I had come up with every excuse of why we didn’t ‘need’ to go camping as a family, and yet the kids were still desperate to sleep outside in the great outdoors. I’d even tried “Why not just build a den or sleep in a tent in the garden? Your dad will sleep out there with you.” They did it. They loved it. Now they wanted more. My next response was, “Why don’t you go away to a campsite, your dad will take you.” They did. They loved it, but it was too tame, they wanted to experience camping in nature.

 

Would a few chilly nights under canvas put them off?

My plan really wasn’t working, I thought a couple of chilly nights out under canvas would really put them off of camping. It had certainly put me off when I was a child. I remember being freezing cold in a wafer-thin sleeping bag, on an even thinner excuse for a roll mat and waking up damp and miserable. “Never again,” I had said to my equally cold and miserable friend next to me. Needless to say, I never went camping again……until now.

Being a Mum changes you, and your kids have special powers over you it seems, in more ways than you often realise. “Please Mum, we loved camping, please come with us this time.” The look on their little faces, I couldn’t disappoint them and say no yet again.

I’m always nagging my husband about the importance of family time, especially when he’s been working late, again. So they had me cornered on this one, they were asking to do something together, this is what I’m always saying we should do more of.

I hate to admit it but a family camping trip ticked all of the boxes as far as things I’d preached were important for our family; Quality time together- Tick Fresh air is good for you- Tick The kids need less screen time and to be more active- Tick I had no more excuses that I could use. “Please Mum, please can we all go camping together, as a family?” I caved, “Ok, I’ll try it one more time.” “Yay!” was the reply, accompanied by excited bouncing around, from the kids, not me. I poured myself a large coffee with a sense of impending doom, what had I agreed to. I reassured myself with the saying What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but actually, that wasn’t helping.

Family bushcraft courses

A camping experience…

My husband said he would sort the trip out for us and soon after said that he’d booked us an amazing camping experience where we’d learn new skills and have quality family time. The words camping experience got my heart racing, and not in a good way!

We made a trip to the camping shop, I’ve never seen my husband and children so excited at the prospect of shopping. There were lots of very enthusiastic families there buying all sorts of gadgets, I felt very out of place. My husband bought me a luxury roll mat and the thickest sleeping bag I’d ever seen, OK there was hope for this trip yet. Apparently, this gift was an anniversary gift, I did explain that I was happy with the usual flowers or chocolate option, but no, this year I was the lucky recipient of a roll mat and sleeping bag, yep, I’m a lucky lady! Now that I knew I’d be comfortable and warm, I tried to be more open-minded and excited about this trip, after all, it couldn’t be that bad, could it?

The fateful day of our trip away arrived. “It’s just one night away isn’t it?” “Yes,” was the reply from my husband who was now just as excited as the kids. They’d packed their bags the week before, without even being asked, I only usually get this amount of enthusiasm at the mention of Christmas or sweets. My kids clearly loved sleeping out under canvas far more than I ever did.

As we loaded our kit into the car the excitement levels grew, though my stomach was now churning, what had I agreed to? This feeling wasn’t helped by the following conversation. “Have you packed the tent Dad?” “No, we don’t need it on this trip,” …….what?! No tent? this clearly meant one of two things, either he’d seen sense and booked us into a hotel, yes I hope it’s that option. Or…. we are sleeping out under a shelter, full on Bear Grylls style! The colour drained from my face as my husband confirmed it was the latter option, yep, we were, in fact, camping out under a tarp! He’d booked us on to a family Bushcraft Course he announced proudly. “Yay!!!!” was the response from the back of the car. “You are joking right?” was the politest response I could muster. “It will be fun,” he said with a grin. “We’ll be having quality family time together and learning new skills at the same time, it’s a win-win. It will also help engage the kids in nature more and keep them off of their screens.” I couldn’t argue, these are things that I had said we needed more of as a family….

We arrived at a woodland where we were met by our instructors for the weekend. They were friendly and made us feel welcome. These guys were clearly used to excited children and anxious looking parents. With a couple of other families, we walked into the woods and found our camp area. The kids were very excited about this adventure, I’ve never seen them so keen to learn, which was echoed by my son’s, “I wish school was this exciting.”

family bushcraft courses

A family bushcraft experience

Once we were at our camp we sat around the fire as our instructors welcomed us and talked us through the weekend. Though still feeling out a place a little I was interested to hear what we were going to be taught and to

see what all of the excitement was about. I was also pleased to learn that it wasn’t compulsory to eat bugs or in fact drink our own urine as my son had joked on the way here, so things were looking up.

