2015 Wilderness Gathering - fully updated! Go see....
Once upon a time - (bear with me endy readers!) - there was a bison who wanted to marry an elk; but she had to be a real elk. The bison travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were elks enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was not as it should be. So he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have had a real elk. One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightening, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a stern knocking was heard at the city gates. It was Roger. Roger Harrington. "Hi guys, do you want to come to my gathering? It's in the wilderness. We have bison, and elk, and owls and soooo many other exciting things to do"....oh hang on a minute, we should be at the Wilderness Gathering - the original bushcraft show........okay, okay, back to reality....
Here we go then.........
A very warm Endy welcome to our annual report of what is the totally fabulous WG – aka 2015 Wilderness Gathering – the festival of bushcraft and music!
The WG is held annually at the Bush Farm Bison Centre, West Knoyle in Wiltshire, just an hour and a half's drive from Endy towers....
It's attended by some great folk with interests in the great outdoors and is a great platform for learning skills including fire making (bow drill etc.) basket weaving, shelter building, wildlife tracking, coastal survival and tons and tons (and tons!) of other cool stuff too. Oh, and there's even an opportunity to do some axe throwing :o) So that'll make this show supercool then!
As usual, the Endy kidz were totally excited about attending WG for another year (our 4th) and were really looking forward to catching up with all their friends. This year, they'd even got one of them-there app-things to countdown to the show. "Dad, only 16 days 9 hours and 11 minutes until the Gathering" would be heard more often than not! Oh bless!
And here they are, on the van, TWO days before lift off!
Anyways, Mister E was rather excited too, as it's an absolute blast catching up with friends and customers old and new, plus it's pretty awesome being able to put faces to names in our orders book.
We arrived on site early evening on the Wednesday, a day earlier than usual as those met-office peeps had given a 'yellow warning' of a complex weather system which would threaten to have our tent uplifted in the early hours of Thursday, and consequently dump it somewhere in the depths of the South pacific....
And, of course, the deluge was no more than a few showers with just about enough wind to give a light bubble-bath….hey, ho....
So arriving on-site a little after 19:00hrs we were greeted by the ever-friendly face of best buddy, Chris D - aka Chris the Cat!
Edit: You'll probably see more of Sir Cat (along with lots of other quality peeps) in our special WG-gallery!
With a little (read a lot) of help from our friends Ash, Chris and Kermit (cheers guys!!) we had the tent up and ready for 21:00hrs.
We then proceeded to make the Team-E family camp with Mrs. E’s luxury 5-star blow up tent now pumped up and ready for occupancy….
And then we kipped….
On waking at 06:00 Sofia – aka Fw’ea D’or and Isaac – aka Badge-E-Man - were up and ready for the day ahead.
We started to assemble all the internal workings of Endyz-on-the-road with stock being pulled from the van at quite a rate.
With a massive product range we'd stocked up well on wool blankets, Swedish snow smocks and, with the somewhat inclement weather expected, plenty of ponchos, bivi bags and shelter sheets / tarps etc. Plus all our generic sundries contained within our camping departments!
The rest of team-E arrived at 08:00 Thursday with Mrs E heading up the balance of the Endy peeps! So that'll mean more stock arriving then! You bet!
We’d bought all our usual suspects plus some new lines including our Belgian-patt smocks and our new range of kidz clothing in 'B-T.P' flavour. So, that’ll be British-Terrain Pattern flavour then….trousers, assault vests, tac vests and tee shirts. And a whole lot more besides!
Plus, spend £50 or more on B-T.P kit and get free standard shipping plus a free camo net Oops! Went in to sales mode there, now back on track....
Oh, and here is Mrs E inspecting the 5-star luxury accommodation I'd promised her....
Edit: You'll probably see more of Mrs E (along with lots of other quality peeps) in our special WG-gallery!
The show, as ever, was very well attended with, I suspect, footfall up considerably, particularly on the Friday and Saturday. We had our usual interaction with scores and scores of customers, some traveling across Europe to attend. We met a group of lads from Holland who run a bushcraft store and even folk from the U.S.A, and Australia.
Blankets sold extremely well, with our Serbians (the blankets not the peeples :o) selling like the proverbial hot-cakes! Our friend Sonni - beneaththestars - bought some and spent quite some time on the stall and was even gracious enough to send me an e-mail post WG:
“hiya kev....just wanted to say thanks for the v.i.p. treatment i got at the
gathering...i've been stroking and crooning over the lovely gear i got from
you and the last coupla nights i've kipped under one of the wool
blankets....warm as hell!!!”
Thanks Sonni, it was an absolute pleasure. See you next year!
Another quality E-customer was our new friend, young Henry. Yep, Henry was in and out of the stall more times that you could shake a stick at. Buying kidz kit, dog tags and pouches. In fact, all sorts! And then it was master H’s birthday....more on this laters :o)
We started the Thursday in somewhat damp conditions, which was the catalyst for poncho sales! We had British, Belgian and German surplus stock plus multiple variants of commercial lines. Then, the rest of the weekend gave way to sunshine, so we sold sun hats and sun cream! Ha! There’s nowt so diverse as the barmy, err, army surplus dealer!
It was a total pleasure to meet many of our regular mail-order customers, with a super high-five to Sam G, Tony, Mark B, Steph, Mark ‘O’, I think it was Sam who came up to me to introduce himself as the guy who EndyZ had cost him a fortune over the last couple of years! Me thinks he was joking………hi Sam!
Neighbours, everyone needs good neighbours....well, we certainly had ours this year! We were privileged to be set up next to our bestest buddy and top knife maker, Dave Budd. Hiya Dave!
