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The first time I've ever heard of Bushcraft was a few years back when googling about living in the wild. Some people may have misconception of what Bushcraft really is about, as it was easily confused with the stuff that Bear Grylls does on TV. I am sure we all got a little excited when watching Bear grylls eating bugs, sleeping rough and teaching techniques on how to stay hydrated and fed. To make a clear distinction, Bear Grylls' does what is called survival training. How to get out of a situation if you are exposed to the natural environment and no communication to civilization. To be able to survive and get yourself back to civilisation as quick as possible.
Bushcraft on other hand goes beyond that! It is not about survival, but about sustainability and living comfortably within natural environments. Taking our time to be part of the natural world and enjoying it. With Bushcraft, learning a range of skills from fire lighting with sparks and by friction, cooking an open fire, shelter building, plant identification, animal tracking and trailing, fishing techniques, cord making and making your own tools and equipment, and much more.
This was my first time bushcrafting, an absolute newbie and not knowing what to expect! When researching for the right company to do the course with, I wanted to choose one that has a comprehensive selection of courses, reputable and also exhibitions I can participate in the future. It came down with woodsmoke winning my vote, as it was easy enough for myself to commute and they had a good range of interesting courses to keep me busy for some time! Their exhibitions looks superb giving me more motivation to work towards it.
I am glad to have taken the first step of many. Bushcrafting is such a great way of escaping the cities and spend time with nature. Once you have mastered the basic skills, it doesn't cost much to take a weekend off to go Wales, Lake District, Scotland or any other country sides. I like Bushcraft because everything you need, nature has provided. Sitting by the warm open fire, carving my spoon, relaxing, chatting, laughing, life never felt so simple. I've felt at ease. What I felt made the experience better was probably the people within our group. We all bonded so well, none were competitive against another, but assisted and accomplished each challenge as a team. I felt very comfortable around them, it was like my very own Bushcraft family.
In this course we have learned to make fire using several methods such as the bowdrill, my favorite because I was getting good with it! Several fishing techniques and how to prepare and cook our own fish over an open fire. Cooking pigeon pie in a makeshift oven using two different size pots. Carving wood to make tools such as a spoon. Tearing nettles from the ground with our bare hands then stripping them and turning it into cordage, you should see their faces in the video. Useful knowledge of trees, fungies, plant life and their uses. Methodology to identify animals from their tracks. Building shelters with the resources around. Water purification. Building traps and more!
Big congratulations to Michael, the star of our group for having achieved a distinction award on the final day's challenge! Well done, we are so proud of you!
By the end of the week, I was exhausted. It felt like a crash course. By blogging, it made me realise just how much we have accomplished in a week.
It took 3 days for the smell of fish to fade from my skin even after numerous baths. The steam would lift the smell to my nose every time. It was nice to be home in clean clothes, but it isn't the same as the warmth of sitting around an open fire as you stare into it. That feeling of nothingness, just you and the moment.
My thoughts would now go to study about herbal medicines both European and Chinese. I may also come up with some infusion ideas for Chinese cooking recipes with the outdoor cooking techniques. I wonder what kind of abomination I could create!
I would like to thank my group for the wonderful time and memories of this adventure. Elly, Dan, Michael, Stu, Rob, Anna, Raj, Darryll, Keith, Fi, Will, Steve, Hannah, Barney, Ross, Lisa and Sue. I was hoping to be able to meet Ben, but I am sure I will get to meet him in the next course and hear some of his stories!
Absolutely! I am planning to do 'The Native Bushman Course', 'The Blade', 'The Axe Workshop', 'The Bowyer' and 'The Coastal Forager' plus all the exhibitions at some point!
Feeling adventurous? Then join us! Keep posted of the next adventure on the events page!
You can find more information on the Bushcraft school and courses at: http://www.woodsmoke.uk.com
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