A brand new seven-part series is due to begin on ITV1 at 8pm on Friday 13th October. This series sees renowned bushcraft expert Ray Mears delving further into the outback. Ray travels across Australia to discover how the wildlife and people thrive and adapt in some of the planet’s last great areas of wilderness.
In this series Ray ventures through turquoise waters, across majestic mangroves, high above mountain ranges and deep into pre-historic forests. In each episode, Ray journeys through Australia in search of its remarkable landscapes, the extraordinary wildlife and the people who have survived this wilderness.
“The question is not what we get out of nature, but what can we give back to nature.”
The Path of Grey Owl is a new film by Goh Iromoto, shot on location in Ontario, Canada. It follows Ray Mears through the wilderness of the Temagami region, as he explores the path of acclaimed author and conservationist Grey Owl (also known as Archibald Belaney). While reflecting on the landscape that shaped Grey Owl into the person that he was, Ray further delves into Grey Owl’s message about protecting our wilderness, and explains why this is still so relevant and important in our present day.
For more information on Grey Owl, please click here.
For your chance to win a trip to Ontario with Ray Mears as your guide, please click here.
When we hunt for our own food, we can rest assured that the animal has led a free and natural life, that has come to an instant and humane end. Deer have been hunted in the woodlands of Britain for thousands of years and, as such, their meat forms a very natural part of our diets.
Venison is one of the leanest and healthiest of red meats, and a casserole provides a great way of cooking it outdoors. The Hunter’s Stew is a hearty, warming meal that is perfect for the cold evenings of winter and early spring. The dish shown here was cooked in a small Dutch Oven suspended over the fire, and served two people.
- 2 x small venison steaks
- 1 x handful of flour
- 1 x knob of butter
- 1 x large onion
- 2 x cloves of garlic
- 6 x rashers of bacon
- 1 x handful of mushrooms
- 2 x sticks of celery
- 2 x carrots
- 1/2 bulb of fennel
- 1/2 bottle of Merlot
- 2 x bay leaves
- 1 x sprig of thyme
- 1 x tablespoon of honey
The following post was written by Woodlore Aspirant Instructor Rob Bashford:
The Art of Navigation
I have often heard Ray refer to the compass as the ‘key to the wilderness’. By this I believe he means it unlocks the full potential of the outdoors, enabling you to travel confidently in wild places. Navigation is undoubtedly one of those foundation skills, along with the likes of first aid, around which all other bushcraft skills should be built. The ability to navigate proficiently is an absolutely key skill if you plan to venture into the outdoors and its importance rises in direct proportion to the remoteness of the environment. It is very often the case that emergencies in the outdoors are the end result of an earlier navigational error.
The problem is that in today’s world of GPS and mapping software, now conveniently incorporated into smart phones, it is all too easy to think that the map and compass have become outdated. Nothing could be further from the truth. As in other areas of bushcraft, the best tools are those that are simple and robust, meaning they can be relied upon in tough environments. Those that utilise electronics and batteries do not generally fall into this category. That is not to say there is no place for this technology but it should never be the sole means of navigation. There is no substitute for the humble map and compass.
The ability to navigate with confidence is a wonderfully liberating skill, enabling you to venture further off the beaten track and really immerse yourself in wild places. The real beauty of this skill is that it is entirely transferrable to different environments. Yes, the maps may look a little different in foreign countries and there are some important variables to be aware of, but ultimately the skill of using a map and compass remains the same wherever you are in the world.
In its simplest form, navigation means knowing how far you have travelled from a known point and in what direction, a process known officially as ‘dead reckoning’. In reality there is a bit more to it than this and like many of the skills in bushcraft, observation is paramount. Learning to read the subtleties of the terrain allows you to venture into seemingly featureless landscapes, where there are no signs or paths to guide you. It also builds an inner confidence and that frees you to visit those less frequented places.
Although there is certainly scope for teaching yourself the basics of navigation, as when learning most new skills, a little instruction goes a long way. Woodlore has been running wilderness navigation courses for some years now and we have distilled Ray’s many years of wilderness navigation experience into a readily digestible format. These courses are unique, in that we teach you techniques you can use anywhere in the world, with a strong emphasis on woodland navigation. This environment mirrors the rigours of navigating in reduced visibility and is perfect preparation for the night navigation elements of the course. It is safe to say that when you can find your way confidently through dense forest at night, with only a map and compass to guide you, you can navigate just about anywhere.
– Rob Bashford