The following post was written by Woodlore Senior Assistant, Ross Burt:
It’s that time of year when work goes quiet. Does that mean that it’s time to rest? NO! It means that I can get out into the woods and practice my skills, as well as produce items to sell or, in this case, give as a Christmas present! So, not only am I out practising and gaining more knowledge, I am also saving money and giving someone a much-needed gift.
I have just finished two chopping boards and a hanger for them; there is one from beech (this will be used for vegetables) and one from oak (for meat). There’s a give-away on the boards that suggests what each one should be used for! The hanger is made of oak and I decided to make the pegs from the same materials as each board.
The following post was written by Woodlore Senior Assistant, Mark Booton:
If you were to ask me what my favourite month is, I’d answer October without hesitation. The reason for this could be one of a number of things: It was the month I met my wife – we always go away for an October half term break – and I also look forward to the Woodlore end of season staff barbecue. These, though, aren’t the real reasons. I love October for one above all others – foraging.
I simply love to forage for wild fungi, and October never lets you down. September can be amazing, but it is a fickle month on the foraging calendar. It blows hot and cold. A late autumn and September can produce little. November can be good, but the enjoyment is always slightly tarnished because all too soon it will be over. October is the month.
During the UK course season, our team of instructors often find themselves gaining a unique level of intimacy with their surroundings at our various course sites. A number of our team are also keen photographers, and occasionally this blend of interests pays off in spectacular ways:
The following post was written by Woodlore Senior Assistant Ross Burt:
During the year and especially the winter months I produce my artwork to sell; I call this my ‘Bush Art’. During a Fundamental Bushcraft course on which Tom and I were working, a large beech tree fell and landed on a yew tree. One of the limbs that was smashed off was used by us to produce some coasters.
Some time later, I was sitting in a wood and it suddenly occurred to me that coasters usually come in a pack of six, now we have six species of deer in the UK! I popped out and used some beautiful oak for the ones shown below.
The following post was written by Senior Assistant Mark Booton:
I am, if I’m being entirely honest, not a natural when it comes to carving. It is one of those Bushcraft skills which I need to work on. The fact that I find it challenging strengthens rather than diminishes my will to improve, and also heightens the enjoyment and satisfaction I feel when I carve something that I can be proud of.
I put down my knife and finish sanding my second Kuksa, a traditional wooden cup crafted by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia (my first attempt didn’t quite turn out as planned – my wife now very kindly refers to it as the ‘olive dish’!). I can remember the pride with which I took home my first carved spoon after attending the Fundamental Bushcraft course back in 2010. The fact that the spoon was not very good (misshapen and not symmetrical!) didn’t matter. I had toiled over it, sweated and bled (a little!), and eventually after several hours of sawing, carving and last-minute sanding produced something that, for all intents and purposes, resembled an eating implement… okay then, a spoon!
A Kuksa cup carved by Woodlore Senior Assistant Mark Booton
Last week saw the first Woodlore U.K. course of 2014 take place. This year we kicked things off with our Advanced Tracking course, held in the beautiful countryside of East Sussex.
A visit from Ray during the Woodlore Advanced Tracking course
Guided by the staff, the clients roamed amongst ancient woodland of oak, beech and yew as they followed the trails left by man and beast. Having completed previous tracking courses with us, this was an opportunity to delve much deeper into the art of tracking, build on their current knowledge and put new skills and techniques to the test in challenging, exciting and realistic scenarios.
Water is essential to life, beautiful and extremely hazardous; crossing water is one of the most dangerous undertakings in the outdoor world and the decision to do so must never be taken lightly. Inevitably though, there will come a time when the traveller is left with no choice and it is at these moments that prior experience and training become invaluable.
Safe crossing depends on the affective assessment of the hazard.
When training our students to make water crossings, we encourage them to use the acronym: WASPTAR – What type of water is it? Will it be cold? Are there other hazards? Is it feasible to attempt?