Disability and bushcraft.

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Woody girl

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Mar 31, 2018
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OK then
Foraging on the coast.
I forage at home every day! Today I picked 1lb of damsons and 2lb of blackberries and enough elderberries to make a small amount of cordial which I have just finished and about to bottle. I've also made a autumn pudding,( summer pudding but with autumn hedgerow fruits.) I've got wild mint, and watercress, I also found two mushrooms. I know all that, and it's great but variety would be nice.
I just wanted to expand my knowledge a bit..
I can do the firelighting and build a decent shelter, I make a lot of my own cordage. I live my life based on bushcraft daily. I do minor leatherwork and could make most of my kit if needed. I just don't have a great opportunity to do coastal foraging and I'd love to spend a weekend upping my knowledge on that. No big deal realy in the great scheme of things.
I'm immensely disappointed that I'm not considered fit enough for something as easy and simple as that!
 

JonathanD

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And they didn’t feel like you could do that because….? C’mon. Work with me here. I’m trying to get an understanding of it.
 
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TeeDee

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The only thing I'm thinking is the terrain issue - Foraging on the coast to me casts up images of scurrying on wet / slippery algae covered rocks , peering into rockpools or rock hopping over large sections of boulders. If its not that its the tiring slog of dragging feet through sand dunes and pebble heavy beach sections.

Personally speaking I get a bit 'puckered' ( if you know what i mean ) when moving around rock pools but i've bounced my head off a few rocks in the past.

All that being said - yes its very subjective.
 

Woody girl

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I walk with a stick. But that doesn't mean I can't get around on the foreshore it just means I'm a lot more careful and take things gently. I don't rush about.
As TeeDee says, even a family outing on that sort of terrain can be a nightmare on slippery rocks, but I'm used to choosing my footing with care, and I know the general area which is what made me think it was possible for me. There are some areas that might be a problem along the coast in parts of the UK, but I felt confident this was possible.
But this has become about me and one particular incident.
I'm trying to talk about disability and bushcraft in a general sense, not just a personal one, but your questions have been about me and what happened to me.particularly. I was hoping to have a wider debate.
I'm not realy happy talking just about myself. I'm more interested in the views of others on disability and bushcraft in general. I can only illustrate with personal experience
but I realy didn't want to go into detail about things as to me its about attitude towards disabled people trying to do bushcraft, rather than any particular detailed incident.
nobody seems happy having someone around with lesser mobility than themselves so I guess that has answered part of my question. There does seem to be a bias covered by its a question of holding others up and wanting money back from a course where this has happened instead of actualy thinking how can we help this person have a good experience, and still get enough out of it ourselves to feel its been a good weekend.
Or
You are a health and safety nightmare, go away!
I wonder how you'd feel if that was leveled at you? It's not nice, no matter how sweetly its said.
Saying, life is not fair is also a cop out, realy, I'm an adult, with plenty of experience about how unfair life can be, believe me! not a five year old screaming for an ice cream .
By the way, I'm not saying this in a combatative way, just rather sadly if I'm honest.
It would be good to hear more views from others that have a physical disability and their experiences. I'm sure I'm not the only crock here! :)
 

Wildgoose

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May 15, 2012
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OK then
Foraging on the coast.
I forage at home every day! Today I picked 1lb of damsons and 2lb of blackberries and enough elderberries to make a small amount of cordial which I have just finished and about to bottle. I've also made a autumn pudding,( summer pudding but with autumn hedgerow fruits.) I've got wild mint, and watercress, I also found two mushrooms. I know all that, and it's great but variety would be nice.
I just wanted to expand my knowledge a bit..
I can do the firelighting and build a decent shelter, I make a lot of my own cordage. I live my life based on bushcraft daily. I do minor leatherwork and could make most of my kit if needed. I just don't have a great opportunity to do coastal foraging and I'd love to spend a weekend upping my knowledge on that. No big deal realy in the great scheme of things.
I'm immensely disappointed that I'm not considered fit enough for something as easy and simple as that!
Don’t give up.
If the school is local to you maybe ask if you can visit and speak to them, via email/phone it can be hard to gage a persons ability and in the risk adverse world we live in many will avoid any potential issues.

or

find another school that’s less extreme
 
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TeeDee

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I wonder how you'd feel if that was leveled at you?
It's not nice, no matter how sweetly its said.
Saying, life is not fair is also a cop out, realy, I'm an adult, with plenty of experience about how unfair life can be, believe me! not a five year old screaming for an ice cream .
By the way, I'm not saying this in a combatative way, just rather sadly if I'm honest.
It would be good to hear more views from others that have a physical disability and their experiences. I'm sure I'm not the only crock here! :)

I wanted to do a long Zip line ride the other day in South Wales - upon turning up and getting on the scales I found I was too heavy. at least 10kg over their max weight.

