In July this year we were joined by Woodlorean Tim Kershaw who attended his first Woodlore course in 1997. Tim kindly sent us some words about his experience 20 years on:
James Smith attended his first course, the Fundamental Bushcraft, with us in April this year and caught the ‘bushcraft bug’. Here is a short review from James after completion of his second course, the Carving Master Class with Ray Mears, which he booked very shortly after returning home from the Fundamental Bushcraft course:
As anyone reading this may appreciate, completing the Woodlore Fundamental Bushcraft course can leave you with severe withdrawal symptoms! This was certainly true for myself. So before I’d even unpacked all my gear I jumped at the chance to attend a Carving Masterclass with Ray Mears.
Many aspects of bushcraft require patience and observation: carving is no exception. As students we were encouraged to take our time, deal with problems early on (‘a philosophy for life’) and also factor in some breaks. After all, tiredness and very sharp tools do not mix well…
Throughout the course Ray and his assistants were constantly on hand to offer advice and guidance, all within easy reach of the campfire kettle. Slowly but surely we turned humble pieces of birch into spoons.
Spoons?! On the surface it can seem like no big deal. But there are many valuable skills and procedures involved in the creation of even the most utilitarian of objects – skills that we are increasingly losing touch with. If you want to gain a new appreciation of simple, everyday objects, try making some of them!
Now, I just need to befriend a tree surgeon…
– James Smith
Last weekend saw the Woodlore outdoor team gather together for their annual staff training. This year, the team took an in-depth view of some of the essential professional skills required to run successful courses safely in any environment. We were joined by Jamie Cooke, a world leader in resuscitation practice and Specialist Instructor on our First Aid courses, who gave the team their regular top-up of knowledge and training. Ray led the team in looking at the complications and hazards of leading overseas expeditions and how we can use our experiences to improve and inform our teaching on Woodlore’s exceptional range of UK training courses.
Between times, the team had the opportunity to come together and enjoy the warmth of the Woodlore camp fire, sharing food and stories of what has happened since the last season together. On the final day, Ray once again led the team and demonstrated a rich diversity of skills which will be embedded into our courses over the coming year. Woodlore is constantly moving forward in terms of equipment, knowledge and technique so these times spent together in the woods are essential. It means that our clients in the coming year will have a learning experience that is current, relevant and absolutely second to none.
We are delighted to announce a new tour throughout the UK to take place this year, entitled ‘Born to go Wild’. Please scroll down for dates and venues:
It is with deep regret that Woodlore must pass on this sad and tragic news:
“Yesterday morning I received the news that Stephen Wade Cox had passed away. I speak for all the team when I say that we were profoundly upset by such an unexpected tragedy. Over the past eight years we had come to recognise his astonishing and ever growing talent as a knife maker. A perfectionist and thorough professional, he was a joy to work with. Throughout this year I had worked very closely with him in the development of the Woodlore Knife Pro. This provided me the opportunity to know him better. There was much to admire in Stephen, he was calm, cheerful, thoughtful and a reliable man who loved his children. As a professional he was incredibly skilful but also humble, always at pains to honour the craftsmanship of the other knife makers who had inspired him. In his passing, Great Britain has lost one of the Worlds most talented knife makers.
Stephen will be a sorely missed member of the Woodlore Team. He last visited us just a few days ago when he had been looking forward to a holiday, full of joy and happiness. This is how I shall always remember him; smiling, happy and certain in the knowledge that his talents were fully appreciated.” – Ray Mears
Our thoughts and condolences are with his family at this heartrending time.
The following text and lovely accompanying photographs were kindly sent in by Woodlore customer Tom Scandian:
You need very few tools for spoon carving which are very cheap and great quality, all of mine have come from Woodlore and include a Mora Carving Knife, S Djarv Hantverk large Spoon Knife, Folding saw and a Mora Heavy Duty. You can carve basic spoons with just a normal pocket knife, however a good quality spoon knife and carving knife go a long way to improving quality and detail!
Our UK course dates for 2017 are now available to book on the website. In addition to our usual selection of courses based in East Sussex and Scotland we have an exciting new Cooking course added to the calendar for this year. We have also extended the reach of the Fundamental Bushcraft course to Gloucestershire with the Fundamental Severnside course. Book soon to avoid disappointment.