Weekend bushcraft course

What you will learn on our weekend bushcraft course

Courses at Wildway Bushcraft are about more than just survival. They are about true bushcraft, about living in harmony with nature, about existing in harmony with the world around us. This philosophy underpins all of our courses. No ridiculous, over the top macho stuff from us, just practical, tried and tested techniques which, once learned, enable you to live comfortably in the woods.

One of our more popular courses is the Weekend Bushcraft Course. This IOL Accredited course takes place over three days (Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning) and gives you a chance to take your Foundation in Bushcraft Skills and Wilderness Living Level 2 – Assessment at a later date.

In this latest blog, we take a look at what is involved in our Weekend Bushcraft Course. Read on to find out more.

 

Overview of our wilderness living course

shelter building on our Weekend bushcraft course Wildway Bushcraft


Each of the elements of our courses is designed so that they inform one and other. Everything you learn on this course will have multiple uses and will be used many times over the course of the weekend.

 

Fire lighting

Fire lighting is a key wilderness living skill. Without the ability to cook food and keep yourself warm you will soon be very uncomfortable in the woods and what should be an enjoyable time will turn into a miserable experience. 

On our weekend bushcraft course, we show you how to make fire through a variety of means. This includes using components that you can pre-prepare, such as cotton and vaseline balls and char cloth. We will also show you more immediate ways of fire lighting, that could be deployed in an emergency, such as using wire wool and batteries. Our main focus though is on traditional fire lighting techniques.

bow drill being used in the woods

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Traditional fire lighting techniques

 

Friction fire lighting UK


We will demonstrate more traditional fire lighting techniques including the bow drill. You will also get a chance to make and try out your own bow drill. Don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time, our expert instructors will be on hand to help you out and give you tips that you can practice at home.


If you would like to know more about what to expect when using a bow drill then take a look at these blogs:

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Book your space on our weekend bushcraft course

 

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Shelter building

shelter building on a weekend bushcraft course

Having a solid shelter that can withstand the elements, keep you warm and be livable is another key element of wilderness living.  On our weekend bushcraft course, we will teach you various cutting techniques, using knives and axes, tips for making cordage and site selection. These skills will be combined to help you build your shelter. You will then have a chance to sleep in your shelter on Saturday night.

 


Remember, this course is what you make of it. If you would rather sleep in a tent or under a tarp on both nights just let us know!

 

Campfire cooking 

campfire cooking


Ah, the joys of cooking over a campfire. Is there anything better? On our weekend bushcraft course, set in a beautiful Dorset woodland, we will teach you the art of campfire cooking. You will have a chance to cook the small game (fish, fin, and fur) that you will prepare throughout the course over a fire.

 

If you have any dietary requirements or preferences, let us know and we can accommodate them. 

 

Water sourcing

Water sourcing is a key wilderness living skill. Without the ability to find drinkable water you won’t be able to live in the woods for long. On this course, we will show you how to find water and then filter it in order to make in drinkable. We will also show you how to make a filter using natural materials and what you should consider when sourcing water in the wild.

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Knife skills

bushcraft knife skills

 

Aside from knowledge a knife, or in certain circumstances an axe, is the most important thing that you can take with you. At Wildway Bushcraft, we are not precious about knives. They are tools to be used and you should be able to rely upon them. Like all tools though, they are worthless unless you are able to use them correctly. On this weekend bushcraft course, we will teach you a few basic knife and axe skills which will enable you to construct shelters, prepare small game, make tent pegs, construct a bow drill and much, much more.

Learn more about knives and axes for bushcraft in the blogs below: 

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Book your space on our weekend bushcraft course

 

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Much more 

There is loads more to learn on our weekend bushcraft course. Read what previous customers made of the course on TripAdvisor here.


                                                      Read our reviews on TripAdvisor here.

