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Oh dear!

Discussion in 'Bushcraft and survival skills' started by Woody110, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. Woody110

    Woody110 Mod
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    Not that I’m one for pinching ideas from social media, but I’ve just read a question posed and wondered if people had any stories themselves. The question is have you ever had to use your survival skills in a proper “oh dear” moment? This could be that you’ve lost your lighter and had to find sticks for friction firelighting, or you fell in the river and lost all your kit. Then had to survive for a week with the clothes on your back.
     
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  2. John Fenna

    John Fenna Lifetime Member & Maker

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    On a staff training/staff selection expedition for World Challenge...
    On the flight in Air Morocco lost my hold luggage rucksack with the majority of my kit somewhere between Casablanca and Marracesh...
    I completed a weeks exped with only my hand luggage ... one change of clothing and med/hygine kit..
    Borrowed a sleeping bag liner from another exped member, a down jacket from another and used the team bivi bag and group shelter for my nights out above the snow line. My daysack was my kip mat....a bowl and spoon scrounged from our muleteer was my mess kit.
    I did not get much sleep due to the cold but knowing how to stay warm with minimum kit and generally knowing how to improvise saw me through - I got a position with the company (leading youth expeds) while others who were on the trip left without jobs....
    And one time I had a lighter that died in the middle of a day walk so I had to use the matches from my "Survival Tin" to light my ciggies!
     
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  3. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I have been badly disoriented on two different winter deer hunting trips by myself. Both times caught in sudden snowstorms.
    Our winter daylight is short so you don't want to get caught in the dark trying to get back to the roads and the truck.
    Visibility 20 yards. Absolutely no idea which way it might have been, back to the road.
    I had fire & soup fixings and some mylar space blankets in my day pack, no big deal.

    #1 Didn't think it could snow so hard. Was not very cold at all. Hopeless so might as well go home.
    Always trust the compass. Always. I was mentally 'off' by 90 degrees.

    #2 Could have been 6-10" snow on the ground. Animal tracks all over the place = deer & moose.
    Selectively logged, quite open, some cover from the remaining trees, stuck to the forest edge.
    So I'm looking at the ground, not looking for any landmarks to memorize.
    It was snowing lightly. Realized that I had cut across a set of big human boot prints.
    Eventually realized that they were my own and that I had walked in a circle of maybe a mile.
    Did not recognize anything. No ideas of direction.

    This one really spooked me badly. No idea at all which way to go. Flat land, no clues.
    Not cold. I had forgotten my gaiters so pant legs getting soaked and cold.
    Always trust the compass. Always. Totally disoriented, I was 'off' by 180 degrees this time.

    > Maybe these stories don't count for much. Just nearly shook the shi# out of me at the time.
     
  4. Cyclingrelf

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    A few years ago, myself and two friends moved into a shared flat in London during a very cold February.
    We soon discovered, when we didn't have any gas for cooking nor heating, that the previous tenants had failed to pay their gas bill and done a runner.
    It took a week to sort out, so I improvised a hob with an old biscuit tin. Put holes all around it, filled it with night lights and cooked on top.

    Sent from my SM-A300FU using Tapatalk
     
  5. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    The first 'situaion' I remember was when I was 11 or 12, our family were skiing in the Swedish/Norwegian mountains.
    Plenty of well marked trails, so no need for a map or compass.
    Went out when it got light ( 10 or so), beautiful sunny weather.
    A couple of hours later - snowstorm. Dad had to dig a shelter with my ski. Big enough for 4 people. Never had seen him so scared.

    Storm lasted through the rest of the day and into next day.
     
  6. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    You see, you just don't get that father-son bonding these days :)
     
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  7. Tengu

    Tengu Full Member

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    When I started on my degree course I had arranged some place to stay.

    Which fell through.

    College said to go home and come back next year.

    I had my camping kit with me, so went off to a farming friend and sat tight until College found a place for me.

    Dad was concerned to leave me in such a state of limbo, but he knew I was comfortable enough in my tent.
     
  8. Le Loup

    Le Loup Nomad

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    As a primitive skills instructor, I have simulated a survival situation. Such as going into the forest in winter in pouring rain & constructing a fire-bow & making fire. When I camp in the forest I only ever use primitive equipment & primitive skills. I have been in a few survival situations, the only one that comes close to your scenarios is when I survived cyclone Tracey in Darwin in 1974.
    Keith.
     
