Monsal Head shenanigans

Rab car boot sale?

What can I say? The backpackers social meet at Monsal Head in the Peak District was an absolute success! It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Admittedly, as the day approached I had lost count of the number of attendees and was a little concerned I may get some bother from the campsite owners – who set a strict limit on how many people were allowed on their field despite it being quite some size.

Alas, all such concerns went up in smoke come Friday evening.

It was an absolute pleasure catching up with some old friends I’ve not seen for a few months and a joy in making new ones and putting names to faces, too. The crowd consisted of bloggers, newbies and veteran backpackers which made for a very pleasant and eclectic mix – with a variety of outdoor kit on display, stories of hikes here and abroad and even some make your own gear thrown in for good measure, too.

That pile of empty beer bottles? Not mine!

Good conversation, drinks in hand, smiles and laughs – all within a peaceful and scenic setting at the heart of the Peak District National Park.

So, I’d like to say thank you to all who attended from all corners of this green and pleasant land and I do hope you enjoyed yourself despite the time whizzing on by.

A big thanks also, to Ali from Terra Nova, Mark from Rab, Luke from Ellis Brigham, Amanda from Chocolate Fish and Gareth from Webtogs. The gear you brought along for show (including sneak peeks at what’s in store for 2012 and some freebies) was fantastic – and it was a joy to see you guys and gals mixing with us mere outdoors folk talking about the wares, technology et al without standing behind a trade stand.

Socialising and inspecting gear

I’d like to thank Dave from My Outdoors too for giving me a helping hand over the weekend which included supplying and erecting a large tent to help shelter folk if the weather turned foul and of course for preparing bacon sarnies at breakfast time.

It made for a great weekend, and I’ve no doubt we can organise something similar again in the coming months.

Personally, I think it makes sense to have two such meets every year – one on a permanent basis in the Peak District with it being quite centrally located within the UK, and another at different locations on a simple rotation.

Some 2012 kit from Rab

For example, Dartmoor then Snowdonia and so on. And though I now have no doubt many folk would like to attend, I think it would be best to set a cap on attendees so as not to lose the amiable and intimate atmosphere all enjoyed over the past few days.

The whole point to me organising this meet was to keep it friendly, informal and sociable – and I think it worked a treat. Too many such meets could lose it’s novelty despite the fun had. So, we’ll see what happens eh?

I’d like to clarify once and for all – that despite a somewhat large pile of empty beer bottles and cans adjacent to my tent, they were NOT all mine! Yeah, I had a bit to drink over the weekend but not that much.

It made for a nice relaxing break from work for me. I’ve not laughed so hard in such a long time enjoying folks company. And I don’t think I’ve talked so much to a large number of people either – including the beer fuelled monologues (we’ll keep them private, eh?).

I arrived at the campsite late morning on the Friday expecting the weather to have improved from the constant rain encountered on the journey there. I insisted to folk in advance that all would be well and we’d miss the oncoming gloom in the sky – and despite a light shower or two over a couple of hours in the afternoon, the weather turned out absolutely fine. Sunshine, broken cloud and the odd drizzle was the order of the day.

Get em when they’re young!

Most of my Friday then entailed meeting and greeting folk with a beer in hand, introducing Ali from Terra Nova, snooping and groping gear – before we all headed off to the nearby pub. To be honest, the rest is a bit of a blur but it really was quite late before my head hit the pillow in my tent.

I felt really quite rough come the morning (rough as a badgers bum shall we say) but my plans for the coming hours ahead were not too demanding. I planned to head over to Stanage Edge and get some shots I needed for a future video project before heading back to the campsite and hooking up with Mark from Rab, Amanda from Chocolate Fish and Gareth from Webtogs.

Part of the rabble checking out gear

My afternoon consisted of eating and recovering, lying in my tent like some dodgy prima donna all the while talking to various folk as they arrived back from their hikes in the local area. I had intended to have a couple of hours sleep but chatting with Mark from Marks Walking Blog and James from Backpackingbongos put paid to that – including a sloppy kiss on my forehead from the wonderful Reuben!

Even so, I got one power nap in before crawling out from my slumber and clambering over empty beer bottles (not all mine! How many times did I have to tell folk?) and mixing it out on the field.

Reuben looks on with keen and friendly interest

Dave from My Outdoors had set up some interesting shelters ranging from Mountain Hardwear to Snugpak. Gareth had brought along some fantastic Western Mountaineering sleeping bags as well as some tents from Nemo – one of which included inflatable poles.

Amanda mingled with everyone explaining the ins and outs of merino wool backed up with some very enlightening photography showing various nefarious brands garments under a microscope.

And finally Mark from Rab arrived with what appeared at first glance to be a glorified car boot sale! Again some interesting kit to fondle, try on and ask questions about.

Exploring the delights of Cressbrook Dale

All in all it made for a great weekend of which we raised £160 for Kinder MRT with raffle prizes kindly donated from Terra Nova, Rab, Chocolate Fish and My Outdoors.

I’d like to chat more and more about the weekend, but I’m afraid my head is still a little fuzzy despite the fresh air. Even so, I really enjoyed myself and I hope everyone else did, too.

Thanks to everyone who’ve let me use some of their photos from the weekend for this blog post. If you’d like to see more pics of the meet up you can do so here: Monsal Head


27 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice one mate looks like you had fun. Work intruded couldn't make it apologies. Next time. Good effort all round. Wanted to meet The Muss lol.

    Chris Scarface


  2. Glad everything went off O.K. I'm really disappointed I had to cancel at the last minute, hopefully I can make the next one.


