Introduction to Friction Fire Lighting: Bow Drills and Hand Drills

 

The history of friction fire lighting is bound up with the history of human civilization. The ability to light a fire when needed provides security, warmth, the ability to cook food and many other tenements of human civilization. The ability to light a fire by friction is a cornerstone of bushcraft and a key part of our weekend bushcraft course .  This blog provides an overview of friction fire lighting and an introduction to getting started.

 

friction fire lighting with W

A short history of friction fire lighting 

The ability of humans to make and control fire was a huge turning point in human history. There is evidence that humans were able to control fire from about 1.7 million years ago. This control of fire would have most likely been around wildfires.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

Making fire

The ability to make fire, as opposed to controlling naturally occurring fires, was thought to have occurred about 700,000 years ago. It allowed humans to change their locations, provided security, warmth and lead to massive changes in diet.  The ways in which people made fire was through friction, using devices such as the hand drill or fire plough.

 

Impact on human evolution

The impact of fire on human evolution is enormous. It allowed people to migrate to cooler climates as they were now more able to survive the cold winters. The ability to make fire also provided protection from animals and, it is argued, helped humans to clear out caves prior to living in them. The ability to fire also played a key part in tools and weapon making, as well as ceremonial occurrences and art.

 

An introduction to friction fire lighting

Friction fire lighting is a large and complex topic. The ability to make fire by friction is not something that can be learned quickly or even mastered. Rather it is a lifetime of learning and honing skills. Like anything in bushcraft, the ability to make fire by friction begins with understanding materials.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

Understanding materials

 

Bushcraft in Dorset using a bow drill

 

Being able to identify trees, plants, fungi, animals, etc is the cornerstone of bushcraft. Without the ability to identify the best material for the task in hand, you are unlikely to be successful. 

Suitable woods for the bow drill/hand drill

The following are the most suitable woods for the bow drill and hand drill. For the sake of simplicity and relevance, we are only focusing on European woods.  Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list!

Woods for bow drill

  • Elder
  • Field Maple 
  • Willow
  • Hazel 
  • Oak 
  • Popular 
  • Yew
  • Sycamore
  • Ivy

Woods for hand drill

  • Elder 
  • Juniper 
  • Pussy Willow 
  • Sycamore

Learn more about choosing woods for the bow drill and hand drill in our blog:
Choosing Wood For a Bow Drill

 

Bow Drill

The bow drill is perhaps the best-known friction fire lighting tool. It is thought to date back as far as the 4th or 5th millennium. They were used by cultures around the world including Native Americans, Eskimos, and Aborigines in Alaska and Canada

The bow drill has one massive advantage over other friction fire lighting methods – it’s mechanical nature; that is, the drill is turned by a cord, not by the user’s hands.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

 

Making your bow drill

A bow drill works in the same manner as all other friction fire lighting methods. That is two combustible materials being rubbed together until the material is taken beyond its auto-ignition temperature which creates an ember. This ember is then used to ignite tinder.

Component parts of the bow drill

The image below shows the component parts of the bow drill – the bearing block, bow, drill and hearth. We will then look at each of these parts in detail.

https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/product/one-day-friction-fire-lighting-course/

The different parts of the bow drill.

The Bow

The bow for your bow drill can be made of any wood that you have to hand. As the name suggests it needs to be slightly curved and should be the length from about your fingertips to your sternum.

The Drill 

The drill should be around 20cm in length and between 2 -3cm.  The wood for the drill should be made of one of the woods identified earlier in the blog. The end of the drill in contact with the hearth should be carved into a blunt point, while the end that is in contact with the bearing block should be carved into a sharper point.

The Hearth

The hearth of a bow drill should be made of one of the woods identified previously. It does not need to be made of the same material as the drill. It helps to play around and find the combination of woods that works the best for you. Ivy and Hazel are two types of wood that we particularly enjoy using. The hearth needs to be carved into a rectangle about 4cm wide and 5mm thick. Narrow a depression into the hearth in the centre of the blog then, using the bow, wear down this depression into a smooth bore then cut a V shape extending towards and over the edge of the hearth.

The Bearing Block 

The bearing block can be made of any wood that you have to hand. It should fit comfortably in your palm. You will need to carve a notch into the bearing block for the sharper end of the drill to sit in.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

bow drill being used in the woods

Hand drill

The hand drill works on the same principles as the bow drill, although it lacks the mechanical advantage. The drill is composed of a drill and a hearth. It works as the drill is spun between your hands and is spun with downward pressure being applied. As the smoke begins to appear, increase the speed until you have produced a small ember.

fire lighting Dorset

The Drill

The drill for the hand drill is largely a matter of personal preference, experience and what type of wood you are using. It should be made of one of the woods identified previously and be between 40 and 75 cm long with a diameter of 9mm to 13mm. It needs to be as straight as possible to work effectively.

