The following post was written by Woodlore’s Head of Operations, Dan Hume, with regard to this year’s annual staff training in East Sussex:
This week saw another successful passing of the annual field staff training at Woodlore, and our dedicated team of instructors are now poised and ready for the exciting course season ahead which begins with the first British courses early next month.
As our clients will attest, many of the bush skills Woodlore teaches are perishable and so even the fundamentals of bushcraft must be practiced regularly to avoid deterioration. Every year the team gets together to both catch up with each other after the winter and to maintain, refresh and extend their knowledge of a selection of crucial skills. And this year was no different.
This time we concentrated on a small but important selection of subjects; cordage making was the first, being much more of a challenge outside of the summer months due to the availability of suitable materials. Nevertheless, we went out into the forest to collect natural fibres before turning them into beautiful and functional cord.
We then looked at several trapping techniques gathered from around the world, from Africa to Scandinavia and of course here in Britain too. Travelling in the wilderness is made far safer if knowledge of how to feed a party is possessed by those involved. It is similar to first aid knowledge; you hope you never have to use it but it is there if you need to rely on it. It also breeds confidence as you relax in the knowledge that you can look after yourself and those accompanying you in a crisis.
One of the most important aspects of running our courses is catering for our clients, so cooking is always a topic of exploration and training and this year was no exception. The whole team learned several new recipes for exciting and tasty dishes and we look forward to sharing these freshly cooked meals with our clients throughout the year.
We also conducted an exercise on the southern coast which challenged the team’s fitness, navigation and first aid abilities. The weather was fantastic but the area was very exposed to the wind and therefore still really cold. Despite this, the sea air and the stunning views provided a wonderful change from the woodland we had based ourselves in and was both an extremely useful and enjoyable day for all.
We are all incredibly excited about the coming year and are very much looking forward to welcoming both familiar faces as well as new ones to join us around our campfire and to drink at the well of bushcraft.
– Dan Hume, 2016