Course Duration: 19:00 Friday - 12:00 Sunday
Group size: 18 Maximum
Age Range: 18+
This multi-award-winning course is an ideal starting course for the beginner, it is also relevant for those who have an outline understanding of the concepts and techniques of Bushcraft and Survival and wish to develop. Not least to say it is an incredibly fun day out in the woods with some of the UK's most experienced instructors! For many years this course was voted the best bushcraft course available in the UK by readers of Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine (the awards are now finished) and is by far our most popular course.
Comprised of 14 sessions built on decades of combined experience - both in the UK and overseas by our highly accomplished instructors - honed for quality & packed with detail, you will be expertly guided in all the things you need to know with hands on time allocated to help your learning & understanding.
By the end of the weekend you will have produced fires through friction & sparks, both safely & sustainably, built your own shelter to keep you warm & dry at night, foraged & processed wild foods, baked your own bread & produced delicious meals. You'll know how to source, collect & make wild water safe to drink, learn safe tool use and maintenance, along with how to craft with them. You'll understand how to navigate with the stars & the plants around you, and tracking methods & mechanisms. Your head will be left both fried and buzzing from the experience.
£270pp or book with a £54 Deposit
Your course begins at our private car park before we enter our exclusive access estates. From this point onwards you will be immersed in secluded woodlands with no public access. After a warm welcome by our instructors and apprentices, you will be guided through a thorough safety brief and outlined what is going to happen over the weekend. With nerves settled and excitement growing we leave the stresses of the modern world behind, throw our kit on our backs, and begin our journey of self sufficiency. As we walk through our stunning woodlands into camp, the instructors will begin to bring the environment that surrounds you to life, shaping the format of the rest of the time with us.
Upon arrival at the expedition-style camp, your instructors will take the opportunity to outline the course structure, introduce you to the camp equipment, allowing you to settle into the woodland environment. Once you are settled in, the instructor will take you through tool usage and safe techniques when using knives and saws, as you will be using these throughout the weekend to complete a range of everyday woodland tasks. You will be introduced to and issued with your own Mora Companion bushcraft knife and Bacho Laplander folding saw for the duration of the course, after your instructor has demonstrated safe handling and use of both these tools and the bowsaw/bucksaw on the sawhorse.
You will come away with an understanding of how to sustainably source materials from the woodland with the folding saw with pruning cuts, and how to identify compression and tension in wood and correctly process it. You will also perform a range of safe tasks with a knife from bevelling, shaving, pointing, batoning, limbing, truncating, and splitting. This will mean using a range of cutting methods form the chest lever grip, rose cut, forehand grip, reverse grip, reinforced grip, reinforced knee grip and Stop cuts.
Through the weekend you will begin to appreciate the value of these tools in the wilderness in the range of tasks they can liberate with ease for you, and in a separate session you are shown how to look after them, things to consider when choosing your own and how to stay the right side of the law when using and transporting them.
The fire is on, and we then prepare your sleeping arrangements, which, for the first night will be setting up a tarp to sleep under.
We then move on to preparing the evening meal. Dinner is provided (on this course you do not live off the land) and usually consists of feathered game (e.g. pigeon, partridge or pheasant). Vegetarian dishes are also provided if we are notified in advance.
Our instructors will guide you through how to prepare your food in a variety of ways, with hands on time allowed for preparing your own animal if you wish. After a delicious meal, weather permitting, we will take a look at the constellations that are useful for navigation, as well as looking at other techniques for natural navigation using the night sky.
The morning begins with a hearty breakfast to help fuel you for a busy and exciting day ahead. We then move on to shelter building. The importance of shelter, how to site it for safety and comfort, and design is explored thoroughly through the morning. On your first night the value and advantages of a tarp or basha were explained, for the second night you will see the added advantage to a more permanent style woodland debris shelter. You will chose from a thermal A-Frame, Artic Lean-to or a variant of either, built with your own hands. You will be guided on the various intricacies of shelter design from direction, implementing a safe frame structure free of cord or mechanical fixings, rafter pitch & thatching choice and placement.
