Here at High Wray Basecamp we’re continually striving to offer our visiting groups and volunteers a more rewarding and memorable stay. One of the ways that we do this is by looking at our infrastructure and seeing what improvements we can make that will add to people’s experience. What needs modernising? What need’s chucking out? That’s why we’ve recently installed a new macerator in our Longland dormitory, and a new cistern and flush control system in our Acland block. ‘Oh, the glamorous world of Basecamp!’, I hear you cry.
|Getting started: Footprint for the fire pit laid out and materials on site for the wall.|
But don’t worry, I’m not going to wax lyrical about the waste disposal measures in place here, fascinating though they are. No. I want to tell you all about something far more exciting, something to stir the soul and connect us with our primordial past…I want to tell you about…our new fire pit…
|Outer walls going up: It was a challenge here to marry the appearance of a 'drystone' wall with the strength of a bonded one.|
For many years groups at Basecamp have enjoyed a good camp fire - sitting around late into the evening, telling stories, gazing wistfully into the flames. It’s one of the simplest of life’s pleasures, and a way of reconnecting with the less complicated lives of our ancestors, of eschewing for a moment the capricious frenzy of modern life. It’s part of what Basecamp’s all about.
|Laying the inner firebricks and fireproof screed: These fellas can withstand temperatures in excess of 1350c - that's one hot potato!|
But there’s been a problem. With no formal, defined space in which to have a fire there’s been no limit on their size. Conflagrations have spread over a larger area than perhaps we would have liked, leaving an ugly pile of ash and cinders in the middle of the Basecamp grounds. There’s the additional concern that during dry spells the fire could ignite surrounding vegetation, with potentially disastrous consequences, or that rocks within it could explode, throwing dangerous shrapnel outwards.
|Pointing up the firebricks and slate seating: The holes are for ventilation and drainage.|
|Our finished fire pit! We had to have an inaugural burn to cure the fireproof bricks and screed, and bring it slowly up to a working temperature. Here's to many happy future camp fires at Basecamp!|