The first session was shelter building, who knew there were so many different types. Sadly a hotel wasn’t mentioned at this stage but when the instructor spoke about the importance of staying warm, dry and comfortable then I began to relax a little as those were definitely my priorities too. Having watched the instructor demonstrate and talk through the different shelter types it was our turn to try. The kids were straight into it, collecting all of the right vegetation needed to make a natural shelter, even making a bed area out of moss that was surprisingly comfortable. We then put up our tarp shelter, this was our ‘home’ for the night. Even I had to admit that once we’d set up our roll mats and sleeping bags ready for tonight it did actually look cozy and inviting, or maybe that was the fresh air affecting my judgment.

Our next session was fire lighting. This seemed to be the one my son was most interested in, it seems he’s secretly a caveman, I’ve never seen him listen so intently. This was another hands-on session where we all had a go at lighting fires using different techniques. There was an edge of competition amongst our family to see who could light their fire the quickest amongst us. Seeing the look on our daughter’s face as she beat us all was priceless, she was so proud. Here she was, our usually shy little girl, asking the instructor questions, confidently lighting her own fire out in the woods and fully embracing this weekend. I could learn a lot from her.

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner, where had the day gone. We headed back over to the main campfire to be welcomed by fantastic smells of cooking. While we were learning about shelters and fires there had been an amazing stew prepared and bubbling away over the open fire. Obviously, it’s amazing to have a meal cooked for you at all. I hate the daily grind of prepping and cooking meals day-in-day-out at home. So to be presented with a bowl of stew cooked by someone else was a treat, but cooked over the campfire just made it that bit more special and taste even more amazing.

 

Spending time outdoors

family bushcraft courses

One of the things I have always loved about time spent outdoors and immersed in nature is how it relaxes you. You have that calm physical tiredness at the end of the day rather than that stressed and frazzled tiredness that comes from juggling work, home life, and general commitments. So here we were, sat together, calmly eating our stew around the campfire. There was no rushing, there was no arguing, no tv in the background, no homework to be done, no work phone ringing, no washing machine needing to be emptied. Just us, together, talking, laughing, eating, relaxing and reconnecting.

As the daylight started to fade we headed towards our shelter, our “home for the night. We made our own little campfire and sat down together to drink our hot chocolates before bed, then “Look!” our daughter whispered pointing towards the edge of the woods. As we sat quietly together we saw a herd of deer slowly making their way through the woodland. They obviously came through here regularly, this was their home. We sat still just watching them, not wanting to scare them, for their own benefit as well as our own. I watched the children’s eyes widen with wonder as they sat perfectly still and silently together, I realised they had never seen deer out roaming in the wild before. Yes, we’d read about them, but where we live in the city there was never a chance encounter like this. It was humbling, a far cry from being stuck in the office or battling the rush hour traffic, just us together watching these beautiful creatures wander through the woods.

Once the deer had gone on their way the kids willingly got ready for bed, this was some kind of miracle, the fresh air and our learning sessions had certainly worn them out. They snuggled down into their sleeping bags as the light began to fade, and drifted off to sleep listening to the owls hooting overhead. Seeing the children so cosy in their sleeping bags made me want to get into mine. Well, here goes, my first time sleeping out in nearly 30 years, I was apprehensive but my cosy sleeping bag soon engulfed me in its warmth and I drifted off into one of the best night’s sleep I’d had in a long time.

 

Waking up naturally

 

At home the sound of the alarm always gives rise from an impromptu groan from both my husband and I, dragging ourselves back into the daily grind with an element of rushing from the moment you force your eyes open, but not here. If you have never been gently woken by the sun starting to rise and the amazing sound of the birds singing, you really must try it. I felt like my body had naturally woken rather than being jolted awake by an alarm. I laid there in my warm cosy sleeping bag, listening to the birds singing and seeing the sun breaking through the trees above us, no rushing, no stressing, just gently easing our way into another day of outdoor fun. Yes, I think I’m liking this outdoor stuff a little bit more. We all had slept well and after getting dressed we headed over to the main camp area to find the kettle boiling on the campfire and breakfast being cooked for us, I can’t remember the last time breakfast had been made for me. As we all sat together eating our warm breakfast the instructors told us about today’s teaching sessions.

