Today I was invited to attend a Bushcraft session by Denbighshire County Council’s ambassador scheme. We were welcomed by Jamie who moved to the area two years ago to live and set up The Wild Bush Craft Company and his gorgeous dog Brew. Jamie who is originally from Scotland, was a ranger in Loch Lomond before starting a similar business working with youth groups in Hampshire with his Welsh wife Sheena seven years ago.
Our morning was split into three skills, starting a fire , baking bread outdoors and axe throwing. I was curious to see how these three skills would marry up. There was more to fire lighting that I had orignally thought. First we were shown how to collect some tinder from the bark of some Silver Birch which apparently is natures natural fire lighters, because of the natural oils infused in its bark. We were then shown how to collect varying sizes of kindling in order to sustain the fire once lit. Jamie’s experience of working with groups shows in the patience he had with our group as we struggled to spark the fire. Finally those flames took hold and we all cheered as we gently placed the the neat bundles of kindling on top of the tenuous flames. Jamie went on to explain in cooking our prey, fire developed us as humans, as our guts shrunk as we no longer needed them to eat raw meat our brains grew and we developed through the ages, fascinating stuff! I for one, will no longer take my matches for granted.
Each group was then show how to create a pot holder to boil some water for a well earned cuppa.
It was then time to get our hands sticky with the bread making, using a simple recipe and a stick to cook them over the open fire we soon had ourselves some Bannock bread. It was a lovely experience chatting around the open fire, gently toasting our bread to the sound of birdsong and a distant steam train, with a gentle nudge every now and again from Brew who wanted me throw his stick.
Before we left, Jamie ( with a touch of Rollo from Vikings) gave us a quick lesson in axe throwing, which was suprisingly satisfying although I think we all needed some more practice before we would have any chance of hitting the bullseye.
If you fancy a go at any of these activities or some wild camping visit the website for online booking and prices.