Sunday, 9 June 2013

Tracking and Nature Awareness Course at Frontier Bushcraft.

I've just returned from a wonderful week learning more about tracking from Paul Kirtley and the guys at Frontier Bushcraft. It was a very realistic course, breaking down all the mystery surrounding the subject, and giving lots of practical time to go tracking and the opportunity to absorb the information given.

I wont go into too much detail as I wouldn't want to spoil the experience for anyone thinking of attending in the future, but I'll post a few of the pictures I took though the week. It was a very busy first few days and I simply left the camera back at base and cracked on with all the exercices, but I grabbed a few.

After first setting up my camp we started learning more about our senses, and stalking techniques using lots of fun exercises, which helped us to tune into the area, before looking for spore.

My little home from home for a week. No roughing it here, and lots of handy firewood.

When in a rush, the wildstove worked a treat, twigs were a plenty and saved on the meths.

Staffordshire Oatcakes filled with bacon and cheese, washed down with a freshly brewed coffee. 
The bushcrafters breakfast of champions! (several days running)

The site was a stunning very old Sweet Chestnut Coppice woodland full of bluebells and fresh new leaves. The weather was very nice too, which made life a little easier. A spot of Birch here and there provided excellent tinder and kindling.

The course was not just about tracking. Plenty of long opportunities to watch wildlife were provided with some very special moments, and very many midge bites. Badgers, Fallow Deer, Woodpeckers, Skylarks all came out for the Binoculars to pick up, some very close.

Back on the trail with some pace tracking.

Can you see the boot print?

After stove comes fire, and making things more comfortable.

We spent some time collecting other signs of wildlife and death! 

Badger tracks

Signs of bushcrafters at work

Search and rescue party

Methodical work on the crossroads

Just off home for tea and medals, when we saw something on the track ahead...

its a poor shot on the camera, but this fallow deer looked great in the Binos.

Wizarding tracking wand of power, with little of the local sweet Chestnut bark as cordage.

If you have had your fill of fires, sharp shiny things and camping then I urge you to take opportunities to observe the natural world around you by implementing some basic tracking skills, or simply going to a place where you can sit quietly and watch known wildlife areas. Combined with a good walk, some foraging and some navigation work, it is a great way to relax, keep active and alert.