Went to the Bushcraft Show on Friday: We arrived around 17:00 hrs to a friendly and warm welcome from the girls on the gate, moving on down to the parking stewards “Park Here” as we were waved into a spot, camp anywhere over there he said waving his arm in the general direction of the arena area and a sea of canvas in every hue of the rainbow and shapes I didn’t even know existed.
We found an area to pitch our tent not far from one of the water points, with the help of my able bodied and over enthusiastic 7yr old daughters we had the tent up and ready in about 45-60 minutes whilst my wife held the dogs. Funny I’d gotten it down to 30minutes on my own in the back garden with the help of the dogs but there you go.
Tents up I crack open a beer and set about the air beds and getting the kids sorted whilst wifey was walking the dogs in the nearby open area, I notice a couple in a near by tent looking over so I smiled and nodded which was returned with a glower….. maybe a smile and a nod mean something different in Scotland oh well I’m used to anti-social its my natural state.
Wifey returns and sets about cooking tea, Hot Dogs and Hamburgers of course, it was the kids first camping trip and our first as a family so we have to tick all the stereo types lol. After tea I took Amber for a walk through the woods with the dogs to explore the area and nosey at the setups of the guys camping in the woods, as we munch on beech leaves and cleavers she spots a hammock and tarp setup and asked about it, as I pointed and explained it to her (she’d seen something similar in a fairy story I think maybe Avatar) we were beckoned in to have a closer look by the man in residence with his family. Said man (looking every bit the experienced woodsman) introduced his daughter as weasel and offered she show Amber the hammock and let her sit in one, Amber being shy as opposed to my anti-social declined with our dogs greeting each other briefly (my 2 lurchers his lurcher and whippet) I bid them well and thanked them as we moved on.
Turning in around 22:00 hrs and waking sometime not long after to a strong northern accent, this talking continued for several hours from the area of the glower’s mentioned previously, in the next few hours I had to listen to some boring twat from Sheffield (apparently he works in demolitions or some such) talk bollox from why can’t we all get along, the army ruined my life, we’re all the same underneath blah blah blah the more he drank the worse it got eventually the same annoying voice that woke me up bore me back to sleep.
I awoke around 06:00 on Saturday and tried to go to toilet quick as a flash I realised the dogs had burst through the tent and tried to follow me lol so back I went got the leads and took them for a walk up near the Castle. (Elvaston Castle btw is a beautiful with some lovely walks). I returned from walking the dogs, wifey went for a shower whilst I used my homemade bush cooker to make a brew, whilst awaiting water to boil I saw Mr Glowered clear his nose in his AO pretty much next to his cooker (dirty bastard).
As far as the show was concerned I was far from impressed over all, the showers were awesome way better than I expected, the toilets adequate, beer ok BUT food and demonstrations even the Bushcrafters are another subject all together.
Onsite caterers were frankly a rip off on par with a fair ground and not a properly organised event, the “hog roast” was basically a pork sandwich none of the romantic watching the hog roast over hot coals as the title would suggest, not even apple sauce, stuffing or mustard. Originally advertised at £3:50 a person that quickly changed to £4:00 not so much when ordering one but soon adds up ordering 4 or more.
There was a tuck shop with also took the piss with prices 20p for a drumstick lolly 90p for a Mars bar and £1 for a can of coke.
The fresh produce shop was more reasonably priced, the ladies on the stall were very accommodating and willing to fetch things such as cheese they didn’t have with them and some of the best Lincolnshire sausages I’ve ever tasted.
During the first part of the day you were hard pressed to get close to a demonstration, each was confined to its small stall area and with half the guys present determined they need to wear a back pack despite their tent being less than 300yrds away. There was a huge expanse of grass in the middle of the arena which went to waste and could have been put to better use such as have a stage setup for the demonstrations.
Several of the stalls were very helpful and friendly such as the gents dressed up from the 1800’s (I guess) and the couple selling knives and flint strikers (they also supply woodlore) as well as the primitive bowyers next to the Gransfors bruks forge, whilst others obviously only were interested in parting you from your cash.
It was nice to get to see the Military Mart store they have some cracking prices but honestly screw you on postage when buying online.
I was looking around various stalls not really looking to buy anything as I overheard some guy commenting to his friends on the machetes present as being “cheap crap” before tossing said tool back onto the pile, I went over to examine the machete he’d discarded with so much disdain to find it was a tramontina bolo ( I own one and although they’re cheap they are far removed from being crap) I later saw same chap clutching a Bear Grylls Parang to his chest label pointed outwards for all to see lol.
We went for a walk around the grounds and castle gardens and spent a pleasant couple of hours as a family.
The “Bushcrafters” present for the most part looked like Ray Mears clones there was almost a kind of uniform present, all Green or DPM and green, kuksa and knife worn on belt as for the leather cowboy hat well……….many seemed to blend into one. Each to their own I guess I’m not one to sit in judgement on others but when I see someone with a knife costing more than I earn’t in a week working struggling with the bow drill I know gear has replaced knowledge and looking the part is more important than being the part.
Kids were running around with knives strapped to their hips and ferro rods in hands trying to set everything alight, we saw one little scroat trying to set the grass alight outside the event Tipi. My daughter asked me what he thought he was doing (she being 7 and he being several years older) I replied loud enough for him to hear “Nothing Darling he’s to stupid to realise the grass is too wet to light” at which point he looked over with a petulant pout and wondered over to the wood pile to try in vain to ignite a log. At some point this little pyromaniac’s father looked up from drinking and talking bollox with his friends and decided to show johnny rotten how its done and proceeded to cut a piece of bark from the wood pile and get a spark to catch on it, fortunately his spark didn’t last long (I’m sure I could fit in a joke about him being not such a bright spark somewhere but you get the idea)
The music was ok the beer reasonably priced and flowing what a couple of the bar staff lacked in experience they made up for in entertainment value, seeing the guy come out from cleaning the toilet and topping up the loo roll with a PHAT JOINT hanging out of his trap kinda pissed me off as this was a family event.
I awoke 01:00 hrs on Sunday morning to the sound of heavy rain which was still pouring at 07:00 and looked set for the day, we decided to cut our losses between the weather (no ones fault) and our disappointment from the day before and call it a day. We packed up the tent loaded the car and headed home, not the only ones from what we witnessed.
Now I find I could have gotten tickets cheaper than the £190 I spent kind of seals the deal we’ll not be attending another anytime soon.