Last week I was asked if I wanted to go on a “Digital Detox” at Wildfire Adventure Camp for the weekend. First thing that came to my mind was ‘I Hate Mud’, and if the bugs don’t kill me then the bears will and lastly what the hell am I going to wear.
Judging from my way of thinking, I clearly am camping virgin. So I accepted the offer and roped in my long-time friend Tanya to help me face my fears. If we survive this weekend we can live to tell a few tales.
What do you really pack for camping though?… in my suitcase, I was thinking of Spain so I packed bathrobes, flip-flops, shorts, pencil shirts and some gym clothes. Right I’m ready! Off we go to a secret location in Sevenoaks. On my way I missed the turning and I am now heading towards Dover after a 4-hour drive, which was meant to be 2 ½ hours, I wanted to improve my sense of direction literally.
We reached the camp site and all I saw was mud, the woods, fairy lights and different pathways. We went through security and the security man clearly had a good sense of humour when he told us to either throw away our bottles of wine, down it there and then or empty out our water bottles to be refilled with the wine.
We then got sorted into our teams. The team leader said we looked liked urban foxes, and very glamorous. She could tell we where Londoners that hadn’t had the slightest clue about camping. We got to our luxury tent and settled in. Went to the bar area and to our delight was a retro band performing. Had a few drinks and we was ready for the next morning.
In Wildfire Adventure Camp there promised to be a large amount of activities to part take in. Many of the activities had funny names like “Rambling Ramble” which means just walking /ramble along the North Downs Way with an expert, and stopping for a lunch at the local pub.
Other activities were:
Horse riding Zombie First Aid
Rock climbing Crazy Golf
Survival Knitting corner
Totem Pole Carving Photography
Archery Mountain biking
Knife throwing Drum circle
Giant Zip Wire and over 80 more to choose from.
Tanya and I decided to be brave and sign up for Archery, Giant Zip Wire, Treasure Hunt, Screen-Printing and Fire Lighting. We was running a little late, which was quite funny considering we had no phones or watches to tell us the time so we decided to go do Swashbuckling (Sword fighting).
Swashbuckling (Sword fighting) the moment I thought I was Empress Ki..
There was around 12-14 of us all paired up. The lesson was taught by Dan aka Daniel Smith from Swordpunk. Dan showed us the techniques on how to use the swords in a fight and how to step. Please keep in mind my horrible sense of direction I thought I was Empress Ki from my Korean drama and applied more force in my attack on poor Tanya. Dan asked us to do a circle around the tree and each of us had to fight the closet one to us. I was so much fun watching everyone attempting to do their best and show off a little bit.
For some reason we kept missing Archery, so Tanya thought it would be good to try rock climbing. My son and nephew usually makes this look so easy when I take them rock climbing so I would it would be easy for me too. I clearly thought wrong.
Strapped up and ready to climb, we go up. I only made it up to the first section and my friend Tanya made it up to the top. Never one to totally fail a mission I decided to try the (don’t laugh) 4 year old section. I managed to get to the top but refused to come down. How is this little of rope meant to hold my weight? Surely it can’t, but it did.
It’s now competition time at rock camping. we where put into groups and given monkeys to place upon each level of the climbing fame. As I look up and shout out holy cow all I could think in my head was “how the F*** am I meant to get up there” (1st level). Our turn came around and I’m still not sure what came over me, but before I even knew it, I was climbing like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. We actually won the 1st bit, but when it came to getting to other teams monkeys we lost. So if you ever think or feel like you can’t to an activity, simply take a deep breath and give it a try. You may just surprise yourself and everyone else, plus the feel good moment of achievement is dreamy.
Just before lunch we decided to do Face Masks. We made fox mask and the tutor’s were so lovely, helping us complete the task. We had different cut-outs to choose from like foxes, badgers, hawks and squirrels, we choose the foxes. By this point I felt like an 8 year old just having fun, making new friends and doing our arts and crafts. I made such a cool fox with buttons for ears and Tanya made a fiery red fox.
Trying to avoid the rain we moved over to do watercolour painting. This was so funny to do, I had an idea in my head but what came out on the paper was completely different. They do say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and I think my art is only for me. One our table of 6 people we had the arty amazing people which included Tanya and 2 more ladies then there was 2 others, a couple from Manchester and me. I do think my drawing is better than my painting but who cares lol.
As you can see from above we wondered around into different activities like the foxes we are. It was great having all the choice of activities especially the fact that some where very simple and some where very hard, yet ALL of them we so much fun.
AppleButter Dating show
For all the singles out there. The Wildfire Adventure Camp had their very own surprise dating show with 3 lucky ladies trying to impress one male member of the team.
This was hilarious and light-hearted. The male member of the team said he liked ginger’s and of the 3 ladies, one had orange hair, one was a blonde and the other a brunette. The question’s where hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing at one of the answers which was “I would be a grape so if you pressed me I would become wine”. In the context of the game and the hilarity of the players, this was just too funny. And guess what? Even though the male contestant started off saying he like’s ginger’s, in the end the blonde won…. I hope they camped happily ever after. Ha Ha.
People let me tell you something. I am currently a Vegan for 30 days which included the weekend of this trip. There was a glorious caterer called The Brewery Trap.
I will forever sing their praises, the food was out of this world. Good food, I mean really good food. The way the head chef and his team cooked a whole pig on an open fire was a sight to see and they also made a mountain of delicious food including my beautiful vegan options. OMG I was in heaven, I could have ploughed my way through all of it. If you ever need caterers I strongly suggest you contact The Brewery Trap Ipswich.
Each night they had different bands playing live music from Retro to Jazz. There was 2 bands that really stood out to me The Riot Brass Jazz Band from Manchester and Clarence Clarity I absolutely loved them both!
The Riot Brass Jazz Band got us dancing and sub-low to there amazing beats with a bit of rap on top. I loved the mix and the way they highlighted each band member and told us to smile at a stranger was really cool.
Clarence Clarity has a sick baseline with a rocky edge. It had us singing along to the cool fusion of a bit of heavy metal/rock and a hip hop baseline. To be honest I was pleasantly surprised that I would like them but they where amazing.
One of the things I loved about Wildfire Camp was the community sprit everyone from all ages and walks of life. Everyone was uber friendly and really talking to each other and having fun, sharing new experiences, laughing together, peace and so much love was going around. This was the funniest Festival ever from what other camper told us.
If you wanted to join an activity you could or if you just wanted to sit and chill you could do that too. No one getting distracted by their mobile phones or other devices. It made me think about being on a train journey and the fact that, how many of us even try to say 4 words to the next person to you (Hello, How are you?).
I’ve learn’t how to pack for camping which includes clothes for layering, baby wipes, toilet rolls and completely forgetting about how you look. Just go and lose the cool and simply have fun.
Engaging with your fellow campers and bartering is a good way of getting the things you want. Nothing can help me with my sense of direction and that’s OK as there is beauty in getting lost. The camping made me want to switch off my laptop and phone and meet new people and share new experiences, after all I am wildfire child at heart.
The biggest lesson I learnt was that we are connected human beings put on this earth to learn, share and help each other. I knew it before but after our weekend I truly felt it more. Wildfire needs to have more of these events all year round, great for kids and inner kids (adults) alike.
Lee’s mum makes the best cakes (Lee from Leefest) Tanya has told me.
Visit http://campwildfire.co.uk/ for more info.