I was a bit disappointed but thats it. I guess the difference is that this is Objective Vs Subjective. Someone made a decision based on what they thought about what they knew about their course on one hand and your information regarding your health issue.


Last year I was diagnosed with several different medical conditions - all of which now required medication going forward and my health has most definitely changed in terms of knowing what I CAN and CAN'T do.

Its very much changed the way I have to think about approaching things , and courses or expeditions that were maybe on my 'to do' list I suspect now just won't ever happen.
 

Woody girl

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I origionaly intended this to go more the way of how do you keep going. Facilitate your changing needs or the needs of others with lesser ability, so that they can participate and have the best experience that is possible
Myself for instance , I use a wheeled shopping trolly to get my gear from a to b. This does create some limits, but gives me more mobility in general that I would struggle with a heavy backpack.
I've discovered daisy chains for my hammock. A great revelation that has me coping without having to ask for so much help to put that up..
There are limits which I have to accept. I can't do a 15 mile hike any more, so the long distance footpaths I'd always planned are no longer feasible, I can't sleep on the floor without pain whatever mat I use, hence the swop to a hammock..
I may be slower, as happens with age, and may not want to climb a rockfaces I once did as I know my knees won't get me higher than about 5 feet up the wall before they give up!
I don't cave anymore, but I can still paddle a canoe though not all day as I used to. Its great to paddle my local reservoir, or a canal, but its no longer white water.
We all have to adjust as we get older/develop illnesses, but I'm not ready to give in entirely just yet!
I've still got a lot I want to do, I just want the chance and not be knocked back all the time. Its rather demoralising. Not what bushcraft is about eh?
 

TeeDee

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"
I origionaly intended this to go more the way of how do you keep going. Facilitate your changing needs or the needs of others with lesser ability, so that they can participate and have the best experience that is possible"

"
Has anybody got any physical disabilities that prevent them from doing all they might wish bushcraftwise in whatever context?

How do you try and overcome it?

Have you ever been met with any negative opinions, such as why do you do it if it hurts so much? Been left out of anything, as others might see you as "not up to it"?

Has anyone tried to have a policy with anyone who might want to do something that they would happily tailor the activity so that someone of lesser ability might join in .

We do it for children, why not disabled people?"



To be fair only a couple of your questions actually relate to how one actually keeps going etc and strategies to cope with difficult situations.

Just saying,
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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I don't think it's about fairness, or inclusiveness, or kindness or understanding. I think it's about reality.

One instructor, eight students. That's a fairly commonplace ratio.

Supposing, supposing, I have seven fit and nimble and stable on their feet in what can be treacherous terrain, and one who will need careful oversight, at the very least, to just get about on the actual site, and that immediately takes attention away from seven others. It ends up being a constant awareness that distracts the Instructor's focus.
Those seven others also need oversight though.....and a duty of care, and responsibility, and they all deserve a good opportunity to experience and learn from the instructor.

So, the reality is that no one gets the best out of the course......and it's someone's livelihood, and it has to cover his insurance, his first aid re-certifications, his expenses, etc.,

Would I personally welcome having someone with mobility issues, even with an incredibly postive attitude, along on such a course.
The answer is simply that I'd rather not.

On an individual basis, it is very possible to do a one on one for an adult with physical limitations, who needs extra attention on a trickly site. I'd still like back up though. One bad slip and, well I couldn't lift and evacuate on my own. So that needs outside assistance, and if the Instructor has to go with the injured, even just to report it to next of kin, then the other students would find the course cancelled.

I have worked with disabled youngsters, teaching them bushcraft skills, etc., and the official guidelines meant that we needed three extra people, not just one on one for the child, but three extra people, to be properly situated to cover any potential problems. Admittedly those three people were still the extras for the next weeks course when we had two disabled youngsters, but when the next one had two disabled youngsters and one severely autistic as well, then we had five extra people on site....who all needed to be qualified, who all needed to be paid, fed, watered, etc.,

That's reality.

