I've spent much of the last few years trying to escape from my city life, dreaming of living in a quiet wood somewhere. The closest I've come to this are a few days camping where my basic skills are so limited that I've ended up eating out in local restaurants as I can't keep a stove alight long enough to boil a kettle! So, when the opportunity came up to spend a weekend learning prehistoric and bushcraft skills with Wildwise, I was begging to go along.
The site was off a country lane and as I pushed my belongings in the wheelbarrow along the tree-lined track I felt all my troubles evaporating. I passed tents dotted around in the woods and was aware of entering a quiet, calm space.Chris greeted me at the "permanent" camp centre, a parachute over a continually burning fire, and explained where to pitch my tent (anywhere), where to go to the loo (anywhere!), which added to the relaxed atmosphere. Dinner was provided for us as a group and afterwards there was a generous sharing of music and story-telling.
During the days Allan Course shared with us his passion for prehistoric crafts, particularly flint knapping. Over the course of the weekend we learned how to shape flint and produce twine from nettles enabling us to make a knife complete with wooden handle. We also showed off our sporting abilities, throwing spears and slingshots for an afternoon.
I came away with a smell of wood smoke, a feeling of peace and kinship, 5ft of nettle twine and some arrow heads. I also took the time to ensure I left knowing how to light a fire too, and greatly impressed my nephews with a splendid fire on our next camping trip.
Samantha Di Giovanni. Published issue 59, Nov 09
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