 

In 2019, our weekend bushcraft courses will take place on the following dates: 

 

 

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Book your space on our weekend bushcraft course

 

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Weekend bushcraft courses UK Dorset Hampshire


Ancient Briton bushcraft imagined

What The Woods Meant to Our Ancestors

Bushcraft is about more than just survival. It is about living in harmony with nature. It is about understanding the natural world around you and how it can be used to your benefit and comfort. At Wildway Bushcraft, we promote wilderness living and encouraging understanding of the natural world. Bushcraft is about learning and perfecting the techniques that our ancestors used to keep themselves alive and to thrive in the ancient world.

Read on to learn more about what the woods meant to our ancestors.

Ancient bushcraft


Ancient Briton

The Paleolithic period, also known as the Stone Age is used to describe human prehistory and dates from around 3.3 million years ago. Mesolithic period describes a period around 9000 to 4,300 BC. During this period, ancient Britons - a mix and match of peoples from throughout what we know as Europe and further afield - were hunter-gatherers. It was not until the Neolithic period, around 4300 - 2000 BC that people first began to domesticate animals and plants. It was during this period that people began to settle down into more fixed communities. These timescales make the Iron Age (750 BC - 43AD) seem positively recent!

 

The Ancient Landscape

The landscape during the Neolithic and Mesolithic period would have been very different from the landscape today. Rather than the rolling hills and urban centres we see today the landscape would have been thickly forested with small areas of grassland. Animals such as reindeer, wild horses, and pigs roamed the landscape, and elk, red deer and wild boar formed a large part of people’s diets.  In addition to this meat, people also ate shellfish and a large number of plants.

old wood, ancient Briton imagined

Ancient intuition

Our ancestors would have been in tune with this ancient landscape, knowing which plants and vegetables were safe to eat, which ones were dangerous, where animals were likely to be found and where water was likely to be.  It is this understanding of the natural world around us that bushcraft practitioners seek to cultivate.

 

Ancient Britons and fire

The ability to make fire was a key moment in human history.  Not only was it used to keep potential predators away, it was also used for cooking meat and even defrosting meat from kills during the long and bitter winters. Evidence of controlled fire by humans dates back to around a million to 200,000 years ago. Bow drills have been thought to date back to the 4th - 5th millennium BC.  The ability to use a bow drill to generate fire as and when one wanted would have been key to ancient people’s survival. 

 

Bow Drill

 

bow drill being used in the woods


The bow drill is one of the ancient technologies that form the cornerstone of bushcraft. Our ancestors would have been able to use the bow drill to make a fire in all but the worst circumstances. It is also thought that people would have carried fire with them as they traveled. This fire would be carried by means of an ember bundle.  This is a glowing red ember in a tinder wrapped around in moss and carried like this. By carrying fire in this method ancient people would be able to light a fire in a new location without having to expend large amounts of energy.

 

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Book your space on our intermediate bushcraft course today

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Resources for learning the bow drill

Here is a list of resources that might be useful in learning the art of friction fire lighting:

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Using all of the kill

Bushcraft cooking in the UK with Wildway Bushcraft


For our ancient ancestors, killing animals was no easy manner. It was often dangerous and used up a lot of energy, something that would be hard to replace if you had to work for every calorie that you were consuming. This is why our ancestors would use every part of the kill for something. The skilled butchery of  large and small game enables every part of the animal to be used, from the hide for clothing to the sinews for cordage.

Food preservation

Primitive peoples would also preserve their food through methods such as smoking and curing. This would enable them to use all of the animal, and not waste any food. In our Intermediate Bushcraft Course we teach participants how to skilfully skin and butcher game as well as making pots and pans to cook their food in and, of course, transport it.

 

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Book your space on our intermediate bushcraft course today

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Our intermediate bushcraft course


Our five-day intermediate bushcraft course gives participants a chance to learn and to perfect these ancient bushcraft techniques. Running over five days, this course truly lets you live and breathe wilderness living. It will build significantly on any knowledge that you have gained on our weekend bushcraft course. The course will cover skinning and butchery of large game, food preservation techniques, the making of glues, tar and pitch. Additionally, we will look at long term shelter building, green woodworking, advanced fire lighting techniques, traps and snares, basket making and much, much more.

