Our first event for Carnfunnock Country Park was to take part in the ‘Autumfest’ event which took place on 26th September 09. the NIBA team were invited for a photo shoot with the Carnfunnock management team and the Mayor of Larne Alderman McKee. The event for us went very well, though it was hard work! We started the night before by constructing a rough shelter and deciding where we wanted to demonstrate our different Bushcraft activities. On the morning of the event we arrived early and set up our tarp, hammock and laid out a variety of arts and crafts for the public to look at. The main events for us were, The wild Plants demonstration, the Nature awareness walk, the Fire Through The Ages demo and the judging of the first ever Carnfunnock Conker Championships.
The Night before the event we built a lean to type shelter with a raised bed. The bed itself is made from soft rush woven into a mat. This was a great hit with the kids and adults alike. It was explained that warmth would come from a long log fire in from of the shelter, we had numerous families getting their photos took in the shelter and many people commented at just how comfortable it was.
Bushcraft Arts and crafts
This was made up mainly of carved spoons and bowls for people to see. From the response some were amazed that they had been made with nothing more than a knife.
WILD PLANTS DEMONSTRATION
We laid out a table full of wild Plants all of which were collected that day in Carnfunnock Park. It proved to be a real crowd pleaser as we were very soon swamped with people eager to find out what the different foods were and what you could do with them. We took it in turns explaining the numerous uses of plants like Dog rose, meadow sweet, Horse Chestnut, common Sorrel etc. It did come as quite a surprise to quite a lot of people when I told them that all the wild food plants could be found in the park. Considering the number of people who were enquiring i hope we hope we will have some left next year for ourselves!
This was an idea dreamt up by Gary. It involved placing 15 everyday items in the woods just off the public path but in full view to the keen eye who could spot these Items like empty crisp bag, sandwich box, glass bottle etc. The kids aided by their parents (although in most cases the kids aided the parents), would then walk down the path armed with pencil and paper and try and write down as many items which they considered did not belong in the woods. This was a 2 fold challenge. After they had finished their scores were totaled up and they then had to give examples of what dangers the items they found would cause to local wildlife. The kids really got on board with this one and hopefully everyone took away some learning about how we can look after the natural environment and prevent litter ruining our countryside.
Fire Through The Ages
This was a fire making demonstration with a difference. We set the scene by starting off explaining about the fire triangle, Oxygen - Fuel - Heat. Gary then took over as comp-ere demonstrating fire with modern fire lighting instruments like matches, gas lighter and ferro rod / fire steel. I then did a bow-drill demonstration whilst Gary explained to the crowd (which had grown so much that they completely blocked the path way) what was taking place e.g. coal forming in hearth board, and the transfer to the tinder bundle and then the blowing of the coal in the bundle till it catches fire. Gary then took over once more and demonstrated using a flint and steel to create sparks. He also demonstrated the use of different tinder's, like char cloth cramp ball fungus and amadou and passed these around the people watching so they could have a closer look. The fire demo was brought to a conclusion with a demonstration of how fire could be made by using a simple battery and a piece of wire wool.
The Carnfunnock Conker Championships.
This was the first of its kind in carnfunnock, and the NIBA were proud to have been given the tasks of keeping the competitors informed of the rules and making sure all abided by them, no mean feat considering we were complying directly with the Official World Conker fighting guidelines! But like any competitions there are winners and losers and on this occasion the winner happened to be the father of one of the Parks managers!! What a difficult job that was but we all made it out alive though...only just!
All in all it was a terrific day the sun never stopped shining and the event went seamlessly and everyone had a great time! As for the Conkerers (im sure thats what they are called) there is always next year!!