Category Archives: Bushcraft Courses & Expeditions

Bushcraft Courses & Expeditions

Carving Master Class with Ray Mears review

It was a pleasure to hear from one of our regular clients about his experience of the Carving Master Class with Ray Mears. Charles made contact with us after attending his course and gave us this lovely feedback:­­

Wood carving – an activity that is practical, calming, skilful and quite often entertaining all at the same time.

I recently had the privilege of spending a day improving my carving ability whilst on the Carving Master Class with Ray Mears, a course bought for me (as I expect many people’s courses are) by my wife.

A stroll down into the woods with a course assistant brought us to a clearing with Ray already hard at work splitting a large sweet chestnut log into foot and a half long planks. Logs for seats, the trusty old camp kettle suspended over a open fire and a beautiful sunny day – what could be better!

A rough spoon at the end of the course

The spoon I finished to a rough standard by the end of the day

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Meet Woodlore’s Instructors: Brian Fox

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 introduce a new series of blog posts today focusing on individual members of our team. 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.

Brian Fox

Brian Fox

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Final Preparations for the Season Ahead

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.

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Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day prepares a warming meal for lunch in the Dutch oven

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#AskWoodlore – Interview with Keith Whitehead

Earlier this week we invited you to send us your questions for an interview with one of Woodlore’s Fundamental Instructors, Keith Whitehead, about our courses. Many of you kindly took the time to submit your excellent questions, and yesterday Keith sat down to answer them:

Fundamental Instructor Keith Whitehead

Keith teaching splicing on the Camp Craft course

Question: After just completing the last course of the season I finally understand what you and the other instructors have been saying when quizzed about the Journeyman. “The more you put in, the more you get out.” I put a lot into the course, physically and mentally, but I got a lot more out of the Journeyman, including good friends and an unforgettable but tough and rewarding experience. Dan, Keith and Rob, thanks for all your help, encouragement, support and sense of humour.My question to you, Keith – After the Journeyman and the obvious positive experience and impact it had on you, what course/adventure/challenge did you undertake next and why?I’m really interested to know how the Journeyman experience contributed to what you did next, plus I’m looking for something else to do after next year and you haven’t steered me wrong yet. 😜 – Chris G (WINNER OF KEITH’S FAVOURITE QUESTION)

Answer: Hi Chris, I’m glad that you enjoyed the Journeyman; you and your team did very well! Just like you, the course set me thinking very deeply about my approach to the outdoors and about what I would like to do next. I think that it is the subtle differences that really show through: you have a better idea of priority, you realize the importance of looking out for others and taking in the slack when you need to and you have a much better understanding of how to prepare for future trips.As far as what I decided to do next, I made the decision to make teaching and working in the outdoors a full time occupation. This in turn led me on to learning more advanced skills in the Arctic and here in the UK. I think the key is to use the skills that you have learned to pursue what you are passionate about. Once you have identified what that is, you can move forward better prepared and continue the learning. That’s something that never stops!
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#AskWoodlore – Keith Whitehead

“Scotland is the perfect location in which to host the final courses of Woodlore’s 2015 UK course season.  The stunning woodland of Perthshire has a very different feel to our usual forest home in the Weald, and certainly puts an edge on the courses that we run there.  There is a sense of urgency as the red squirrels scamper about, making ready for the winter, and the fallow begin to rut, occasionally bellowing their presence through the mists that hang low in the trees.

There is urgency too in the students who build their homes and begin to gather the essentials that will sustain them through the coming week on our Journeyman course.  All those who attended our Fundamental Lochside and Journeyman courses this year had a taste of this beautiful place, and some even enjoyed an unseasonal spell of very warm weather!  Well done to all, but especially to those who attended the Journeyman course – it is an achievement to be proud of.”

– Keith Whitehead

A shelter built during the Journeyman course

A shelter built during the Journeyman course in Scotland

Keith Whitehead, one of our Fundamental Instructors, has very kindly offered to participate in an interview this week, in between his busy quartermaster duties, preparing for our winter expedition in Canada, and taking some time off for a well-earned rest. So, if you have any questions you would like to put to Keith for a short interview about the Woodlore course season, or anything else relating to our courses, please post it in the comments section at the bottom of this article. Alternatively, you can post your questions on facebook or twitter using the hashtag #AskWoodlore.

The interview will take place on Thursday 29th October, so please get your questions to us by Wednesday 28th October at 5pm and a selection of them will be answered by Keith.  We look forward to hearing from you.

The person who asks the best question, as chosen by Keith, will receive a £20 Woodlore voucher.

Keith Whitehead

Woodlore Fundamental Instructor Keith Whitehead

2016 UK Courses are Now Available to Book

The wait is over – we are pleased to announce that our UK courses for 2016 are now available to book on our website, so why not start or continue your Woodlore journey…

We are also giving away a free Petzl Headtorch with every 2-day or week-long UK course booking made by 31st October 2015. Please read our previous post for further details.

UK Bushcraft Courses

The serene loch in Scotland where the Journeyman takes place

How often do you yearn for something truly inspirational to shake up your life and open the door to a new and exciting world of adventure? For Woodlore instructors Dan Hume and Keith Whitehead, this is exactly what happened when they first made the decision to book onto a Woodlore course. They found the passion, insights and skills that are the gateway to the wilderness beyond our courses and on to their own trips and expeditions. We invite you to take your first steps in to the wilderness with Woodlore.

In the time since I started exploring the natural world, I have had the privilege to witness more of its variety and splendour than I could ever have imagined. Woodlore has taken me on a tremendous journey that has really only just begun. Why not start yours now and see where it takes you?” – Dan Hume

Woodlore put everything together for me and from the minute that I walked into the woods, everything made sense. The outdoor world is now a far more vibrant place and there is a lifetime of learning and adventure ahead of me.” – Keith Whitehead

A stunning landscape in Canada

A stunning landscape in the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Canada

 

Memories of Namibia

As we look ahead to our next Namibia expedition in 2016, Woodlore’s Dan Hume unearths some unseen photos from his last visit to this remarkable country.

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Isaac, one of our bushman guides, and Ray pause under the shade of a tree for a few moments before continuing to look for leopard tracks

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