As an aside, the disabled children had a brilliant time :) They loved it, their parents loved the delight they had in it all, the experiences, the way it opened up their children's world.
We built shelters, we lit fires, we cooked, we made stuff, we foraged, we took one wee boy out of his wheelchair (took three adults to do it safely) and laid him inside a shelter with the sun shining through the leaves. He was mostly blind, very deaf, couldn't talk, couldn't walk and never would, and he laughed in sheer delight. He fell asleep in that green space and looked blissed out.
HIs mum and I were in tears together when she came to fetch him home, and he tried to pull her to the shelter to see. We took photos for her through the week, and all in all the memories were worth all the effort everyone put into it.

But, there was no way that it could have been done as a bushcraft school, with all the financial realities they bear.
We managed it because we were employed by the Council's play scheme, and they paid for all of the extra bodies we needed on each site.
Even with volunteers, it needs something like that scheme to make it work safely.

Schools already face issues with students they don't know. People come with baggage, expectations, often unrealistic attitudes and self confidence that doesn't always accurately reflect their actual limitations.

Damned if they do, and damned if they don't. I don't envy the folks who run bushcraft and outdoor activity schools.

I feel heart sorry for those whose physical (and mental) limitations mean that they are often excluded.
I think it's time and place and an acceptance that it's often just not possible to be inclusive of everyone. Not in the private sector.
I personally know of four schools, and I am absolutely certain that there are many others, who will go out of their way to arrange things so that the otherwise abled folks can experience things though, but, they can't do it on ordinarily organised days. A mixed group is possible, but it needs careful planning and it needs extra staff along.

I have not only sympathy but empathy with the issues,
I am no longer safe on slopes. I can go uphill, slowly and in pain, but downhill, I fall. My joints just won't hold and there is no spring in them. R.A. is a £$%^& of a disease that slowly erodes any confidence in movement and exercise. I am unsafe on wet leaf littered sloping paths, seaweed covered rocks are beyond me now. I might manage if I scooted on my backside, but it'd be most uncomfortable, sore, and there's no way I'd expect someone else to have to help me.
I wouldn't even try to sign up for a place on a normal course these days. I might ask about doing a quiet slow morning or afternoon with someone who knows their stuff though :)

This is all a very different scenario from the kindness and compassion and practical assistance offered by able bodied volunteers. I know many of the members here who quietly just get on with it and help out without any fanfare. Blessings on them :) and many of the quiet groups that meet up and down the country have members who needs a hand on occasion. No one makes a fuss of it, they just quietly get on with it.
Another kind of reality entirely :)
 

Woody girl

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Oh my, why does everyone try to trip me up and point things out that are just silly with what I've said.. I'm realy trying to have a serious conversation here, but there has been a lot of hole picking. . If you do not have experience of disability its rather hard to understand how frustrating it can be to be written off because others are more able than you.
Probably it is not realised that it can be rather dispiriting to be told life isn't fair, you can't do this or that because you can't do it like us lot, and now only a couple of questions actualy relate to..etc.
I was trying to widen the conversation . So Of course only one or two questions related to..etc.
Perhaps an answer instead of nitpicking would be appropriate? Or not. Take your pick.
I'm off to bed, night night
 

TeeDee

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Oh my, why does everyone try to trip me up and point things out that are just silly with what I've said.. I'm realy trying to have a serious conversation here, but there has been a lot of hole picking. . If you do not have experience of disability its rather hard to understand how frustrating it can be to be written off because others are more able than you.
Probably it is not realised that it can be rather dispiriting to be told life isn't fair, you can't do this or that because you can't do it like us lot, and now only a couple of questions actualy relate to..etc.
I was trying to widen the conversation . So Of course only one or two questions related to..etc.
Perhaps an answer instead of nitpicking would be appropriate? Or not. Take your pick.
I'm off to bed, night night

To be honest Woody - I think I will just give you a wide berth going forward. I've seen this pattern and response with you in one too many times for myself to want to stay engaged,

You sleep well.
 
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JonathanD

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There’s more to this than you've told us though. As you haven’t actually told us what and why you faced this situation and skipped around the facts, it does kinda point to you knowing yourself that the activity might not have been best suited to you. Reality is I’m afraid not all good news. My career and life depends on me being fast and having good eyesight. Unfortunately having hit 50, these are accuities that are fading. And the snakes don’t get slower or any less deadly. Every month my job gets more dangerous for me. It’s not great, it’s not fair. But it is Inevitable. We have to face that.
 