 

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Book your space on our intermediate bushcraft course today

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friction fire course


Cook Over an Open Fire with Your Family

There’s nothing better than being outdoors, cooking over a fire with your friends or family. There is something almost primitive in sitting around a fire and cooking. It links us with our ancient ancestors who would have been doing something essentially similar since man first discovered fire.
In this blog, we are going to take a look at how to cook over an open fire with your friends and/or family. We are going to cover safety and responsibility, which type of fire to choose, and some ideas for recipes.

 

Safety and responsibility when cooking over a fire

Fire lighting damp conditions


The most important thing when setting out to cook over an open fire is doing it in a safe and responsible manner. Fires can spread, especially in the dry weather of summer, and easily get out of control.  There are several things that you can do to reduce the risk of your fire spreading out of control. Ultimately though, you have to make a decision as to whether or not it is okay to have a fire. Ask yourself, has the weather been dry? What is the state of the surrounding vegetation? What is the soil, is it a type liable to catch fire such as peat?

 

1. Clear the ground

Make sure that the ground where you intend to have your fire is clear of vegetation and debris. Be sure to look up and around and make sure that there are no overhanging branches, bushes or anything else that could catch fire. 

2. Keep water to hand

Keep a bucket of water nearby your fire so that should a gust of wind catch it or a log fall off you can extinguish it. You should always keep an eye on your fire to make sure that it is always in control.

3. Treat the environment with care

Bushcraft is not about overcoming your environment. It is about living in harmony with the natural world. This approach to bushcraft is important to keep in mind when cooking over a fire with your family and friends. Use only dead standing wood, never chop down anything or use any living wood. Ensure that your fire will not scar the earth by clearing the ground underneath it, as with point two. Practice principles of leave no trace, douse the embers of your fire after extinguishing it, check the ashes are cool and then disperse of them by scattering them in a large area. 

4. Keep it small 

Only build the fire to the size that you need. For cooking outdoors you don’t need a roaring bonfire, you just need something small enough to do the job. Make sure that any children you have with you don’t feed the fire unnecessarily, making it bigger than it needs to be. 

 

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Learn fin and fur preparation and campfire cooking on our weekend bushcraft course.

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    Choose the best type of fire for cooking on

    friction fire lighting from Wildway bushcraft


    Not all fires are created equal. Some constructions are best suited for keeping warm, while others are best designed for cooking on. It’s the latter type that you will want to build.


    Whatever type of fire you choose to construct, be sure to follow the basic principles of fire lighting. That is, ensuring that you have enough suitable tinder and fuel of progressively larger diameters close to hand. After all, you don’t want to be running around looking for fuel once the fire has started.

    Remember, when cooking over a fire, use the embers - not the flames. 

     

    The Hunter’s Fire 

    One of the most useful fires for cooking is the Hunter’s Fire.  This fire can easily be adapted for different types of cooking such as baking and grilling. This fire works by building fire between two logs the same distance apart as your cooking utensils. Be sure to use green wood or, if none is available stones. If there are no stones to hand a trench will be equally as practical.

    The Star Fire 

    As its name suggests, the Star Fire is made with four or five logs arranged into a star shape sticking out of the fire. Each log should be 15cm or thicker. As the fire slowly burns, push the end of each log further into the fire thereby providing more fuel. This fire burns for long periods of time and the thick logs make them ideal for supporting cooking pots, such as mess tins.

    The Indian’s Fire 

    The Indian’s Fire is, essentially, a collapsed tipi style fire with long logs, about an arm's thickness, sticking out of it. These logs which make up the collapsed tipi are then slowly fed into the fire to keep it burning. One of the differences between this and the Star Fire is that the logs used for this fire should not be as thick as those used in the Star Fire.  

     

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    Learn fin and fur preparation and campfire cooking on our weekend bushcraft course.