 

The hearth

The hearth should be made in a similar fashion to the bow drill but slightly shorter. Once again, it should be made of the same wood as those mentioned previously in the blog.

Friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course

On our weekend bushcraft course we introduce you to the art of the bow drill. If you have never used a bow drill before, we will talk you through how to carve each of the component parts and how to correctly use it. If you are familiar with the bow drill then we can help you to troubleshoot any issues that you are having and give you tips on how to perfect your bow drill technique.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

 

Wildway Bushcraft Owner John blowing an ember into fire

At Wildway we believe that bushcraft is about more than just survival. It is not about overcoming the elements or battling with nature, it is about living in harmony with it. For both children and adults, bushcraft can provide important learnings beyond just the skills needed to light fires or build shelters. We believe that whether an adult or a child, a bushcraft beginner or an old hand, there is something to be learned from living in the woods, in harmony with nature.

Read on to learn more

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

 

Respect for nature

beautiful woodland

 

Bushcraft teaches practitioners of all ages a deep respect for nature. By learning the names of the flora and fauna around us, their uses and their limitations bushcraft practitioners are more connected with the woods than many other people. Trees stop simply being ‘trees’ and instead become useful sources of sustenance, or firewood, or wood for bow drills. The skilled bushcraft person will also understand how the tree fits in the ecosystem around it and therefore only use its resources in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

 

Connection with nature

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

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According to recent reports, seven out of 10 people admit they’re losing touch with nature. And more than a third of parents admit they could not teach their own children about British wildlife.  If people aren’t connected with something then you can’t expect them to care about it. Bushcraft teaches children to develop a connection with nature and look after the planet.

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

Patience and importance of proper technique

Sharpen your bushcraft axe


Nothing in bushcraft can be rushed. It is not about acting without thinking, it is about patience and proper technique. Without patience and proper technique, selecting the right woods, making the right cuts, etc. whatever technique you are trying to perfect is likely to fail. The skilled bushcraft practitioner will approach each task in a calm manner, confident of their skills and ability.

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

 

Stillness and quiet

Get away from it all on a bushcraft course

 

Being comfortable in the woods is key to bushcraft. Once comfortable in the woods, the skilled bushcraft practitioner will find stillness, peace of mind and quiet. Something that is so difficult to find in the modern world with its 24/7, always-on culture.  The ability to sit outside and find quiet in the woods is not just a ‘nice to have’, studies suggest that it is also beneficial for your health. It is even thought that regular time outside can reduce stress, improve academic performance and improve mental wellbeing

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

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.

Sign up for more information on our 2019 trip!

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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

 

            CLICK HERE TO DISCOVER
MORE
ABOUT THIS AMAZING TRIP  

 

Spring is well and truly here, despite the recent weather in certain parts of the country. With it, spring brings the chance for the keen outdoors and bushcraft enthusiast to find some of the edible plants that we have here in the UK.

Read on to learn more about some of the edible plants that we have in this country and there uses.

Before we start though, remember, never eat anything that you
have not positively identified as edible.

 

Garlic Mustard 

Foraging in Spring UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Mustard is also known as ‘hedge garlic’ or ‘jack-by-the-hedge’. Its Latin names are Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara & Grande (A. officinalis, Erysimum alliaria, Sisymbrium alliaria). The plant is most commonly found in damp shaded areas, such as at the edge of woodlands or in hedges. Typically, it doesn’t spread onto arable land.  

It flowers from April through to May with seeds being shed in July. The plant is edible and is most commonly used as a salad green and has an odor of garlic, a characteristic which is helpful in identifying it.

Join our weekend bushcraft course for an introduction to foraging
Click here for more information

Wood Sorrel

Edible plants UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Sorrel, or to give the plant it’s proper Latin name Oxalis acetosella grows in woodland, hedgerows and river banks throughout the British Isles. It typically flowers from April through to May although, depending upon the weather it may flower for a second time in the summer.

Although the plant is edible it should only be eaten in small quantities as it does contain oxalic acid which is thought to cause kidney damage. It is recommended that children don’t eat Wood Sorrel at all. 

 

Join our weekend bushcraft course for an introduction to foraging
Click here for more information

 

Wild Strawberries 

Edible plants UK

 

Wild strawberries are very different, and in our opinion more delicious, than their shop bought counterparts. Their official Latin name is Fragaria vesca and they produce tiny, edible red fruits.

Wild strawberries in the UK are most typically found in open woodland and scrubland. They particularly thrive in limestone and chalk downland soils.  They are most likely to be spotted from April through to August, it can easily be identified by its tiny heart-shaped red fruits growing on the outside of the plant.

