• Fox

Camp Wildfire 2019 - My Adventure!

I was feeling a little bit lost back in the early months of 2019 having broken up with my girlfriend that I had been with since we were teenagers and realising I didn't really know who i was as an individual.

People at work told me I needed to book a holiday and just go for it. whilst looking at different locations an advert popped up on instagram for Camp Wildfire and for some reason it spoke to me....

I bought a standard ticket which includes 2 gold activities, 6 silver activities and unlimited bronze activities.

I had never been to anything like Camp Wildfire and was going alone so knowing what to pack came as quite the challenge.

I didn’t own a sleeping bag so I took my duvet, a camp bed, a three-man Ventura tent, a small foldable seat, a duffle bag full of clothes and four portable phone chargers.

I had been on the camp wildfire Facebook page for solo attendees and spoken to a couple of people that were on route so we decided to travel there together.

I left mine at around 11am on the Friday stopping of to collect fellow campers and arriving at camp at around 2pm.

I used a satnav to get me there and the journey was very straight forward. Signage had been put up directing us in as we got closer to the site. A steward was waiting at the gate to check that we had paid for parking, scanned our QR Code and directed us onto the section of grass that had been cordoned off and turned into a well organised car park.

We unloaded our kit from the car and headed to the entrance gate where a small queue was waiting to go through security checks. The queue took no time at all to go down and before we knew it, it was our turn to be searched and have our tickets scanned.

The security then asked what patrol I wanted to join. There had been a lot of discussion online about what patrol to join, what each patrol stood for and before getting to camp I had already decided I was going to be a fox. This meant I was given a red wrist band and that was it… I was officially a fox at Camp Wildfire.

Rob from the solo group was the first to arrive and had posted a photo on Facebook of where he had set up camp so that all the other solo campers could find him and camp together.

I pitched my tent at the edge of the camp site and managed to tie my guy ropes to the fence as the floor was rock solid and talking to other campers around me pegs were losing the fight.

I got speaking to the people that were in the tents near me and how lucky I was to pitch next to such lovely humans!

The people camping nearby became my small wildfire family and I had no idea that they would become friends for life that I would see again outside of camp!

Our group consisted of Me, Bob, Jade, Claire, Sara and Jenny. Sara and Jenny had both been to camp many times before but for the rest of us it was our first time.

So, it was nearly 5pm on Friday. Our tents were set up and our small group had been formed so we sat around to have a drink before the official opening of wildfire started at 6pm.

There wasn’t a lot of information regarding how things worked at Wildfire so I just went with the flow and followed the crowds. Everybody made their way down towards the entrance to the woods and were stood around in a big group that appeared to be separating into patrols.

Out of nowhere a girl I had never seen before in my life grabbed my wrist, excitedly proclaimed that I was a fox and proceeded to attack my face with what can only be described as red war paint.

I was only wearing a normal hoodie and shorts but there were people in the crowd in full fancy dress proudly displaying what patrol they were part of (Obviously some serious prep work had gone into some of them!)

We were then led through the woods to the patrol games arena in a parade to the upbeat sounds of the Brass Funkeys.

When we arrived at the patrol games arena it was split into 4 sections by large flags displaying the patrol emblems. I went across and took my place under the fox flag.

The two ladies that were comparing the event talked us through how everything works and introduced us to our patrol leaders. Before people took part in the first patrol games of the weekend. I planned to take a step back on the first evening and just watch but before I knew it I had been selected to take part in the Tug o War along with Bob.

The patrol games finished at around 7:30pm giving people half and hour to grab a bite to eat, explore the campsite or freshen up before the partying began at 8pm. I used this time to go to one of the bars and purchase my reusable enamel Camp Wildfire mug (In fox colours of course).

I also bought a red Scout Style Neckerchief that I wore folded into a triangle and strung between two of the belt loops on my shorts with my badges attached.

I found myself in the small club house at the start of the party and I am so glad that I did!

The Swamp Stomp String band were playing and the people that I later found out were swing dance instructors were taking it in turns to show us how its done.

I then moved to the main “Discotheque” to party for the rest of the evening and whether it was alcohol induced or not I done a lot more dancing than I expected and met a lot of new people!

I took the chance on my early morning stroll back to the camp site to take some photos of the path between the camp and the main arena that is lit by fairy lights strung between the trees.

When we got back to the camp site, we were shocked to see that every possible pathway and patch of grass had been filled with more tents! It didn’t feel particularly safe if there was to be a fire or any need to get out of the area in a hurry. However, the only time I spent at the tent was to sleep or get changed so this really didn’t affect the weekend.

I didn’t sleep very well on the first night which is not unusual for me but does come with the benefit of being awake early enough to see the sunrise over the camp.

Around 07:30am on Saturday I wandered over to the food stand located on the campsite where I purchased a coffee (placed into my reusable enamel mug of course!) and a breakfast roll with egg, sausage and hash brown… a good way to start the day!

People slowly emerged from their tents with varying levels of energy, some running off to start the first activity of the day and some nursing a coffee whilst they watched the world go by.

My first activity of the weekend was quad biking at 9am. This was my first Gold Activity. It was good fun but in hindsight I can do quad biking anywhere and feel that I should have used my gold activities to do things that I will struggle to find elsewhere. The instructor drove at the front of the group and we followed him around the fields in a large loop and back to where we started.

I headed back to camp and met up with Bob who happened to have booked Archery for the same time slot as me so off we went!

The camp site is in Sevenoaks in Kent but whilst wandering around after Archery I noticed that through a clearing in the trees you can actually see the skyline of London as shown in the appalling quality photo below:

I hadn’t booked onto the Water slide because I didn’t fancy horrifying the people of wildfire with the sight of this body in nothing but a pair of swim shorts. However it is a bronze activity which means you can rock up and join in without booking if it isn’t too busy and Bob was going so I went for it fully clothed with the mindset that I can just shower and get changed after.

Back in dry clothes and in the adventure valley I took part in the pistol and air rifle shooting (This is one of my favourite things to do outside of Wildfire) and the ins