With the upcoming course season celebrating our 35th anniversary, the Woodlore field team assembled to share tales of adventures over the winter and maintain skills and knowledge in preparation for a very exciting year, with Ray leading a selection of time-honoured courses.
Our Woodlore courses due to take place in 2019 are now available to book on the website. In celebration of our 35th Anniversary, Ray has offered his time to lead some of his usual courses, alongside some of our classics, giving everyone the chance to learn a range of bushcraft skills directly from Ray.
The Woodlore team got the opportunity to hone some essential skills earlier this week as part of the field staff’s annual training. At the top of the list was a renewal of our essential 1st aid skills which will ensure that we are prepared for anything that the season can throw at us and more importantly, be better informed and able to prevent situations reaching the point where intervention is required.
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.