Rutland Bird Fair 2017
Small in numbers but strong in outdoors passion, the August edition TOG team (Holly and Jess) headed to Rutland for the 29th annual Bird Fair. This weekend was to mark the beginning of some potentially new and exciting ventures for The Outdoor Guide.

Day 1
Setting up at the Park Cameras tent in the blustery wind was looking like a challenge, but the TOG banner was up in no time and we spent Saturday morning telling visitors all about The Outdoor Guide and how to get involved.

We were thrilled to chat to all the lovely Park Cameras representatives but must admit we were a little distracted by all the enticing Bird Fair offers on our favourite Canon cameras. So before we could empty our purses we headed off to explore the fair.

And who else to bump into than Discover Rutland (in Rutland of all places…)?! We’ll definitely be returning for the Rutland Food and Drink Festival in October – it made our mouths water just listening about it.

Walking around the fair, it was truly inspiring to see so many people come together to celebrate and expand their knowledge in a common interest. We could barely contain our excitement as stand after stand offered exciting bird watching trips. As it stands, Holly is considering popping off to Guatemala for 6 months to find the rare Azure Rumped Tanager, and Jess plans to skip the first few months of her final year at university to go to Estonia for the autumn waterbird migration. (Alas, these are mere fantasies, but maybe one day…)

After a day of telling people about The Outdoor Guide and exhausting our bird watching dreams, we headed to The Wheatsheaf in Edith Weston for a slap up dinner.

Day 2
We woke up and headed to Wellies Coffee Shop for a breakfast bonanza of eggs, toast, (ketchup), tea and coffee. Refreshed and ready to shout TOG’s message from the treetops (or gently whisper so as not to scare the birds), we drove once more to the Bird Fair.

Unfortunately the pole for our banner was unable to withstand a huge gust of wind the day before and had ended up in two halves. No problem for Holly and Jess (AKA The Dream Team) as we used our bush craft skills to keep the TOG banner up, spread the word and answer your questions.

At 11, we headed to the Events Marquee to catch Steve Backshall’s talk ‘Adventures with Wildlife Around the World’. We learnt a lot, laughed a lot and even shed a little tear. We both felt that Steve’s message to the next generation resonates with TOG’s aim to get our kids respecting and learning about the environment and wildlife we’ve been given in order to save it for the future.

After more chatting to outdoors enthusiasts and asking you all to share your walks and ideas with The Outdoor Guide, we found our friends at Rohan where Jess guessed how many bugs were in the jar (and is hoping to win the £250 prize to spend in store).

We returned to our post at Park Cameras for more sharing TOG’s message before deciding it was high time for afternoon tea. And where else would we go than Barnsdale Lodge? Here, we were greeted with an overflowing plate of warm scones, thick clotted cream and strawberry jam – heaven.

What a weekend! See you at the 30th Rutland Bird Fair this time next year!