Finally after a long wait due to change over in the content of Bush Craft sessions, on the 17th and 18th May we, that is the first years (James.F, Robert, Rachel, Sarah and me) and Will, one of our volunteers, accompanied by our very own Joshua Jones who was our trainer for the two days, headed down to the Wycliffe centre in Bucks.
On our arrival at Wycliffe we headed down to the woods for part one of our training SHELTERS!
We first looked at how to set up a group shelter. Long rope yep, two trees check, ok so tie rope to trees using two half hitches and a tuckers hitch on the other end to make it tight. Large tarp yep, two smaller piece of rope yep, two yellow things (which you attach to tarp to make eyelets) check. Now attach yellow things at the central point at each end of the tarp, using the eyelets holes tie on each a smaller piece of rope and use a rolling hitch to attach to the Long rope. Done kl now use the remaining rope to tie out the four corners. Trees, sticks and roots are helpful to tie to.
After putting up the group shelter we learnt about the 5 Ws the rules/laws to shelter building - water, weather, wigglys, wildlife and widdow makes. Now for those of you who are not aware for the means heres a quick run down:
Water - a place where water would collect if it rained
Weather - whats the weather doing is it windy etc and from what direction
Wiggles - worms, ants, bugs is there any nests around etc cause you dont what your shelter to become there extension.
Wildlife - Your in the wildlifes home not yours so make sure your not going to be shairing your shelter with a badger or any other animal!
Widow makers - Dead trees or branches which if caught by a strong wind would/could fall... you don't want to be caught under one if it did!
So following these rules we went out in pairs into the woods to find a good place to build a shelter. Now i bet you can't guess what happened next?
Nope ok, heres a clue - if you were staying in the woods over night what would you sleep in?
Shelter build with the woods? Nope
Just sleeping Bag Nope
Biv Bag Nope
Small Shelter Yes - more specific
A cheese wedge YESConfused, well I don't mean a cheese wedge made of cheese oh no but a tarp which has been made into the shape of one. Following all the work on shelters it was lunch time now which shelter to sit under?
After lunch we continued working on shelters and the different styles you can create. Now there is one other key element to Bush craft and no its not how to make your self look like a bush (if you want any lessons in that speak to Rachel she has the Gooseberry bush impression down to a fine art.) But of course FIRE and cooking.
After running though the safety stuff involved with making fire, we looked at the different ways of starting a fire who would have thought Vaseline rubbed into a cotton wool bud would work a treat? following this we created two fires and appointed two fire masters (the person who looks after the fire) we started cooking dinner. Now everyone seems to have is idea that the only things you can cook over fires are eggs, bacon, sausages and beans not quite sure why but I think it links back to Scouts. But anyway the truth is if you can cook it on the stove at home you can cook it on a fire.
Our menu for the two days looks something like this: dinner - Homemade chili, jacket potatoes and sweetcorn. Breakfast - good old English breakfast. Lunch - tortilla wraps. All of which we cooked over a fire and was very yummy :D
To follow our fire making skills we looked at Whittling, creating pegs, tools and over random things from wood using knifes. It was a lot of fun and managed to keep us quiet for ages, if we had had a concentration monitor i think it would have gone though the roof.
Evening is here, time to make our shelters and beds for the night before a quick night walk.
After a night out under shelters we had build it was good to see that all was well. Now down to the important things in life breakfast cooked over a fire = Win :D
How to run a session and how to adapt it depending on the group?
This was what we looked at for the rest of the next day. looking at the time plan, what you would do, creating a base structure for us to use. Josh then split us into two groups giving us different scenarios. We had to find out from the group what they had done before etc and then come up with a plan of what you would do with them for that session depended on age, experience etc.
It was a really helpful way of looking at how to run a session.
Lunch Time - if you have worked out by now Bush Craft is all about the food :D so after creating a last fire of the two days and cooking our meal. We set to tidying up camp and making it look like no one had been there.
Last by no means least we had a quick look again at the knots you use in shelter building before we headed back to the office. It had been an amazing two days and a great experience getting to try out and use the things we do in our sessions for our selfs over night. When can we go again Josh and play it was great Thank you.