1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Trueways survival school - any good? Any recommendations?

Discussion in 'Bushcraft and survival skills' started by samharris, May 17, 2015.

  1. samharris

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sheffield
    I want to do a survival course and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations about who was good and who to avoid? I want to do it in the UK but would consider abroad.

    I’d really like to know if anyone has any experience of Trueways Survival school? Their course looks perfect but I can’t find many reviews.

    I’m based in Yorkshire and have no survival experience, though I do go hiking.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. gonzo_the_great

    gonzo_the_great Forager

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2014
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset. UK
    Hi,

    I did one of their 5 day basic to advanced coursed, in March this year.

    It was well structured and informative, with practical sessions every step of the way.
    They started by teaching the basics (as the course title suggests!) which we did as a group and finishes with an assessment session, on your own in the woods, where you put what you have learned into practice. The whole week was set around an example survival scenario, so you could try and get into the appropriate mind set. And along the way, dropping in the odd unexpected thing, to keep you on your toes.
    You cook all your food (provided by the school) on the camp fires. And you will be making a lot of fires!

    My course was in Hampshire and the instructor was Conrad Allen, a very experienced guy, who made the whole week very enjoyable.
    I think we had 12 on the course. From an assortment of backgrounds, and I don't think anyone had any real difficulties keeping up during the training days.
    They run courses all around the UK, throughout the year.

    By the end of the 5 days I was pretty worn out, but on top of the world.
    Admittedly this is the only course of this type I've done, but thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll gladly recommend the school.

    A few weeks after the course you get your certificate and an individual written assessment of your performance.




    If anyone books one of these courses, my tips are:
    Choose a knife which you can baton with. And a sharpening stone. (Some people had folding knives, which limited them in some tasks.)
    If you have one, pack your folding saw.
    Decent waterproof boots.
    Get some good quality wool based thermals/base layer.
    Work gloves.
    Good waterproofs.
    Take a half decent sized mess tin/billy can to cook with and a personal one to eat from. They don't specify the size on the kit list, but cooking as a group is easier if you can a couple of larget pots between you.
    Good firesteel (the 4mm rat pack ones will only last you a day).

    The rest of the kit list, they email to you when you book. But speaking as a novice, I'd put the emphasis on the above items.


    Jules
     
  3. backpacker

    backpacker Forager

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastbourne, East Sussex
    Hi Jules,

    I went on a Trueways Survival Course 5 day Basic to Advanced with my Son in May two years ago in Worcestershire our Instructor was Paul 'Chalky' White a brilliant instructor, most of the instructors have a military background which is good, we were busy all the time and didn't get much time standing around which is a good thing we were learning all the time and being assessed though out the week, there's not much more that I can say that you have already said already, I would definitely recommend anyone who is interested in Survival to go on one of there courses.

    We have just booked a 7 Day Advanced Course in Nateby in Cumbria in September this year, apparently you are left to your own devises even though you are being monitored by an instructor through out the week, we are both really looking forward to the challenge!

    Dave
     
  4. Lazy Days

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Hi Dave

    Did you ever do the 7 day advanced course. I am very interested in your views.

    Thanks
     
  5. backpacker

    backpacker Forager

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastbourne, East Sussex
    Hi Jules,

    No we didn't go on the Advanced Course in September after all, due to some family issues so we cancelled and will be booking a 7 Day Advanced Course for later on this year, we was gutted as we both had been looking forward to the experience, we were fortunate that Trueways are letting us re-book as we didn't give them a lot of notice, but when we explained our reasons they were ok, when we have been on the course I will get back to you.

    All the best

    Dave
     
  6. hog

    hog Native

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Messages:
    1,470
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Robbing tombs in the deep south of Manannins Isle.
    Did anyone meet Lofty ?
     
  7. backpacker

    backpacker Forager

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastbourne, East Sussex
    Hi Hog,

    Lofty doesn't seem to do the courses himself as far as I know, but he has very good staff that have probably been trained by Lofty over the years!

    Dave
     
  8. Jedadiah

    Jedadiah Native

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,349
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Northern Doghouse
    I worked with Chalky on the SERE school (The 'R' rather than the 'S') and you are right, he's a top fella, real nice and switched on. I didn't realise he had pursued this after he left the Military until i saw him doing a demo on some kids TV programme last year! Nearly spat me coffee out! I think he has done some YouTube vids as well.
     