Family bushcraft course
The first session of the day was spoon carving. Personally, I was apprehensive about letting my children have a knife and do any kind of carving, but the instructors stayed near, taught them thoroughly and instilled specific rules to keep everyone safe. It wasn’t a skill I’d ever considered learning before but actually, once I started I found it really enjoyable and quite therapeutic. It was a peaceful calm session, sat around the campfire carving our creations. The session flew by and the kids loved the fact they’d made their own spoons that they could take home, oil and use themselves.

On each course you can ask for certain sessions, my husband had been keen to try game prep so had booked this for us. I wasn’t keen on the idea myself so I watched from the back of the group but I couldn’t believe how involved the kids were. They both got stuck in learning how to prepare, gut and pluck a pigeon ready to be eaten. Being as my kids were really getting stuck in I had to at least show willing, so I opted to help them with the fish, or should I say, they helped me. We all gutted and prepped fresh trout ready for our lunch which we then cooked on the fire. I truly didn’t believe my children would eat this for lunch, we’d had enough problems at home with fish fingers, let alone fresh fish that they had gutted themselves. But it seems that actually giving your child that connection with their food can work in your favour. They both squatted down next to the fire with an instructor and cooked our fish over the flames then promptly tucked in without hesitation. I silently stood waiting for the “Err I don’t like this” but actually the response was very different. “Wow, this tastes amazing. Food tastes much better cooked on the fire I think,” my daughter said as she demolished an entire trout fillet and then asked for more. I could take it personally that my cooking actually isn’t that great, but then I tried it too and definitely agreed with her, fresh trout cooked on the open fire is certainly the tastiest way I’ve ever eaten fish.

After lunch, it was time to start dismantling our shelter and packing our things. I know we’d only been here for twenty-four hours but we had done so much in that time and it had gone so fast, the sign of a good time. We’d had an amazing time together and learned some great skills.

 

Bonding as a family

family bushcraft course

We walked back out from the woods back to our car, we were all calm and content. My husband commented to the instructor how great it is to escape into the woods, and that really summed it up. We get caught up in the fast pace of daily life being pulled from one commitment to the next, never truly stopping or at least slowing down to have proper time together and explore new skills. The look of contentment in the kids as they put their bags into the car boot said it all, we’d all had a good time, yes, even me. This had been good for us, we had needed this time together, to reconnect. “So can we do this again Mum, as a family?” “Yes, I really think we should.”

 

 

Discover our family bushcraft course

 

Generally speaking, children and knives are not a good mixture. If, however, you are introducing your family to bushcraft then sooner or later your children will need to understand how to handle a knife. The ability to handle a knife is, after all, a key part of bushcraft.

Family bushcraft course knife safety children

 

Supervising children with a knife 

At Wildway Bushcraft, we strongly encourage children to get involved with bushcraft. We believe that it strengthens their bond with the natural world, but also teaches them respect, understanding and has mental health benefits. That is one of the reasons why we run a Family Bushcraft course and work with schools.

Sooner or later, children on their bushcraft journey will need to learn how to use a knife. Read on to find out our top tips for teaching children how to use one safely.

LEARN BUSHCRAFT AS A FAMILY
JOIN OUR FAMILY BUSHCRAFT COURSE



 

Explain the importance of safety 

The key to supervising children using a knife in bushcraft, is that they should be old enough to understand the seriousness of what they are doing.  Safety should begin with sitting down with the child/children in question and explaining to them what they are about to do. This is not only important before supervising them, but will also (hopefully) prevent them from messing about with the tools after you have finished supervising them.

Family bushcraft course from Wildway Bushcraft knife safety

Run through basic first aid

Explain to children, before they begin using a knife, some elements of basic first aid. Ensure that they have their own first aid kit and know what to do should they cut themselves. If they do not already know how to do so, then now would also be a good time to teach them how to call for an ambulance.

 

Give clear instructions

It is vitally important that when teaching knife safety to children,  you give them clear instructions. Tell them calmly and in as plain English as possible exactly what you want them to do. Be clear and precise when it comes to instructions such as being very aware of their hands, never cutting towards themselves, to never point a knife at anyone or to ever throw a knife.

LEARN BUSHCRAFT AS A FAMILY
JOIN OUR FAMILY BUSHCRAFT COURSE



 

Choose the right knife

When it comes to knife safety for children, the selection of the knife is also very important. The handle of the knife should fit comfortably in their palm. Likewise, the blade should be no longer than the width of their palm. The knife should be well made and therefore unlikely to break. It is best to go for a simple fixed blade knife with a sheath for storage, Mora knives have a range of inexpensive tools that fit this description.

