British Bushcraft and the 21st Century

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stovie

Need to contact Admin...
Oct 12, 2005
1,658
20
56
Balcombes Copse
Jon Pickett said:
Well for me, todays bushcraft has come from my interest in survival which started in the early eighties when the star wars thing was big...................Jon

So you started out by running around in a black leather suit, mask and cape waving a light sabre at any oncoming communists... :lmao:

It must be raining if you're posting at this time of day ;)
 

JonnyP

Full Member
Oct 17, 2005
3,833
29
Cornwall...
stovie said:
So you started out by running around in a black leather suit, mask and cape waving a light sabre at any oncoming communists... :lmao:

It must be raining if you're posting at this time of day ;)
You have me sussed Stovie, you are right on both things.................Jon
 

running bare

Banned
Sep 28, 2005
382
1
60
jarrow,tyne & wear uk
gregorach said:
Ah, but the "bushcraft philosophy" (to coin a dubious phrase) of improvisation and adaption (or as Abbe has it "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without") certainly can be used to make a difference. Sure, you can try to replace your current energy with energy from more sustainable sources - or you could ask whether you really need all that energy in the first place. Rather than buying new stuff, you can repair old stuff, or make stuff out of scrap. I mean, how many people on this forum will repair an item of clothing rather than replace it, and how does that compare to the population at large? It's a very different attitude to that of the modern consumer, and that is the really important thing in my opinion.
well put mate...i for one will rather repair than replace ie we've had a washing machine for 16 yrs and when it broke down id repair it. must admit that we have now replaced it as the cost of parts was just economically unviable,i have a sheet of used perspex as arear windscreen in my car until a scrap yard gets one in, its been like that since october last year. but as you pointed out we are living in a throw away consumer society and that mentality really needs to be changed if people want to leave a habitable world for our descendants
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
407
Mercia
Dunc,

I take your point but I wonder...how many people on this forum own gear that they never (or rarely) use? How much of that gear is stuff like silnylon or Goretex etc.? How much energy was consumed making that gear? How much fossil fuel went into the synthetics?

I'm playing devils advocate of course, but I think I can defend the position that Bushcraft of itself does not help the environment at all and is a hobby for its participants. Sure it might bring us closer to an appreciation of the natural world, but its only changing lifestyles that actually helps that environment - other than that we understand it whilst we watch it decline :(


Red
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
British Red said:
Dunc,

I take your point but I wonder...how many people on this forum own gear that they never (or rarely) use? How much of that gear is stuff like silnylon or Goretex etc.? How much energy was consumed making that gear? How much fossil fuel went into the synthetics?

I'm playing devils advocate of course, but I think I can defend the position that Bushcraft of itself does not help the environment at all and is a hobby for its participants. Sure it might bring us closer to an appreciation of the natural world, but its only changing lifestyles that actually helps that environment - other than that we understand it whilst we watch it decline :(


Red
Well, I'm guilty here but it takes awhile to work out what suits you best. I was tightly woven Egyptian cotton jackets and mini petrol stoves in the '70's when I was a cycle camper. Nowadays it's Goretex and Trangia or hobo stove.
You can always sell the old gear on eBay and make somebody else happy.
Might I take the opportunity to recommend the Landrover as a friendly vehicle? If it is old enough there is no road tax, it will have more than paid back the carbon cost of its making by its long life, it is the ultimate Mechano (old style Technics Lego) set, parts are infinitely replaceable from new or secondhand sources, you can sleep in the back (diagonally in a swb if you are under 5' 7"), and if it rains you'll always have freshwater because some of it will leak in.
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
47
Edinburgh
British Red said:
Dunc,

I take your point but I wonder...how many people on this forum own gear that they never (or rarely) use? How much of that gear is stuff like silnylon or Goretex etc.? How much energy was consumed making that gear? How much fossil fuel went into the synthetics?
I see what you're saying Red, but I tend to regard nothing as wasted until it gets permanently disposed off. Just because you aren't using something now doesn't mean it won't get used in future, passed on to someone who will use it, or made into something else that will get used.