  3. Thanks Terry for a top weekend, I think people will be talking about it for a while, nice and relaxed, pub just down the road to keep themuss happy, cheers again i certainly had a great time finally meeting the likes of yourself etc And also made some great new friends

    Looking forward to the next one ..


  4. terrybnd says:

    @Chris – No worries mate. Was best sort of meet like that I've been on. And the muss was very well behaved 😉 LOL

    @londonbackpacker – All went to plan along with weather mate. Shame but understandable of course why you couldn't make it. Will defo do another one, gear guys/gals really enjoyed it and are up for it.


  5. terrybnd says:

    @Chris25119600 – Ditto mate and you're welcome. Was good meeting you. I didn't do much really. Wanted it informal and relaxed and it worked I reckon.


  6. osiris says:

    Thanks for organising, me and the wife had a very good time and tons of laughs. Just a shame we couldn't come on friday. Thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and laid back. We sure learnt a lot down there.

    Alvin Vassooodaven


  7. Thanks for organising the meet Terry and giving us a good laugh with your beer fuelled monologues. Was great meeting so many people. The gear that was demonstrated and the raffle were great! Great choice of location too, the camp site was excellent. 🙂


  8. Terry, thanks for organising this one. Great laugh and interesting as well. I have just posted up my impressions of the weekend. I like the Team Rab photo I took!


  9. Just to repeat what everyone is basically saying…

    It was a great event, really nice atmosphere, sharing excellent conversation (and local ale!) with great fellow outdoor types.

    Well worth travelling up for, and you can count me in for future meetups 🙂


  10. terrybnd says:

    @Osiris – Your welcome. I aim to please LOL 😉

    @markswalkingblog -Nice post mate and good pics in there.

    @Trekking Britain – Well….the beer fuelled monologues were inevitable I suppose 😉 LOL Good to meet you in person buddy

    @TheActivePhotographer -Same here, mate. I'll sort another one out in due course.


  11. Looked good.

    Memo to self: must make the next one.


  12. What everyone else has already said mint weekend top stuff with top people oooh and I won the womens neutrino down jacket, a lovely gift for the other half who missed out on a good weekend looking after my dog, look fwd to the next one


  13. @hillplodder says:

    Great stuff, hope I can make it next time.


  14. Terry,
    I agree with you completely…keep this type of event friendly, informal, and sociable. Those are the secret ingredients that allow for everyone involved to fun, enjoy each other's company, and want to do it again.

    Shoot…I wasn't even there, but I can hear the laughter and see the joy in the eyes of those that were. Good on ya Terry!


  15. Gareth says:

    Amazing weekend, top effort for organising Terry! Yesterdays wild camp was awesome as well. Here's to the next one.


  16. Cheers for organising that Terry, it was a top weekend. Looking forward to the next one.


  17. terrybnd says:

    @blogpackinglight – Defo mate. We even had freebies, too! 🙂

    @Paul aka Themuss – I had to laugh when your ticket got drawn at the raffle. Thought I must be your lucky charm LOL

    @Barefoot Child – Thanks. It did make for a sociable event. Reckon I'll keep a limit on attendees on next one. 80 MAX. Could double the numbers we had and keep it close-knit if you know what I mean?

    @Gareth – Thanks mate. And was great you came along with some gear buddy.

    @James Boulter – Your welcome. I didn't do much really. Just pulled a few strings etc. Really pleased with how it turned out. I'll see what I can drum up for the next one, eh?


  18. Dave says:

    Thanks for a great weekend Terry. It was great to put some faces to Twitter names as well as meet up with some old friends. The atmosphere was spot on and I think everyone got something out of the weekend.

    We've got a forum section up now about the weekend and for planning the next one.


  19. chriscox303 says:

    A great event Terry and certainly worth the drive up from Brighton. A very relaxed atmosphere and a chance to meet like minded people. My son enjoyed his first night under canvas and definitely count us in for the next one. Cheers – Chris & Kai


  20. Chris says:

    An absolutely cracking weekend!
    For someone who hikes solo almost exclusively I was made to feel most welcome by everyone and know I have made some life long friends 🙂
    I look forward to the next meet wherever it may be and will hopefully bring along my good lady too! (seems my solo hiking days are now to be tempered by some wonderful hikes and camps with the aforementioned good lady ;))

    Thanks Terry! You are a star 🙂


  21. terrybnd says:

    @Dave – Thanks Dave. Pleasure as always mate.

    @chriscox303 – Lovely to meet you mate. Until next time 🙂

    @Chris – Thanks mate. Your welcome. I'm just the ideas and 'beer monologues' man. It's all you lot that made the weekend. I really enjoyed it. Too brief


  22. ThatSteveKnight says:

    Thanks for organising the event Terry. We had great fun and my young'un continues to love the 'yomping', as he calls it.

    Looking forward to the next one! (?)


  23. terrybnd says:

    @ThatSteveKnight – Thanks mate. Yeah, there'll be another one 🙂 Watch this space 😉


  24. swanscot says:

    Sorry, I missed what looks to be a great meet. If it had been 2 or 3 weeks later I'd have definitely been there. Maybe next time!


  25. Craig says:

    great weekend mate, although slightly pissed on Friday enjoyed every minute of it, havent laughed so much in ages, lovley walk on saturday as well in the Lathkill dale, which i will definatley be returning to for a solo wildcamp..
    cheers craig


  26. @Craig slighty drunk were ya lol. people were talking about taping ya to a tree and leaving ya there for the farmers lol


  27. We had a brilliant time Terry. Thank you so much for all your hard work – and thanks to everyone else for the great craic! Really hope there'll be another – the Monsal set-up was perfect.

    Think the mix was just right – you don't want many of us gearmongers getting in the way! Was good to meet Gareth from Webtogs and Mark from Equip/Rab though.


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