On a feral trip
We've been following the adventures of the We Are Trippers crew since their first instagram post. It's not everyday you come across a group of adventurers with their own cook and stylist, who also happen to be Facebook sensations. We got the inside line on how they roll.
What was the inspiration for getting together, naming yourselves and creating the website?
Is it a handy excuse for adventure, or inspiration for other people?
It all happened gradually, we’ve been mates for many years.
None of us can remember why but we decided to go to some woods and spend a night there cooking pheasant, having a few beers reading poetry and shooting cans with an old air rifle. We spent a very wet night in a bell tent and hit a local greasy spoon the next morning, all slightly worse for wear. The seed had then been sown, and shortly after this Rory (who loves mountains) suggested we five go climb Ben Nevis via the Carn Mor Dearg Arete route. It was during this trip that we really conceived the idea of the Trippers. However, the name came later after much arguing at the pub.
Things changed quickly. We are all really conscious of the environment, lessening our impact and generally being more responsible - whilst being irresponsible. So it’s really an excuse to go outside, have a laugh, cook amazing food, be environmentally friendly and inspire people to eat well and get ‘their face in nature’!
As for the reason for naming ourselves and creating the website, well, we all dreamt of getting these trips paid for - being creative types, none of us like working too hard so funding trips sometimes is a struggle. We managed this last year through our Feral Cook show, with Tastemade UK, but the bastards at Monarch airline went bust and we all had to fork out for new flights… easy come, easy go!
How do you all find time to get together with busy modern lives?
We do struggle at times, however we are all self employed which does help. Sadly, WhatsApp is often the answer to this problem. It’s harder to decide where and when.
We are lucky as we have the use of some woods so we can shoot down South and just spend a few nights there to get our fix. We have traveled far and wide and it’s true to say that you can have just as much adventure near home as you would 1000miles away.
Has it changed your friendship? Has there been one particular bonding experience?
No one particular event stands out, we’re all pretty close anyway. Planning is always great fun and our best ideas and times spent are often in the pub….. may be a pattern emerging here.
Testosterone must take over at times, most macho moment?
Not sure if it was Testosterone or just the slight hangover and bloody early morning, but Henry and Arthur had an almighty argument one morning, which culminated in Henry kicking a door into Arthur’s face and almost knocking a tooth out… Arthur retaliated, throwing Henry in to the bathroom and raising his fist, saved by Tom, sitting in bed with a cup of tea, calmly shouting “ARTHUR NOOOOOOO!” Not sure what Glenmore lodge made of us.
Nothing a coffee and a cigarette didn't sort out. Did I mention? It all happened naked!
Every group of friends needs a chef, its why we have Evil Gordon in our ambassador crew. What has been your culinary high point?
Henry is the chef with Rory as chief Baker. Dom, Tom and myself are all able cooks but the other two really take it to the next level - Have you not watched our cooking show? Feral Cook show - Tastemade UK, we’re Facebook sensations!
Anyway, cooking is kind of our thing - we hate freeze-dried food or any of that lightweight stuff, not to mention the wasteful wrapping they come in. We take real food that we either make at home like our homemade chorizo or we lug all the ingredients for an epic curry with freshly made naan bread.
Dinner is always accompanied by a great bottle of wine. These rather indulgent meals do come at a cost, with pack weights sometimes eye wateringly high. However, we feel great food hard won can’t be beaten especially in stunning locations around a fire.
A culinary high point has to be 8hr Tara river water soaked lentils that were used to make an almighty Dahl, we also managed to forage wild thyme. Top wild camp.
Any tips for budding expedition chefs?
We would say prep as much as you can at home, pre make bacon or chorizo, crack eggs in to a plastic water container - anything that allows you to take proper food with you is a win. Freshly baked bread is amazing on trips especially when it’s cold. Start with something simple like Bannock bread, we always make the mix at home and bring it in one portion containers.
We also don't take disposable plastic wrapping with us, which makes a massive difference - we hate carrying rubbish.
Take Kleankanteen or Tupperware. Top tip - don't try and make a full English for five guys half way up Ben Nevis when its -5! Learnt this the hard way, luckily we had our epic homemade flapjacks to keep us going.
Oh, and nothing beats cooking on an open fire so get good at making small but efficient fires and make sure to leave no trace! Check our website out for recipes.
Have you ever worried you were about to meet your maker, or lose a limb?
Some of us are more accident prone than others and some more careless - on a rather freezing day in the Cairngorms we discovered that one of us hadn't come prepared AT ALL.
With a long 12mile day in proper Scottish weather it was a risky move. I shan't name and shame but at one point the question was asked with a worried tone “can you get frostbite in these temperatures?” I can’t remember what we told Henry (oops!), but it was probably only 2 words long.
Nothing really life threatening yet! We did have a midnight visitor at the woods in Sussex, it’s a long story, however it shook us all - particularly as he was half naked, wearing only bright fluorescent running shorts and a Barbour. Tom spotted him hiding behind a tree. It all turned out ok with him coming to apologise the next morning, wearing lycra tights and the same Barbour but this time with a rifle slung over his shoulder… I’m so gad we have such stringent gun laws!!
Are you preppers or seat of your pants types? What’s the worst thing you forgot to bring?
We’re a real mix, which is probably why it works - some of us plan more and some are definitelyseat of your pants. None of us are preppers though we prefer to rely on our wits and really largely on what has come to be known as ‘Trippers luck with the weather’.
You guys are the first crew we’ve met with their own stylist, sartorial zenith?
Ah yes! It’s just so easy to look like a muppet in the hills - we believe there is no need to look like a florescent light bulb or a boy scout when you’re in the hills. It’s important to feel the weather and not always block it out - Gore-tex and all that posh stuff is great but its only needed now and again in the worst weather - good old organic materials that work great and are not stuffed full of chemicals is what we are big fans of. We do like nice kit though! Shirts from McNair for example and Guernsey jumpers.
Where have you enjoyed tripping the most?
That’s a hard one to answer as a group, but we would all agree that our crossing of Dartmoor was amazing with some spectacular wild camps. Also, the Cairngorms - amazing! The woods in Sussex are our HQ and we have many fond memories of it.
And the least?
There aren't any - however Dubrovnik is the most horrendous place we have spent a night in transit in - five guys all with food poisoning (not our own cooking) with two bathrooms - HELL!
Aside from don’t cook a full breakfast on Britain’s highest peak, what have you (each) learnt from your trips?
‘Learn how to navigate extremely well before setting off into the wild. There are no signposts out there and getting lost is much easier than I first thought!’
‘You can never plan too much. Before each trip I spend a long time studying maps and photos so that by the time we get out there I have a strong knowledge of the lay of the land. It means when you find yourself in white out conditions and gale force winds on the Cairngorm plateau (like we did last winter) you already know the landscape and so have the confidence to navigate your way safely home.’
‘I’ve learned that its best to finish a big day trekking with a good brandy and to begin one with a strong coffee.’
‘I’ve learnt lots on our trips, much about myself and my temperament (ha) but mainly that the four other trippers are properly great guys and there would have been times in my life where I would have been lost with out them.’
‘If I have learnt anything from tripping its that you must always remember a map, a good story and a knife. You must forget everything they ever taught you about comfort, routine and boundaries.