The Great Northern Bushcraft Conference

GNBC – Edale –  May 2017 – Thursday – Friday 

At the beginning of last year, whilst i was still suffering with my depression and anxiety, i stumbled across quite a few YouTube videos of a really great looking meet up of like minded individuals. This meet was called “The great northern bushcraft conference”. The first videos i found were Jay (GoonieBushcraft) and Dean (Dean Read). As you will know if you have been following my blog, they were the first two outdoors Vloggers that had really caught my attention, and i had been watching a lot of their videos. Well they were not the only guys to put out video content from this event, far from it, in fact there were loads, and all with their own perspective on the event. I watched my way through more than my fair share of them, and i remember thinking at the time, i must get myself there next year if they have another meet like this. To be honest, at the time, i didn’t expect to be going. But fast forwarding around eight or so months into early March 2017, when the dates were announced, and i’m part of the “rat pack”, and eagerly awaiting the end of May for the “The great northern bushcraft conference” to start.

So as you can imagine, lots of camps came and went, and it was soon time to pack for the end of Mays GNBC. The event was running for four days, from Thursday the 25th till Monday 29th, and i would be there for all of them. I couldn’t wait, this would be my first bit of glamping id be doing in a long time. It was going to be nice to be completely comfortable for a change, complete with fishing bed, big chairs and more ale than you could shake a stick at. I did all the packing i could the night before on Wednesday, and left what i could in the car ready. Unfortunately, i had decided in my infinite wisdom, not to book the Thursday off work…. massive face palm moment for me there. Ah well, next time i won’t be so tight with my holidays, this just meant i wouldn’t be arriving at the site in Edale until late afternoon.

The site the event is held on is not an official campsite, it is in fact, for most of the year a sheep grazing field. The field was acquired for our use,  by two great men, whose names are Drew and Lenny. They also organise the whole event, and originally started it as a cheaper alternative to the “Bushcraft show”, which has seen big increases to the ticket prices over the years. So the two of them took it upon themselves to organise a new event, and negotiated with a farmer for use of his field. The rest as they say is history. They also have their own YouTube channels,  Drew’s being “Northwest Bushcrafter” and Lenny’s is  “Lenny6ft5”, i’m sure they’d appreciate you checking them out.

Thursday

Ok, so back to Thursday…… with most of my things already packed, all i had to load in the car upon returning from work was my food and drink. With all this sorted it was time to go. I left my house around half three in the afternoon, not the best time to be going anywhere, as it took me half an hour just to get out of Nottingham due to the school traffic. When i did finally escape Nottingham, i arrived in Edale just after 5 o’clock, and after messing around trying to find the campsite ( i mistakenly thought you could access it via the village road with the pubs on it), i was soon making my way up into the field. The weather was absolutely beautiful, with the sun beating down, and not a cloud in the sky. The top of the field was already surprisingly full of tents, so i slowly made my way up the field to where i thought my friends were camping. Luckily Mike saw me, and waved me up to where i could set up. My set up for this long weekend would be a little different to normal, instead of a tarp and bivvy, or my Zephyros 2, i had a 5 man Aldi tent all to myself. Having only used it once before, and not being one hundred percent on how to set it up, i got a bit of ribbing from the lads, but together we soon had it set up. Once the tent was up i got all my gear in that id need, this included my fishing bed, chair and a few other bits and bobs. I really was living the luxury camping life for this weekend. Due to the heat i decided it would be best to leave all my food and drink in the boot of my car, as this was the only shady place i had. Once i was all set up, it was time to soak up the atmosphere on site and enjoy the beautiful views. We had the great ridge to one side and the great mass of kinder to the other. IMG_7326[1] IMG_7327[1] After a bit of a chat with the lads, it was time for a drink and some food. Earlier in the week Mike had said he was going to his local butchers to get some meat, and if we wanted some, could we please chip in, to which we all agreed. “Some meat” was a bit of an understatement, i think we had nearly a whole cow and a pig, with a flock of chickens thrown in for good measure. With the weather being so warm, we decided to cook the chicken first, well Mike cooked it while we stood and watched, thanks Mike 😉    The rest of the evening was spent chilling out with a few beers and a good chat around the fire with friends, whilst also making a few new ones who popped by our fire that evening.  After a great chilled evening, it was time for bed.  IMG_7330[1]IMG_7331[1]

