Category Archives: Bushcraft Courses & Expeditions

Bushcraft Courses & Expeditions

End of Season Event 2013

In celebration of a very successful and exciting 30th Anniversary course season at Woodlore we invited the field team to join the office staff for a venison feast at one of our beautiful course sites in East Sussex.

The event took place on Saturday and we were overwhelmed to see so many of the team and their families who had made long journeys to join us in the celebration.

Collecting firewood and starting the fire to heat the rocks

Collecting firewood and starting the fire to heat the rocks

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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

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Looking to the Future

Woodlore’s Head of Operations, Dan Hume, has returned to the office after his time on the awe inspiring Canadian Wilderness Canoeing Expedition that took place in Ontario last month.

Dan has passed on these amazing photographs and some of his thoughts:

As I sat warming my hands by the campfire on one of the first cold mornings it struck me how suddenly the seasons can change. We had been paddling on our recent Canadian canoe expedition and were enjoying the warm weather. That morning however was different, for the first time, as I crawled out of my tent I saw mist rising from the lake beside our camp, I donned an extra layer, and my morning cup of hot chocolate was even more welcome than before.

A misty morning in the Caribou Provincial Park

A misty morning view from a campsite on the trail

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The Path of the Paddle

This week sees the return of our team who have been Canoeing in the Ardeche, France.  Aspirant Instructors Keith Whitehead and Brian Fox were joined by canoeing experts Tony Pape (Blue) and his wife Caroline to run this unique course designed to equip you with the necessary skills to make the most of this most beautiful mode of travel.

Pont d'Arc

Pont d’Arc view from the campsite

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Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Behind the Scenes

With so many photos being taken on this year’s Birch Bark Canoe Building Course, there were to bound to be some images which didn’t make it into our daily blog updates.

Here are a few extra shots from our archives to give you a better look behind the scenes of this seminal course:

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith

Old friends Lars Fält and Ray Mears share a moment between carving

 

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Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 7 (Part 2)

On Saturday 20th July 2013, Woodlore’s first ever Birch Bark Canoe Building course concluded with the launching of the group’s very own hand-built craft. Made entirely of natural materials and using traditional tools and techniques, the finished canoe was truly a sight to behold as it was paddled out onto the lake at our East Sussex course site.

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 7 (Part 2)

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 7 (Part 2)

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Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 6

Day 6 was the penultimate day of our Birch Bark Canoe Building Course, and for the first time there was a noticeable sense of urgency in the air. With launch day looming, students pulled together to complete the next set of tasks, including the stitching of the bow and stern, with beautiful results. Once this was finished, attention was turned to keeping the canoe moist and supple, in preparation for the placement of the cedar ribs.

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 6

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 6

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

Day 5 of Woodlore’s Birch Bark Canoe Building Course began with yet another beautifully sunny morning. With the canoe nearing completion, the team turned their focus to preparing the many ribs which will give the craft its finished shape, while continuing to stitch and bind the finished pieces together. When their hands were not needed elsewhere, students (along with special guest Lars Falt) progressed with the carving of their own canoe paddles, in readiness for launch day.

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

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

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Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 4

The sight that greeted me on day 4 of our Birch Bark Canoe Building Course was a huge leap forward from my previous visits. Despite being the hottest day of the year so far, the group continued to work hard and were clearly enjoying seeing their efforts pay off, with the canoe already framed, pegged and being sewn together. Traditional tools and natural thread were used throughout and, as you can see below, the results were striking. Meanwhile, Ray unveiled a special, ceremonial sweat lodge which had been crafted earlier in the week, and students continued to carve their very own canoe paddles.

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith - Day 4

Birch Bark Canoe Building with Ray Mears and Pinock Smith – Day 4

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