 

Take a course with a bushcraft instructor

Bushcraft for schools courses from Wildway Bushcraft

 

The best way, of course, to teach knife safety to children is to take a course with a bushcraft instructor. That way, you and your child can learn together, ask questions in a safe space and have a shared experience where you learn a large variety of bushcraft skills. 

 


LEARN BUSHCRAFT AS A FAMILY
JOIN OUR FAMILY BUSHCRAFT COURSE



 

Summer is here and there is no better time for getting out in the woods in the beautiful British countryside. Not only is being outside in the summer fun it’s also good for your mental health.

In fact, studies show that regular time outdoors can reduce stress, anxiety and make you feel more relaxed. For children being outside regularly can help them to develop confidence and develop their imaginations.  Learning bushcraft as a family is a great way to encourage children to get outside, for all the family to learn new skills and for children to learn respect and deference to the natural world.

Bushcraft courses in the UK for family

Bushcraft, harmony, and nature 

Bushcraft is one of the best ways of getting out in the woods and learning new skills together as a family. More than that though it is a great way of teaching children respect, responsibilities and a greater understanding of nature. Through bushcraft, children can develop a deeper connection with nature by learning the names of the trees, plants, and animals they see around them. In turn, this understanding teaches children to respect and value the natural world.  This is the true nature of bushcraft, not the bushcraft that you see on TV! After all, bushcraft is about so much more than just survival.  

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Mushrooms in autumn in the UK woods bushcraft courses in the UK

Bushcraft and responsibility 

Not only does bushcraft teach children respect for nature and give them a deeper understanding of the natural world it also teaches them responsibility. By teaching children how to safely use tools such as knives or axes and basic bushcraft skills such as fire lighting they can learn responsibility and respect for such tools and skills. It should go without saying though that it is best not to let children use knives and axes without supervision.

How to introduce your family to bushcraft

The world of bushcraft is huge, and it can be overwhelming to try and introduce your family to all of it at the same time. The best way to introduce your family to bushcraft is to start small. Look at the basics and then break them down into easily understandable chunks.

Bushcraft courses for children

Introduce your family to shelter building

Shelter building is a great place to start introducing your family to bushcraft. You don’t need to start with building a shelter from scratch, why not introduce your family to sleeping outside under a tarp first? This can be a particularly good starting point if you have younger children who are not used to camping. If they enjoy sleeping outside under a tarp then you can introduce them to basic lean-to shelter building.

Introduce your family to fire lighting 

In addition to building a shelter or sleeping under a tarp, fire lighting is a great bushcraft skill for children to learn. After all, what can beat sitting around a fire out in the woods? The first place to start with teaching fire lighting is to make sure that you’re doing it in a safe place that can’t cause a wildfire. Friction fire lighting might be too much of an advanced technique for children to learn straight away but learning how to choose the correct wood and build a fire can be a great place to start. 

What to expect on our family bushcraft course

 

Family bushcraft course


At Wildway Bushcraft, we believe that introducing children to bushcraft works best in a structured, friendly and enthusiastic environment. On our family bushcraft course, you and your family will learn how to build your own shelter, how to track animals, start a fire, cook over an open fire, carve a spoon and even make a bow and arrow. It is the perfect way to enjoy spending time together in the outdoors while learning new skills. This course can be run at any time convenient to yourself, just let us know when you are free and we will do our best to accommodate you.


Click here to learn more about our family bushcraft course.

 

The word ‘bushcraft’ is becoming more commonly used nowadays. It is becoming associated with almost any activity that takes place in the woods or out on our moors, a by-word for campfires, tarps and cooking things on sticks. Partly due to the popularisation of so-called ‘bushcraft’ by certain TV personalities, it has also taken on something of a ‘macho’ ideal; what matters is the size of the axe – not the skill with which you are using it.

In this blog, we are going to talk a little about what bushcraft means to Wildway and how we demonstrate these values to you when you take part in our bushcraft courses.

Bushcraft is about more than survival

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE 

 

HARMONY

To Wildway, bushcraft is about harmony. It is not about ‘surviving’ or overcoming nature. Rather it is about living in harmony with the natural world around us. By understanding and respecting the role that plants and animals have in the ecosystem and understanding the properties of these plants and animals, we are able to use them most effectively.  At its most basic, this can be seen in understanding the different properties of trees. They are not all just firewood to be chopped up and posted on Instagram, rather trees are sources of water, of food, some more suitable for shelters, or traps of bows than others. By living in harmony with nature you will learn to see the woods not as some wilderness to be tamed, but as an extension of yourself; filled with useful resources.

