29.6.09

WEISS 2009

Vildmark and WEISS 2009.
Ah, Sweden my favourite course location. Tranquil lakes and majestic forests - no wonder even Ray Mears believes travelling the nature there to be close to a religious experience!
This year found us with a group of 34 eager students form one of Britains top public schools.
As well as a few of natures more amusing characters such as Malcolm the bushwacking squirrel and Woody the camp robber!
The courses themselves were great fun and generally weather blessed although a thunderstorm and a hailstorm did a lot to focus minds on the fact we werent out there simply playing!
Mornings were generally beautiful and with the lads all sleeping tranquil havens for the early riser!
The Vildmark course as always was a mix of skills and leasure time - as well as being a chance to "train up" the those needing a little extra dirt time ready for the WEISS!
Preben even took time out of his busy schedule to, aided by grandson Max, teach the students how to canoe and proform the airplane rescue - excellent to watch and impressive to see.
After a fun relaxing and highly educational week we turned up the heat (literally and weatherwise) and started the WEISS course!!
Working in pairs rather than individually we were very impressed to see ALL the students make fire in one of the oldest ways known to man. A great achievement in anybodies books even more so for 30 school boys who had never previously made fire by friction and a accolade to the excellent instructional skill and duty of care exhibited by Steve Wiggins, spent more than one mosi eaten night training the lads into the wee small hours!
The exercise phase saw the lads not only proving their survival and navigation skills but also testing their grit and determination with a grueling stretcher race and cas vac scenerio - showing great resourefulness they even built rafts to float the casualties to the final RV and potential rescue point.
As always once the signals were out and the teams had proved their survival skills and metal a rescue attempt was staged
While the teams "played" the old war horses swung the lantern
One of the beauties of Sweden in the good weather is the simplicity of campcraft - a sleeping bag and a bed of bushy lingon and your set for the night - a sweet bed, scented by nature herself and as comforting as a mothers embrace!
The WEISS course went well - the students were excellent - adapting to the nature with the ease of those who went before...........


Sadly, while a new high was set by the guys this year with the majority passing - we still had 7 poor souls who failed. Those who passed proudly recieved their badges knowing full well they earned the right to join that small, yet presdigious, group of outdoors folk who over the last 40 years have done the same.



7.6.09

Sweden's a callin'



Well dear reader the time is fast approaching for the Bearclaw, Nordic and Nordmarken groups to converge on Risviken Sweden.


Those of you who've seen Ray Mears Bushcraft episode in Sweden where he and Lars Falt camp on the side of a lake and cook char will be familiar with the type of terrian and I agree with old Mearsy on this occassion as camping out in a place like that is close to a religious experience - the clear waters and feeling of untainted wilderness turn such places into catherdals of bushcraft forcing our hearts to sigh with pleasure and our lips to whisper.

This year we have 34 students for both the Vildmark and WEISS courses - plus 5 staff so its a big course and busy time - good luck to all those attending the WEISS heres hoping you all pass and enjoy!!

For those who've never been and seen - heres a few pictures from previous visits.








Hope you enjoyed those ..................... will add more once I return from this years courses!!

Skool! ")

1.6.09

Greenhorn Weekend


This weekend saw us back in the woods for another Greenhorn course. The weathers God blessed us with stunning weather and Baccus blessed us with the company of a cracking group!!


The group was smaller than usual with only 5 students in the end as 3 cancelled, and of course myself and Steve Wiggins instructing.
The overall level of teaching and student succeess was very high indeed - will smaller courses be the way ahead? Maybe I certainly enjoyed the course and the campfire banter far more with 5 students than when we run the course at 16 odd people.


More importantly the instructor to student ratio was better (hence the high success) and after debrief on Sunday I like to think we sent away 5 new friends who also enjoyed the weekend not just for the course but for the warmth of the group they experienced.


Great weekend!!