Monday, 2 May 2016

Bushcraft Magazine's May Day Meet 2016

For some reason I've never made it to a Bushcraft Magazine May day meet before so I was rather looking forward to this year's event.

It is held across the first May bank holiday weekend and I purchased a day ticket for the Friday but it suddenly dawned on me that this was a half day for setting up. I made contact to raise this and it was sorted in a quick and friendly manner with a minimum of fuss and I re-arranged to the Sunday. This sorting out of the ticket was  actually a foretaste of the day... 

My drive was a little over an hour on a gloriously sunny day and I passed converted oasthouses, lambs, vineyards and hedgerows and ditches brimming with life. I've never seen so much Lady's Smock and Hemlock Water Dropwort!  The old satnav did a good job getting me to the minimalist signage at the dead end lane which leads to the site. I let out a wow when I saw the meet as the first impression was of an intimate bushcraft event...It was. A day ticket can be a purchased for participation and non-participation (I had the latter) and so I could get stuck into activities if I wanted to.

I had initially said a hello to Steve (one of the organisers), the Woodlife Trails crew there, and then headed to see Mark and Helen at Beaver Bushcraft to leave a knife  for some TLC sharpening.

I had arrived before the show's 10 o'clock start time and all those in attendance are called to the fire circle for an outline of the day and what's happening where. As it came to an end I headed to see Ross at Kaos Blacksmiths to see about getting involved, only to find out that the Sunday schedule was full, perhaps I need to email another time...

Straight afterwards I saw Hannah Nicholls and went and introduced myself as I am attending a day that Natural Pathways are running, she was heading for a shelter building workshop and I tagged along to take some pictures...And ended up getting stuck in. Although I have built shelters before, both for myself and with our Cub Pack I did pick up a few tips from Hannah. I excused myself before the shelter session was finished as I was going to see Mark about my knife.

He was just about to start it as I came by, so I went and grabbed my lunch and watched and we chatted between the occasional crowd forming and he talked me through the process he was using to sharpen my knife. Obviously getting this close to their stand meant I ended up making a purchase, silly boy I never learn.


I had another wander round the place chatting to various folk and then went to see Will Lord to see if I could abuse some flint. He set me on the road and again, like Mark, we chatted about everything from courses to parenthood. He also had his stone age Action Man out on display in the front of his impressive display yurt type tent. I didn't get to finish my arrow head but it was well on the way to at least looking the part and has really whet my appetite.

I had to leave late afternoon so I didn't see the whole day out, but equally I'd got a lot out of the preceding hours. I think meet is the correct way to describe this event and as Steve said they organise it and it gathers it's own momentum and there were so many friendly folk there saying hello and everything happens at it's own space. It's not a commercial venture, more a small scale meetup which is better maximised if you can stay for the duration . I've not used a lot of photos as I said I'd send  a lot of them to Bushcraft magazine for possible use.

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