Monthly Archives: October 2015

Northern Wilderness Bushcraft Monthly Moot

If only I had known earlier – known that I had a bushcraft school right on my own doorstep. The Northern Wilderness Bushcraft School is only four miles from my home, and they have some of the best woodland that I have ever seen. The school is located at Finchale Abbey and has over two and a half miles of untouched woodland which runs along the river Wear.

Arriving At Base Camp

I saw on Facebook that they were having their monthly meeting (moot), so I just had to go along to see for myself. On arrival at Finchale Priory I paid for a parking token, this was to ensure that I could pass through the exit barrier on leaving. I had a rough idea where the school was located as I had earlier checked on Google Maps.

Setting up Camp

On entering the school base camp I was greeted by a large parachute hanging above an open fire, and the friendly smiles of Dan and Gilan one of the bushcraft instructors. I offloaded my backpack and started looking around for somewhere to hang my hammock. After a minute or two I met Ian and Ryan, two other lads that were there for the moot. The lads had been there the previous night and already had their camp setup, they kindly invited me to join them. After hanging my hammock and tarp beside Ian and Ryan I headed off back down the the base camp to see what was planned for the day.

A Tour of the Woodland

Gillan said he would take us all for a walk around the woodland so we could see the scale and the natural resources. We set off after lunch and headed up to the top of the wood (the furthest away from the river). The woodland is on a slope down to the river, but at this point it was relatively easy walking. Once we got to the top we walked along the edge of the tree line and came to a huge area of open land, there were clear deer tracks and the tree line was full of wild edibles including, Blackberries, Blueberries and Rosehip. The ground was covered in Beech Nut and also empty Acorn shells, there was clear sign that squirrels had been eating the acorns. When we got to the end of the open area we headed into the woodland. We saw a huge variety of trees, Beech, Birch, Hazel, Oak and many more. It was obvious that this part of the woodland had not been managed for many years as there were lots of dead standing trees.

Ivory Wax Cap

Ivory Wax Cap

We headed down steep inclines until we came to the river, this really was magical. There were ducks and swans bobbing around on the river and every so often the surface of the river would ripple as a fish leaped out to grab an unsuspecting fly. An old tree had fallen near the side of the river, it was covered in green moss, and had mushrooms and fungus growing on it.

We headed back up through the woods, it was a much steeper climb at this point, I was out of breath by the time I go the the top. We headed back into the open space which lay between two areas of woodland then walked back to base camp. It must have take two and a half to three hours to walk the woodland which gives you some idea of the scale.

Chilling Out by the Fire

When we got back to base camp, Steve Taylor, the person that runs the Bushcraft School was there to greet us. He had been collecting fire wood and bringing up the cooking equipment to prepare for the evening meal. Ian got the fire going and Stevie started preparing his specialty ‘bean stew’. I spent the rest of the evening siting around the fire listening to Stevie and Ian exchanging stories.

Wild Camping

As well as the Bushcraft school, which offers a wide variety of courses, they also offer several membership options that allow a small number of people to use the woodland for wild camping, or to camp overnight to practice survival skills, shelter building etc.

I had a fantastic time at the Northern Wilderness Bushcraft Moot and I can highly recommend it to anyone who is considering going. I have signed up to become a member and will certainly be attending future moots.

 

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Bergans Lavvo

P1120030Winter is approaching fast, so I thought it was the ideal time to check my Bergans Lavvo for holes or rips before the bad weather comes along. The Bergans Lavvo is a Tipi Tent and the model I have sleeps up to 6 people. That is, six people sleeping on the floor, personally I prefer a little luxury in the colder nights. More often than not I use a camp bed, well, it’s actually a Carp Fishing Bed with a memory foam mattress, it’s very comfortable. The thing I really like about the Bergans Lavvo is that it can accommodate a wood burning stove, a vital piece of equipment, in my opinion, for winter camping.

So, I packed the car with all the equipment and set off for some local woodland where I had permission to camp for the night. I found a beautiful spot and started to set up the Tipi…

Bergans Lavvo

The Lavvo looked in perfect condition and had not suffered any ill effects from spending the past seven months in it bag. It didn’t take very long to collect some firewood and tinder and get the stove lit. Once inside the Lavvo, it was extremely cozy, and the camp bed provided even more luxury.

One thing I had wanted to do for some time was to have a go at making bread on the stove and now was the ideal opportunity. I had brought all the ingredients with me and mixed them together in a big pan. Once the dough had been made I split it into two foil trays, to enable the bread to cook quicker. I only had space to cook one portion of dough at a time, but within twenty five minutes the first roll of bread was made, it turned out to be very tasty.

After my meal I settled in for the night and enjoyed the sound of the birds roosting and the distance sound of cows mooing. It was very enjoyable and I had a very comfortable and warm nights sleep. If you get the opportunity to sleep in a Hot Tent, you should definitely give it a go, it is a wonderful experience.

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