 

“There is a power in nature that man has ignored. And the result has been heartache and pain.”

― Anasazi Foundation, The Seven Paths: Changing One’s Way of Walking in the World 

 

Basics of shelter building


RESPECT

With harmony comes respect. By respecting the natural world we help to preserve it, for its own sake (and all of ours), but also for the enjoyment of future generations. Respecting the woods also helps us to use its resources in an effective and sustainable manner – making long term living in the woods possible.

 

“Listen to the air. You can hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it. Woniya wakan—the holy air—which renews all by its breath. Woniya, woniya wakan—spirit, life, breath, renewal—it means all that. Woniya—we sit together, don’t touch,

but something is there; we feel it between us, as a presence. A good way to start thinking about nature, talk about it. Rather talk to it, talk to the rivers, to the lakes, to the winds as to our relatives.”

― John (Fire) Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions 

 

WHAT THE WOODS MEAN TO WILDWAY 

QUIET 

Our modern lives are hectic. Screens, advertising, social media – it is all noise that dominates our lives. Mastering bushcraft enables you to live in the wilderness in peace and quiet, with harmony and respect. The student of bushcraft finds peace and quiet in the woods; not fear or worry. There is no need to try to overcome nature, rather embrace it and work with it. It is increasingly being recognized that spending time in nature is beneficial for our mental health [SOURCE].

 

“Unfortunately, modern man has become so focused on harnessing nature’s resources that he has forgotten how to learn from them. If you let them, however, the elements of nature will teach you as they have taught me.”

― Anasazi Foundation, The Seven Paths: Changing One’s Way of Walking in the World

Shelter building with wildway

BUSHCRAFT WITH WILDWAY

We believe that bushcraft is about more than just survival. Don’t underestimate us because of that though, our instructors can do everything that we show you for real and their skills have been tested time and time again. What we do is use those skills, and teach you those skills, to help you on the path to true bushcraft – living in harmony with and understanding nature.

On our weekend bushcraft courses we teach you how to use the materials around you to build shelters, light fires by friction, catch food to eat, identify certain plants, make natural cordage, find and filter water and so very much more. We teach you to make the most of the materials around you to live in the woods in comfort – not to try and overcome nature. 

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE 

Discover the amazing history of the Spey valley, the beautiful part of Scotland where our annual river Spey canoeing expedition takes place.

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT OUR AMAZING RIVER SPEY CANOEING EXPEDITION HERE

Canoe  the spey


One of the longest rivers in Scotland

The river Spey, at 107 miles (172 km long) is the ninth longest river in the UK and the third longest in Scotland is well known for its salmon fishing and role in whisky production.  It starts at Loch Spey in the Scottish Highlands and then flows through Newton More, crossing Loch Insh – where our canoeing expedition starts – before finishing at Spey Bay.

Throughout the five days of our trip, we will be starting in Loch Insh and traveling through to Spey Bay. Each night we will be camping on the river bank, sleeping under the stars next to a crackling fire. There will also be a chance to partake in bushcraft activities each evening.  

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT OUR AMAZING RIVER SPEY CANOEING EXPEDITION HERE

 

Salmon fishing to shipbuilding

Atlantic Salmon on the river Spey

The river Spey has traditionally supported many different industries, from salmon fishing to ship building.  At one point in the river’s history, timber from Aviemore and Aberlour was rafted down the river where it was used to make ships.

In addition to its famous salmon fishing, the river Spey is also famous for its distilleries, the area produces more whisky than any other region.  In fact, two of the world’s best selling whiskys, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich come from the Speyside region. 

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT OUR AMAZING RIVER SPEY CANOEING EXPEDITION HERE

 

Wildlife haven


The river Spey is a wildlife haven, on our canoeing expedition you might be lucky enough to see bottlenose dolphins, Ospreys, Salmon and if you are very lucky a grey seal or a Eurasian otter. The Eurasian otter was persecuted almost to extinction in England, while Scotland has long been a haven for these amazing creatures. Otters are known for being territorial and only come together in the mating season. After cubs are born they stay with their mother until they are 13 months old by which point they will have learned the skills that they need to survive in the wild.  

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT OUR AMAZING RIVER SPEY CANOEING EXPEDITION HERE

Discover our amazing river Spey expedition 

canoeing trips with Wildway Bushcraft

Our fantastic river Spey canoeing expedition runs from 8th to 14th of July 2019. It is open to everyone over the age of 15, those under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult. The trip will be a once in a lifetime chance to travel through Scotland by canoe. Each night, you will camp out on the river bank, next to the sound of the running water and the crackling fire. Click the link below to discover more about our amazing canoeing expedition. 