 

Pignuts

Edible plants UK  

Pignuts, properly called Conopodium majus is a small plant with edible underground tubers. It is best to forage Pignuts in the spring as once the leaves and flowering heads die back they leave no above ground presence.

They are most commonly found in open woodlands, hedgerows and dry grasslands. They are a member of the carrot family and have fine and delicate flowers on delicate branched stems when pignuts flower they have small white flowers.

The tubers are edible and are not bad tasting. They are eaten by digging down under the plant and extracting the tuber – typically found about 20 cm under the ground.

Stinging nettles

Edible plants in the UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The much-maligned stinging nettle is actually an incredibly versatile plant in the hands of the experienced bushcraft enthusiast. Found in gardens, hedgerows, woodlands and very many other places the common stinging nettle can be found throughout the UK all year round.  Also known by its Latin name of Urtica dioica the leaves of the nettle are edible and are best picked throughout spring.

For the best tasting experience, pick them when it has dried off after a recent rain shower. The stinging part is neutralized by boiling or blanching it.  After this, the leave can be used as you would do a leafy vegetable such as spinach.

Nettles have very many other uses for the keen bushcraft person. The stems can be used for cordage and the leaves can be used for making tea.

 

Join our weekend bushcraft course for an introduction to foraging
Click here for more information

On the 8th-14th of July, 2019, we will be running our annual canoeing expedition along the river Spey. With only four months to go until this amazing trip, we thought that we would have a look ahead at what you can expect on this incredible expedition.

About the River Spey

The river Spey is one of the most incredible rivers in Scotland. It runs from Loch Spey in the Scottish Highlands through to Moray Firth at Spey Bay. It is the third longest and fastest-flowing river in Scotland and the ninth largest river in Scotland.

 

canoeing trips with Wildway Bushcraft

 

Where we will travel

On our river Spey expedition, we will be traveling from Loch Insh all the way down to Spey Bay. It will run for five incredible bays which will transport you through some of Scotland’s wildest scenery.  The river is home to some amazing wildlife, including Atlantic Salmon, otters, seals, deer and Bottlenose Dolphins have even been spotted in Spey Bay. Who knows what you might be lucky enough to see. If you would like to learn more about the wildlife on the river Spey then read our blog here.

Sign up for more information on our 2019 trip!

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DISCOVER MORE ABOUT OUR RIVER SPEY TRIP

CLICK HERE

 

Camp out under the stars

As we travel down the Spey we will be wild camping along the river each night. Setting up under the stars we will have a campfire and a chance to sit around an enjoy the remote scenery. If you would like to learn some bushcraft skills we will be running small demonstrations each evening, but these are not compulsory.

Sign up for more information on our 2019 trip!

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Canoeing prep

Hazel helping out with some last minute canoeing prep.

No experience necessary

While some paddling experience is obviously an advantage no experience is required for joining our river Spey canoeing trip. The expert paddlers at Wildway Bushcraft will provide you with tuition and there will be a chance to practice a bit of paddling before getting on the Spey. We do provide you with dry bags to keep your kit safe, but it is best to pack lightly as space in the boats is limited. If you have any questions about what you need to bring then don’t hesitate to contact us on john@wildwaybushcraft.co.uk .  You do need to be over 15 in order to come on this trip and all under 18s need to be accompanied by an adult.


Truly a once in a lifetime experience

Our river Spey trip is truly a once in a lifetime trip. Imagine, five days in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, slowly making your way down the river and camping out under the stars every evening.

Watch our video below to see what you can expect on our amazing canoeing expedition.

 

WATCH: a film of our Spey canoe expedition. This film shows the highlights of 2018's week-long canoeing expedition along the Spey. Click the link below to learn more about 2019's trip and to book your space: https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/product/river-spey-bushcraft-canoe-expedition/

Posted by Wildway Bushcraft on Monday, 16 July 2018

 

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT OUR RIVER SPEY TRIP

CLICK HERE

Sign up for more information on our 2019 trip!

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Shelter Building Basics – What You Need to Know

 

Shelter building is one of the fundamentals of bushcraft. It is often more important for you to find shelter than it is to find food or water. Remember the rule of threes; three hours without shelter, three days without water and three weeks without food. This is obviously an extreme time scale, but it does show the importance of shelter building skills in bushcraft.

 

Basics of shelter building 

Read on to learn more about the basics of shelter building. For the sake of this blog, we are going to assume that you are in the woods with good tools and all the kit you should have.  Find out more about our guide to choosing a bushcraft axe here.

 

Basics of shelter building

 

 

What does your shelter need to do?

