Real outdoor adventure in The Wild Boar Woods with our new full day Bushcraft courses where you will gain wilderness skills and the basic for survival in nature with our resident expert instructor, Kev.
There’s a whole host of activity happening in The Wild Boar woods. Seventy two acres of semi ancient woodland is the perfect setting for a romantic and rustic wedding reception or simply a stroll along one of the Inn’s nature trails, hopefully catching a glimpse of a fox, otter or red deer. Sculptural seating is strategically placed to take advantage of views through the woods and along Gilpin Valley. The more adventurous can have a go at archery or clay pigeon shooting or follow the outdoor gym – eight exercise stations offering an all-body workout.
Today, however, my colleagues and I are strolling back to nature to learn basic survival skills in The Wild Boar Bushcraft course, a one day course designed to equip the participants with the knowledge to stay safe warm and well-fed in the outdoors.
A Day in the Wild Lake District
It was a damp, drizzly day with no prospect of a break in the clouds but the steaming coffee, pastries and muffins awaiting us at our briefing session brought the sunshine out for us! Kev, our bushcraft instructor, bounded in from an early morning start in the woods and gave us the good news that he had already constructed the ‘tarp’ as our shelter for the day. It’s got to be said, we were gladdened by these tidings – not all of us were embracing this foray into forest living just yet!
Kev is passionate about what he does and his enthusiasm quickly transferred to his newly established team of ‘survivors’. After setting out what we could expect from the day and ensuring we had the right kit (boots and waterproofs essential), he led us to our shelter – in better weather we would have been responsible for putting this up ourselves.
Warmth: Fire & A Lovely Cup of Tea
It seemed too soon after coffee and cakes for Kev to mention getting the kettle on for a cup of tea until we realised that it’s our little band that need to collect the wood and conjure up some fire (without matches) to light it! Therein begins our participation and it takes all available hands to forage for lightable fuel. Fortunately, Kev knows his wood from the trees and we learn which branches burn ‘wet’ and how to identify the best fire fodder.
With a suitable fireplace scraped out and made ready and paper-like ash bark primed to catch the flames, we set out to ‘make fire’. This exercise became a bit competitive and sparks from our flints were soon flying! With a little encouragement from the ‘blow poker’ to circulate some air, we soon had a blaze going. Fire, an essential ingredient in the development of civilization, warms the heart as well as the kettle! By the time we had our very welcome ‘home produced’ tea, all previous snacks were a distant memory.
Whittling the Time Away
The next section of the course is ‘knives’ and their safe handling. This is where Kevin comes in to his own and he has an amazing store of information about the history, design and production of knives. He displays and describes many different types of knives and shows us several examples of knives that he has produced himself.
He demonstrates various whittling and carving techniques and, with safety at the forefront of all that we do, he allows us to ‘have a go’. This is an absorbing pastimes but with lots of practical applications and by the end of the session we learned we had all the skills required to make a bird trap. Not feeling peckish for ‘bird’ at the moment we move on…
Trees and Water
There is incredible variety of trees and bushes in the woods – alder, silver birch, hawthorn, holly, hazel, wild cherry, majestic douglas fir, sessile oak and sweeping larch – and Kevin helps us to identify their leaves and properties and how they can be used for survival. He also teaches how to identity the best places to look for another essential, water – although at this stage in the afternoon all we have to do is look above our heads for an adequate source!
Trees come in very useful when it comes to trying out our hammock slinging skills! This is a fun way to end the day and I make a note to self that this is an essential piece of kit for my next long distance walk.
The Wild Boar Bushcraft courses
Our new training days in The Wild Boar Woods are now available throughout the year. They will cover a range of different bush craft survival skills from introductory fire making courses to wilderness training. Day courses start from £85 which include tuition, breakfast and lunch. Take a look at The Wild Boar Events Page for a list of course dates.
To book or enquire please telephone: 015394 45225