The Bushcraft Show 2017 Review

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The Bushcraft Show 2017 By Olivia Beardsmore & visitors

The Bushcraft Show 2017 has been described as “The best show yet!”

Mike Walters said, “That was the best show I have ever been to – hands down. So excited for next year already!”

Peter Fozz Forrester commented on the show, “Genuinely the highlight of my year”.

Chris Dyer said, “I know a 9 year old boy who thinks there are three special days a year. Christmas Day, his birthday and the day we go to The Bushcraft Show. Every year he loves the show more and more. Keep making the magic”.

These comments are just a small sample of the texts, emails, phone calls, social media posts and letters we have received. It seems appropriate that rather than rave on about our own event, that we let you, the visitors, do the talking, so please read through some of the feedback and beautiful messages we have received from this year’s event.

The Bushcraft Show 2017 had an overwhelming headline speaker timetable and hundreds of activities and demonstrations to immerse yourself in. There was a very tangible vibe of friendship, fun, exchanging of ideas, knowledge and personal development. This year we were graced with an even broader spectrum of visitors and representation from around the world. The Bushcraft Show, to our knowledge, welcomed visitors and companies from: Italy, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, USA, France, Australia, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, India and South Africa – a truly unique international gathering of like-minded people.

We hope you enjoy looking at photographs of what went on at The Bushcraft Show 2017.

 First Proposal at The Bushcraft Show!

We had our first proposal at The Bushcraft Show this year. James Harris proposed to his girlfriend Naomi on Sunday Morning.  A very proud James said:

“I’ve been coming to The Bushcraft Show every year since it began. I have met some lovely people, made great friends, learned a lot and have had amazing experiences and memories. This year was a little different, however. My girlfriend Naomi came with me for the first time. She has never done any real camping before so this was a big step for her. We also share a birthday together which happened to fall on the Sunday of the show, so it was destined to be a double celebration.

We woke up on the Sunday morning in our woodland camp, were joined by my very good friend Steve and his daughter Charlotte and exchanged birthday gifts around the fire during breakfast. When this was done I pulled out the real surprise for Naomi – an engagement ring which I had carved myself out of a piece of antler that has some personal meaning to me. I proposed to her there at The Bushcraft Show on the morning of our joint birthday. Much to my delight she said yes!

This was without a doubt the most amazing day I’ve had at the show. We received many congratulations from many lovely people that day but having both Ray Mears and Dave Canterbury congratulate us on our engagement was truly awesome.

I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who made it such a special day for us, especially to Olivia (who was one of only two people at The Bushcraft Show that knew it was going to take place) and to Steve and Charlotte for making the day extra special.”

Your feedback from The Bushcraft Show 2017

Ian Nairn “I’ve been to every show since they started and I can honestly say they just keep getting better and better every year. A fantastic show for customers, retailers and above all friends old and new. AWESOME!!!”

Paul Dutson‪ “Had a great day Saturday, first time with my lad to the show. My boy is 11 and we both learned a great deal from everyone. Would have been good to see Ray Mears too but couldn’t make the Sunday. Well-organised show and we will be back next year and hopefully camp.”

Rachel Chapman “Brilliant show. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for all your hard work!”

Sophie Beesley‪ “First Bushcraft show and we LOVED IT so much! See you next year! Everybody was so friendly ”

Kerry Gould “Our first visit to the show, (not our last) had an excellent time, so well run and organised.”

Pat Beesley‪ “Great job. Enjoyed my first time at the show. Thanks for all your hard work. ”

Emma Johnson “What a great show, lovely atmosphere, loads to do for the kids, can’t fit it all in, glad one more day… Weather fabulous. My fav bit the horse to carve and paint thank you Morakniv. And the ice cream… yummy oh and the gin stall, pink grapefruit and pomegranate gin….good combo.”

Adam Capper “What a brilliant time we had! Great to see everyone getting involved … from The Evolution of Time with Will Lord, to laughing out loud with Lofty and not forgetting Dave Canterbury and everything in between – bring it on 2018!!”

Paul Walsh “Yet another awesome show, many thanks to the organisers, volunteers, and exhibitors for making it my favourite show.”

Darren Thomas “First time to the show. We had an excellent weekend. We can’t wait to come back.”

Matthew Smith “What an awesome weekend meeting a few legends at The Bushcraft Show. Was great meeting everyone and catching up with old friends from all over the UK. Hope to see you all next year, cheers.”