 

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT OUR AMAZING RIVER SPEY CANOEING EXPEDITION HERE

This year, from July 8th-14th, we will be running our canoeing expedition along the river Spey. Running over five days and traveling from Loch Insh in the Scottish Highlands to Spey Bay, this trip is truly a once in a lifetime experience. You can reserve your space on this trip for only £100. Contact us on john@wildwaybushcraft to learn more. 

Here are five reasons why you should join our river Spey trip 

 

  1. Truly get away, away from it allCanoe under the spey
    Our river Spey trip is a chance to really get away from it all. On this trip, you will be transported from daily life through to the remote highlands, swap the city for the wilds of the highlands. Spend days canoeing gently through the highlands and the nights sleeping out under the stars, on the river bank.
  2. A chance to see some fantastic wildlifeOsprey canoe the river spey
    Our river Spey trip is a chance to see some of the UK’s most spectacular wildlife. From the rare Osprey through to Atlantic Salmon and Bottlenose Dolphins our river Spey trip is a chance to see some of Scotland’s most spectacular wildlife. You can find out more about the wildlife you might see on this trip in our blog here
  3. Sleep next to the fire, under the starsCanoeing along the river Spey
    Each night on this trip you will sleep under the stars, next to the river bank. Out here in the wilds of Scotland, on the beautiful river bank, next to the sound of the river and the heat of the fire this will probably be the best night’s sleep that you will ever get. Just remember to open your eyes and look up at the beautiful stars.
  4. Brush up on your bushcraftLearn friction fire lighting on our course
    Each night there will be a chance to brush up on your bushcraft skills with a land-based bushcraft session. These sessions are totally optional though, so it is up to you to choose if you take part.
  5. Experience Scotland in a different wayWhat better way can there be to explore the mighty Spey river and Scotland than by canoe? As we travel from Loch Insh to Spey Bay you will be able to observe this incredible landscape from a unique viewpoint. Sit back in your canoe and take it all in. Get a rush of excitement as we canoe through small patches of faster water, then laugh and marvel about the trip as you and your fellow adventurers bask in the glow of the fire.

 

 

Watch the video below to see what awaits you on this year’s river Spey trip

Reserve your space on our Spey expedition

Reserve your space on our river Spey expedition for just £100. Contact us today and start the adventure of a lifetime. http://bit.ly/Stars_Canoe_Wildlife

Posted by Wildway Bushcraft on Monday, 15 April 2019


Click here to learn more about our river Spey expedition and start your adventure.

Ever dreamed of really, really getting away from it all? There’s a chance to do just that with our expedition along the river Spey.  This trip runs for five days and travels from Loch Insh to Spey Bay in the Scottish highlands. Each night, you will camp out, under the stars, on the river bank, next to the warm glow of the fire.

Read on to learn more about this amazing trip.

Canoe the river Spey


From Loch Insh to Spey Bay

This amazing trip begins in the beautiful Loch Insh.  This stunning Highland loch, seven miles south of Aviemore.  From here the river Spey flows another 60 miles (97km) to the Moray Firth at Spey Bay. We travel this route over five days, the paddling is largely relaxed and our expert guides will be on hand to help you through any sections of fast water. Most of all though, this is a fantastic opportunity to travel some of Scotland’s most beautiful countryside.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE  

Join our river Spey trip


Camp out under the stars 

Each night on the trip you will camp out along the riverside. Sleep under the stars, next to the crackle of the fire and the rush of the river. What better way to truly get away from it all? After a night sleeping under the stars you will wake, not to the ring of an alarm clock or the bustle of the daily commute but to the sounds and sights of the remote Scottish Highlands. If you are looking to escape the city, to break from the grind of daily work life then there is nothing better than spending time in nature. 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE  

Canoe under the spey


Spot some spectacular wildlife 

As you paddle down the Spey, you are in with a chance of spotting some of the UK’s most incredible wildlife. If you are very lucky, then you might see an Osprey.  These beautiful black and white birds are incredible fish-hunters, plunging talon first into the cold waters. They winter in West Africa and can cover up to 5,000 miles in their migration. In addition to the beautiful Ospreys, the river Spey is home to Atlantic Salmon, Eurasian Otters, and Grey Seals. There is even the chance to spot Bottlenose Dolphins in Spey Bay. Find out more about the wildlife that you might spot on the river Spey in our blog here

 

You don’t need to be an experienced paddler 

While some paddling experience is desired, it is not essential. Our expert canoeists will give some basic paddling tuition before you begin your journey, giving you a chance to get to grips with the techniques and principals of canoeing.  All safety equipment will be provided, but feel free to bring your own buoyancy aid, should you have one.

