Fire lighting

A very soggy Saturday welcomed long-term camp craft enthusiast’s to Butterdon Woods this weekend. Undeterred by brisk autumnal winds and heavy rain, after a warming drink they set to work. First up, we needed materials to work with. Fortunately the recent storms have damaged some of our, already sickly, Sycamores and we didn’t have to go far to find a damaged tree in need of a little remedial trim.

Having sourced some fresh Sycamore, which is a joy to work with, decisions needed to be made. Knives, spoons, forks and plates. These guys are serious. Discussing the difficulties and skills involved with each project, everyone opted to start with a knife.

The cut timber was sectioned into three and split length ways creating useable pieces, whilst giving everyone the opportunity to refresh their knife, saw and hatchet skills.

As we settled to our task around the raised Running Deer fire, sharing advice, techniques and ideas, we soon fell into the companionable chatter that often accompanies steady, skilled handwork.

As in all aspects of life, progress varied from person to person. Physical strength, the individual section of wood and focus varying throughout the group but the enjoyment of the activity and of the location shared by all.

Shortly after refuelling with more hot drinks and a quick snack the first two knives were really taking shape. The third was…getting there. A little help and lots of encouragement and its craftsman was back on track while further projects were begun.

Breaking again only once to enjoy campfire cooking in the form of burgers and hotdogs (who says barbecues are for summer) the day flew by and I was stunned by the quantity of work produced. Three knives, Two spoons, a fork and even the start of a couple of plates/bowls.

All while enjoying a blazing log fire, in the wind and rain of a November Saturday. Morale was kept high with lots of conversation, some very bad jokes, a round of storytelling and even a game of ‘guess the film’. But for a family out in the woods, working together to expand their skills and creating things of true beauty, together-what more is needed.

I would like to close by saying just how much I enjoy facilitating days like this. So thank you.


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