Helen Richardson “Thanks for a fantastic few days. It was our first time at the show (a 40th birthday present for the hubby) and the whole family had a great time! My husband was especially chuffed with his bronze axe made with Simon.”

Septimus and Marie “Fabulous show…we all enjoyed it.”

Ollie and Jess at Oregano Kitchen

We just wanted to let you all know that we had a really great event, and met some wonderful and very nice people (staff/traders and customers alike) and we had a thoroughly good time…. although very, very tiring! It is a really great event to do the catering at.

Terry Bridgwood “It was an amazing experience. I met loads of new people and made loads of new friends. I can’t wait to get back again next year.”

Hans “I had one helluva time. I am glad I came and really got a lot out of it. Made some new friends and renewed other old friendships. All very good. Thank you also to the staff who were very kind and helpful in the extreme.”

Kev Keane “I would have put a few more ‘awesomes’ in there Olivia! I’ve been to every Bushcraft Show as well and, as Ian (Nairn) said, they just get better every year. Thanks to all who are involved in this Show, not just the organisation team but to everyone from the baby in a buggy to the head honcho – brilliant! Thanks.”

Kevin Ashness “Great show! Well done Olivia and team. Always the one I look forward to the most. Glad you are going again next year. See you next year!”


Put in a letter style

Hi Olivia, David and Team,

Just a short note to say how much we both enjoyed The Bushcraft Show last weekend.

I was doubtful if there would be enough to fill three days, but I was wrong! We didn’t get to see all the talks, demos etc. but really enjoyed ourselves.

I was surprised just how friendly everyone was, the speakers, demonstrators, stall holders and the campers. We learned lots (and spent loads of money!) and had a very enjoyable time chatting to people.

I think the best bit for me was seeing Ray Mears on the stage – how he is really friendly and speaks very fluently.

Roll on 2018,

Angela Knisely-Marpole

A Diary Entry from Nic Castle

I had set off from home with my stepson, Damian to go to The Bushcraft Show 2017. This was going to be a new adventure for both of us. Damian was born with Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair. He had heard me talk about bushcraft and seen me teach children and practice my skills but had never been involved before. The nearest he had come was camping on a campsite with a group of friends.

 We arrived at 1600hrs at the show and were greeted by some volunteers who gave us our wrist bands and Show Guide before sending us on our way to the woods. Having a wheelchair adds an extra consideration, of course. Wherever you are going to camp, you must have a path to the area that a wheelchair can have access along. Some people may ask “Why not just purchase a regular pitch?” Damian wanted an adventure and to experience sleeping in the woodland, he was just determined to do this.

We found a suitable place and an area to make camp and a short path was cleared so Damian could also get into the woodland. He was sleeping in a small three-man tent which was pitched on the edge of the woodland area with his tent opening into the woodland. I had a tarp set up facing Damian’s tent with enough space in between for a small fire and for us to be able to eat, sit and chat and do what we choose to do. Setting up camp this way made it easy to access but also gave Damian the feeling that he was further in the woods, due to the positioning of the tent. There is a lot of freedom for people to do woodland camping so it was easy for a disabled person to be accommodated for.

Once we were settled it was time to go for a walk and get our bearings, find out where everything was – especially the disabled toilets (these were very suitably sited). The first time we walked to the showground we didn’t find the best route. We tried staying on the grass as much as possible as it seemed the best way to push the wheelchair. This was to be the first exciting moment of the weekend as I managed to lose control of the wheelchair a couple of times and push Damian off the track, through a bush and through a nettle patch. All Damian could do was laugh at me for making a mess. Especially after nearly collapsing after pushing him up a short but very steep bank. I wouldn’t be making that mistake again.

Once we arrived at the show ground we had a look around, bought some storm matches and located all the landmarks we thought would help us find our way around. I admit it, I had forgotten to pack anything to light a fire, not even a fire steel. We then decided to head back to our camp. We ate some food, then relaxed around the campfire, chatted and laughed (about my terrible ability to push the wheelchair) and planned what we wanted to do each day. Eventually we headed to our beds.

We both woke up early after a good night’s sleep. We made campfire coffee and had some breakfast. Then we set off to the showground. This time I had a suitable route and managed to avoid any nettles, bushes or steep banks. For wheelchair users, access to all areas of the sites was excellent and there was nowhere we couldn’t go. Where the gravel was deep there was usually grass around the edges. We quickly learned to recognise these places and detoured around them. We listened to a few talks and visited Back2basics where we looked at lots of Stone Age items and clothing. I couldn’t resist getting revenge for Damian laughing at my (lack of) control of the wheelchair so I took a photograph of him dressed as a Stone Age man in furs (It was very hot as well).

