A couple of weeks ago, (ahem months…) it was the Outdoor Bloggers camping weekend up near Dalby Forest. After attending the one in Croston last March, I looked forward to the next one ever since. Even the torrential rain couldn’t stop us from having an amazing time!
You would think that after a weekend of torrential rain and seas of mud (on the campsite) it would put you off, but no! Us outdoor bloggers love nothing more than getting down with the weather – whatever it may bring.
The morning after
Unfortunately, due to work commitments with the opening of GO Outdoors, I wasn’t able to join everyone on the Friday night. Gutted! But it did mean that I got to buy a new bag – silver lining and all! Once I had finished work, ate my car picnic and admired my new Kathmandu Travel Pack (review coming soon) it was time to head to north Yorkshire!
After a brief detour (driving down a one way street in the village) I arrived at the gates of a lush camp site and the smiling face of the owner. It turned out that the owner and I got on really well and spent a good hour chatting. We had a love for cats and dancing with dogs. It seemed a good use of time though as everyone, bar Lyndon who bobbed over to say ‘hi’…and to find the wine fridge, were sleeping.
That was when the very welcome and familiar smiling face spotted me from the field. Zoe aka Splodz (who you’ll have met before if you follow my blog) grabbed me and helped me to pitch my tent in double-quick time. That ended in giggles at the speed in which I had a brew in my hand. Seriously, who goes anywhere without a flask of tea for moments like these?! Or any moment, for that matter?
Tent pitched, hugging and greeting done, it was time for some more tea and a curious writing activity that Zoe had concocted for us to do. We settled together while Jenni set the fire going. The smell of the burning wood was enough to remind me about how much I love camping.
The activity was so much fun, even though my description of my time at the Go Outdoors store in Preston sounded more like a Mills and Boon story! (Let me know if you’d like an excerpt!) We had to write for different audiences, which was a fun way to get our creativity flowing. I have to say that the winner by far was Emma’s husband Simon who came out with some proper gems!
Once our laughter had subsided somewhat, it was time for some food. We received some amazing goody bags (mine will be in the vlog) so most of my friends ate food from them. I came prepared with some chana masala and matar paneer (tofu) Mmmm, even thinking about it makes me hungry.
Around the camp fire
As the light began to fade we drew closer to the camp fire to continue getting to know each other better. One thing that is great about the Outdoor Bloggers is that everyone is so easy to get on with. We’re totally different, yet very similar. Oh and very weird in our own special ways too. It is amazing what comes out during evening chats! (toilet rabbit!!)
The evening also brought about the invention of the marshmallow staff – something which is often found hanging above the fireplace in northern homes along with the rifle and family photo. (check out the picture above, it holds multiple marshmallows at a time and creates a challenge for eating!) It was only tiredness (and a bit of rain) that encouraged us to bed in the end. Something that we’re all grateful for on camp when we wake refreshed in the morning.
The morning after
I was a awake bright and early to gt a few work bits done while my swollen camp face deflated and the water boiled for my tea. It was a gloriously quiet and still morning, so I enjoyed the sound of the birds while I tapped away on my phone.
After a hearty breakfast of porridge with Liolicious blueberries (highly recommended) as well as copious amounts of tea, we were almost ready to set off on our walk to Dalby Forest. I stuffed almost everything I had into my bag along with my flask and packed lunch. Then off we went into the beautiful hills along the tall tree-lined paths.
The walk up to the forest also included us taking some photographs for a competition being run between Keen and Outdoor Bloggers, so we regularly stopped to snap a photo or two to put into the mix. It was a lovely opportunity for us all to chat and get to know each other better. One thing that never fails to amuse me when out with my blogging friends is the amount of time we spend with our phones and cameras at the ready.
Yet, we all have a totally different story to share at the end of it.
It was a good thing that I brought my own food as there wasn’t anything dairy free whatsoever, and to be honest, it was all very expensive anyway. Plus, they wouldn’t allow ceramic cups outside due to the eating area being ‘near’ the play area. One thing I got from my fellow bloggers was that they are not the kind of people to lob cups at small children.
Of course, being in a forest, there was no shortage of nature to be captured in our cameras for the competition. We had a mini prize giving over lunch (I won a Buff!) followed by a mini photo shoot for the Outdoor Bloggers website. It is fun seeing behind the scenes of these things – so I got snapping away from the other side.
After lunch we let our inner children come out while having a go on the obstacle course. It was a fun way to get to the start of the walk and thankfully with the lack of cups outdoors, we were all safe. Well, with the exception of Katy’s bum as she swung from the most complicated of obstacles! (you’ll be pleased to know she survived unscathed
Somehow this group of outdoorsey folk managed to end up going on the circular walk the wrong way round. It didn’t matter, but it meant that we had to look to the back of each way marker. Which does make me wonder why it wasn’t on both sides to begin with? Hmmm.
Although there is always that little air of sadness when a brilliant trip or holiday are coming to an end, sometimes it is the last bit that holds the funniest memories.
As we meandered our way back to the campsite (on the non-planned route…again!) you could hear laughter still filling the air. Sharing stories and memories from the weekend and enjoying the last of the fresh air and sunshine before we all made for the road home.
With cheesy grins like these, I knew that we would all still be giggling when we made it home – no matter how long our journey might be.
It is not every day that you are able to find people who you just instantly bond with. But with our love for the great outdoors, having a laugh and generally not taking things too seriously, we just fit together like jigsaw pieces. Ok, so we might be rather strange jigsaw pieces, but that’s what makes the group fun, inclusive and a perfect blend of weird! (yes, I mean that about every single one of you!!)
I’m hoping that it won’t be long until we meet again, but in the meantime, there are memories, blog posts, pictures and more to bring back the giggles any time I look for them.
Are you a fan of camping? Do you write a blog about your outdoor adventures?
Maybe you could join us on our next camp?
Head to Outdoor Bloggers to find out more.
PS: I won one of the two Keen prizes! Check out these beauties! And just in time as my others were at the end of their life. 🙂