British Bushcraft and the 21st Century

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nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
Where is the place of Bushcraft in 21st Century Britain?

Is it different for different people?
Abbe Osram lives in a way that requires bushcraft skills for everyday living and I guess that in the North Americas and parts of Europe it is still possible to move around for days without coming across other folk, and to live off the land.
Ray M. obviously earns a living and has become a celebrity. Others earn a full or partial living teaching the skills.

What of the rest of us here in Britain?
 

Hunter Gatherer

New Member
May 8, 2006
28
1
62
Mississauga, Canada
Well, as long as the population of the U.K. doesn't double in the next 100 years, I would imagine that bushcrafting will become even more important than it is today. How so? As more and more people will move and live in larger and larger urban area's, anyone who practices and promotes bushcraft will be a beacon to those souls who have lost touch with our connectedness to the land. Every generation in Britain, other than this one, all the way back to the Mesolithic, lived very close to the land. Bushcraft was THE way of life.
As I see it unless the govt goes completely bonkers, they will continue to protect lands, forests, area's of outstanding natural beauty, creat new national parks, and interconnected pathways. As they are today. I was completely surprised at the # of area's the govt is proposing to have some level of protection, for such a small island with such a large population.
Although I don't live in the UK(Canada presently), it is by and far the best place in the world(Canada a close second). Maybe I see things from a different perspective from this far away, but I think the prospects for bushcraft are very good.
Cheers
Alex
 

Wayland

Hárbarðr
For myself there are two reasons I develop my Bushcraft skills.

Mainly it is a way of me being on location for taking landscape shots when the light is right. The last place I want to be is stuck in a B+B waiting for breakfast at sunrise.

The second reason is the link with skill used in my living history business. If there's no room for Bushcraft then there should definitely be no room for ancient technologies but interest actually has never been greater.
 

fred gordon

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 8, 2006
2,099
19
74
Aberdeenshire
I think there is also a cultural element. Many of the skills we practice in bushcraft were everyday essentials until fairly recently. Part of what we do keeps these skills alive, promotes them to a younger audience, and gives us a lot of satisfaction at the same time. A lot of my job has to do with environmental education and many young people today are very keen to learn the skills we use and its part of our job to help them achieve these skills. Of course we have fun at the same time!
 
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ilan

Nomad
Feb 14, 2006
281
2
66
bromley kent uk
Of course bushcraft skills will be important in the future However as the population grows the pressures on the remaining open space will increase . Its difficult to day in england to find somewhere to camp with the facilities to light/cook over an open fire or to remove even dead fallen wood Whilst most Bush knifes have a belt sheath it is of course illegal to carry one in a public place ! hopfully there will be a revival of traditional skills and perhaps a greater value put on good quality traditional products so preserving an environment under increasing pressure
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
Hunter Gatherer said:
Every generation in Britain, other than this one, all the way back to the Mesolithic, lived very close to the land. Bushcraft was THE way of life.

Alex
Thanks Alex, but what do you mean by a generation?
I'm post war London born and apart from 8 years have always, by choice, lived in a city. My genealogy shows no connection with the rural back to my great grandfathers.
By, I believe, 1851 town and city dwellers outnumbered country folks most of whom lived in very poor conditions. That being so, a majority of the British population hasn't lived close to the land in 150 years.
Cheers
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
Wayland said:
For myself there are two reasons I develop my Bushcraft skills.

Mainly it is a way of me being on location for taking landscape shots when the light is right. The last place I want to be is stuck in a B+B waiting for breakfast at sunrise.

The second reason is the link with skill used in my living history business. If there's no room for Bushcraft then there should definitely be no room for ancient technologies but interest actually has never been greater.
Thanks for your reply.
For your first point you could be an ordinary common or garden camper but for the second you are one of those who earns a least a part of your living from the skills. You don't need to be a bushcrafter to be in the right place as a photographer. Is the relevance of bushcraft skills that there is an interest and therefore a living can be made?
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
fred gordon said:
I think there is also a cultural element. Many of the skills we practice in bushcraft were everyday essentials until fairly recently. Part of what we do keeps these skills alive, promotes them to a younger audience, and gives us a lot of satisfaction at the same time. A lot of my job has to do with environmental education and many young people today are very keen to learn the skills we use and its part of our job to help them achieve these skills. Of course we have fun at the same time!
Hi Fred

I'm not sure that I agree with fairly recently (see my earlier reply to Alex) but the second part seems to be similar to Wayland's reasons: there is a demand, plus it is fun.