Stoneage Damian

That evening we went to watch Clansman Fire. Whilst waiting we met Pablo and Hannah from Forest Life and River Life retreats. They chatted with Damian and myself and everyone was so relaxed and enjoying the event. This summed up the atmosphere throughout the show. Everyone was welcoming, friendly and helpful, whether they were visitors, volunteers or presenters/traders.

The following morning, we went to a presentation about “Interpreting tracking signs”, this was led by Pablo. Damian was encouraged, along with everyone else to interact throughout the presentation. Afterwards, Pablo had a chat with Damian and myself. This experience had a very positive effect on Damian because of the effort that Pablo put in. Damian realised tracking is something that he can do and felt encouraged to get involved more.

We both felt very welcome and that we had been given support by people, whether they were the organisers, people making presentations, members of the public or the volunteers. I couldn’t write this without mentioning the volunteers. We could access all areas of the show and the environment was generally very friendly towards wheelchairs. Some of the volunteers saw I was struggling pushing the wheelchair due to an injury I have and they quickly arranged for us to have a lift back to our camp. Bret, Andy, Adam and Trevor were exceptionally helpful and made the weekend even more enjoyable. Noticing that we were struggling, they came to help with no fuss whatsoever.

Damian came away from the show saying he felt like he had been on an adventure. This wouldn’t have happened if it was not for Olivia and David at Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine. Sadly we had to leave early on Sunday evening. Damian not only enjoyed the whole show, he wants more disabled people to experience what he has and to push the boundaries for disabled people. Adventure is something that can be in everyone’s life. Whether you are able bodied or not, all you need is to decide is what you want to achieve and experience and then find a way to do it. Bushcraft is a great way for anyone to get nearer to nature and live a fuller life. Damian went on his adventure and has come away wanting more. He wants you to do the same. We also want to say thank you to Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine for their support and making this opportunity available to everyone. Nature and bushcraft doesn’t have restrictions. We can all have our own individual adventure, it is just a matter of turning up.

A Good Cause

The Charity Auction at this year’s Bushcraft Show helped to raise funds to help a group of young people from 1st Flodden B-P Scouts and Borders Adventure Group participate in an incredible expedition to Lesotho next year where they will be working with the Africa’s Gift charity and Malealea Development Trust.

Lesotho is Southern Africa’s poorest country, in which two in five people live below the poverty rate of US $1.25 per day. It suffers from numerous other issues including soil erosion, food scarcity, fuel sustainability, low quality of life and life expectancy (often as a result of HIV/AIDS). The expedition will enable and empower young people from the UK to venture on a journey of self-discovery in which they will work alongside locals to help solve some of the problems that face the remote and rural communities around Malealea in Mafeteng District. These will include tree planting to ‘bind’ soil with roots and thus reduce erosion, provide fruits and a sustainable wood supply, as well as the replacement of woodland habitats to encourage wildlife, including for sustainable hunting. However, the group’s main focus in 2018 is the creation of fish ponds to provide a sustainable food supply for the community.

Cooking on open fires is another massive problem as the smoke produced is the biggest killer and cause of blindness in less economically developed countries such as Lesotho. The group will therefore be distributing, and giving instruction on the use of rocket stoves and wonderbags, which were on display at The Bushcraft Show. The stoves are an incredibly efficient cooking source and burn fuel at such a high temperature that smoke is eradicated yet they use less wood than traditional fires. The wonderbag, a ‘container cooking’ method, reduces the need for using so much fuel as it enables cooking without a fire once at optimum temperature and removes the ‘shackles’ that tie women to the cooking pot.

The auction raised a fantastic £815, with some wonderful items and courses donated by a number of people and businesses. Huge thanks are expressed to Ian Nairn and his wife Kara, Ben and Lois Orford, Woodland Ways, Canoe Trails, Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine, Africa’s Gift, The Bushcraft Store, John Spencer, Tony Handley, Simon Humphreys, Bert Taylor, Phinea and everyone else who so kindly donated or helped in any way.