  9. mousey

    mousey Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    I once lost a compass on a walk so relied on sun position and matching the terrain I could see to the map - accurate navigation wasn't too important as I wasn't on the top of a mountain or anything.
     
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  10. Woody110

    Woody110 Mod
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    Good skills, I was planning on doing a geocache with my scout group using my GPS, however ended using mobile phones as I can’t find my GPS anywhere.
     
  11. Woody110

    Woody110 Mod
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    I would have been rather disgruntled if you hadn’t got the job after that.
     
  12. Van-Wild

    Van-Wild Nomad

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    As a child, I used to be out camping and fishing or catapult hunting every school holiday. Sometimes with my mates and sometimes by myself. One holiday aged 13, I persuaded my mum to drop me off alone, about maybe 20-25 miles from home, with the aim of covering the distance back home on foot over a few days. Terrain was coastal. Specifically (if you're interested) from the vicinity of RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk, very loosely following the coastal/inland path ways north to the vicinity of the infamous Pleasurewood Hills amusement park near Corton.....

    I knew the ground well and suitably equipped good old mum dropped me off in bright sun shine. With a wave and a smile she drove off. I spent the best part of the day meandering about the fringes of the nature reserve birding, looking for lizards and such as boys do. My aim was to enjoy myself and slowly head for the NW edge of the reserve and find somewhere to set up my camp for the night. I found a perfect wooded area late afternoon.

    Following a good meal of beans and fresh bread I was laid out on my old foam mat watching the sun go down when a great idea came into my head. I used to love those old 'commando' comics as a boy and relished a good escape story. So with my imagination on full throttle I was now an escaping commando, evading the enemy to get back to friendly lines!! The idea of night marching excited me. I'd never attempted such a thing before and the thought of 20 odd miles in a night seemed totally possible if I got a shift on....

    I threw my rucksack on and got moving. I had a compass but no map. As the last of the light turned to total darkness I found I was having to constantly change direction due to small tributaries, wetland and such. I tried to generally head NNE with the thought of hitting the coast just south of Walberswick. I knew there was a bridge across the river to continue my 'escape'.....

    Just SW of Walberswick there's an area of really wet marsh. I know this because at some point in the night I walked right into it. Up to my waist, falling forwards up to my elbows. I was soaked to my skin. I flailed on. Splashing about and cursing I somehow reached solid ground where I fell over exhausted. For a while I just lay there sucking in air. Eventually, I thought to take off my rucksack and have a drink. This gave me a moment to think, and I thought 'if I really was escaping, this wouldn't stop me. Bugger it, keep going'. In my young head if I made it to the bridge I was good as home.....

    After a while i trudged into the western edge of Walberswick village. I knew I'd have to find the path that would lead to the bridge across the river. I followed the road into the village centre looking for sign that would show me the way. I couldn't find it. Cold, tired and soaking wet I retraced my steps tge edge of the village. 'Sod it, the river is north.' I set my compass and off i went......

    In a pretty straight line north I crossed fields and such. I found the river. Wow, that's really not as wide as I thought it would be. I can chuck my rucksack across and jump it after a run up!. Over went my rucksack. I took a run up. And didn't make it. I slipped down the very steep bank on the far side and down into muddy, slurry water. I was up to my thighs and clawing at the mud. Gosh knows how long it took me to get out but by the time I did, I was soaked all up my front and caked in sticky mud. What a sight I must of been...... I wiped my hands on the grass and laid down panting. At least I was across the river.

    Ah haha! After donning my rucksack I headed north. After only about 50m I came to another river!! Which was, of course, the actual river I was looking for. My previous 'river ' was merely a drainage ditch...... I sat down utterly dejected. I was muttering and swearing to myself. After a period of self pity I again had the 'bugger it' attitude and sorted myself out. Gosh knows what time it was. At that age I didn't have a watch.

    For the first time that night I made a good call. I was deffo at the river. West or east? I couldn't swim it.... I decided to find the bridge. After a while i found it. A wooden foot bridge that crossed into Southwold!!! I remember skipping across it.