British Red said:
I'm playing devils advocate of course, but I think I can defend the position that Bushcraft of itself does not help the environment at all and is a hobby for its participants. Sure it might bring us closer to an appreciation of the natural world, but its only changing lifestyles that actually helps that environment - other than that we understand it whilst we watch it decline
Oh, I agree completely. But changing lifestyle usually requires a catalyst, and I think bushcraft can provide that. It's gotta be better than all that dippy-hippy crystals-and-space-aliens nonesense (and I say that as a self-identifing hippy). ;) :)
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
407
Mercia
gregorach said:
I see what you're saying Red, but I tend to regard nothing as wasted until it gets permanently disposed off. Just because you aren't using something now doesn't mean it won't get used in future, passed on to someone who will use it, or made into something else that will get used.
Perhaps, but isn't part of the problem that we identified the "want" rather than "need" motivation as bad (referring back to the illustration of fixing up what you have)? Surely describing the ethic as one of "make do and mend" is countered by the "buy lots of toys becuase it cheers me up even though I don't really need 'em" rebuttal :confused: ;)


gregorach said:
Oh, I agree completely. But changing lifestyle usually requires a catalyst, and I think bushcraft can provide that. It's gotta be better than all that dippy-hippy crystals-and-space-aliens nonesense (and I say that as a self-identifing hippy). ;) :)
Can't argue with the rquirement for an epiphany, but, becuase Bushcraft can provide such a catalyst, does that mean it invariably (or even usually) does ?

(returns large wooden spoon to kitchen) :D


Red
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
47
Edinburgh
Both very good points... I guess what it comes down to is that there is no black or white in such matters, just infinitely varied shades of gray. ;)

I guess bushcraft itself is very like the resources it uses - it all depends on what you make of it.
 

ilan

Nomad
Feb 14, 2006
281
2
66
bromley kent uk
bush craft has little to do in 21st century england for most if not all our open spaces are strictly regulated so at most you will get a watered down experience for a couple of days unless you have access to your own woodland . Indeed the term Bushcraft is perhaps an unfortunate one as it gives the image of surviving in the australian or african bush . What i get the impression Ray Mears and others are trying to teach goes beyond bushcraft into a sort of "eccocraft" A "river cottage" low enviromental footprint lifestyle taking and giving working with nature . This is perfectly possible even in an inner city environment buying only from reputable suppliers if possible local / english producers growing vegtables in window boxes etc by all means venture into the great outdoors but play within the rules.
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
ilan said:
bush craft has little to do in 21st century england for most if not all our open spaces are strictly regulated so at most you will get a watered down experience for a couple of days unless you have access to your own woodland . Indeed the term Bushcraft is perhaps an unfortunate one as it gives the image of surviving in the australian or african bush . What i get the impression Ray Mears and others are trying to teach goes beyond bushcraft into a sort of "eccocraft" A "river cottage" low enviromental footprint lifestyle taking and giving working with nature . This is perfectly possible even in an inner city environment buying only from reputable suppliers if possible local / english producers growing vegtables in window boxes etc by all means venture into the great outdoors but play within the rules.
I think that this is very true and to be honest I don't want the 'full' bushcraft experience. Chasing through the woods waiting for a poison arrow to have an effect strikes me as foolish if I can get a clean kill with an air rifle. Having said that I don't hunt anymore.
The River Cottage analogy is good, and that eccentric guy with the big mouse who is living green, is showing a similar path.
I prefer the Ray Mears episodes that deal with climates and people similar to what I am familiar with. I'm likely to get more useful info from them. Same with books; the North Americas experiences are more relevant to me. I have a book by an American who goes occasionally to live with the Hadzu in Africa. Very different experience to the view given by RM. The only thing that I have in common with them seems to be alcohol, and I don't use it to excess anymore.
One of my favourite RM episodes is the one where he teaches the South American Indian how to light a fire without matches. The look on the guys face, the obvious delight that RM got from being able to pass the knowledge on, and the fact that it released the fellow from a 20 mile trip for matches made it memorable. It is, however, totally irrelevant to me here in 21st century Britain. I like a firesteel which last for ages and is a glorified box of matches which, let's face it, I can buy almost anywhere. I don't need to be able to use a fire drill, construct a shelter from woodland materials, make arrowheads, bows, spears or traps. Not that it isn't fun to do so, it just isn't necessary.
I had a one to one course with Andrew Packer of Nomad Bushcraft at Lyme Regis last year. I told him what I was interested in - mainly finding food at the sea and beach interface - and he put two days of instruction together for me. It was fantastic and worth every penny including the speeding fine I collected in the Quantocks. I fully expect to make use of it over the next few years as I sail my little boat around the coast and up and down rivers.
Combined with the energy and water savings that I can make at home, Ecocraft labels where Bushcraft in 21st Century Britain is for me. As from today I am going to strive to be an Ecocrafter. At least until a better label comes along :0) Thanks Ilan
 