 

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR RIVER SPEY TRIP
CLICK HERE 

 

 

Join wildway bushcraft on the river spey

On July 8th -14th we will be undertaking the trip of a lifetime, our canoeing expedition on the river Spey. Starting in Loch Insh and finishing in the magnificent Spey Bay this canoeing expedition takes in some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery.

Read on to learn more about the wildlife that you might see on the way, what the trip will involve, what experience you need, and what you can expect on this incredible trip.

Canoe the river Spey

 

Wildlife on the River Spey 

The river Spey is home to some of the most amazing wildlife that the UK has to offer. From Ospreys to Red Deer, Otters to Kingfishers, the river Spey has it all. 

Osprey canoe the river spey

 

While we can’t guarantee that you will observe some of Scotland’s most beautiful wild creatures, you might be lucky enough to see Atlantic Salmon. These remarkable fish are born in remote Highland tributaries and then make their way downstream. They spend up to four years searching for food in the cold waters around Greenland before returning home. Unlike their Pacific counterparts, Atlantic Salmon don’t die after breeding, meaning that one fish may migrate several times.

Atlantic Salmon on the river Spey

 

The magnificent Osprey can reach up to a meter and a half (150 cms) in wingspan and hunt by diving talon first towards the water and snatching their prey from the river’s icy surface. A truly spectacular bird the Osprey is on the RSPB’s Red List, holding an Amber status which means that the species is under threat in the UK.

Seals on the river Spey

 

Seals are frequently seen in Spey Bay. The Grey Seals, which are the UK’s largest carnivores are happy in both salt and brackish water and weigh up to a whopping 310 kgs. Seals are typically friendly and are known to pop up for a chat with passing canoeists. 

 

If you are really lucky, when we get to Spey bay you might see a Bottlenose Dolphin. These elusive creatures are attracted to the area by the large population of Atlantic Salmon. Friendly by nature, those living in and around Spey bay are known for showing off their acrobatic skills.

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What Experience Do I Need? 

While some canoeing experience would be an advantage it is not a requirement. Our expert paddlers will be on hand to provide tuition at the start of the trip and help you out as we travel along the beautiful river Spey.  The trip is open to everyone aged 15 years and over, but under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. You will need to be reasonably fit and all participants must be able to swim.

Canoeing on the Spey


What Does it Involve?

Our river Spey expedition is a truly unique and memorable event. Starting in Loch Insh we will canoe along the river Spey until, six days later, we reach Spey Bay. Each night we will be wild camping alongside the river, sleeping out under the stars and listening to the sounds of the flowing water. If you are looking for peace, escape and adventure then this is the trip for you.  Each night there will also be the chance to take part in some land-based bushcraft, though this part of the trip is purely voluntary and you are welcome just to relax by the river if you would prefer to do so.


Watch our video to learn more about this amazing trip 

 

River Spey

Do something amazing. Join us on our river Spey expedition. Canoe through some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery and sleep out under the stars. http://bit.ly/Canoeing_Spey

Posted by Wildway Bushcraft on Thursday, 4 April 2019

 

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ABOUT THIS AMAZING TRIP  

 

Being able to light a fire by friction, using a bow drill is often seen as one of the key bushcraft skills. In this blog, we’re going to show you how to choose the correct wood for a bow drill and have a quick look at which types work best together.

Remember, the best way to learn how to light a fire by friction is to sign up to a bushcraft course with an experienced instructor. Click the following links to find out more about our friction fire lighting and weekend bushcraft courses.

 

Bushcraft in Dorset

 

Anatomy of a bow drill

A bow drill is composed of four main parts – the bearing block, the drill, the hearth, and the bow.  At it’s most simplistic, a bow drill works by grinding two combustible materials which are rubbed together until the material is taken beyond its auto-ignition temperature, this then creates an ember which is used to ignite timber. To find out more about how bow drills work and the anatomy of them read our blog Bow Drills a Beginners Guide.

 

 

Choosing wood for a bow drill

 

Suitable lists for your bow drill

What follows is not an exhaustive list of woods that are suitable but rather a selection of those that we consider some of the best suited to making a bow drill in the UK.


