And so it was on a glorious spring day in the Fens (Cambridgeshire, UK) when some 60 members of a very unique group called ‘Retro Outdoor Equipment’ began gathering for an event like no other. The atmosphere was bristling with expectation from people who had travelled far and wide. The scent of leather and canvas paired with a rejuvenating breeze wafting through the trees, and the glint of brass and steel catching the dappled sun from the canopy above. This was the perfect setting for what was to be a weekend to remember.
So what is this get-together some of you may be wonder? Well in short, men, women and children who are modern-day outdoor enthusiasts with an interest in traditional outdoors equipment were invited to the first ever Retro Outdoors Equipment Gathering. A meeting to share knowledge and skills, and to try out new things (of old), as well as admire the many bits of traditional equipment on show. Naturally, many who came are artisans following traditional ways of making equipment, such as canvas workers, leather workers, wood turners, blacksmiths and even a representative of a well known Swedish axe company took part.
So... if you don't know anything about this group, it has been running for a few years now, and was founded by my dear friend Steve W. Armstrong. I understand that he started the group for his love of traditional kit, adding like-minded individuals who share that same passion along the way. They offered help and support to each other or to those with retro-kit distress, as well as sharing their love and know-how. Now there are over 2,200 members worldwide. This is a huge group that keeps going from strength to strength, with a steady flow of new members. It attracts a certain pedigree of people; retro equipment lovers, folks who like to use their stuff