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    Ideas for recipes 

    Here are some favourite campfire recipes from Wildway Bushcraft.

     

     

      • Bannock Bread
        One of the favourite recipes of Wildway Bushcraft pupils is Bannock Bread. This simple to make flat bread is a favourite of bushcraft practitioners and hikers the world over.  You can discover our amazing recipe for Bannock Bread in this post here.
      • Stews
        Whatever your dietary preferences, you can’t beat a good stew. Easy to make and scale up or down to feed as many people as you have camping with you, the stew is a campfire classic. If you are in a survival situation, or somewhere where hunting/trapping is allowed, then the addition of rabbits or pigeons can add an extra dimension to your stew.

      • Steamed Trout
        Steamed trout, cooked over a campfire, is an outdoor classic. It is the stuff that boys’  own novels are made out of. After gutting and cleaning the fish, stuff it with wood sorrel. Wrap the trout is sphagnum moss, big handfuls of it, then carefully place the trout on the embers of your fire. Keep an eye on your fish and it should be ready until you see steam rising from the moss.

     

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    Learn fin and fur preparation and campfire cooking on our weekend bushcraft course.

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    Family bushcraft course from Wildway Bushcraft knife safety

    The Indoorsy Mum

    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.”

     

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    Discover our family bushcraft course

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    canoeing and bushcraft on the river spey scotland

    Course Dates 2019

    We at Wildway Bushcraft are excited to announce the dates of our courses for 2019. It’s an exciting year ahead with highlights including our River Spey Canoe Trip, Women’s Only Bushcraft Course and our Intermediate Bushcraft Course to name but a few. Read on to find out more about our courses and click on the links below to book your space!  

    Foundation in Bushcraft Skills and Wilderness Living Course Level 2 – Weekend Bushcraft Course. (IOL Accredited Course).

    Course dates for 2019

    8-10 February
    8-10 March
    12-14 April
    24-26 May
    7-9 June
    26-28 July
    9-11 August
    13-15 September
    18-20 October
    22-24 November

    One Day Bushcraft Course

    Weekend bushcraft courses UK Dorset Hampshire

    9 February
    9 March
    13 April
    25 May
    8 June
    27 July
    10 August
    14 September
    19 October

    23 November

    Spoon Carving Course

    Sharpen your bushcraft axe

    30 March
    21 September

    River Spey Canoe Expedition

    Seawater into drinking water
    Takes your breath away.

    27 - 31 May

    Women Only One Day Bushcraft Course

    Friction fire course

    16 March
    17 August

    Friction Fire Lighting Course

    family bushcraft course

    17 March
    18 August

    Intermediate Bushcraft Course

    Clothing for winter camping

    28 September - 2 October


    Lighting a Fire On Snow

    As autumn draws in around us and thoughts turn to winter our bushcraft practices adapt and change with the seasons. Though we might not have as much snow this year as we did at the start of 2018 there still might be enough to practice one of the most essential winter bushcraft techniques; lighting a fire on snow. In this blog, we will briefly recap the basics of fire lighting and then discuss some techniques for lighting a fire on snow. Read on to learn more or skip to the section that interests you the most.

     

    Fire lighting essentials

    Lighting a fire on snow
    We’ve covered the basics of fire lighting in detail here, but essentially it comes down to correctly gathering and preparing your materials, not rushing or skipping any stage of the process and ensuring that you have all of the materials that you will need before lighting your fire.


    If you are interested in more advanced fire lighting techniques then why not join us on our one-day friction fire lighting course or our weekend bushcraft course.

     

    Is it worth the effort?

    Before starting to attempt to light a fire on snow it is worth asking yourself it is worth the effort. If you are already cold, tired and wet, in short, if it is coming close to a survival situation, then you need to be sure attempting to light a fire will not exhaust your remaining energy reserves. You will need to judge each situation on its own merits and make your own decisions based upon the situation and your confidence in your skills.