Remember, never take live wood. Look for dead wood that has not yet started to decay.
Bushcraft is about living in harmony with nature, not overcoming up.

 

Learn the art of fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course
Click here to learn more

 

Elder (Sambucus Nigra)

Elder is native to the UK and is thought to be named after the Anglo-saxon ‘Aeld’ which means fire. This is because its hollow stems were thought to be used to blow air into embers. 

Choosing wood for a bow drill in the UK

 

Willows (Salices)

Willow (Salix or Salices) is a very varied genus. The Salix Fragilis crack willow is one of Britain’s largest native willows and grows to around 25 metres. 

Salix fragilis

 

Hazel (Corylus avellana)

Hazel is a tree that is native to the UK. Not only is it native, but it is also one of the most useful trees for bushcraft.  Throughout the ages, Hazel has been thought to protect against witchcraft, protect against evil spirits, in ancient Ireland it was considered to be the tree of knowledge.

 

Hazel trees for bow drill

 

Silver Birch (Betula Pendula)

Silver Birch is incredibly useful for bushcraft. It is also heavily bound up with Celtic mythology. In the past, it symbolized renewal and purification, love and fertility.  Silver Birch is also great for fire lighting using sparks. 

Silver Birch Bark trees

 

Learn the art of fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course
Click here to learn more

5 Essential Knife Skills to Learn before Going Camping [GUEST BLOG] 

This is the first in a series of guest blogs. The author of this first guest blog is from Billy at Perkin Knives (https://perkinknives.com), custom knife makers based in the UK. Read on to see what Perkins Knives has to say.

We all love to be outdoors! But being outdoor enthusiasts or adventure lovers, we need to develop a certain set of skills. Of all the varied skills that the outdoor enthusiast needs,  knowing how to make the best use of a knife is possibly one of the most important.

A knife is an irreplaceable part of your outdoor kit, and knowing how to use it makes your time in the outdoors much easier and enjoyable. Knowing how to use a knife for bushcraft and camping though first relies on having chosen the right type of camping/bushcraft knife.  Perkin Knives are one of the best custom knife makers in all of UK. They sell a wide range of premium quality knives from Bowie to hunting to camping to bushcraft to a hatchet to axes and even choppers.


Important knife skills that you need to have before going camping 

 

You may bring home a brand-new premium quality camping knife for your upcoming camping trip. But, the story doesn’t just end there. The bottom line is that you need to learn how to use it in a smart and efficient manner. This is the only way you can ensure that the knife is useful when it’s actually needed, or else it gets reduced to just a worthless piece of sharp metal. So, on that note, let’s take a look at some of the most essential knife skills:

  1.       Fire Starting
    Knowing how to start a fire is totally crucial in every sense of the word. You need to use your knife to ignite a Ferro rod as it’s one of the most convenient ways to start a fire. Ferro rods can be used thousands of times, so you don’t want to skip this part of learning. You should practice with both dry and wet materials, maybe at your own backyard, before trying to use this skill for real.

  2.       Chopping:
    This skill can be best honed at home, before you set out camping. You just need to have a firm grip on the knife at all times. You can chop up branches and wooden sticks to collect all the firewood you need to start a fire.

  3.       Feather sticks:
    This is one of the most important knife skills to learn. By knowing this, you can light up a fire even when it’s damp, or all when other methods have failed. This skill is not rocket science, but it’s not a piece of cake either! Practice makes perfect, right?

  4.       Carving:
    Carving helps you to construct super useful tools like spoons, bowl. etc., when you are out in the wild. This process is both fun and also helps to make use of whatever’s lying around you. So, basically you could carve anything and everything starting from weapons to utensils to baskets, cooking tripods etc.

  5.       Food preparation:

    You could use a knife to prepare your food when you are out camping. From preparing vegetables to small game butchery, a knife is an essential tool for wilderness food preparation.

These are just a few of the basic knife skills that you will need for bushcraft and camping adventures. Remember, practice makes perfect and it all starts with choosing the right tool for the job.

Learn more about knife and axe skills in these blogs from Wildway Bushcraft:

How to sharpen your bushcraft knife
https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/how-to-sharpen-your-bushcraft-knife/

How to choose a bushcraft axe
https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/choose-bushcraft-axe/

How to sharpen your bushcraft axe
https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/sharpen-axe/

The best way to perfect your knife skills is to join our weekend bushcraft course.
Click here for more information

Sharpen your bushcraft knife