Back in early June, …….yes i know my blogs are getting later,and a bit out of sink 😉 Paul, Jay and myself decided very last minute, to go for a wild camp in the Bushcraft forest. It was a midweek meet, so there was only going to be three of us from the rat pack, but we were also to be joined by a fellow YouTuber Paul Messner. The night before the camp, me and Paul decided that we’d meet at the forest for between 11:30 – 12:00.
I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain hitting my bedroom window, it was too late to cancel now, and anyway i don’t let a bit of rain stop me getting outdoors. So with all my gear packed, i left my house at roughly 10:30, hoping to get there for the earlier meeting time of 11:30. Unfortunately traffic was against me, and it was nearer to 12:00 by the time i pulled up at the lay-by near the woods. No bother i thought, and i put my bergan on and made my way to the camping spot. The rain was still coming down, and the wind was blowing quite hard, fortunately it wasn’t a cold wind. As i arrived at the familiar spot, i noticed that Paul wasn’t around, so i checked my phone to see if he had messaged me of any delays. It turned out he had, and that he wouldn’t be arriving until just after 13:00. Having roughly one hour to myself, and with the rain still coming down, i decided to set my shelter up straight away before my pack got completely soaked. Being the only one there, i had the pick of the place to set my tarp, i decided to chose a secluded spot which was very sheltered from the weather. I opted to set up a simple A-frame, using the trees to support, only this time i had one corner folded out just to make it easier to get in and out. Once set up, i thought id record myself some intro footage for my video, and then go check out, what we call the famous view. Whilst technically not really famous, the view from the cliff edge does appear in just about every single video from the Bushcraft forest. The view looks particularly nice at this time of year, with everywhere in full colour and all shades of green on show. After a good long look, i made my way back into the woods to where i was set up. Whilst i was waiting for Paul, i decided to collect the rubbish which a group of campers had left the night before. I know the rubbish was very recent as the alternative fire pit still had warm ashes in it. Ironically, there was an empty carrier bag, so i proceeded to fill it, until there was no rubbish in our area. I had only finished litter picking a few moments when i saw Paul walking down the footpath to where i was waiting. We greeted each other and had a quick chat before Paul picked where he was going to set up. As normal for a woodland camp Paul had brought his hammock and tarp. Whilst setting up he informed me Jay would also be arriving soon and that another Paul (Paul Messner) would be coming for his first visit to this woodland. Times are a little hazy in my head, but im pretty sure that Jay arrived not long after Paul. Before setting up his Hammock, he informed us that we would also be getting two extra visitors sometime in the afternoon. These visitors would be Mark Cook and Andy Sparks, although they were not going to be stopping the night, just popping in for a brew and a chat. It didn’t take Jay long to put up his hammock, and once finished, me and Paul took him to a pine tree that had been damaged quite recently. It looked as though some one had took an Axe, and gone around the whole tree and removed all the bark in a foot deep ring. We all had a good complain about why anyone would feel the need to do such a thing, and why they had also chopped live trees for fire wood, when there is plenty of deadfall about, which also would burn better!! So rant over 🙂 It was about this time that Paul got a text to say that the other Paul had arrived ( i can see this getting complicated). So from here on in, they shall be Paul (who arrived first) and Paul M who Jay and Paul went to collect from the lay-by:-) So while Paul and Jay went to meet Paul M, i stayed behind to look after the equipment. Its only a short distance from the woods to the lay-by, and all three lads were soon back. I went up to Paul M to say hello, i had met him for the first time at the GNBC in Edale (that blog is in the pipeline) and this was our first meet since then. Paul M also had a hammock to set up, though unlike the rest of our group, his wasn’t from the DD brand. Paul M’s hammock was a Hennessy explorer deluxe, it was very smart looking, and i was quite impressed by it. Now that everybody had their shelters up, we all decided it was time to search for some firewood. I borrowed Paul’s folding saw for this task, as he was going to set up the group shelter while the rest of us went wood collecting. This period of wood collecting was about the only time that it wasn’t raining, so for roughly an hour i actually managed to take off my waterproofs. Collecting wood and sawing into usable chunks was very hungry work, so i decided to get myself some food on as soon as we had finished. Food for this meal was a boil in the bag army ration pack, sausage casserole if i remember correctly 🙂 It was somewhere around this time that Mark cook and Andy Sparks arrived. I don’t remember who turned up first, but i’m pretty sure that they were both in time for the lighting of the fire. Now we don’t always go for the natural style, but on this occasion Paul decided on this wet and windy afternoon to use some fatwood, lit by flint and steel. The first try failed, we put this down to it not being the best fatwood, so out came the birch bark. This also took a couple of goes, but on the second attempt it worked and we had fire, a massive congratulations to Paul for persevering with it 🙂 With the fire burning nicely, or the camping TV as we sometimes call it, it was time to relax under the shelter with a beer. Unfortunately for Mark and Andy, they were stuck on coffee. After a drink or two, and a good hour or more of chatting, it was time for Mark and Andy to leave, and we bid them farewell. In the time we had been chatting, we had built up enough embers on the fire to cook some proper food. Paul M had brought with him enough pork steaks for all of us, so on the grill they went. The pork was very nice, and the four of us sat under the group shelter out of the rain enjoying each others company whilst setting the world to rights. Despite the weather, it was still a really awesome evening. I’m sure most of you reading this will understand, that there aren’t many better ways of spending an evening than sat around a fire with friends, whilst enjoying a beer or three 🙂 It soon came around to midnight, and we decided to call time on the night and we all headed to our shelters for sleep.
The next morning i was up early, and the weather was still miserable, i think it had carried on raining all night. I decided to pack most of my gear away except for my tarp before leaving the enclosed area i was set up in. When i came out i was greeted by Paul, who had also got up early. Paul M and Jay were still in their hammocks, so i got myself a brew on and took it to the cliff edge to take in the morning view. There was a lot of mist rising from the trees below, and it looked very mystical. Upon returning to the camp, Jay and Paul M were both up. This meant it was time for breakfast, Paul M had some sausages and Jay had bacon, you cant beat sausage and bacon cobs in the morning, Yum Yum 🙂 After breakfast it was time to finish packing and make our way back to our cars. The weather was still awful, and outside of the trees the wind was really bad. Once back at the cars we said our goodbyes and we all headed off our separate ways back to the real world. It had been a really great camp as always, despite the weather, you cant let it put you off in this country as its always raining when you decide on outdoor activities.
So here ends another blog, if you read this far i hope you enjoyed it. If you did manage it this far down the page, thank you very much, as always i will drop a link to the video version at the bottom of this blog. Thanks again, and until next time goodbye 🙂