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    LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

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    Lighting a fire on snow

    When it comes to lighting a fire on snow the key thing to remember is that it melts. This means that building a fire directly onto the snow itself will not only get your tinder wet but will also, should you manage to get it lit, melt the snow beneath it and disappear into it.

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    Building a platform

    One of the easiest ways to construct a fire on snow is to build a platform, either consisting of split logs or stones and place your tinder on top of it. This will give you a dry and firm base on which to light your fire.

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    LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

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    Digging down

    If the snow is of a reasonably shallow depth, like the kind that we might experience in the south of the UK in winter, then it is a better idea to dig down. Removing the snow until you have reached the level of the earth and then constructing a base on this earth (so as to keep the moisture out) will not only insulate the fire but will also ensure that it doesn’t melt the snow.

    Preparation for lighting a fire in the snow

    Lighting a fire on snow

    Successful fire lighting depends on good preparation, in any weather, however, this goes double when there is snow on the ground. Ensure that you have plenty of dry tinder with you, and ideally keep it in your clothes where it can’t get damp, and plenty of firewood to keep the fire going throughout the night.

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    LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

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    Kit 

    Lighting a fire on snow

    Here are some pieces of kit that you might find useful when lighting a fire. Please note that aside from Bear Blades Wildway Bushcraft is not associated with any of the brands or pieces of equipment listed below - we don’t get anything extra if you choose to purchase one of these items!

     

    Further Reading

    Here are some other blog posts that might interest you. Use the arrows to navigate.

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    Light a fire in damp conditions
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    Sharpen your bushcraft knife
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    Intermediate bushcraft course

    Intermediate Bushcraft Course

    This year, we’ve introduced our Intermediate Bushcraft Course. This course is designed to help you to improve your bushcraft knowledge and practical ability. It is a great progression for all of those that have taken part in our accredited Foundation in Bushcraft and Wilderness Living Skills Level 2 Course.  

     Our intermediate bushcraft course runs over five days and provides the foundation for intermediate to longer term living in the woods. This blog looks at what you will learn on the course and how this provides you with knowledge for intermediate-term living in the woods.

    As always, feel free to read the whole blog or skip to the section that interests you the most.

    What will I learn on the course?

    Bushcraft courses from Wildway Bushcraft

     

    In short, too much to cover in just one blog! More broadly speaking though our intermediate bushcraft course will cover the following topics; skinning and butchery of large game, primitive food preservation techniques including smoking and curing, how to make glues, long-term shelter building, green woodworking, spoon carving, advanced fire lighting, traps and snares, foraging, basketry and much, much more.

    We can’t possibly cover all of these topics in this blog but we will touch on a few of them in the sections below. The best way to learn these skills though is to sign up for our Intermediate Bushcraft Course.

     

    Long-term shelter building

    Intermediate bushcraft course

    On our intermediate bushcraft course, you will be living in the woods for five days. This requires that you build a longer term shelter, we will also look at shelters for winter survival.

    By the end of our course, you will have a shelter that is not only wind and waterproof but that is also equipped with a bed, a stool, and a table to work off. Remember, our intermediate bushcraft course is designed so that you can unlock your ability to thrive in the wilderness.

    It is not a survival course! Instructors from Wildway will be on hand to give you advice, assistance and more than a few cups of tea and coffee.

     

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    Large game butchery

    Large game butchery

    While our IOL accredited Weekend Bushcraft Course covers the butchery of small animals and birds, our intermediate bushcraft course covers, in more detail, the butchery of large game.

    In this case, it is likely to be a deer, one of the most commonly available large game animals in the UK. Our course is designed to provide a complete overview of woodland living, therefore the large game butchery lessons will also cover the skinning of large game and the preservation of food using primitive skills. Read on to find out more about primitive smoking techniques.

    Primitive smoking techniques

    Primitive smoking and curing techniques are just one of the elements of wilderness living that you will learn on our intermediate bushcraft course. These are some of the oldest techniques for preserving meat and fish and help you to maximise your food supplies.