    I dragged my tired feet through the golf course, past Southwold village and headed for the beach. I was shattered. Onwards! I kept thinking, still 'escaping'. I pushed hard up the beach (which just added to my imagination, there is (or was) a lot of old ww2 pill boxes dotted along the coast....

    Eventually I got to kessingland. I was so sore and tired. But walking any further north would mean walking through lowestoft and looking like I did , a young boy covered in mud, by all accounts looking like an extra out of Oliver twist, didn't seem like a good idea.

    I skirted West around the southern edge of kessingland, crossed the A12 and headed into the fields. I couldn't go on. I saw a small copse and headed to it. There I found cover and got out my sleeping bag. I wrapped my old army poncho round it like a bivvy bag. Stripping off my clothes I climbed in and promptly fell fast asleep.

    I woke up sore at some point late in the morning. My roll mat was laid still rolled up some 6ft away...... the call of nature got me out of my bag. I was starving and suddenly realised I hadn't eaten since dinner the night before. I lit a small fire with matches. Boiled water and made a cup of tea. Breakfast was chocolate bars and oats. After breakfast I was stuffed. I couldn't move. So I sat there until mid afternoon watching the wildlife and sipping water. My feet were in a bad way. Back then I wore an old pair of leather ankle boots which didn't fit the best. My soles were blistered and my little toes were bleeding. My knees hurt. I decided to continue my March once it turned dark. My morale was back up.

    I retraced my route back to the coast in darkness. Once I hit the stoney beach, for some reason I just thought 'Oh sod it' and stopped. I collected firewood and lit a big fire. As far as I was concerned, my escape was over. I slept the rest of the night on the beach next to the fire. In the morning I walked back into kessingland, found a phone box and called my mum. 'Only kessingland?' She said, slightly amused. I brought chips while I waited for her....

    So not 'survival' per se I guess. But I did use a lot of Bushcraft. Granted, maybe not the best idea at 13 years old. I made mistakes, I was over confident and my imagination got the better of me. But what an experience! I'm glad that at such a young age I WAS confident to do such a thing. I'm glad my parents not only allowed me to it but ENCOURAGED me to be independent and adventurous. I've always loved the outdoors. I learnt a lot on that adventure and I wouldn't change it for the world!

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  13. Woody110

    Woody110 Mod
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    Cracking story and what an adventure for a young lad. Couldn’t imagine many children doing that now, and there would be no way I would allow my lad to do that.
    Maybe I should allow a little more freedom.
     
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  14. Van-Wild

    Van-Wild Nomad

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    My boy is six. He has his first homemade bow and knocks over cans with it and we go roving across the fields occasionally. He has his own pocket knife and knows the basics of fire. We wild camp as time permits. He is still supervised but I trust him to run about in the woods so long as he keeps in the vicinity of me. I will always encourage him to adventure. It builds his confidence and life skills. He prefers fishing over hunting.....

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  15. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    I try very hard to give my grand kids freedom and encourage them to explore and have fun outside and in the woods. Times have changed though. From the age of seven I was wandering around the scrubland in North Africa making bows and spears and tracking animals. My mother never knew where I was. In my teens I was backpacking solo over the North Yorkshire Moors at the same time as despicable things were being done on the moors the other side of the Pennines. I don't know if there is more 'nasty' stuff around now or if it's just that we hear about it from all over the world within seconds of it happening.

    I think kids could be in far more danger left to their own devices on the internet than out in the woods though :)

    Back to the OP's question I think, for me, the whole point about learning wilderness/backwoods skills is that they can come in handy at any time. What they really provide is the ability to solve problems when things go pear-shaped not necessarily a specific 'how-to'. I doubt there's a day when I don't use some of those skills but, the reality is, there's no 'two worlds' for me now :)
     
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  16. John Fenna

    John Fenna Lifetime Member & Maker

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    Me too!
    As an Outdoor Skills Instructor for Wirral Boro Co at their Oaklands Center in North Wales I used to spend a lot of my spare time putting myself in "Survival" scenarios (it was a long trip home so I only went home if I had 3 days off in a row) - I learned a lot about myself in that time!
    Learning what you can do without also saves you money - a big + in my book!
     
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