The warning signs were clear...
Evidence plainly to be seen...
There were grim portents...
and strange figures in the woods...
Some were in simple shelters built with just what they could carry...
While others arrived with portable palaces...
But still they came...
Bringing their tools.
and their trophies...
Civilised camping, lacking no creature comforts...
But all were well equipped to resist the uncanny forces of darkness...
As the end of the traditional camping season approached, the Steam Tent Co-operative assembled once more to celebrate Halloween at Rough Close camp site near Coventry.
This beautiful wooded campsite has quickly become a firm favourite among the active members of the co-op.
Considering the lateness of the season, attendance was good floating between seven to eleven members at different points over the four day camp.
In keeping with the Halloween theme we had to hold a pumpkin carving competition of course with prizes awarded to the winners chosen by group agreement.
Overall winner by a clear margin was this most creative and detailed pumpkin carved by our youngest attending member, Josie. Well done indeed.
As evening fell on Saturday night the fire became a hive of activity with preparations for a “Jacob’s Join”, a feast where everyone brings a dish they have prepared.
As darkness falls and the lamps are lit the camp enters perhaps it’s most atmospheric guise.
My favourite time of the day.
Time to gather round the fire with a warm cup of spiced cider enjoying the company of friends in a manner almost as ancient as humanity itself.
The dark of the night, out in the woods is a fine time for simple story telling and such tales and conversations add greatly to the camaraderie of the camp fire.
We had a little rain on Saturday but Sunday morning broke clear and sunny.
Time to enjoy a little craft work around the fire.
Among our core membership we have many accomplished crafts people and it is one of our intentions to set up craft sharing sessions as a regular feature of our encampments. Learning simple skills that can benefit us all.
Of course we ought to introduce a few people that came along.
There was Pete, with his simple ”tinkers” shelter, proving without a doubt that you don’t need a huge tent and an elaborate set up to enjoy the sort of camps we set up.
Colin joined us for the first camp in May and this makes his third.
Creative and inventive, his tent is the first one you saw on this page.
A more complex set up but still transportable in a normal car.
Roy and Debbie joined us for the first time this weekend but they certainly hit the ground running with their palatial set up which fitted in a car and a trailer.
My partner Debs, an old hand at re-enactment camping like me and my constant inspiration.
I really couldn’t do this without her.
And I suppose I have to include a picture of myself, taking a moment to relax.
Debs and I usually bring our bell tent, the utility tent and the communal fire rig. Partly the benefits of long years working around re-enactment camps, we have many things that help to provide the infrastructure for the communal parts of the camp. Fortunately we also have a van to shift the stuff with, although even that is getting pretty full now.
We had visitors as well that did not stay on this occasion but are preparing to do so next year.
Stella drove all the way from Ludlow, not once but twice over the weekend.
Travelling with Stella was her daughter Josie, winner of the pumpkin carving competition.
(It has to be said that Stella came second, so obviously a creative family there.)
Josie arrived in three guises.
The creative Josie herself.
The mysterious Golden Fox.
And this appropriately spooky creature as well.
Our most frequent visitor award ought to go to the plucky Cock Robin that haunted our camp for the whole weekend.
Hope he enjoyed the food in exchange for letting us camp in his territory.
Not al who came were caught on camera but in all we enjoyed excellent company and good spirits.
Despite the season and the sudden cold snap we were untroubled by Bean Sídhe, possibly taking Colin’s exhibit as fair warning.
As the last evening settled in, all declared it had been a fine camp and agreed we should hold another such near to all hallows eve next year.
But first, plans are afoot for our first camp of the 2019 season which should fall around once more around Beltane. (Early May.)
Watch this Space.