Friday

The next morning i was up at around 07:30, everywhere was very damp from the overnight dew, but the sky was completely clear, it looked like we were on for another very hot day. Quite a few people were already up, including some of our group, but there were also a lot still happily in the land of nod. By 08:00 most people were up, including all of our group, with the exception of Paul, who was having a nice lay in. With Mark already having the fire pit going, it was time for breakfast. This meant digging in to the large supply of meat from Mike’s butchers, and we soon had an impressive looking hotplate full with bacon and sausage. IMG_7338[1] With breakfast eaten by all our group, i must admit to getting slightly worried by the absense of Paul, who still hadn’t surfaced out of his tent all morning. So sometime just after 09:00, me and one of the other lads decided to check if he was ok. We gave him a shout from just outside his tent, and thankfully he responded, panic over. Luckily for Paul there was still some bacon left over, and once he had eaten it was time to finalise the plans for the day. The night before, we had decided to do a walk, but we hadn’t decided on exactly where to go. The options were, if it was to be a little cooler, then we would do Mam Tor, but if it was another hot day then a paddle in the Grindsbrook stream was in order. Well the weather was already red hot, and it was only 09:30, so the later was chosen. Paul decided he would stay on the campsite and socialise with some of the other groups he was friends with. At around 10:30, myself and the rest of our group were ready to set out for Grindsbrook Clough, all necessary gear loaded into our packs, in particular, plenty of water. It wasn’t very far to the base of Grindsbrook Clough from our campsite, roughly around a mile and a half. With the varying degrees of fitness, the group was pretty stretched out, but we were soon all together again next to the stream. I said my farewells to the rest of the group as they headed down from the path to the stream. This was as far as everyone else was going, i on the other hand, was going a lot further, i had decided to go all the way to the top of Grindsbrook, then take it from there. IMG_7342[1] IMG_7344[1] IMG_7345[1] Walking up Grindsbrook Clough was a real struggle, the sun was very intense and there was little to no wind in the sheltered Clough, i found myself a shady spot to apply some sun cream before carrying on. I was soon at the base of the scramble, and after a short break, i set off up the rocks to the top. IMG_7348[1] IMG_7349[1] I made pretty good time up the scramble despite the heat, and i was soon at the top. I had another short break, as i enjoyed the views back down the Clough and out over the Vale of Edale, flanked on one side by the mass of Kinder scout. Whilst enjoying the view, i decided on the next part of my route. My plan was to walk to the top of Grindslow Knoll, then to double back on myself and follow the southern edge of Kinder scout to Ollerbrook clough, this would lead me back to the GNBC campsite.  IMG_7351[1] I quickly made my way to the top of Grindslow Knoll, the views from here were simply spectacular, and from this vantage point i could see lots of my previous walking routes. These included, the great ridge, Win hill, Hope cross, and i could even just make out the wheel stones near Derwent edge, where i had eaten my lunch only two weeks before. IMG_7354[1] IMG_7355[1] After enjoying the view and having a good chat with a man named Andrew, it was time to head back the way i had came. I was starting to get hungry though, so i didn’t go far before stopping part way down from Grindslow Knoll, to eat my lunch. After my food i carried on my journey back to the campsite. I was soon back past the top of Grindsbrook Clough, and following the edge of Kinder scout. I got as far as Upper Tor when i turned back to look at the spot i had stopped for lunch. It looked every bit as good from this angle too. IMG_7357[1] The next place on my route i was looking forward to reaching was Ringing Rodger, but before reaching it, i decided to stop quickly and apply some more sun cream. I was quite aware that despite the cooling wind, i would most likely start burning soon if i didn’t put some more cream on. I ended up putting a bit too much on, and thankfully there weren’t a lot of people on the trail to see my now overly white face. Ah well, better to be safe than sorry. With cream applied, all be it excessively, i carried on, and before long i was at the rocks around Ringing Rodger. IMG_7359[1] From Ringing Rodger it was only a short walk to Ollerbrook Clough, but as i approached it i thought it might not be the best idea to just walk straight down it. After a quick check of the map, i decided to follow the path to the side of it, down to the nab, then follow that down to Ollerbrook farm, the home of the GNBC campsite.

Back at the campsite i greeted the lads who were already back from Grindsbrook Clough, and i then went for a walk around the site, which had filled up quite a bit since i had left in the morning. I met quite a few people whose videos i watch on YouTube which was great, and even the odd one or two who watch mine. After the wander it was time to relax again with food and a beer. This time we cooked Steaks, well Mike cooked again, with some help from Mark. IMG_7361[1]

We drank ales and chatted around the fire, and even had our first Rat pack punch of the weekend. We had a really good evening and most of us stayed up till gone midnight before retiring to our tents, (or vans for those vanping) to get sleep ready for the next days activities.

So that’s the end of part one, with part two and three to follow soon. I hope you have enjoyed reading this, i will leave a link to my videos for this trip at the bottom of the page. Thank you for reading, i look forward to any comments, until next time, goodbye.

Regards Mark

links below to my videos of the great weekend.

Gnbc weekend video

Gnbc The walks

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