Outdoor Bloggers Meetup – Hiking, Laughs and Good Food!

This past weekend I had the joy of joining the Outdoor Bloggers at one of their meetups, it was hosted at the bottom of the North Yorkshire Moors in Elleburn; Setting up camp at a small working farm called Low Farm.

Arrival day

The week leading up to the trip I kept saying to myself that I need to pack my bag to make sure everything was packed and ready; But unfortunately, I kept procrastinating and putting it off until finally, the day was upon me, I quickly rushed home from work trying to get everything packed and sorted. There was so much to do, I had to get dog food, food for the weekend, fill the car up and buy a new pair of socks. Most of this wasn’t an issue as most shops are conveniently placed close to my house so I got these tasks done first before I moved onto the monumental task of getting my gear sorted.

As I was packing my bag I noticed that my camping cook pot hadn’t been cleaned so was rather disgusting, fear not I decided to go grab a cheap one from Go Outdoors; So off I went, car ‘supposedly’ packed. In Go Outdoors I had my shopping list: Socks, and Cookpot. Or so I thought, as I pulled up I remembered I left my stove at home so this was now on the list. Mooching around Go Outdoors, I spotted the perfect cook set, the Trangia Full set, it included the burner, wind guard, and two bowls; Perfect! I quickly grabbed fuel and a pair of Bridgedale Merino Fusion Trekker socks and to the checkout, I went.

I was ready, finally, after a hectic few hours to meet up with everyone; The drive wasn’t too bad until I came to the realisation that I forgot my beer. That was pretty sad as I was looking forward to drinking a few beers around the campfire that night.

I didn’t let this hold me back and pressed through, thinking maybe I’ll grab some from the village which was close by. On arrival, I was presented with a small farm with a lovely field where everyone else had set up. I parked up to get my shelter set up, I was undecided whether to use a tarp or my tent for the evening so I asked Jenni a co-owner of outdoor bloggers about the forecast; It wasn’t looking good, for the tarp that is. I opted to set my tent up my good reliable Vango Banshee 200, I never knew how popular they were until I realised Zoe had the exact same tent as me.

With the tent set up, it was finally time to relax, I grabbed my camping chair and just sat and chatted with the few who had arrived and we all got to know each other. Everyone was so nice and easy to get on with, which was great as I was nervous about going down to meet new people with just the dog as company. As it turned out, quite a lot of us worked in some sort of tech-related jobs which was great as we had a common interest.

That night we all sat around the campfire, chatted and did one of Zoe’s famous quizzes; The quiz had 3 sections, Wildlife, Geography, and Sport. I thought I had a good grasp on at least of these subject but true to form the quiz was really difficult; I got 3 out of 30 on the entire quiz, there was no chance of me winning one of the books up for grabs, I guess I’ll just have to buy one later.

Food that night was great for me, I had bacon to start, which I cooked in the new Trangia, It worked flawlessly! After I let bacon settle it was time to throw the steak over the fire, so I pulled out my grill and threw my steak on the there like a neanderthal!

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Fillet steak on the fire.

We received our goodie bags too with great items provided by a bunch of different companies! Featuring items from Hi-Tech, Sigg, Outdoor Food, Musto, Kleen Kanteen, and a few more.

As the night passed on people slowly drifted back to their tent to grab some rest, I, on the other hand, decided making a good pot of beans before I sleep would keep me warm in my new sleeping bag. Thankfully it did, as upon returning home I realised the sleeping bag was rated for 15 degrees comfort and not the 6 I initially thought. I am glad I had Echo to cuddle into me.

Despite the few chills I had a wonderfully peaceful night, par the few lambs screaming all night. Sleeping with my new inflatable pillow was brilliant and saved my neck a lot of pain.

Day 2, a hike, a tower and amazing scenery

On the Saturday morning, we all arose early to prepare for our hike which was scheduled for around 9am. Since I dirtied both pans I opted to drink a fuel 10k breakfast shake instead of making porridge. Maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea skipping out on a proper breakfast but I was too tired to even think about cleaning the beans/bacon off the pots.