ilan

Nomad
Feb 14, 2006
281
2
66
bromley kent uk
Hi thanks for that . As i see it if we buy local/english produce then that farmer will survive If we start to buy hazel poles for the bean poles or garden use, then someone will produce it so saving a traditional trade and encourage more widespread use of traditional wood management cos its profitable . If you look around you there is plenty that can be done. there is a growing trend to buck the commercial pressure to buy this or that instead its great to see how much pleasure can be gained from making somthing yourself . Just witnness some of the efforts of people in this community . I am able to virtualy heat the house and supply most of the hot water needs just from scrap timber salvaged from builders skips indeed i think an" ecocraft " aproach is one of the few ways forward for us .
 

laurens ch

New Member
Jun 23, 2005
164
5
south wales united kingdom
While I don’t think bushcraft is good for the environment in a direct sense, it does give people more respect for nature so they may think twice about setting that dead bracken on fire or dropping litter etc.
 

laurens ch

New Member
Jun 23, 2005
164
5
south wales united kingdom
tyrcian
"I am not being racist or anything here, but I am speaking in terms of popoulation. I heard some way that if asylum seekers and foreigners keep coming to live in the UK, then in 50 years or so the British popularity will be a minority. Made me wonder if the planet is getting to small for us?"

It's only the number of asylum seekers entering the uk which stop this country having a shrinking population and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Although it would do the environment no end of good.
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
72
English Midlands
laurens ch said:
tyrcian
"I am not being racist or anything here, but I am speaking in terms of popoulation. I heard some way that if asylum seekers and foreigners keep coming to live in the UK, then in 50 years or so the British popularity will be a minority. Made me wonder if the planet is getting to small for us?"

It's only the number of asylum seekers entering the uk which stop this country having a shrinking population and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Although it would do the environment no end of good.
I was rather hoping that somebody else would reply to this but here goes.

"It's only the number of asylum seekers entering the uk which stop this country having a shrinking population"
Is this a fact? If the UK has a shrinking population it would take an awful lot of asylum seekers to overcome that. Are we talking more people dying and less people being born? Is that across the whole UK or just parts of it?

"and that’s not necessarily a good thing"
What isn't?
 

laurens ch

New Member
Jun 23, 2005
164
5
south wales united kingdom
Yes I’m pretty sure more people are dying in the uk than are being born.
I think theres only a small difference between births and deaths so I guess it doesn't take many immigrants to swing the balance. Other countries in Europe who haven’t opened their borders completely to the new eu states like Italy for example have a shrinking population .ie deaths outweigh births. I’m no expert in the subject by the way this is just what I know from my geography a levels.I wasn't having a go at tyrcian either i wish i hadn't posted now to be honest.
 

ilan

Nomad
Feb 14, 2006
281
2
66
bromley kent uk
err why do we need all these new homes that are being built ? The problem is we pay people not to do those low paid jobs :confused: The other difficultiy is that we loose nearly as many british citizens to other countries as the retire they of course take with them a vast amount of capital which is not then spent in this country whilst those new to this country are generaly seeking a new life and oppotunity but lack investment capital
 

ilan

Nomad
Feb 14, 2006
281
2
66
bromley kent uk
Yes i think is a better life style the grass is allways greener etc , what the worry is that the people moving abroad traditionaly have more disposable income which is lost to our ecconomy