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?...”