It had been around six weeks since i had been on Rat pack camp, this wasn’t because there hadn’t been any, it was due to me having other commitments. Unfortunately for me i had been unable to make the last big camp, which had been at Kev’s permission woodland. Kev is “woodland camp and craft” on YouTube if anyone is interested in checking him out, and id recommend that you do. With the holiday book being full at work, i was stuck in a dusty warehouse, while everyone else was on there way to the camp. I did however manage to get other trips in the meantime. So when the chance came again for a Rat pack meet, i jumped at the chance. This meet was to be a mid week camp, which meant only three of us would be attending, as our shifts fell right for the dates set. So with Just me, Jay (GoonieBushcraft) and Paul (Prepped Nomad), we set our location for the camp, a woodland in Yorkshire.
The morning of the camp was a wet one, and it was still raining when i arrived in the lay-by near the spot we would be camping at. I was the first to arrive, and i decided to wait in the car for Paul to turn up, to save me getting completely soaked before we started. After ten or so minutes, i saw him pull up in his van, i got my gear together and made my way over to him. We already knew that Jay would be arriving a bit later in the afternoon, so it was up to us to find a suitable location, and set up camp and wait for his arrival. A week or so prior, Paul had been on a camp in these woods, and we thought it would be a good idea to find that location. Well this proved to be a lot more difficult than expected, as the woods are constantly changing at this time of year (this camp was early may). Try as we may, we just couldn’t find the place at all, so we decided to head to another spot that we had all used previously very early this year. This was also by no means easy, as the last time we were there, the woods were still dormant from winter, and they were now in the full growth of spring. Well eventually we found our chosen spot, and after an hour or so of walking around the woodland we were quite wet, fortunately it was just our waterproofs. It was amazing how different the place looked, i’d only ever seen it in the winter, and now being here in the spring, i barely recognised it. We both admired the beauty of the woodland in springtime for a moment, with all the different shades of green, interspersed with the violet colours of the bluebells. After a good look around the area, we decided it was time to set up our shelters. As usual i was on the ground, using my Terra nova adventure 2 tarp, while Paul was in his hammock with a DD tarp to cover him. With set ups made, it was time to go meet Jay. Paul decided he would go, and that i would stay and look after all the gear. Whilst Paul was gone, I decided to sort the rest of my things out. So i inflated my sleep mat, then put my sleeping bag into the bivvy bag so i was ready for the night. Soon Paul was back with Jay, we greeted each other and had a quick chat as it had been quite a while since we had seen each other. Jay also handed me a new torch, we he had ordered for me back in February, and i was really happy to receive it, as it was the same as his and was very impressive for the money. With pleasantries exchanged, Jay went to find himself somewhere to set up his hammock. Once set up, we all then helped Paul put up the big group shelter. Well by helped, i mean, me and Jay held bits while Paul ran Guy lines off to near-by trees and tied them off. Paul after all is the Knot man of the group. A group shelter is invaluable in wet weather, as it gives us somewhere to socialise, instead of being stuck in our own shelters or out in the rain. With the shelter built, it was time to search for firewood. We had no problem at all in finding plenty of dead fall, which we brought back to camp and processed into small enough sections for the fire. We decided to waste no time in getting the fire started, as with the wood being so damp, there were plenty of flies around and we needed the smoke to disperse them……. our plan worked a treat 🙂 With the fire going it was time for food, whilst Paul and Jay used the fire to cook their food, i always bring my gas stove, as the pans i have are not really suitable for placing in the fire. As always on these woodland camps, i had army ration pack boil in the bag meals. They are very easy to cook, and clean to make, and i also find them quite tasty for what they are. After food, we stoked the fire up more as it started to get darker. It was still raining, but we were all nice and dry under the group shelter, and it was also acting as a heat reflector keeping us all lovely and warm. It was about this time that we also decided it was beer o’clock, and we spent the rest of the evening chilling next to the fire, chatting about various subjects and supping on our ales. That evening we more than set the world to rights, and after some great discussions, we retired to our shelters at about midnight. It was an extremely warm night, and i didn’t even need to zip my sleeping bag all the way, and i slept right through till the morning.
The next morning i was up early, it was still raining, and i doubt that it had stopped all night. The first job for me as always, was straight on with the stove to make make a morning brew. After that i almost feel alive, and ready to tackle everybody’s favourite job……packing away wet gear,……. yes, im being sarcastic 😉 Once we were all packed away, we doused the ashes with any remaining water we had left, and covered it with mud to conceal where it had been. With the area tidy, and returned to how we found it, it was time to go. Its not a very far walk from the woods to the lay-by where we left our vehicles, and we were soon back at the cars. This as always had been a great camp despite the near constant rain, and made even more comfortable due to Paul’s group shelter. The group shelter had allowed us to sit outside and cook and chat together, without being stuck in our own shelters. So with out kit stowed in our respective cars it was time to say our goodbyes, and make our way home.
So on that note, its also time for me to say goodbye, I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog of our trip out into the wet woodland. If you have read this far, thank you very much, as always this blog is aviliable in video form, see link below. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, goodbye