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Robson Valley

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Key things for me are the expectations for walking and standing. Most stores, banks and so on expect you to stand. I like restaurants, they demand that you sit down! The local pub has very good bar-height stools that I can relax on.

I think of all the camp crafts that I'm good at and work with the ones where I can sit. Flytying, for example. Rope splicing work to make your tarps look like you care. Stick around: I'll teach you a bunch of Inuit string games (you can bring your own cordage, too!) Stuff I was taught as a kid. Cooking fish in clay jackets in the fire. Camp cooking over open fires. There's feather sticks to be made and net needles and food and pot holders to be carved.

I see from so many of your posted pictures that there's lots of places with no rocks of any kind. Not so here as you can imagine. There are Neolithic stone hammers that I want to make. I want to make a stone oil lamp (kudliq/qulliq.) 20+kg soapstone sitting outside my back door for that. I have zero interest in knapping any sort of stone.

Maybe that's a theme for a course. Camp crafts for those most comfortable sitting?
 

Fadcode

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Woody Girl.
I think you have raised an interesting point for a debate, too many courses are only available to fit people, and as a few has pointed out who wants someone that holds everyone back, in that context I would hate to think what would happen if someone who was fit got injured, would they just be left, because they may slow things down?
There are schools that do not want people with disabilities, but wouldn't it be nice if they advertised that, if they would dare to.

Bushcraft to me is about learning and practicing skills yourself, I don't need anyone to tell me how to walk, if I look at a hill I will know whether I can get to the top or not, but I can well understand your frustration if a specific topic is to be covered, eg. Coastal Foraging. and you are not considered fit enough to do it

But to make a point, anyone who has been in the forces will know, that in training there are people who cannot keep up, especially on long marches, but they are not excluded, but are guided and helped, when driving in convoy you aren't taught to keep up with the vehicle in front but rather set your pace on the vehicle behind, because you are working as a team, and no matter how fit the participants are there will always be those who lag behind, a bit like life itself really.

Try not to be too dis-heartened, get yourself down to the beach and forage away, and at least you can hold your head up high, knowing you are not doing it commercially.
(see other Foraging thread)
 
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ONE

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But to make a point, anyone who has been in the forces will know, that in training there are people who cannot keep up, especially on long marches, but they are not excluded, but are guided and helped,
I'm going to be absolutely honest with you and say that, were it a life or death situation, maybe.
Otherwise they got ROPS or went to jail.
 
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Woody girl

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To be honest Woody - I think I will just give you a wide berth going forward. I've seen this pattern and response with you in one too many times for myself to want to stay engaged,

You sleep well.
Now you are being condescending with your last remark. I have survived a long time without you so you won't be missed. In fact I've tried hard to present how it feels for me, but its mostly negative reply and you wonder why I come back at you. I did say I didn't want to expand on my conversation with the instructor, but I was pushed into it reluctantly. No respect for my wishes not to do so.
Iobviosly if nobody thinks I should be doing bushcraft as its too dangerous for them if I show up, perhaps I should just stay home and knit woolie hats and socks like the little old lady I'm supposed to be.
Every time I try to say something I get shot down and made to feel stupid and in the wrong. I'm sick of it. I've left here before because of this, and come back only recently and here we go again.
I don't know what is wrong with you lot, but I don't have this sort of reaction elsewhere.
I've had enough and I'm gone for good now. Have a nice life denying others the right and opportunity to partake in bushcraft to save your own skins from any possible problems.
No wonder the question of diversity in bushcraft didn't realy go anywhere and got shut down. My conclusion is, nobody realy wants it. So I'll carry on, on my own and with the friends that are not so intrusive or selfish.
Have a good life and a good night's sleep knowing you have no understanding at all about diversity or disability in bushcraft above your own needs. And non of anyone else's.
I'm sick of it! Better off out of this soup.
For those that did give posative and encouraging answers, thank you. But I'm not up to taking the bashings I keep getting here all too often.
 

Robbi

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There’s more to this than you've told us though. As you haven’t actually told us what and why you faced this situation and skipped around the facts, it does kinda point to you knowing yourself that the activity might not have been best suited to you. Reality is I’m afraid not all good news. My career and life depends on me being fast and having good eyesight. Unfortunately having hit 50, these are accuities that are fading. And the snakes don’t get slower or any less deadly. Every month my job gets more dangerous for me. It’s not great, it’s not fair. But it is Inevitable. We have to face that.
50.! Bloody hell mate.!!
 
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