Thursday, 19 August 2010

Extreme Survival

At the beginning of June, I spent a week in Scottish highlands on an extreme survival course with my brother and a group of 6 other like minded strangers and three instructors.
We had to first hike into an area to camp, carrying all we needed for the week long course. When we arrived (we were knackered) we then had to make camp, constructing an area for a fire as well as enough shelters for the 8 of us.
We manged to just get up the frame of shelters big enough for purpose and the realisation that collecting enough water and making it safe to drink was going to be a major part of this course as the nearest stream was half a mile away over some quite rough terrain. Before we could settle we were taken down the side of the wood for our first lesson - game preparation - deer. We all had a go at jointing and skinning the animal and it was much the same as a rabbit but on a bigger scale.
The next four days were great, we managed to get our shelter pretty much water proof (with one minor disaster), we learnt more game preparation including squirrel, we learnt about making signal fires and how to fire a flare (very good fun), we also had quite few lessons on map reading and navigation. Also the water situation was one of the key things we all learnt - you must have water on the boil all the time or suddenly you've run out and that's when a situation can become dangerous.
The week was simply great fun. I learnt loads as well as spending plenty of quality time with my little brother doing what we both enjoy. I'd never been to Scotland before but the landscape was amazing and it seemed so empty of people (one of the reasons I enjoyed my naked wash at the stream a little bit more). We also made some great friends, people who I hope we will keep in touch with and go camping with again, so we can learn bushcraft from each other and have good company while we do it.

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