Alas, we set off on our great hike, the Hole of Horcum, it was only a short drive there so we were quickly ready. I had already done this hike previously and so suggested the Skeleton Tower diversion which we decided to do. It was a brilliant day for a hike the sun was out, wind not strong.

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We hit our first gate and Jenni stopped us to give us a bunch of great facts about a recently closed Inn, the devils elbow and other rumours about the area. I also learned a lot about the moorland that was surrounding us. Jenni even did an impression of a grouse, which none of us thought was authentic until we heard a grouse do the exact same noise, it was incredibly accurate!

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Everyone walking at the beginning

Walking this trail was brilliant, it had an easy to follow path with breathtaking views, we pressed on till we hit the fork in the road, at which we chose the skeleton tower direction, it was only a two-mile diversion but completely worth it, the views surrounding skeleton tower

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And skeleton tower itself:

20180428_111237.jpgWhere absolutely breathtaking, the weather was perfect, the lighting perfect; this helped me catch an amazing few shots of the tower and surrounding area. After we all took our shots we decided to head back up as we were all pretty hungry and the pub was calling our name.

Arriving at the pub I ordered myself a drink whilst I browsed the menu, it had to be Fentimans’ D&B – that stuff is amazing. After debating and deliberating for well over 20 minutes I settled on Scampi and chips. It was amazing! Chips – homemade, Scampi – cooked perfectly; I couldn’t ask for more, it was a great meal to keep my energy levels high.

As time passed, our food settled and it was time to press on again! Through a woodland area we followed single file, as the path was narrow until we came to an opening; A stream.

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I let echo drink and play with the stick she found in the water. I leant down to rest and toppled over, I should have looked where I was as, I fell in nettles. They went straight through my trouser and oh wow did they sting. It sure did liven me up though.

The rest of the walk was fairly straightforward, until we hit the final stretch it was a hill of incredible proportions (it wasn’t, but after more than 9 miles it seemed that way). The sun became blaring, pearls of sweat fell from my head as I pushed forward trying not to lose pace.

Alas, VICTORY! We made it back, I took my coat off and could feel a lovely cold chill. Ahh, bliss. The total mileage for that journey was 9.42 miles; originally planned was around 6 and a half so it was great to get more miles in.

Once we got back I put Echo in the car for a nap as she was just as exhausted as me; as I sat in there with her I started to drift off so I put my chair down and nodded off. It was the nap I needed after a good walk.

Upon awakening, I greeted fellow camp mates, shortly after The Urban Blogger, Sarah, arrived. Arriving later than everyone else due to going to a Go Outdoors opening. She showed her new purchase of an amazing backpack (One that I am tempted to buy).

Later into the evening, we all crowded around the campfire and I jumped at the chance to be away from the smoke as the night prior I could barely see as the smoke burned my eyes.

It was time for a workshop presented by Zoe (Splodz); We went through a number of exercises that I sucked at. Since writing this blog I have never tried to incorporate any technical writing skills, I just write exactly whats in my head so these tasks were difficult. I was never great at English but others in the group excelled at this, specifically, Sarah who managed to create a Mills and Boon version of her go outdoors trip.

The night was a barrel of laughs, my cheeks hurt from laughing. But it was time for food, I forgot to pop into the village to get tonight’s food but thankfully our goodie bags contained meals from Outdoor Food and Mr. Lee’s Noodles. I ate them both, and they were amazing! I will definitely be buying these again! Light, Calorie filled and tasty as hell!

Whilst we were all chatting Jenni shouts over from her glorious camper van, ‘Does anyone want some honey mead’ to which a few of us shot at the chance, I have never tried this before but I turned it down due to me forgetting to buy a cup. But Katy came to the rescue with her worlds smallest mug, the cup was adorably small but it was a cup nonetheless. The mead was wonderful; Warm, hearty, and tasty.