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    Advanced fire lighting

    advanced fire lighting

    Building on from the fire lighting techniques we demonstrate and teach on our weekend bushcraft course our intermediate bushcraft course covers more advanced techniques. This includes traditional fire lighting methods, including the bow drill, and teaches this technique from a complete basis - from wood selection to getting an ember. Our instructors work closely with you to help you get the most out of your time in the woods.

    Traps, snares, and foraging

    Living in the woods on an intermediate to long-term basis means being able to find, catch and prepare your own food. We will cover trapping, snaring and foraging so that you are better equipped for living in the UK woods on a long-term basis.

    Book your place

    Book your intermediate place

    Our Intermediate Bushcraft Course runs from 24th to 28th of September. Places are £335 for the entire week. If you would like to discuss payment plans or the opportunity to put down a deposit and then pay the outstanding balance later, please contact John Boe on [email protected].

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    Truly get away from it all

    Canoeing the river Spey in 2018

    We’ve just got back from another fantastic canoeing expedition along the river Spey in Scotland.

    In case you don’t know, each year we offer a guided canoe and bushcraft expedition along the beautiful river Spey. Paddling from Loch Insch all the way down to Spey Bay and wild camping along the trail. We offer land-based bushcraft courses that paddlers can take part in, but everyone is also welcome to just sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  

    These trips are always corkers and this year was no exception. Here’s a selection of photos, images, and thoughts from the trip…

     

    Canoeing the Spey

    Bush craft and canoeing
    Hazel approves of the tarp set up.

    Our 2018 river Spey canoeing expedition gets off to a strong start. Tarps are incredibly useful and light-weight bits of kit, we camped under them the whole way. You can read our review of the DD Tarp here, or learn about tarp set-ups here.

     

    First fire of the trip

    Bushcraft fire lighting on canoeing trip
    First fire of the trip

     

    There's always something special about the first fire of the trip, even more so when it's on the banks of the beautiful river Spey. Learn more about bushcraft and fire lighting in our blog posts here and here.

     

    Last minute canoeing prep

    Canoeing prep
    Hazel helping out with some last minute canoeing prep.

    Just double and triple checking everything before we set off on our fantastic adventure. Learn more about packing for a long distance canoeing trip here.

     

    Morning brew

    bushcraft and canoeing in Scotland
    Can't beat a morning brew.

    It doesn't get much better than the first brew of the morning, in a hammock, in Scotland.

    Another day on the river

    Canoeing preparation
    Getting ready to hit the river

    After cups of tea, it's time to get on the river. Learn about navigating on Scotland's rivers in this blog post here.

     

     

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    Brief pause

    canoeing and bushcraft on the river spey scotland
    Taking a little break

    Just us and the river. You can't beat it.

    Stunning scenery

    Stunning views from our bushcraft camp
    Takes your breath away.
    Stunning views canoeing in Scotland
    And another shot

     

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    Navigation is essential

    Canoeing and bushcraft navigtion
    Hazel knows where she' going.

    Hazel leading the way.

     

    Gearing up for some white water

     

    This stretch of water is 'affectionately' known as 'The Washing Machine'.

    Relaxing on the river

    Canoeing on the Spey
    Gentle paddling

    Some of the guys taking enjoying the river.

     

    Dinner is served

    Firepot Outdoor Food.
    Delicious!

    Firepot, who are in no way formally associated with Wildway Bushcraft, produce some fantastic stuff. You can find out all about them here.

    The end of our epic trip

    Canoeing into Spey bay
    The end of our epic trip

    Our epic trip ends in Spey bay. A fantastic expedition with a great group of people. If you'd like to reserve your place on our 2019 expedition click on the link below.

    BOOK YOUR SPACE ON 2019'S TRIP NOW

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    Alder trees for bushcraft

    Five Trees for UK Bushcraft

    Spring is in the air and nature is blooming. In this blog we’re going to take a look at five key trees for bushcraft in the UK. We’ll also cover some common bushcraft uses for these trees. As always, feel free to read the entire blog or skip to the section that interests you the most.

