’s lad Tom, made everybody bacon cobs, or rolls or butties, depending where you are from in the country. So after breakfast it was time to pack up, as we had to be off the car park by 2 o’clock, this was of course no problem at all, and we were soon all packed up and ready to head out. We were soon back in the car park saying our goodbyes and discussing future meets. This was as always another thoroughly enjoyable meet, I am really happy to be a part of this new community we have made, and i’m very proud to call myself a member of the “rat pack” and long may it continue.

Well so ends another installment of my Blog, i hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading, and thank you to all who have either subscribed on here, or signed up to email notifications, i really appreciate all the support, it really does mean a lot.                                    Regards       Mark   IMG_5143[1]

 

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