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.
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:
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!
“With ice axes and crampons packed, Steve Corbyn and I landed near Inverness to meet Rob Bashford for a long weekend of winter walking, learning new skills and refreshing ourselves before the new course season at Woodlore. After buying our food and settling into our dorm at the Glenmore youth hostel we chatted about the coming activities and caught up over tea.
We were up early the next morning in order to meet Gary, our instructor for the day. We felt it important to ensure our skills were as fresh as possible and, after a brief from Gary and a chat about the day’s aims, we set off for Coire an Lochain with the following tasks in mind to focus on:
- Use of an ice axe for stability, cutting steps, fall arrest
- Assessing snow pack avalanche risk using a hasty pit
- Movement with and without crampons