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Thread: What are you waiting for? Get involved.

  1. #1
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    Default What are you waiting for? Get involved.

    I was looking through some of the meet up threads and I noticed that for the large part, the same names keep cropping up.

    Now that is not all that surprising as once you start going to meets they do become quite addictive. I certainly try to get to any that are in striking distance for me.



    But that started me wondering. Where is everyone else?

    We see dozens of threads from new members asking where to go and how to get started. My answer is always the same.

    Get involved and sign up for some of the meet ups.

    There are meets organised by members all over the country and although they are not usually set up like a course, designed with specific teaching objectives, they are a great introduction and opportunity to learn.



    The meets attract members at all levels from raw beginners to experts in their fields and I have never met anyone that was not more than willing to share their skills.

    People often imagine that you already have to have certain skills or equipment to go to a meet but you might be surprised to find that very little is really needed.

    They are usually held on established camp sites so basic toilets and water supplies are not normally a problem. You will of course need some form of shelter but a normal tent is quite sufficient.

    Many turn up with tarps and hammocks which is fine too but most sites do not have the available materials for building natural shelters.

    Bring something to eat and if necessary the means to heat it. Some sites allow ground fires, most require fires to be off the ground for safety reasons. Again, there is nothing wrong with bringing a simple camping stove if you like.

    Obviously you need to be prepared for the conditions you are likely to encounter.

    Warm clothing is a good idea, even in Summer the evenings can get cold. Waterproofs and footwear suitable for muddy conditions are sensible too.

    A sleeping bag or good warm blankets and an insulated sleeping mat. If you are bringing a hammock, be aware that you will still need insulation under that as well because the bag will be compressed where you contact the hammock.



    Less obvious things to bring are a notebook and a chair of some sort. Most evenings people will gather around camp fires for company and conversation. Many will enjoy a drink or two in moderation. A camp chair will be a welcome comfort for these enjoyable evenings.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions, all are willing to share knowledge but most will not impose just in case you are happy working things out on your own.

    We all started out somewhere and it’s easy to forget that first time when we hadn’t got a clue how to set up a tarp or what knots to use on a hammock. Ask if you can look at how others have set up, sometimes you will be amazed at the little tips and tricks you can learn or the different ways people have of doing things.

    Most of all be prepared to find as welcoming a bunch of people as you could care to meet.

    The members of BcUK are a varied breed, they come from all walks of life and have experiences to match.

    Perhaps it is that shared interest that creates such an instant sense of camaraderie around the camp fire but I would bet that once you have taken the first step of attending such a meet, your next thought will be:

    “When is the next one?...”

    Wayland

    _ _ _Wayland's World____________ Living a life less ordinary.

  2. #2
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    taken on board Wayland - I think you have identified the problem though, that being a lack of confidence in what may be a totally alien environment....or is that just me?
    Seriously, I'm trying to absorb as much as poss. so the next time one comes round in "striking distance" following my aquisition of the basic kit I'll be there!

  3. #3
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    While i've been on BCUK since '07, i've never been to a meet and for a couple of reasons.
    1 - I hate people with a passion, i'd rather meet one or two people first before meeting a new crowd. Weird considering i'm in the TA and regulary meet people from all over the country. Just ask Black Sheep how long it took to meet me!
    2 - Booze. I don't drink, i am not good around drinkers. I used to drink - alot, but booze and knives and axes are not a good mix imo. I don't even go into pubs.
    3 - I work every weekend and trying to get time off when you're on the managers "Fave workers list who does his job" is bloody hard.

  4. #4
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    Well said Gary , I enjoy all the meets that I attend alway learn something and have loads of fun

    Dont forget theres a meet next weekend in the Midlands ,
    http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59347

    p.s you dont have to drink I dont

    Twodogs
    Last edited by Twodogs; 19-09-2010 at 14:12.
    Gun fires one or two more rounds and stops again ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,STOPPAGE !!!!!!

  5. #5
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    My very point Telwebb, It's easy to think you need all the gear and to know what's what but nothing could be further from the truth.

    At my first meet I introduced myself by falling headlong out of a canoe into a Loch. Hows that for cool?

    I had very basic gear and knew absolutely no one. By the end of the weekend I had made some firm friends and was so keen for another one I ended up organising another in the North West.

    I really believe that the meets are one of the best parts of this community and it's a shame people are apprehensive about getting involved.

    Nat, I understand the "lots of people" thing and know a few others that feel the same.

    At most meets there is enough room to find a quiet corner for yourself and choose your own level of company.

    There are some people that never visit the main camp fire in the evening, preferring to do their own thing I guess, and most people would agree with you on the alcohol and sharps issue.
    Wayland

    _ _ _Wayland's World____________ Living a life less ordinary.

  6. #6
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    You couldn't have put it better Gary.

    I still remember going to my first meet at Rough Close with a bit of trepidation thinking will I find it 'cliquey' but it was far from that. I was made to feel extremely welcome right away and went home knowing that I would be returning there and getting to other meets as when I could. I've made some really good friends that I wouldn't have if I hadn't of gone.