  9. Nigel H

    Nigel H New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London
    Hello

    I strongly recommend Trueways Survival.
    Have been on several Trueways courses and would I recommend all of them:
    2 day basic Survival / 5 day basic to advanced Survival / 3 day coastal / 3 day Advanced survival / 7 day Instructors development course.

    The instructors are brilliant and there are courses to suit everybody.
     
  10. Doodler

    Joined:
    May 15, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    sheffield
    I had a very mixed experience with a Trueways course, see my review in full on the course I did, on BushcraftUK by doing a search "Trueways anti-poaching and survival"
     
    Jan Vesely likes this.
  11. Jan Vesely

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hi there,

    Basic -> Advanced: Yes, liked the course very much. As several ppl here mentioned, you never stand still, you get a ton of hands-on experience

    Trueways anti-poaching and survival -> Total crap, does not deliver what it promises.
    - We were supposed to stay first and last night in a logde, view elephants and lions, didn't happen
    - Didn't visit the market on the last day
    - Didn't go on a night patrol
    - Didn't have anything to do on most days between 10am and 4:30 pm
    - Quite a lot of drinking happening (but some ppl might actually like that, so I leave it up to you if that's a + / - )
    - You can't really leave the campsite as it might be dangerous, while the instructor usually leaves for several hours midday
    - So, if you are looking for a course where you have enough time to: Run several half-marathons, read 650+ pages in a book, write several short stories, fill in your diary with a lot of pages of ... lack of daily experiences, then yes, this course is for you. If you actually expect this course to be active & hands-on, you will be severely disappointed
    - If you add anything but 5-star review on Trueways page, it will not get published
    - If you contact Trueways with your complaints, they will promise to get back to you and ignore you afterwards
     
  12. Jan Vesely

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hi, could you please tell me what your experiences were with anti-poaching? Can't seem to find the review you're referring to ... I'm curious as I was very disappointed myself
     
  13. C_Claycomb

    Mod

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Messages:
    5,331
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    Bedfordshire
    Jan Vesely likes this.
  14. Doodler

    Joined:
    May 15, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    sheffield
    The comments by Jan Vesely about the Antipoaching course has similarities to my review. An update on mine is that it took about 6 months to get the certificates to say we had done the course.

    thttps://bushcraftuk.com/community/index.php?threads/trueways-anti-poaching-and-survival-course-review.152544/
    That link on google works when I click on it to get to my review.
     
    Jan Vesely likes this.
  15. Jan Vesely

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Haha, yeah, I'm sure I didn't read the review first. I'm actually in the process of trying to get at least part of my money back as it might fall under "false advertisement". Not sure about UK guidelines on the matter but definitely Dutch/EU guidelines.

    And I am surprised that even after such a review, nothing has changed, including the incorrect end date of the course - so yes, me and all the other participants booked flights according to that ...
     
  16. Jan Vesely

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Yeah - well, since I am the second participant who officially complained to TW, they are "investigating" the issue ... Will keep you posted.
     
  17. Trueways Survival

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    UK
    Hi Jan.

    I have been asked by Ken (Trueways owner) to join BcUK and reply to you.
    I will do this in two posts, this one will deal with the most concerning part of your complaint...........


    -If you add anything but 5-star review on Trueways page, it will not get published
    - If you contact Trueways with your complaints, they will promise to get back to you and ignore you afterwards.


    Your course in South-Africa finished on Wed-16th-September, meaning the earliest you can return home is late on the16th, or Thursday 17th September. You did send an email saying you was disappointed, so we asked an instructor to investigate. You and everyone on this course received emails and phone-calls asking for your feedback on Monday 21st of September, that is literally the earliest appropriate opportunity we had to contact you all. You yourself have spoken with one of our instructors twice, he has also contacted South-Africa, Switzerland and the clients from the UK, due to your complaint. we have a copy of these international calls and the emails you have received since.

    You have sent some foul mouthed emails to the lady in our office and she is not paid to respond to abuse.


    Here is a copy of the email sent out from Trueways survival....

    Welcome home, we hope you are well and recovered from your trip.
    I have been asked by the owner Ken Plows to contact all course participants and ask for your feedback on the course.

    Did you have a good time?
    What was your best/worst experience?
    Did it meet your expectations?
    Do you have any further comments?

    We are committed to providing the best service possible and have found in Les Brett a great partner in Africa, if however you feel we can make improvements to the course please do let us know.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards.
    Trueways.