Cheers
 

william#

Settler
Sep 5, 2005
531
0
sussex
just got back from asia
and bushcraft is daily thing for a lot of guys out there
i mean everything yu see ray do in his thailand episode is pretty much the norm for some people out there .(away from the citys ).
was on an island and was sitting at a coffee shop when i chap came up to me and asked me if i wanted a coconut well of course i said yes
i expected him to go into the shop and pull one out of the fridge - nope he went flying up a tree cut several down and chopped them open and handed them out - they were a little warm and maybe aged a bit too much for my liking but im not going to argue with a man with a machette besides it was worth the 50p to watch him go up the tree

feels like in the uk we are being hurded and as we see the neatly laid out fields of crops as the wilds are disapearing seems more and more there is a ditachment from the basics as things become more sanitised .
so not sure what the future for daily life bushcraft is in the uk
g ?
 

swamp donkey

Forager
Jun 25, 2005
145
0
61
uk
Hunter Gatherer said:
Every generation in Britain, other than this one, all the way back to the Mesolithic, lived very close to the land. Bushcraft was THE way of life.
Hunter gather and Fred please do not think that I am picking on you but I often wonder why we propagate this myth about or forfathers. Carefull reading of history tells us that it simply is not true. As soon a people start living in towns and cities they quickly lose the ability to interact with nature. true from before the greeks to this day. Also in many cultures knowledge was/is power and a way to make a living. so if you knew how to get something from something it was kept a secret and only shared with the trusted few.

Bushcraft as such is a hobby that a few of us indulge in ( even those who make money at it) and with a bit of luck manage to past on and has no more importance now to a person living in the city of London than it did in 1400.

Just look at pol pot to see how effect putting everbody on the land is!!
 

black_kissa

Tenderfoot
May 8, 2006
50
1
N/A
I strongly believe that in their decision making processes, people take into account mainly those things they love and have inimate relationships with. So if (and possibly only if) people have meaningful relationships with nature, they will make nature an important factor in their decisions.

These days, there are so many people who don't know what a nuthatch is, or who feel afraid to even touch a dead leaf... (a friend of mine running a children's workshop to build a debris hut had some of the kids pick up sindle leaves using a napkin - throwing the napkin away after each leaf, so there was a whole trail of napkins!).
Apart from enjoying to be self-suffcient, and loving all these skills, I think bushcraft is a way to have intense, meaningful experiences in nature... and I hope that that will lead to people including nature in their decisions. Because if you don't know that that vacant lot is used by the deer, the hares, the buzzards, then it seems you lose nothing when you fill it with the next parking lot. But if the buzzards have become your friends and neighbors, things are different....

Live and Love,
Anneke
 

Wayland

Hárbarðr
nobby said:
Thanks for your reply.
For your first point you could be an ordinary common or garden camper but for the second you are one of those who earns a least a part of your living from the skills. You don't need to be a bushcrafter to be in the right place as a photographer. Is the relevance of bushcraft skills that there is an interest and therefore a living can be made?
Some of the places I end up would certainly not suit "an ordinary common or garden camper" or even some of the less hardy wild campers.

Added to that the need to carry photographic gear as well as bivvi kit and bushcraft becomes a necessity rather than a luxury at times.

As for the living part, for me the interest came long before the living. Indeed it's fair to say that it would have been far easier to make a living by just about any other method than the way I chose.

Perhaps the only thing that gave me the edge I needed in the first place was my existing tendencies towards bushcraft and primitive technologies.
 

redflex

Need to contact Admin...
I went out with an old game keeper/ forester long retired asked him about bushcraft he said never heard of it.
Yet while we were out he took spruces roots turned them into snares, tracked animals picked plants for us to snack on. He thought what he was doing was nothing special just his normal way of life like his father before him. Wish I could have spent more time with him.:notworthy

I personally enjoy the woods, while doing Woodland surveys I have to list the fauna and flora and understand the importance of its ecology. Once you start learning to id things to is a small step to wanting to learn their uses.

When I was working in the rainforest I also found the guides used bushcraft skills everyday as part of their normal lives.
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
Wayland said:
Some of the places I end up would certainly not suit "an ordinary common or garden camper" or even some of the less hardy wild campers.