    So as Gary says, go for it, you'll be glad to did
    Mad Dave... When I see lovers' names carved into a tree, I don't think it's cute, I just think it's strange how so many people take knives on a date.

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    I go out into the country to get away from people, not to meet them.

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    So do I at times.

    Meets aren't a replacement for what we do, they are an opportunity to do something different.
    Wayland

    _ _ _Wayland's World____________ Living a life less ordinary.

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    Like Nat, i work weekends(every other one), my wife and i also care for my eldery father, my wife having given up her job to do so while i'm at work, so on my days off its my turn.

    Rob

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    Yeah. Time and family commitments are always a factor aren't they.

    I can't offer much in the way of helpful suggestions there I'm afraid.

    Most meets are on the weekend for obvious reasons, I wonder how much call we'd have for meets that run into the week?
    Wayland

    _ _ _Wayland's World____________ Living a life less ordinary.

  11. #11
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    thanks for starting this thread wayland, support and encouragement of others is one of the most important parts of this online community that we've all chosen to be part of and it's nice to see someone take a pro-active approach to things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    Most meets are on the weekend for obvious reasons, I wonder how much call we'd have for meets that run into the week?
    i'm hoping to be able to go someway to answering this question next year with the spitewinter meets. i've spent most of the last 15 years working in the licenced trade and i'm very aware of the fact that there are whole sectors of society out there who's lives are organised the other way up to most folks. with that in mind i'm going to try and organise a mid-week meet up at spitewinter, if there's a reasonable amount of interest then i'll make them a regular thing.

    cheers

    stuart
    Let not a man guard his dignity, but let his dignity guard him - Emerson

    my blog - getting there slowly

  12. #12
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    Great post Gary, I've always been made to feel very welcome on organised weekends, and met some really great people. Just wish I had more time off work to go on these weekends, as I work every one, and on nights too! (so unless I book holidays, which soon run out, its hard to get out)

    I'll watch with interest the mid week meet up idea and see what happens

    Working Friday to Monday is a real pain, wish I could get a more normal job, but i'm thankful that I have one to pay the bills, I know there are members less fortunate.

    cheers, Mike

    "It's not about lighting fire on the ground, its about lighting the fire within"
    ....Ray Mears

  13. #13
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    At the moment, with my current job, I can't get to any meets. I'm working away from home, and only get 3 3 week holidays in the UK every year.
    I know that sounds a lot, but I'm overseas the rest of the time.
    I always enjoy meetups. I remember my first, at Sandbenders place.
    No-one knew anyone, no-one knew what to expect, everyone had a ball.
    If the thought of something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that I am not allowed to do it.
    item 87, skippys list

  14. #14
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    Ive been made to feel very welcome at the meets. I learnt a lot before I attended my first meet, but have also learnt a large amount at the meets, including that there is more than one way to do many things.

    Having a busy life means time spent outdoors camping in the woods is a treat at the moment, so I like to meet up sociably and in a relaxed manner to break from the normal pace, and catch up with mates and make more.

    Passing on skills is something I enjoy doing, and a combination of this, learning a few more tricks, and having fun, makes the very low cost of meets a great way to spent time.

    Sometimes, just the chats, and laughs around the fire are worth the trip

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham_S View Post
    At the moment, with my current job, I can't get to any meets. I'm working away from home, and only get 3 3 week holidays in the UK every year.
    I know that sounds a lot, but I'm overseas the rest of the time.
    I always enjoy meetups. I remember my first, at Sandbenders place.
    No-one knew anyone, no-one knew what to expect, everyone had a ball.
    You were at my first one too. I think you may have even seen me take the swim at Loch Achray if I recall.
    Wayland

    _ _ _Wayland's World____________ Living a life less ordinary.

  16. #16
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    Yup.
    Step into Magikelly's canoe, wade out of the loch.
    That was a good meet.
    If the thought of something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that I am not allowed to do it.
    item 87, skippys list

  17. #17
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    Heyho ,
    Much apprieciated post , I'll make an effort for the more local meets . Afterall the worst that can happen Is I learn stuff .
    Cheers , Trev .
    "To me! To me! Elves and Men! To me! O my kinsfolk!"

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham_S View Post
    .............
    I always enjoy meetups. I remember my first, at Sandbenders place.
    No-one knew anyone, no-one knew what to expect, everyone had a ball.
    I was really not sure about going to that one. I had no idea what to expect at all. Me and Vhairi and a group of green clad, knife wearing, uber capable men, who knew all about this bushcrafty thing, we'd never met before. ( I had spent a couple of hours at Loch Tay doing a recce there with Doc and Sandbender looking for a site for the Meet up, but that was it) and we had a ball
    I still talk to everyone of the folks who came along to that meet
    A couple of photographs while Sandblender sorts through the rest.



    From the top left we have Eric_Methven, MagiKelly, Sandblender, Match, Doc, John_C and Troy along the back, In the middle row we have Graham_S, then in the front row Vhairi, Ross (I am a firestarter), Toddy, JFW and on the far right Stuart (who we all love dearly if he gets us access to a good site)

    Now of course we all brought some cutlery with us.