Time passed quickly this night, but I believe this was due to the amount of fun I was having. I opted to head to bed a little earlier this night as I was exhausted, bringing out my more reliable sleeping bag as the sky was clear meaning a colder night.

Day 3 – The final frontier

I woke up ridiculously warm, the -7 rated sleeping bag was overkill but it was either that or my 15-degree bag so I chose the warmer bag. The Sunday was an exciting day, we had little planned but I was still excited to do it. We were off to Dalby forest.

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Dalby Forest is an amazing area, filled with wildlife and incredible views. On the way there, we were tasked with taking incredible photos for a photo competition between the group; The prize? Picnic mats! But more on that later.

Once we actually arrived at Dalby Forest we sat at a small cafe for a short period of time whilst people grabbed refreshments. Then we headed off on a small trail before we grabbed food. It was a small trail only two miles, but it had few steep climbs (thankfully not very long ones). It was on this walk I realised I had shin splints, my shins ached, but I pressed on because good old deep fried chips called my name.

We eventually arrived at the cafe, so I hopped in to grab food whilst Sarah offered to mind Echo, as I won’t leave her outside alone as she can be a bit of a grump. Upon entering I was starving and the prices weren’t going to hold me back, FIFTEEN POUNDS later I had ordered my shortcake, burger, toastie, sausage roll. The shortcake was amazing but unfortunately wrapped in plastic; It could have been handed to me on a napkin and I would have been happier, saving the planet is important and I hate nothing more than plastic waste. This is why I opted out of buying a drink from here.

We chose our photo competition winner whilst I was waiting for my food to arrive unfortunately I didn’t win but Jenni and Katy totally deserved it as their photos were brilliant. Here was my entry

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Eventually, my food arrived – I was, unfortunately, disappointed with the quality especially considering the price. The burger tasted like it had sat there for a while and the toastie just wasn’t melted in the middle.

It wasn’t until we walked past visitors center ready to leave that I realised that I didn’t get my sausage roll! £1.80 wasted, I couldn’t be bothered with the walk back as my shins were aching far too much.

Once we arrived back at camp it was time to pack up and say goodbye. I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t want to leave but unfortunately, work was imminent. The weekend was absolutely brilliant and hope everyone enjoyed my company as much as I did theirs.

You can checkout everyone else’s blogs here:

Jenni – The Thrifty Magpies Nest

Zoe – Splodz Blogz

Shell – Camping with Style

Katy – Katyish

Emma – Hip2trek

Lyndon – Not Really a Llama

Sarah – The Urban Wanderer

Thank you for reading, If you have any comments leave them below!

6 comments Add yours
  1. Lovely to meet you and Echo and I really enjoyed your write up of the weekend. Which reminds me, I must do mine! Your photos are great.

    1. It was lovely to meet you too 🙂
      I appreciate the kind comments, I look forward to reading your post 🙂

  2. Sounds like it was a great meet-up! Ha, I know what you mean about packing at the last minute – I procrastinate packing for a camping trip!

    1. It was brilliant, look forward to the next one! I’m terrible for packing, I’ve packed all my gear ready for my next trip so I don’t mess it up next time ??

  3. I have loved reading this, Jerome! I have giggled all the way through, bar the odd hearty laugh! It is great reading about the day that I missed. You brought two sleeping bags!!! It really was such a fun camp and it was great to meet you and Echo too. And if it is any consolation, I am terrible at quizzes too (maybe we could join forces at the next camp and aim for 5 out of 30!!) I’m already looking forward to seeing you both again at the next camp.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 and the 2 sleeping bags was due to me trying out a new one (turns out it was only rated to 15deg) although I wasn’t cold which surprised me. It was a great camping experience and I look forward to doing it again 🙂 and maybe we should band together, I reckon we could do it no problem haha

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