Lunch, which is again provided, involves learning how to prepare and cook fish (normally trout) over the open fire and use a Native American method called ponassing. You will learn to gut, and prepare the fillets for cooking on the open fire without any modern cooking equipment.
We then have an action packed afternoon, beginning with foraging. The Woodland provides a wealth of resources for us to remain comfortable indefinitely, from food to nourish us, medicine to heal us, to fibres to craft and build with, and the clues they give for us to navigate by. All these things becoming available through the different seasons and our instructors will open your eyes as to the possibilities within your course area.
We start with safety and the hazards of foraging wild plants & your own tolerances, the legalities of foraging in accordance wildlife and countryside act 1981, further legislation governing protected plants & places. Going onto 100% identification of flora, harvesting sustainably, the foragers code, there past and present uses along with revealing folk lore.
This introduction goes way beyond any identification book looking through the lifecycle and introduction of the senses to help with your identification, from touch, smell, taste, sound & temperature, all revealing key identification features. You walks won't be the same again.
We follow this with natural navigation, drawing on many inspirational stories to highlight direction finding with no map or compass.
The favourite part of the course for most people is fire. We guide you through the journey of time as we reveal the importance of fire and how it’s the key to the evolution of our species, and how our ancestors learnt to produce it at will through friction fire bow method as one example, sparks from flint and iron pyrite to steels formed from iron ore, and onto the more modern ferrocerium rod.
We will enlighten you on the detail needed to finesse each method from wood species used, how the components are crafted to body position of the fire bow to form a coalescing ember, to the angles, fuel and percussion method required to throw sparks, before seating your ember and blowing it into flame in a correctly formed tinder bundle.
You will be able to site a fire correctly to minimise environmental impact, understand the range of wood properties of different species, building it from scratch and the application of different fire lays and their uses from the huntsman to the Siberian fire lay, to extinguishing it safely to its original state through the leave no trace principle.
The evening is then underway with another game preparation session, this time, mammal, typically rabbit. Whilst this is cooking we take a look at choosing your axe and knife, how to sharpen them, and the legal aspects of carrying and using edged tools. Our instructors will guide you through different blade types, bevels, sharpening, honing and selecting what is right for you.
Sunday begins with a nature awareness exercise where our instructors will guide you how to get the most from journeying through natural landscapes when observing the wildlife that resides within. A gentle, calming observation exercise often throws up fantastic sightings of deer, hare, woodpeckers, stoat, and the inter related actions of each species. You'll be amazed at the difference in what you spot now that you have tuned into your environment.
Appetites are then met where you are instructed on how to make your own unleavened bread around the fire for breakfast; We will go through the historical aspects and terminology of damper bread. One of the simplest means to get a wholesome and slow releasing calories to start the day.
You will then be instructed on the importance of water. Looking at the detail of sourcing, collecting, filtering and purifying water built on our collective decades of experience traveling in wilderness environments. What makes us stand out from the plethora of courses available is that we don't just talk theory. Our instructors have been in the deserts, jungles, arctic and savannah drawing on the experiences of the importance of water, for real. This allows us to talk with authority on the subject.
We finish off the morning looking at how you might acquire the protein elements of the meals cooked over the duration of the course. We examine the legal and ethical aspects of this subject and its value in survival situations.
Our courses are designed to be a fun experience and at no point during the course will you be expected to do anything that you are uncomfortable with. Our helpful and friendly instructors are always on hand with help, advice, and assistance. Don't take our word for it though... any company can choose what reviews they have on their own website, so look at our independent reviews on google and trust pilot, you will see why we are the market leader in providing our courses.
We regularly have clients who come on this course thinking they know the basics... and we blow their minds with the knowledge of our instructors. By no means is this a basic introductory course, you will be amazed at the level of detail our instructors will go into in the short time available.
This course is not an endurance test but is designed for you to get practical hands-on experience of the basics of Bushcraft and Survival, in a fun and safe weekend. No prior experience is required for you to attend this course. Most clients arrive alone or in a pair, and we pride ourselves on having a fantastic gender and background mix in both our clients and our instructing team.