    I will not quote what was said in the phone-calls, but here is 100% complete written feedback, representing four other clients that were on that course with you. The 5th has not yet responded but is booked on another course with us. These were put on our website only after you posted in this thread. Nothing except last names removed, though they did leave full names on our website..

    THESE ARE FROM THE OTHER ATTENDEES OF YOUR COURSE ON OCT 7TH-16TH

    FIVE STARS
    "This course is amazing,I was there in October 2019, you to learn so much about the animals and gain lots of knowledge about staying safe while walking through the bush, Les the instructor is amazing he teaches you in a way that makes you feel comfortable even when your sneaking up on a group of rhino.
    There were so many animals around even in camp, we had antelopes, monkeys and even a nightly visit from a African wild cat.
    Before going I was wondering what we would be eating thinks we would be cooking a roughly cut slab of meat over the fire but expectations vs reality was a restaurant quality meals every day.
    The anti poaching side of the lessons were very interesting and I now have some great knowledge both in how poachers operate and in actively stopping poaching.
    This course has inspired me and I can't wait to get back there and take the skills I have learnt to the next level."
    James


    FIVE STARS
    "I completed this course in October 2019. I cant complain one single bit, the course instructor Les made this entire course amazing!! I learnt more in these 10 days than I ever thought was possible, cant wait to get back out there and do his cooking course. The man is an absolute legend and deserves a ton of respect for everything he has done for conservation! Thank you for this life changing course!
    Sarah



    Just a note following our telephone conversation to say how much my son, James, and I enjoyed our 2 week South Africa Anti-Poaching course. It was really something quite special and unique. Les Brett is not only a genuine larger-than-life character but a fantastic instructor whose enthusiasm for wildlife is infectious. He is clearly extremely experienced and knowledgeable and I felt confident that in his charge my son and I were as safe as it was possible to be walking in the African bush. In fact if you had told me that by the end of the course I would feel confident to do so on my own I would scarce have believed you! We were able to observe the wildlife at close range and developed an understanding of animal behaviour that is just not possible in any other way than being immersed in the environment. To be out after dark with the Rangers and feeding animals from the truck within touching distance and able to hear the communication between young and parent was an amazing privilege.


    Les’s stories around the campfire are worth the trip alone and the food he produced from a tented camp kitchen was just astounding! Like probably many who apply for your courses, I am used to ‘roughing it’ but this camp was far from that and actually very comfortable with iron framed beds in traditional safari tents, onsite piped running drinking water and an incredible wood fuel powered shower. Luxurious!


    You asked if I could make any recommendations.

    1) Some thought might be given to clarifying your description of the course. One person arrived believing this to contain much more bushcraft and survival whereas the course is actually largely conservation and understanding of animals and animal behaviour. On arrival it was made clear to us by Les that this is essential for safe travel in the terrain and before progressing to understanding of antipoaching. We did however pretty much cover the long list of skills in the published itinerary and I was particularly pleased at the weapons handling. Although the course description mentioned an end of course certificate I had thought this simply to be one of those attendance forms that are so often distributed at the end of courses. I was thrilled therefore to learn that we were actually working towards an exam leading to a bone fide qualification.


    2) Due to the nature of the environment, it is blisteringly hot between 10am -3pm so activity then by necessity must be limited. No animals venture out at this time and no humans move either! One member didn’t seem to appreciate this and seemed frustrated at the ‘down time’. Personally I was grateful of the rest or time to study and happy to operate in the cool of early morning and late afternoons. Perhaps a more expansive description would clarify. The person involved did seem to want a day hike up to a local mountain top but Im not sure how this would actually fit into the programme.


    3) Perhaps revise the kit list as there really was no need for a survival knife on this trip nor a camping mat as we had proper mattresses on beds.


    4) Update the published itinerary as it is out of date. The first and last night Game Lodge were apparently necessary some years ago when clients were arriving in Johannesburg at varying times, some in the morning but some later in the day so that direct travel to the centre of operations wasn’t possible. As you now recommend everyone to arrive the day before we were all ready in the morning of day 1 and could therefore transit direct to camp. Similarly on the last day. This was excellent as it gave us two extra nights in camp.


    5) Similarly there is a little confusion re dates. Advertised as 10 days 7-17th October, 10 days actually would therefore finish on the 16th October not the 17th.