Masterclasses run by Sarita Robinson, aka Dr Survival, netted about £200 and Louise Allen’s sale of homemade marmalade, lime marmalade, lemon curd and almond butter raised a further £187. All that, combined with Ken Dunn promoting what our groups will be doing with Africa’s Gift in Lesotho made for a fantastic weekend of great company and great fun.  Thank you all.

Nick Allen (Senior Scout Master, 1st Flodden B-P Scout Group)

A Fire Steel for Lofty 

Lofty & Alex

 A few weeks before The Bushcraft Show 2017, father, Chris Dyer contacted me about his 9 year old son, who had made a fire steel for Lofty Wiseman and asked if he could present it to him at the show. This was organised and a beautiful moment was exchanged between Lofty and Alex. In his father’s words, “Again, Lofty was great with Alex. As a thank you for the fire steel, Lofty gave Alex a signed copy of his new book – Who Dares Grins. Alex was over the moon. Thanks for helping organise it so Alex got to spend some time with Lofty. The Bushcraft Show is a fantastic event and we wouldn’t miss it.

After talking to Alex, he wanted me to give you a little background. Alex went completely deaf by the time he was 4. He understood the world around him by lip-reading us. He has undergone numerous surgeries and now has almost normal hearing again at long last. Alex started to learn about bushcraft as it was something we could do together that didn’t involve other sound. He just had to read my lips to understand what I was teaching him. Hearing problems often cause knock on problems with balance and coordination. Bushcraft became a way to do fun activities that also helped him improve his coordination. His hearing is now almost normal after several surgeries. His love of bushcraft continued.

 Three years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, we were told to prepare for the worst. The stress on Alex was terrible. In an effort to try to give him an air of normality, we started up a YouTube channel we called Bushcraft Boy. As far as Alex was aware, it was so he could teach other children the bushcraft skills he had learned. In reality, it was actually started to enable us to spend time together in an effort to relieve his stress and so that if the worst should happen, he’d have something to look back on. A lot of the unaired footage has both of us planning each video. I wasn’t well enough to risk a camping trip too far from the frequently needed emergency medical help. So, videos in our garden or the woods behind us (if I was well enough to walk that far) were the most I could manage.

 I’m slowly winning the battle, and I think that bushcraft has helped save Alex too. He has gained more confidence and the visible signs of stress he showed in his early videos are greatly improved. Alex now has 280+ subscribers to his channel and his videos have been seen by tens of thousands of people. It’s really something that we didn’t expect. When Alex comes to The Bushcraft Show he gets stopped by people who recognise him. He absolutely loves it. He’s only 9, so as far as he is concerned, he’s famous.

Being given the chance to spend a few minutes having his hero Lofty all to himself meant the world to Alex. He has been talking about it for weeks and today, he got that chance. It took an hour and a half to drive home from the show. He didn’t stop chattering away to us the whole way back.

I understand that for many people, bushcraft is a business and any event must be profitable to continue. I just thought you might like to hear about a different side of the story and how everyone helped make one young man very happy. Thank you and we’ll see you again next year.”

Alex’s Bushcraft Boy YouTube Channel

With a Grateful Heart

My sincere thanks go to David Thompson, Alistair Chapman, Nikki Sheahan and the team at Beehive Farm Woodland Lakes and Tom Chapman.

The show is also made possible by our sponsors, 1948 Original Equipment, The Bushcraft Store, Fjӓllrӓven, Woodland Ways, Frontier Bushcraft, RJ Bushcraft and Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine.

We would also like to thank our traders and partners who travelled far and wide in order to present their wares, share their skills, run classes, courses and demonstrations and in the case of The Stanford Hill Mob, The Hitchers, Clair Brennan, Steve Pledge, Journey Home and Clansman Fire, to provide such a wonderful array of entertainment.

We have received an overwhelming amount of feedback about our volunteers telling us just how incredible, polite, helpful and hardworking they are. We adore you all and thank you for all your hard work and for being part of the team.

Finally thank you to YOU, the visitors of The Bushcraft Show.

Your presence generates the unique spirit and vibrant atmosphere; an open-air seat of learning whilst having so much fun. Despite being busy at the show, I always feel it is a privilege to spend the weekend with like-minded people from all around the world, whether it be the array of guest speakers, traders, visitors, entertainers or volunteers, you can always be guaranteed to make new friends. We so look forward to welcoming you back to The Bushcraft Show 2018.

A huge thank you for leaving no trace at The Bushcraft Show 2017. 

Save The Date: The Bushcraft Show 2018, 26-28th May!



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