It was through Twitter that I found out about Camp Wildfire and immediately I knew that I had to go. A weekend of bushcraft, craft activities and adventure sports was right up my street so I hastily bought a ticket and managed to convince Rebecca who I'd met in the YHA on my South Downs Way ride to come along too.
Arriving on the Friday afternoon to a rather wet and muddy field somewhere near Sevenoaks we swiftly setup our tents and headed towards camp HQ up a soggy wooded track lined with fairy lights and flags. Camp HQ consisted of some log cabins, food stalls and the main music/beer tent with communal tables and seating in the woods. Due to the pretty grim weather recently everything was rather mud splattered but there was beer available and so we spent the evening enjoying the wares and getting into the camp spirit ahead of our first round of activities the next day.
8:00 - Outdoor Yoga
Became indoor yoga due to the rain and cold but it was a nice way to start the day. It has been a good few years since I have done any yoga but the instructor was good and I came away feeling invigorated and hungry for some breakfast!
11:40 - Firelighting
A fantastic session learning and practising the different methods of lighting fires with birch bark shavings and a fire steel, a piece of flint and a steel, using a fire piston and using King Alfred fungus or char cloth. There's nothing quite as satisfying as holding a smouldering hay birds nest and making fire. Rather caveman-esque!
15:00 - Stand Up Paddleboarding
Awesome intro to SUP with Charlie and Kiko on a nearby lake. I've wanted to try this for a while now so I was really looking forward to it. After only 15 minutes we were all up and paddling and luckily remained that way for the rest of the session - loved it!
16:40 - Projectiles
Who wouldn't want to fire air pistols and throw axes and ninja stars? It was great fun and I found I have a hidden talent for throwing rather large ninja stars ;-)
18:20 - Assault Course
I was thinking Ninja UK Warrior but this turned out to be rather disappointing with a muddy puddle, a tube, cargo net and a few logs to jump over. Nevertheless I threw myself with reckless abandon into the mud and came away battered and exhausted - time for a drink!
10:00 - Game Preparation
We learnt how to prepare a rabbit for cooking. Using an axe I chopped off the head and removed it's organs through the chest cavity whilst someone else skinned it. It was a truly humbling and engaging experience with a very knowledgeable instructor, definitely one to remember.
11:40 - Shelter Building
Learned about the different types of shelter you can build and how to build one. Good team fun and something I'd like to try solo in the wild.
15:00 - Primitive Tanning
Using the rabbit skins from the game prep session we learnt how to scrape away the excess flesh and sinew to prepare the skin for tanning. Our instructor Dan then talked us through the process and we got to apply some pigs brains to a deer skin that was already racked and in the process of being tanned. Really interesting and something I'd like to try myself.
16:40 - Wood Whittling
Something for the soul, learning to whittle a spoon from cherry wood. All I need now is a cabin and a rocking chair to sit and whittle the rest of my years away!
18:20 - High Wires & Leap of Faith
The last session of the weekend and an adrenaline packed high wires session of climbing, hanging upside down and jumping from a height - what more could a girl ask for!
All in all I can honestly say that I really enjoyed the weekend. I found some social aspects of it a bit difficult and some rather weird like the adults boy/girl scouts theme but overall it was a fun-filled weekend. My favourite part was definitely the bushcraft sessions....I wonder what the local butcher will say when I ask him for a dead rabbit to skin, eat and tan it's hide :-D