    6) Consider setting up communication between course members before the course for example asking member if they would be happy to share email addresses. The first time we all met was at the train station. All of us had independently booked accommodation in Johannesburg in the same district and for those travelling alone, prior communication would have enabled them to reduce costs by sharing accommodation.


    Just a few thoughts.


    I would be grateful if you could pass on our thanks and appreciation to Les who worked tirelessly the whole two weeks and also to his team who were friendly and accommodating. I have been fortunate in participating in many short trips and long expeditions over the years, to rainforests, desert, ice and extreme altitude and each has its own special memories. There are countless memories from this trip that will last with us for a long time, the laughter round the campfire, the skills learnt, the animals of course, but I am particularly fond of those of enjoying cold beers on the savannah watching the rhinos silhouetted against the setting sun. Brilliant!
    Paul.




    These reviews represent the experience of four other people who were with you on your course.

    We feel the above information shows we have taken your complaint very seriously. Your review is on our website, you have received international phone-calls and numerous emails. You have been back only three weeks and with six clients from European three counties on a course in Africa, With a South African Instructor, we would hope for enough time to investigate your complaint. We have spoken to Les Brett and await his official response. Both Les and Ken have been/are in hospital and they may respond themselves, or ask me too on their behalf next week.

    I would like to take this opportunity to state Trueways Survival, was charged and paid for every activity advertised on our website to be delivered.
    Les Brett has said any changes made to the itinerary were based on a group vote, for the betterment of the course.
    We hope the good people of this forum understand the difficulty Les has in taking six clients from three European countries, all of varying levels of ability into the African Bush and ensure everyone has a great experience. He does an amazing job under sometimes, some very difficult conditions.
    Our customer satisfaction is of the upmost importance to us and we will constantly strive to improve.


    Best wishes.
    Trueways Survival Team.
     
    #17 Trueways Survival, Nov 14, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  18. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    11,451
    Likes Received:
    2,017
    Location:
    Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
    Not wanting to add to the fire, but I think I see the problem? 'Survival School" in the name implies that the bulk of teaching will be in Survival techniques ? ( With a healthy dose of Bushcraft? )

    Maybe the problem Mr Jan Happy perceived was because he had expectations of learning some other things than actually were taught?
    The comment about the meat, the undermat and proper mattress indicate other people too expected a more different experience from what they got.

    Maybe a good idea to write in the Syllabus that this is NOT a course that is mainly aimed at those skills ( Survival and bushcraft).

    Just publishing 5 star rated reviews is pointless for the consumer. We read a review to get both positive and negative impressions.
    By publishing those only you are turning a review into unpaid advertisement. Bad practice.
    Publish all, or none.
     
    #18 Janne, Nov 14, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  19. Trueways Survival

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    UK

    We did publish his review, it is up on our website as we state in our post. This is the first negative review placed on our website about this Expedition. The reviews above are from the clients who attended this exact course with Jan and they're experience. Every review sent to our website about this course has been published.
    Here is a link to the course. https://truewayssurvival.com/collec...poaching-bush-survival?variant=31216609886271 The reviews are there.
    We were charged and paid for everything advertised on our course description. Les may make some changes, but he does so for the greater good of the group.

    Best wishes.
    Trueways Survival.
     
    Janne likes this.
  20. Jan Vesely

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hi all,

    Just to confirm: My review has been published, eventually. I assume the delay between me posting it and it actually going live was caused by the above mentioned investigation and contacting the other participants.

    I consider the post above being an answer to my question that was still pending, so that takes the two points mentioned by Trueways.

    Apologies for lack of patience.

    A lot of things can still be said, such as 5* review does not mean the syllabus/course description is accurate - a review of other participant from earlier this year suggests the description is not accurate. Comments form one of the 5* reviews above suggest the same.

    Which was actually my point all along.

    I was not aware of any group vote mentioned above. Not on the first day, not any other day. But maybe that discussion happened when I was not nearby and I do realise that without any records, this is a "I said - he said" discussion that doesn't lead anyone anywhere.

    However, I suggest:
    - I stop complaining. please pass my sincere apologies to the lady in the office
    - Trueways updates the course syllabus, description and kit list to prevent any further confusion and/or disappointments

    Final word: As I said before, I was very happy with basic -> advanced survival course in Cranham, a couple of years back
     
    Trueways Survival likes this.

Share This Page