Meet Woodlore’s Instructors: Sarah Day

Since Woodlore’s inception many decades ago, our aim has always been to offer the most prestigious level of training in bushcraft and wilderness survival skills. As such, we pride ourselves on our dedicated team of instructors, whose passion for the subject shines through in their teaching.

And so it is with great pleasure that we have our second in the new series of blog posts today focusing on Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day. If you’ve been thinking about booking a course with Woodlore, here is your chance to get to know the instructors who may be guiding you this year.

Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day

Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day

Name:

Sarah Day

Hometown:

Colchester

How many years have you been working with Woodlore?

9

How did your journey with Woodlore begin?

I was Christmas shopping with mum, back in 1995 and spotted an interesting looking book. It was the old ‘Survival handbook’, by Raymond Mears. I couldn’t stop reading it, I think mum spotted a good potential Christmas present and bought it. It kindled a fascination with the subject of bushcraft which eventually led me to Woodlore.

Which Woodlore courses have you attended as a student?

And which Woodlore courses have you previously worked on as an instructor?

What is your profession outside of Woodlore?

I am a seamstress; I make everything from wedding dresses to historical costume- one recent project was a Dr. Who costume! I’m also involved in a Stone Age living history group that will be going into schools, so I have been doing lots of tanning (of furs and leather), cordage making and other things to prepare for that. People often comment that Bushcraft and Dressmaking is an odd mix, but I think they have a lot in common; they both involve problem-solving and design, they both require an appreciation for different materials and how they can be used and both benefit from a close appreciation of textures, colours, and shapes.

One of Sarah's degree pieces- each dress was inspired by a different tree. It took 3 days with a soldering iron to make the silk look like birch bark.

One of Sarah’s degree pieces- each dress was inspired by a different tree. It took 3 days with a soldering iron to make the silk look like birch bark.

What are your interests?

I love making things, I have done a bit of flint knapping, basketry and hide working, pottery, as well as sewing, embroidery, and knitting! I also love canoeing. I got the bug when I worked in Canada for a few months, and now it’s my favorite way to enjoy the outdoors.

What is your most memorable course experience?

It’s hard to choose, there have been lots of great wildlife encounters on courses, from the fallow doe with a young fawn we spotted on a plant walk to the blue tit that attacked my hat! But the people are memorable too, I think the ‘Cone wars’ episode will always be a favorite; we had a great bunch of students on that Junior course and the ensuing hilarity as we tried to prevent the kids filling our rucksacks/ hammocks/ cars with pinecones, while trying to load their sleeping bags with the things was very memorable and still makes me chuckle.

The coned Land Rover

The first attack on the Woodlore Land Rover

Which skills have you learnt as an instructor that you have found the most useful during your own adventures?

I love being absolutely confident with fire. It seems like a pretty basic thing, and it is! But being confident that I can get a fire going whenever I need to means I feel no trepidations about going off exploring, and seeing new places.

Which skills are you hoping to perfect this season?

I really want to experiment with basketry; I have done a bit of bark basketry, but I would like to become competent at coiled basketry which is a very versatile technique and well suited to the kinds of materials you can find out in the woods.

What is your favourite meal to cook outdoors?

It’s got to be fish and seafood; mussels cooked in the embers are a different animal to the soggy wine soaked ‘moules’ you get in restaurants, and fish cooked simply over a fire is the tastiest thing on earth (with the possible exception of venison steaks or pigeon cooked on a Muurikka pan). Of course, that all has the benefit of little or no washing up!

What would be your dream travel destination?

Canada, or possibly Sweden, I want to go on an extended wilderness Canoe Trip, for a month or so. Even though I was in Canada for 3 months, I didn’t manage to go on a canoe trip. At the time, I was very new to canoeing and didn’t feel confident enough in my paddling ability to undertake a trip alone, or with far more experienced paddlers from the camp I worked at. Now it’s something I often think about.

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