    Just in case anyone was wondering why public sites are worried about us.

    But seriousley there was so much to do that generally the site was a hive of industry.



    Roll on the next meet.
    You are never too old to have a happy childhood. Muddy is a state of happiness :-)

  19. #19
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    once again well said and its the reason i go to meets cos there truely a in a class of there own cos theres learning like a course but its not then there the social like a few mates going camping but then there also 60odd people there so its not and well its just an amazing time and i have made many a good friend at meets and moots so rock on and well said waylad drew

  20. #20
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    I recall that meet Mary, it was my first one and I did feel anxious coming along, but that vanished on the way up with Erics stories and the welcome that everyone got.
    Great fun and nobody judging anyone elses kit or skills except in positive ways, suggesting and encouraging.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    - I work every weekend and trying to get time off when you're on the managers "Fave workers list who does his job" is bloody hard.

    ha , i,m a manager and tell certain staff they are my "favourites"

    It makes it so much harder for them to say no to weekend working ;-)

  22. #22
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    just been on my first meet and couldn't agree with the OP more. I had more than a few trepidations about meeting a lot of new people that i had never even chatted with on here, but to my relief from the moment i turned up to the moment i left i was made to feel welcome and almost like part of a family.

    I spoke to everyone who attended as a group and on their own as well, I listened to stories of previous meets and other fun times and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

    And without reading this thread at the end of the meet whilst talking with Spikey, Wayland and Clive i uttered the words "when's the next one?"

    Thanks to all

    Dave
    Founder of the Greater Manchester Bushcraft Group

    G.M.B.G.
    FIRST 9

  23. #23
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    An old thread but a good one :-)
    One of the things that we are most attracted to, is being able to get outside with a group of likeminded people.
    Have signed us up for a few meets now, and we can't wait!

  24. #24
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    I suppose it's that "first meet on my own" thing.

    Once you've met a few folks then it seems less scary but to take that first step it seems daunting.

    I have most of the stuff needed for a basic meet (tent, stove etc) apart from a ground mat which i am working on.

    Despite a few medical issues i really should try to get to one.
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

    Famous last words of General John Sedgwick
    May 8th, 1864

  25. #25
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    I think this is a great thread, very helpful and encouraging to newcomers and the 'meet shy' amongst us.

    I vote for 'Sticky' status.

    What goes on in the woods. Stays in the woods......

  26. #26
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    Thumbs up Get Involved!! We don't bite!!

    Yet again Wayland, you put things so eloquently when wording things, I couldn't agree more. Do you fancy doing the advertising for the Bushcrafters of Cambridgeshire, being only established for a year now we could do with a boost in numbers. We have a few new faces but by the main, its the usual members attending.

    Talking of advertising.. heres our thread Cambridgeshire

    So don't be afraid guys and girls, were all such a diverse cross section of society, from complete novices to.. well.. mediocre stick pokers!

    People don't get belittled for having too little kit either!! You will just be seen as 'more hardcore' than the others who bring everything their 4x4 can carry including the kitchen sink! Not many would be 'hard' enough to attend with just a carrier bag to sleep under and a blunt butter knife to cook with! (do dress warmly though if you do!)

    And if you do fancy socialising (which isn't a requirement) the chatter is not just about Bushcraft. It can range from history to politics to.. well.. whatever you fancy chatting about while out in the fresh air, enjoying good food and a camp fire!

    Check the Calendar under the BCUK logo for all the upcoming meets!
    trail over to my blog @ wolfcrafter.blogspot.com

  27. #27
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    Well that brought back some memories (the meet at Sandbender's place). My first meet also.
    I haven't managed to get to any sort of meet for - blimey, it'll be nearly 3 years now - how time flies.
    Anyway, health issues and financial problems plus the lack of transport kept me indoors most of the time.
    The good news is, I hit 60 next week so not only do I get my bus pass, but I have a pension lump sum due so the plan is to buy a car and get out to some meets.
    I only hope I can afford the diesel.

    Thanks for stimulating the old memory Mary with those photos.

    Eric
    <a href=http://i1142.photobucket.com/albums/n617/Eric_Methven/krusty%20oldfart/sm-poo-creek-paddle-stores.jpg target=_blank>http://i1142.photobucket.com/albums/...dle-stores.jpg</a>
    Preparedness for every eventuality!

  28. #28
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    Nicely put Gary
    http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=2  66&dateline=1221166572

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddave View Post
    Nicely put Gary
    Wot he said....

  30. #30
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    I’m very tempted to go to a meet but have not camped out for a few years and not sure how my knackered shoulder and arthritic knee would cope with sleeping on the hard ground. Also the whole crapping outside gives me concerns since I would be paranoid some walker would pass you by. If I had a meet near to where I live I would be more in my comfort zone so if it did go pear shape or I had equipment failure I could at least return home easily.

    Basically it’s the fear of the unknown for me.

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