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    Click here to learn more.  

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    Bushcraft and nature 

    Trees for bushcraft


    Unlike what is shown on some popular TV shows, bushcraft is not about overcoming or conquering nature; it is about living in harmony with it. Key to living in harmony with nature is understanding it, particularly when it comes to the trees around you. By knowing the names and uses for the trees which you come into contact with your time in the woods will be much more enjoyable and productive.

    Silver Birch

    Trees for bushcraft Silver Birch

    One of the most useful trees when it comes to bushcraft the Silver Birch is easily identified by its white bark. Silver Birch often hybridises with the downy birch, the latter of which is, in terms of the UK, most commonly found in Scotland.

    • Bushcraft uses for the Silver Birch
      One of the most versatile trees in terms of bushcraft. The Silver Birch can be tapped for refreshment in early spring (for more information about tapping a silver birch read our blog here [link to: How to tap a Silver Birch]. The bark is also an excellent fire lighting resource, to learn more about using birch bark for fire lighting watch our video below.

    • Lighting a fire using birch bark

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    Hazel

    Hazel trees for bushcraft

     

    Hazel is native to the UK, when it is not coppiced (as they often are) hazel can reach heights of 12 metres. In ancient mythology, a rod of hazel was used to protect against and ward off evil spirits.   Hazel is an incredibly springy wood and can easily be bent into a variety of shapes, which as we shall see, makes it excellent for bushcraft.

    Alder

    Alder trees for bushcraft

    Alder is native to Britain although it is also found as far East as Siberia. Alder is known for its role in improving the fertility of the soil in which it grows. This is due to the bacterium found in the roots. This bacterium, Frankia Alni absorbs nitrogen from the air and makes it available to the tree. The tree then provides sugars to the bacterium which it produces through photosynthesis.


    Common Ash

    Ash tree

    The Common Ash, also known as the European Ash or simply the Ash is native throughout mainland Europe. When fully grown, Ash trees can grow to heights of 35 metres and live for around 400 years. Ash trees provide homes and/or food for a variety of species such as bullfinches, owls, redstarts as well as a variety of caterpillars and moths.

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    Hawthorn
    Hawthorn

    Hawthorn is a native tree to the UK. The Hawthorn tree is also known as the May-tree, as it flowers in this month. For an interesting pub quiz fact, Hawthorn is the only tree in the UK to be named after the month in which in flowers

     

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    Join our weekend bushcraft course and learn the art of fire lighting, shelter building, water sourcing and more.
    Click here to learn more.  

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    Key pieces of kit

    Here are some pieces of kit that you might find useful when out and about in the woods.
    Please note that, with the exception of Bear Blades and Bushcraft - A Family Guide: Fun and Adventure in the Great Outdoors, Wildway Bushcraft is not associated with any of the products or manufacturers listed below; we don’t get anything from them if you choose to buy anything.

    • Knives
      Bushcraft knives
      Wildway Bushcraft use Bear Blades.
      “Constructed from superb quality D2 steel this knife is ideal for bushcraft and wood crafting. Our most popular knife due to its versatility and functionality, suited to tough daily use in the woods.”
      http://bearblades.co.uk/ 
    • Bushcraft - A Family Guide: Fun and Adventure in the Great Outdoors
      bushcraft a family guide
      Whether it is a mini adventure into the woods and countryside, a camping trip or simply exploring your own back garden, it’s hard to get enough outdoors time, so what better way to do that than with the art of bushcraft? This beautifully illustrated book written by Wildway Bushcraft’s John Boe alongside Owen Senior, contains everything that both children and adults need to know to have fun and be safe in the outside world, including instructions on building shelters, foraging, tracking, tying knots, navigation and much more!Buy it on Amazon here 
    • Fallkniven DC4
      Fallkniven DC4
      This diamond/ceramic whetstone is perfect for use in the field.  
      https://www.fallkniven.com/en/knife/dc4/
    • Tarps
      DD Tarp and HammockHere at Wildway Bushcraft we’re big fans of DD Hammocks and regularly use their 3 x 3 tarp; here’s what DD has to say about it. “ DD Tarp 3x3 offers reliable protection wherever you go. Its 19 reinforced attachment points offer a huge number of setup options, and it's the tarp of choice for bushcraft & survival schools, the military and countless wild campers worldwide!”
      https://www.ddhammocks.com/
    • Axe

