A Reflection of the Season

After an exciting 30th Anniversary course season, Woodlore’s Head of Operations Dan Hume reflects on the year that has passed;

As the days start to become noticeably short and the pavements fade from grey to their rusty splendour, so too is our 30th anniversary year drawing to a close. This year’s course season has been jam packed with excitement, adventure and growth. The arrival of the first few weeks in February set the stage for our Arctic courses in Lapland, marking the beginning of a very special year. We continued through the early part of the year with our seventieth anniversary Heroes of Telemark expedition and our Boreal adventure, where we travelled 250km through the arctic forest on snow mobiles. Mid season, we ran a selection of British Bushcraft courses, from tracking to flint knapping and of course July was a very special month as we spent six days building a Birch bark canoe in the Algonquin way.

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith - Day 5

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 5

With our appetite whetted by the completed canoe, we were off to Ontario, Canada for twelve amazing days of paddling on the Canadian Wilderness Canoe Expedition. Here, the loons call echoed in the distance and seemed to be a constant companion even as we drifted still and silently past two fighting otters! On another occasion, two Caribou swam across a narrow just ahead of us and served as a reminder of what Bushcraft is really about; being comfortable enough in an environment to blend unnoticeably into the lives of other creatures. While this was going on, other members of the team were guiding a group of clients down the spectacular Ardeche gorge in Southern France.

Canoeing in Ontario, Canada

A beautiful scene from the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in Canada

Last week saw the passing of the Journeyman courses; our final courses of the year. The weather was unusually mild for the time of year but of course, regardless of the weather it was still a massive challenge for all those who took part. Living off the land is very difficult, even with the right knowledge and good skills but this years participants did extremely well at providing sustenance to ensure the calorie candle continued to burn!  A very well done to all those who rounded off Woodlore’s course season and have greatly earned the right to call themselves Journeymen.

Woodlore Journeyman course

Woodlore Journeyman course

With the hustle and bustle of this milestone year now settling down and winter just peeking over the horizon, we can begin to reflect on all that has happened, friendships that have been made, knowledge that has been passed on and give thanks to the hundreds of Woodloreans that have been united around our campfire. It’s also a time to take a moment to sit and quietly acknowledge nature herself for providing the most beautiful, challenging and inspiring classroom that has enabled us all to continue ‘drinking at the well of Bushcraft’.

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