Dave and I have known each other for several years and it's always great to catch up and share a morning coffee and an evening err, umm (!) totty of Daves famous forge water or any of his little 'DB-alert' products. Oh no, that darn puzzle jug made another appearance....
Oh, and then there's the man creche! Highlight this year? Just gotta' be Tinkypete (hi Pete!) with the chilli offered up by Glen! (any pics of this anyone? If so much appreciated. K) Oh man, you simply can't imagine the pain....
And now back to the daytime entertainment....so that'll be the bell then….not just any bell, but Kev's bell....as promised, in pre WG promo, we’d had our ‘kev bangs his bell’ slot! (ohh, er, missus!). This happened when we had 20+ people on the E-stall and Kev did a ding-dong with his big brass bell and then announced a flash sale. Basically, the first to say “it’s mine” when the product and price was announced had themselves a bargain. We did 4 of these flash sales with 100m rolls of cord for a fiver, bulk-lots of cargo cords for a tenner, and a £20 meal-deal for a tenner too!
And then there was our famous para cord hunt. The endy kidz ran out on to the field whilst the contestants looked away. Then team-E hid 50 bundles of cord randomly and when Kev shouted “go, go, go” all hell broke loose for five minutes with kidz running in every direction looking for cord! The winner came back with 11 cords and won a fabby prize of err, some cord (sorry!), a mirror, pouch, whistle and lots of other useful goodies.
And then there was more....once we'd completed the 'hunt I then proceeded to run like mad around the field all stocked up with MORE cord and eventually (took you some time guys!) I was bundled to the ground and robbed of all me wares! Oi you lot! Give me my cords back....
Probably star of the show was Will Lord. Seriously fascinating to watch and listen to Will’s knowledge and skills. Immense.
Will deservedly won the weekends 'best in show' prize for his displays and was presented with a superb gift from Roger.
And in other Endy news....we had treated our good friends Steve and his family to tickets to the 'Gathering this year as a part-thankyou for all of Steve’s input into bringing to fruition the new 'endicotts.co.uk' on-line shop. Steve has put in huge hours developing the new web site and has set us up for the long-term future of endy on-line. He’s a really cool guy, has a superb work ethic and has massive patience - something needed in abundance when mister E is around! Thanks Steve!
Steve's wife, Vicky, and chldren Archie and Sid really enjoyed their first WG experience and, I'm sure, will be back for more next year!
All the kidz had a great time making new friends (and some enemys just to keep some balance :o) with the park being a main hub for playtime....
It seems the best bits for them were the knife course and the axe throwing....here you can see Archie practicing his new-found interest....
Really pleased you all had a great time guys! Roll on WG-2016....
Re the new 'site, we're working on it all the time (Rome wasn't built in a day remember!) with new content being added on a regular basis, so if there's something YOU need to see, do drop us a line....and if we stock it and it's a web-viable product, we'll put it on!
And some other massive ‘thank you’s’ to Mel aka Lemony up-space – who commandeered the camera for me. Which meant I could spend a lot more time with our very special E-customers….
And now back to our friend Henry....what a super young man! Master H has shopped with us several times but this year he virtually set up camp with team-E. Henry was buzzing around the stall several times a day and was even given the opportunity to serve some Endy-customers! Well done Henry! Oh, but there's more....on returning to Exeter we had an urgent call at the shop to say it was Henry's birthday on the Friday and could we send him some 'stuff'? Well, we were well busy de-toxing from WG but we bust a gut to get some kit together. Items sent for Henry's birthday were an ammo box, some mess tins, a French resi bag (with a special modification by Mister E!), a set of KFS and some other random-but-useful kit and then, the 'piece de resistance', the special forces clothes peg! Yep, yours truly packaged up a very special peg, nicked straight off of Mrs.E's washing line and posted it on....all wrapped up in super-duper Endy-stylee. Now, what was I saying about those barmy surplus dealers! Anyways, a few days later, a hand-written letter arrived in the post from Henry:
"Dear Endicotts, Thank you for the map bag, cards, billy set, the back pack, the ammo box, the clothes peg, the name tags and the elastic bands also the belt with clips on everything is so good. I had a day. I went to the cinema then a proper Italian icecream the shop was called angelato I had a great day then we came back and had some of my birthday cake. The presents I got a air gun with real .177 pellets and a stamp collection, a mini cactus, a big bar of toblerone ("Kev jealous") chocolate, an insect house, a wild book, a chopping board. I like your names. I had a great day badger man, f'wea d'or, lemony up-space and mira shruk. Love from foxyman (henry)".
Top stuff Henry. Take care and see you next year! Oh, and keep that peg safe :o)
And last, but no means least, a totally mahoosive congrats to our fantastic friends (and newly weds!) Jon Mac- spoon carving first steps - and Sarah. Jon has done the majority of the photography for endy on-line and has recently married his long-time partner Sarah. Good luck and all the best for the future guys. Love ya!
Jon had a great time at the 'Gathering with people always milling around watching Jon work his magic. From the initial chop of his axe to the fine tuning to make his beautiful pieces of art. Top stuff!
OK folks, nearly time to wrap this years review up so can I take this opportunity to give a great big thank you to all our customers who came to see, meet and greet Team-E @ WG. We had an absolute whale of a time and I'm sure we'll all meat (back to the bison!) again soon.
Plus, my sincerest gratitude to the Endy kidz for all your help and to the rock that is Mrs E! You all worked so hard. Wages are in the post guys....
P.S If you'd like to see a whole gallery in images of this years 'Gathering you can see them HERE - you might even spot yourself or someone you know!!