Reflecting on the journey

Moments like this shaped my bushcraft journey

As things wind down after a hectic Christmas break I find more time to think about the year ahead; I start planning out some goals and a good starting point for this is to reflect on the previous year. Whilst reflecting on the last year, I got to thinking more about my journey into bushcraft in general and how this might shape my goals for the future.

Our personal journeys through life are incredibly varied and for me the introduction to all things bushcraft began in 2012 when my mother and father in law started talking about the many different things they were learning and the people they had met at the Bushcraft show. Our interest peaked, we (we in this case is Emma and I) began by trying our hand at camping under tarps and drooling over the sharp and shiny objects that fill many a website. I’ve always had an interest in the outdoors, with camping, hiking, climbing, cycling and kayaking filling my spare time since I was a child. With a young family of my own now, bushcraft opened up an opportunity for more family adventures and for many years we experimented with different sleeping setups, cooking techniques and worked on many craft projects.

The craft area of bushcraft is one of my main areas of interest and I started with knife making, progressed to leatherwork, sewing, wood turning and blacksmithing. Having access to our own piece of woodland helped provide a convenient location to practice whenever we wanted, though there were plenty of adventures bike packing and hiking across the UK. This carried on for several year until 2017 when Emma attended a wild food weekend with Woodland Ways. Having returned singing the virtues of the course I enrolled on the 5 day survival course and from there my journey really began. Following this course I embarked on several other training courses but the highlight was the Woodland Ways Sweden Canoe expedition in 2018. Putting everything I had been learning into practice on an expedition really shaped the path I wanted to take. I’d been back less than a week when I signed up for the Woodland Wayer programme; the two year (though mine has been extended due to various lockdowns) series of courses covering all the foundations you could need and a host of other areas. I can remember looking through the subjects and thinking that several didn’t seem that appealing, certainly ones that wouldn’t have been my first choice for a course if I was selecting them on their own. Having been through the courses I now know how wrong I was, I’ve learned something from each one and in many cases opened up an area of interest that previously I would have discounted.

Moments like this shaped my bushcraft journey
Moments like this shaped my bushcraft journey
The Wayer course opened up many new areas of interest
The Wayer course opened up many new areas of interest.

So, with a brief history of the journey so far, what’s the plan for the next year? It’s been a huge honour for me to also be an apprentice for Woodland Ways, which is in itself is a long journey with the coveted instructor shirt the end goal. The first goal of the apprenticeship is to get signed off on all the different areas we cover over a weekend course, last year I managed to get a few completed, so this year I’m aiming to double what I achieved last year.

Balancing a full-time family, a full-time job as well as supporting Emma through her Wayer course means that getting out on courses as much as possible is the priority in achieving this goal. Our very busy family calendar is now loaded with dates for courses and barring any setbacks, by the end of the year I’ll be a bit closer to that instructor shirt.

What are your plans for the year? Brushing up on your friction fire techniques? Perhaps starting to learn about flint knapping? There’s background about all the instructors and apprentices on the main website if you want to find out a bit more about us all. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to meet some of you on one of the courses and I’d love to hear your story and any plans you might be making.

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