The Great Northern Bushcraft Conference – Part 2

GNBC – Edale – May 2017 -Saturday

I woke up Saturday morning to grey skies, it looked as though the amazing weather we’d had for the first two days was over. A few of the lads from our group were already up, and after saying good morning blurry eyed, i got my kettle on for a much needed morning coffee. With my coffee made, it was time for breakfast, this time we had bacon cobs, (or bread cakes to some 😉 ) with the bacon being supplied by Paul, and cooked by Mike and Craig…… Thanks lads 🙂 Jay and his daughter, Mark, Jan and Lee were packing their gear away, as they were heading off on holiday to Cornwall. Once they were finished, we said our goodbyes, and waved them off.  Whilst eating breakfast we discussed the plans for the day. Saturday was the main selling day, with all the knife makers and leather workers having their products on display, there would also be lots of people selling second hand gear. So it seemed the plan was to check out all the stalls and chill out and relax for the rest of the day. As we were getting ready to have a look around, Lenny came to give us an announcement, Lenny being one of the main guys behind organising the event.  He came to tell us that at around four o’clock there would be a group photo of everyone who had attended, and also that there would be a raffle. The raffle was all items donated by the craftsmen on site, with lots of great things on offer. So with this news we all headed off around the site, to check out what people had for sale. The sun had decided to come back out now, and the sky was starting to clear, though not quite as cloud free as the past two days.  IMG_8034[1] The nearest and first stall we arrived at was Scott’s, who also runs a great YouTube channel “MrSkooty1968”. He does a lot of great wood work, which you can see above. These include ferro rods, hobo fishing reels and even wooden razor handles, only you have to supply the blades yourself. IMG_8035[1]IMG_8036[1] There were lots of great stalls, woodwork, leather work and home made knives. All with  very nicely made by some great craftsmen. I take my hat off to them all, and i really appreciate the hard work they all must have put in to create such quality goods.IMG_8037[1] As well as new hand crafted gear, there was also plenty of good quality second hand gear, all eagerly hoping for a new home. Unfortunately i didn’t really see anything i wanted, as mush as i loved the beautiful knifes and leather work, there not something i really use, being more of a walker and wild camper and not a bushcrafter. After having a good look around and chatting to quite a few familiar faces, the time was fast approaching mid day.  A few of us had made our way back to the area we had set up in, and were enjoying a sit down it the shade of Paul’s gazebo. Whilst sat there admiring the surroundings, i decided that i wanted to get out there for a nice walk. I also however wanted to be in the group photograph, so it would have to be a short one. My plan was to walk up to Hollins cross on the great ridge, then up to Mam Tor, and back to Edale via Harden Clough , this was roughly a six mile trip and should easily see me back in time for the group photo. So i quickly made myself some food for the walk, and i set off for the great ridge at about 11:45. The weather was still beautifully sunny, and with very little wind, i knew it wouldn’t be long before i’d be a sweaty mess. As i made it to the road, i turned back to look at the campsite, that had filled up even more since Friday night, before carrying onto the footpath on the other side. IMG_8040[1] IMG_8041[1] Following the footpath, i crossed the bridge across the river Noe. Its at this point the path starts to steepen, and looking ahead towards Peters barn, were two Cows laying in the path, a bit worrying i thought. As i got nearer, i saw a man stood in the path, he wasn’t walking, and he seemed be watching the cows. Once a bit nearer to him, i said hello, and he then asked what i was going to do about the cows. In fact, as one of them had big horns, he thought they were bulls. I told him i was just going to walk past them, and if i had to, walk around them a good distance so as not to startle them. He walked with me as we approached them carefully. One of them got up and walked away, whilst the other stayed put. We decided to chance it, and carried on by, the cow just watched us go, phew! we thought. Its always a bit of a worry when big cows block your way, as they can be a bit unpredictable. IMG_8043[1] With the cows successfully navigated, we introduced ourselves, i told him my name, and he said his name was Jeff. When i told him i had come from the GNBC campsite, he said he had too, and it turned out he was actually related to Lenny the organiser. So off we went up to Hollins cross in the blazing heat, and with no wind it was super hot. We had to stop quite a few times, and i have to admit in the heat i was really struggling. Luckily its not a massive climb, and we eventually made it to Hollins cross, by which time i was a very sweaty mess and ready for a sit down. IMG_8045[1] At Hollins cross the weather was a lot more bearable due to a good breeze blowing across, this certainly helped combat the heat from the sun, and kept me much cooler. After a quick sit down and chat, Jeff decided to tag along with me, which was great, as i now had a walking partner. We set off up to Mam Tor, and as the path got higher, so did the wind. The wind got so powerful, i was forced to take my hat off and clip it to my belt for fear i might lose it to the hills. Its not very far to the summit of Mam Tor from Hollins cross, and we were soon on top. It was quite busy at the summit, as is normally the case on a weekend. We didn’t stay long, as the wind was really bad, and after a quick photo at the trig point we decided to head down to the broken road to eat our lunch.  IMG_8049[1] IMG_8050[1] We walked off Mam Tor via a path on the south face, which follows the edge of the land slip, and makes its way to the end of the broken road. Its quite a steep path down, and no fun on the knees, but sure enough we made the bottom, and sat on a section of the broken road to eat our lunch.  IMG_8053[1] IMG_8054[1] After lunch we paid a quick visit to the Blue John cavern cafe. and Jeff very kindly brought me a coffee. IMG_8057[1] We had the coffees on the go and slowly drank them as we walked. We made our way towards the road in the gap between Mam Tor and Lords seat. From the gap, we soon joined the path to Harden Clough. We were making good time, and we’d easily make it back to the campsite in time for the Group photo and raffle. Near the end of the path, we came across a section that was really muddy the last time i went that way, and i was very happy to find it bone dry. Leaving the once muddy section behind, we were soon back in Edale village, and after passing the train station we took the footpath immediately after Fieldhead campsite, back to Ollerbrook farm.