Added to that the need to carry photographic gear as well as bivvi kit and bushcraft becomes a necessity rather than a luxury at times.

As for the living part, for me the interest came long before the living. Indeed it's fair to say that it would have been far easier to make a living by just about any other method than the way I chose.

Perhaps the only thing that gave me the edge I needed in the first place was my existing tendencies towards bushcraft and primitive technologies.
Hi Again

I suppose the 'necessity' depends on the elements of bushcraft. I see that you mention a bivi kit which I assume is a stage somewhere between tent and build your own shelter each night from available materials. How do you light your cooking stove? Is it an open fire? Why those methods?
I've returned to a Trangia using either gas or meths to suit the ocassion but like to brew up on a tin can hobo stove. Open fire, but encased for minimal impact and as an extra it keeps the heat beneath the pot. I prefer to light with firesteel but these are not necessities. I can safely carry matches, or cigarette lighter, in 21st century Britain and with meths or gas I don't need to sort tinder or kindling.
I believe that I am self indulgent because I can afford, in time and finance, to make those choices. I am beginning to doubt any necessity for bushcraft in 21st century Britain at all. That is not to say that I am critical of it or that the circumstance might not change (although I'm not gloomy enough to think it will; after all Y2k didn't bring about the collapse of civilisation did it?). I am just interested in where its place is, here in Britain today.
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
black_kissa said:
I strongly believe that in their decision making processes, people take into account mainly those things they love and have inimate relationships with. So if (and possibly only if) people have meaningful relationships with nature, they will make nature an important factor in their decisions.

These days, there are so many people who don't know what a nuthatch is, or who feel afraid to even touch a dead leaf... (a friend of mine running a children's workshop to build a debris hut had some of the kids pick up sindle leaves using a napkin - throwing the napkin away after each leaf, so there was a whole trail of napkins!).
Apart from enjoying to be self-suffcient, and loving all these skills, I think bushcraft is a way to have intense, meaningful experiences in nature... and I hope that that will lead to people including nature in their decisions. Because if you don't know that that vacant lot is used by the deer, the hares, the buzzards, then it seems you lose nothing when you fill it with the next parking lot. But if the buzzards have become your friends and neighbors, things are different....

Live and Love,
Anneke
Hi Anneke

This post, for me, hits the nub. Perhaps this ought to be the place of bushcraft in 21st century Britain; teaching a respect for nature. Interesting that the post comes from NL
 

Salix

Nomad
Jan 13, 2006
370
1
51
Bolton
You dont have to be in the Netherlands, Thialand or Africa to gain a deep and meaningful relationship or understanding of nature, you can experience all of these things in your own back yard, birds nesting and raising thier broods, butterflies and other insects amazing life cycles, the "wild" flowers of the roadside...............it's all around you, you only have to want to see it :)

As for bushcraft in the 21st century, for some of us it's very useful in our daily lives, and work. For others it's a spiritual thing. Bushcraft has always been there, and always will be as long as there are humans who seek it.

Mark
 
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fred gordon

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 8, 2006
2,099
19
74
Aberdeenshire
I'm beginning to wonder if there are not two threads here. I certainly don't take offence at what has been said about my earlier post. However, my parents, and theirs before them, and myself have spent most of our lives living in the country, working with an axe, lighting open fires etc. Its all been part of our everyday lives. Those who live largely in towns and cities may well have a different take on these things and feel that they are, perhaps, one step further removed from it than us country dwellers. One thing we certainly have in common is our belief that these bushcraft things are important and that is what we should be celebrating.
 

swyn

Full Member
Nov 24, 2004
846
5
61
Eastwards!
Re Stickies bit about knackered ankles and horse ploughing. At 11 miles to the acre with a single furrow plough no wonder!!
 

black_kissa

Tenderfoot
May 8, 2006
50
1
N/A
Rangerman180 said:
... you can experience all of these things in your own back yard, birds nesting and raising thier broods, butterflies and other insects amazing life cycles, the "wild" flowers of the roadside...............it's all around you, you only have to want to see it :)
...and for most people, there has to be someone to help/encourage you to see it...that's where my desire to teach the love and respect for nature comes from. So many children grow up being discouraged (or at least somewhat removed) from nature, rather than encouraged.

Other than that, I completely agree, and with Fred also. Thanks guys.


Live and Love,
Anneke