      Gransfor Bruks Small Forset Axe
      Copyright Gransfor Bruks


      John Boe, owner and founder of Wildway Bushcraft use the Gransfors Bruk Small Forset Axe which weighs in at only 900 gram (2lbs) and is small enough to fit in a rucksack whilst still being powerful enough to do most jobs.   https://www.gransforsbruk.com/en/product/gransfors-small-forest-axe/

    Further reading

    Read more about the topics covered in this blog via the links below:

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    Make stinging nettle tea (Urtica dioica) wild bushcraft food in the UK
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    Make stinging nettle tea
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    [av_content_slide title='Refresh bushcraft skills' link='manually,http://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/refresh-bushcraft-skills/' linktarget='' av_uid='av-5yg8a8']
    Weekend bushcraft course
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    [/av_content_slider]

     

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    Click here to learn more.  

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    Make stinging nettle tea (Urtica dioica) wild bushcraft food in the UK

    Making Stinging Nettle Tea

    Stinging nettle tea is a staple of wilderness living. The tea is easy to make and the ingredients are bountiful at this time of year. Read on to learn more about how to make stinging nettle tea. As always, please feel free to read the whole blog or skip to the section that interests you the most.

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    Click here to learn more.  

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    Why make stinging nettle tea?

    Make stinging nettle tea

     

    Stinging nettles have been used by native peoples for a variety of uses throughout history. Native Americans harvested nettles and used them for food in spring when other sources of food were scarce. In the UK, the nettle was one of nine plants mentioned in the ‘Nine Herbs Charm’. An Anglo-Saxon charm aimed at treating poisoning and infection. Stinging nettles are also thought to promote lactation, stimulate hair follicles, treat kidney disorders, reduce joint pain and even act as a remedy against hay fever.  

    Best time to forage for stinging nettles

    Where to look for stinging nettles
    When foraging for stinging nettles to make stinging nettle tea it is best to pick the leaves before they flower. When making stinging nettle tea, go for the leaves that are the youngest and therefore the most tender. This makes spring a great time to start foraging for stinging nettles. If you would like to know more about foraging, as well as other uses for stinging nettles read our blog Start Your Spring Foraging.

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    What to look for when picking stinging nettles

    Nettles are very high in vitamins A & D, particularly the younger leaves. When picking stinging nettles for stinging nettle tea it is best to pick the younger and fresher leaves. Don’t forget that when picking nettles, as with foraging for anything, don’t take more than you need and don’t take regularly from the same area of plants.

    It is best to choose nettles that are further away from the beaten path and higher off the floor than might make them popular for animals to relieve themselves on!  

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    Click here to learn more.  

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    Making stinging nettle tea

    Make stinging nettle tea

    Making stinging nettle tea is a very easy business. You will need about one cup of nettle leaves for every two cups of water. Simply add the nettle leaves to the water and bring to the boil. The tea can be made stronger or weaker by adding more, or less, water. Once the water has been simmering for a few minutes strain the mixture into a cup, being sure that no nettles go through the strainer. Once the mixture is prepared it can be drunk straight away.

    Further reading

    Read more about some of the topics covered in this blog via the links below.

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    Spring foraging
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    foraging on Scotland's rivers
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    Bushcraft skills refresh your bushcraft skills with WIldway bushcraft
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    [/av_content_slider]

     

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    Join our weekend bushcraft course and learn the art of fire lighting, shelter building, water sourcing and more.
    Click here to learn more.  

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