We made it back to site with around twenty minutes to spare. Just enough time to empty my bag, change my boots and open a nice bottle of ale. Back at my tent, i noticed one of my poles had split in the wind, so i quickly got some duct tape from Paul, wrapped it up and hoped that would be enough to stop it breaking completely. At 16:00 everybody started to make there way down to the bottom of the field where the photograph was taking place. IMG_8059[1] After the group shot, Drew and Lenny gave out one raffle ticket to everybody there, and said the draw would be done at about half past. Unfortunately i didn’t win a prize, but it was really great of them to do this for free and massive thanks for the lads who donated the prizes free of charge. IMG_8061[1] After the raffle it was time to get the fire going and get some food on. More meat on the menu as we tried our best to eat our way through all the meat Mike had got from the butchers. After food it was time to have a few more ales around the fire, and even more meat, as Andy started to make some of his famous nandos chicken….yum yum. As the evening went on, the wind started to pick up more and more, and it also started raining. It didn’t stop us having a great night though as we chatted and drank into the night. The wind was quite worrying for me though, as i’d already had to patch up one pole already. But as it happened, after a good few hours and plenty of ales inside us, it was Paul’s gazebo that got absolutely ruined in the wind. We tried to pack it up as best as we could, but it wasn’t happening, and it looked a right state. We were far to merry to do anything about it know though, we’d have to deal with it in the morning. This was to be our latest night up of the weekend, but all good things must come to an end, and while we were down to the last three or four of us, we decided to call it a night and made our way back to our tents. It had been a great time.

So that’s the end of this blog, i hope you have enjoyed it, there will be one more part out of this story soon. So if you read this far, thank you very much, i’ll put the links to my videos on this trip at the bottom of the page again incase you missed them before.

Thanks again, and until next time, goodbye 🙂

Regards Mark

Links to Edale GNBC videos

The great northern bushcraft conference

Great northern bushcraft conference The Walks

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