Bushcrafts is the perfect ‘doorway’ to the wild in Wildcraft. There are many definitions out there, but for me, it is gaining respect, skills and awareness that will allow me, you (and anyone), to pass through that ‘doorway’ with confidence.
By the ‘doorway’, I mean that part in our minds where we don’t know enough, or are unsure, or both, to stop us doing something. Whether it’s a simple outdoor day, or an overnight camp, or reducing your impact on the planet, Bushcraft skills will take you through the barrier and open up new opportunities for getting out there and understanding yourself better.
Ok that’s the philosophy bit over with, but what does it mean? There really is a wealth of information out there on the web to study Bushcrafts, some good and genuine, some not so, and we cover some of the basics of bushcrafts on the Wildcraft site, so I wont go into them too much here. And here’s the thing … studying videos and books are great, but you really have to do it to ‘get’ it. And it is hard, and take a long time, and you are never finished the journey.
Bushcraft is itself a modern term that encompasses Woodcraft, Survival and the study of ‘Primitive’ living, and I became fully aware of it 15 or so years ago, from the telly and Ray Mears. I was struck by how it combined things I recognised as survival skills, nature conservation skills, good old ‘scouting’ type skills and a tremendous set of values. Amongst the bushcrafters I admire and learn from Ray was the first, and all the others I have subsequently come across that I am grateful for, are very similar in outlook to him. You can find out more about him here https://www.raymears.com/Ray_Mears/About_Ray_Mears.cfm
I gained and tried out things, but not much and in a piecemeal fashion. But then in 2011, I attended a tracking course with Geoffrey McMullen http://www.pathfinder-international.co.uk, which blew me away, and although it was focussing on one part of the Bushcraft arena, it showed the depth of skills that is possible and what I could get from them, as well as being highly practical. Cue more training, more practice and a period where I picked up practical tips from several skilled outdoors people and bushcrafters, including a some sessions with Steve Haden, and old friend and African Drumming colleague (that’s for another blog….) https://www.facebook.com/groups/247405652301098/, which led onto a Bushcraft Competency training course with Dave Watson in 2016, a deeply skilled Bushcrafter and renowned for his friction fire lighting. https://www.woodlandsurvivalcrafts.com/our-instructors/. This then gave me the platform to go for and get my Basic Bushcraft Competency Certificate. It is a nationally accredited qualification accredited by the Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL), and involved a lot (and I mean a lot), of study, practice, reflection, set backs, and a very intense and thorough assessment day.
And coming back to online learning, you would also do well to follow Paul Kirtley, I have and till do (http://paulkirtley.co.uk). I have been putting it all into practice since then and offering it as part of my other work. This blog comes on the very day that I am pleased to announce or first public bush craft courses (see our Public Events page https://wildcrafty.co.uk/public-events/). These are currently easily accessible and family based, with others in more depth to come in the future.
The door just got a wee bit more open 🙂