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.
Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day prepares a warming meal for lunch in the Dutch oven
We recently ran our first Camp Craft course of the season in a beautiful piece of countryside, close to the historic town of Battle in East Sussex.
As part of the preparation for the course, our most senior instructors Dan Hume and Keith Whitehead had been busy practising the splicing and whipping techniques that they’d be passing on to those attending. Learning traditional skills such as these is what makes this course such an enlightening and rewarding experience.
The results of Keith’s whipping and splicing work in preparation for the course
Last week saw the first Woodlore U.K. course of 2014 take place. This year we kicked things off with our Advanced Tracking course, held in the beautiful countryside of East Sussex.
A visit from Ray during the Woodlore Advanced Tracking course
Guided by the staff, the clients roamed amongst ancient woodland of oak, beech and yew as they followed the trails left by man and beast. Having completed previous tracking courses with us, this was an opportunity to delve much deeper into the art of tracking, build on their current knowledge and put new skills and techniques to the test in challenging, exciting and realistic scenarios.