The first thing to consider when thinking about building your shelter is to ask, ‘what does it need to do?’. Think about the weather, how long you are likely to be staying in the area, how many people does it need to protect and how long do you have to build it? Asking yourself questions such as these before you start will save you time in the long run. 

 

 

Shelter building with wildway

 

Location of your shelter 

One of the most important considerations, once you’ve determined the purpose of your shelter, is the location. Long term shelters will need to be closer to a source of water than those that are just being used for a night or two. Your shelter also needs to be in close proximity to the materials that you will need to use to build it. Think about it this way, do you really want to be walking to and from to get water and materials or should you not just bring the shelter to the source. 

chose a location for your sehlter

Time and energy

The amount of daylight remaining and the amount of energy that you have left will also determine the type of shelter you should build. Late in the day and after a long walk you will want to build the simplist shelter possible. You can always work on it the next day if you are staying there for a while. 

 

Shelter building from Wildway Bushcraft

Natural aids 

Having chosen the location of your shelter and decided on what type of shelter you are going to build, have a look around at what natural features there are that could help you. Look for fallen tree branches that could make the basis of a lean-to, are there any caves in the vicinity that could shelter you? Natural features such as these can save you loads of time and make your shelter incredibly stable.  

How to learn shelter building basics 

The best way to learn shelter building is to join a course with an experienced bushcraft instructor. Our Weekend Bushcraft Course is accredited by the IOL and covers all the basics of bushcraft, including shelter building. During the course, we will teach you how to build a shelter in the woods and then give you the option of sleeping in it. If you would rather sleep in a tent or under a tarp then you are welcome to! 

Learn shelter building with Wildway Bushcraft

On the 8th -14th of July 2019 we will be running a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip, canoeing along the river Spey. This incredible trip will begin on Loch Insh and continue all the way down, through the beautiful Scottish countryside until we reach Spey Bay. Read on to learn more about this amazing trip and how you can sign up for more information.

 

Canoeing on the Spey

Gentle paddling

What to expect

Our river Spey canoe expedition starts at the beautiful Loch Insh in the Highlands region of Scotland. Situated seven miles south of Aviemore, in the heart of Badenoch and Strathspey. From there, we wind our way down the river Spey, camping under the stars along the river each night, until we reach Spey Bay.
As we canoe down the river Spey you will have a chance to pick up some bushcraft skills as we camp each evening. Alternatively, you can just relax and revel in the beautiful surrounding scenery.

Watch the video below for a glimpse of what to expect on your river Spey trip.

WATCH: a film of our Spey canoe expedition. This film shows the highlights of 2018's week-long canoeing expedition along the Spey. Click the link below to learn more about 2019's trip and to book your space: https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/product/river-spey-bushcraft-canoe-expedition/

Posted by Wildway Bushcraft on Monday, 16 July 2018

 

About the Spey

The river Spey is the ninth longest river in the UK and one of the fastest flowing in Scotland. Famous for its salmon fishing and use in whisky production, the Spey flows for 107 miles (172 km) from Loch Spey to Spey Bay.

 

Experience required

While you don’t need to be an expert paddler to join our river Spey trip we do ask that you have a reasonable level of fitness and are able to swim. All under 18s do need to be accompanied by an adult.

Chance to practice

You will have a chance to get up to speed and practice paddling on the loch before our adventure begins. While some previous canoeing experience would be of value it is not absolutely necessary. Throughout the trip, our expert and highly trained course leaders will be on hand to provide you with canoe tuition, no matter what your level of skill.

 

Wildlife you might see 

Wildlife Scotland Spey

 

The beautiful river Spey is home to a wide variety of fantastic wildlife. While we can’t guarantee that you will see everything that there is to see – after all, nature is unpredictable – hopefully you will spot something.  In the summer Bottlenose Dolphins are regularly spotted in Spey bay; Atlantic Salmon swim throughout the length of the river, otters and seals dart from its banks and Ospreys soar overhead. Find out more information about the fantastic range of wildlife on the river Spey in our blog here

 

Equipment

 

Wildway Bushcraft river Spey

Throughout the trip, all safety and technical equipment will be provided by Wildway Bushcraft. If, however, you have your own buoyancy aid please do bring it with you. In addition to all the technical and safety equipment, we will also provide you with dry bags, these will help to keep your stuff dry throughout our trip. 

 

Camping equipment

Each night of the trip we will wild camp alongside the beautiful river. As such, you will need to bring your own camping equipment. We do have a comprehensive kit list which can be found here. If you have any questions about the kit required for this trip then don’t hesitate to email us on john@wildwaybushcraft.co.uk .

Sign up for more information 

If you would like to know more about our river Spey trip then fill in the form below. We won’t spam you, we hate it when companies do that, but we will keep you updated about this trip and send you relevant information.

Sign up for more information on our 2019 trip!

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