The Woodcrafter course has been one of our most popular public courses over the years. It’s probably the combination of real-world training with getting to experience something in the UK that you normally only get from an expedition overseas.
The July 2018 course begins on a Saturday morning at the edge of a forest in North Wales, with course participants meeting the instructor (Richard) and walking in via tracks and trails alongside a tumbling river in a limestone gorge. This section gives the participants time to settle in to the environment and discuss topics ranging from wild plant ID to resource mapping, pattern recognition and human cognition and just simply how to find your way through the woods.
After climbing a steep hill to our temporary basecamp the course began in earnest – starting with a thorough breakdown of firelighting in various forms – from the simple and reliable to some of the trickier aspects, such as using natural tinder and creating a glowing ember. This was followed by individual sessions on firecraft, building a fire from scratch and managing it through the critical early stages.
We moved then on to shelters, choosing a site for setting up a camp and the various factors that can be considered – proximity to water, firewood and other resources, environmental hazards and even security. This led of course to the siting and building of shelters by the participants – a task that encompasses several other skills such as ropework and knots.
With the evening meal well under way some of the group diverted off to swim and bathe in the river – not the warmest you’ll find but certainly refreshing! We returned, ate and finished the day with a session on water safety – both in terms of travel and for purification and filtration.
That night the long-promised rains arrived and tested our shelters (they passed – mostly!) and made the morning cooking sessions a damp and smokey affair. We then moved out of the woods to the relative civilisation of a country lane where went deeper into the subject of wild plant ID and gathered some materials for a natural cordage session later that day.
Next up was a lengthy session on knife and cutting tool choice and safety – everything from general purpose knives to specific tools for carving and skinning. We also went through sessions on using axes, saws and other tools – including felling a tree and processing it into firewood or building materials.
As the day drew to a close we sat under the trees and made cord from nettle fibres, sharpened the knives and axes of the participants to a razor-edge and drank even more tea.
The Woodcrafter Course is one of our Level One courses in the Campcraft training stream. As a L1 course it can be enjoyed by complete beginners with no prior experience – but some of these participants were fairly experienced within the UK environment and still found plenty to learn in the course.
The next public course dates for the Woodcrafter can be found HERE. It can also be delivered as a private session to a client, or combined with other training if required.