Frontier's Online Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course - anyone done it?

Apr 3, 2020
9
7
49
Hebrides
Hi there - looking for reviews of Paul Kirtley's online bushcraft course and whether it is an effective teaching method and good value? It seems like a good way to spend the coming winter months however its quite a substantial cost (to me) and although I have searched for reviews I haven't really been able to find any. The 2 skills videos you get for free having registered an interest were really high quality and i have no doubt a course like this cost a lot to produce and you're also buying his undoubted experience. It costs about 1/3 of the price of a week long course and while i am tempted I'm wondering what views others have. I am largely self taught to this point, using books and free content online (such as this fine forum), coupled with my experience of outdoors and ecology (my profession). thanks.

ps realised this may be a better fit in the resources sub forum? - if so apologies
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,975
726
Berlin
In my opinion one can teach and learn such contents outdoors the best, but good books, videos and why not new media are an option too.

I didn't visit such courses but I worked through Paul Kirtleys blog. In my opinion it doesn't contain any faults and is didactic made very well.

We collected similar stuff in this video collection by the way:

 
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Oliver G

Full Member
Sep 15, 2012
209
100
Melbourne, Derbyshire
I've gone through the course online. After lock down stated we were working harder than ever so it was nice to have a bit of nature when I got home. I tended to watch the videos while having a soak and a glass of wine and then put the skills into practice in the local reserves.

Content wise there is a wealth of information to get you self stuck into and it is a course that changes, there are updates intermittently. You can tell he studied maths at uni with the technical detail that goes into it, particularly with the navigation elements but it isn't delivered in a way that will go over your head.

Cost wise I can see where a few people falter but there is an option for monthly payments which worked out about 10 pints of beer a month (given we're not really in pubs anymore it was an opportunity to invest in myself rather than drink it all down)

There is a small social network around the online course where people support each other and share ideas and there is also continuation studies with webinars that I may explore in the future.

Delivery wise you can see that he has developed his method of instruction for adults who are actually interested in the subject, it's not like those youtube presenters that just insist on showing off that they're the best, Paul's delivery shows he knows what he's on about.

Overall I think it's well worth doing, there is a broad range of information delivered in a practical way that is well aimed at online learning in small chunks.
 

Onelifeoverland

Full Member
Mar 3, 2020
306
147
Caerphilly, South Wales, UK
I haven't done the course. However, I did look into it. I found cost is comparative to a practical course with someone as experienced as Paul so no dramas there if an online course is your thing. He is very articulate and that comes through in the samples I have seen.

However, as with all (most) online courses they are also backed up with practical instruction and i think this course lacks there. Sure I can take the theory from the course and then go practice on my own. But I can do that as easily with a good book that'll coat me £20.

Ultimately for me I think the clue is in the name and the craft is in the doing. The theory taught in an online course is useful, especially if that is how one learns best but that theory imho is only useful if it can be backed up by experience on the ground.

This is not to say I wont do the course in future. I've no doubt I would learn a lot from Paul, I just have doubts around the way in which I personally learn best.

OLO
www.onelifeoverland.com
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,929
3,113
Mid Wales
Hi there - looking for reviews of Paul Kirtley's online bushcraft course and whether it is an effective teaching method and good value? It seems like a good way to spend the coming winter months however its quite a substantial cost (to me) and although I have searched for reviews I haven't really been able to find any. The 2 skills videos you get for free having registered an interest were really high quality and i have no doubt a course like this cost a lot to produce and you're also buying his undoubted experience. It costs about 1/3 of the price of a week long course and while i am tempted I'm wondering what views others have. I am largely self taught to this point, using books and free content online (such as this fine forum), coupled with my experience of outdoors and ecology (my profession). thanks.

ps realised this may be a better fit in the resources sub forum? - if so apologies

I can't comment on this particular course but I can say, from stuff I have done with Paul, that he's very professional and the content is of a very high quality. I can only put up with his voice/delivery for short sessions (sorry Paul) but others may have no problem with it.

One of the problems will be that it is highly likely, starting from where you are and with your background, that you will only get about 20% out of the course - the rest you will know. If you're happy with that it will provide a good learning structure.
 
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baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,446
195
45
Coventry (and up trees)
We are doing both the bushcraft and plant ID courses with him and have found the wealth of information and the way it is structured to be very good. As it is structured throughout the year, there is far more seasonal content than you would find on a week or even 2 week course. Also, as mentioned before, there is a good support network and, once you are signed up, the content is available until the end of the interent (PKs words). so you have a lot of content you can access when you need to refresh.
I've enjoyed them so much, i am now signed up for the Forest Hunter course in October (if it goes ahead).
 
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Apr 3, 2020
9
7
49
Hebrides
thanks one and all for the comments, I'm still humming and ha-ing over this a bit but probably wont make up my mind till we get into winter when i'll have more time. Good to hear a couple of you have enjoyed the course very much and particularly that there is a support network/feedback loop in place that reinforces learning - i agree a lot of the learning is in the doing but then its the little tricks that make things so much easier that are normally worth their weight in gold, if there's a smattering of them in there, it'll be worth the investment....
 
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TinkyPete

Full Member
Sep 4, 2009
1,885
97
uk mainly in the Midlands though
I am a member of both the plant ID and Bushcraft course. The lessons are very well put together with a video delivery and then you go and practice. But you can ask loads of questions and also the online groups are good. It took me three years to finally finish the main course work for the plant ID course and I keep going back to the content and lessons. Which is a lot better than just a one off week course. I have done some other courses and learning with Paul as well. He is a very knowledgeable and has a wealth of knowledge and depth on the subjects he teaches.
 

baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,446
195
45
Coventry (and up trees)
This year it was just over £400 for the plant id course and just over £200 for the bushcraft course. These were the pay up front costs, but i believe he offers different payment schemes, at different prices. Also, these were this years prices so he may well change them as they have become very popular this year, what with all the weird stuff going on.
 

Marius Dreyer

Member
May 18, 2020
17
2
Kent, United Kingdom
This year it was just over £400 for the plant id course and just over £200 for the bushcraft course. These were the pay up front costs, but i believe he offers different payment schemes, at different prices. Also, these were this years prices so he may well change them as they have become very popular this year, what with all the weird stuff going on.

Thanks for the info. My wife and I are weighing up whether or not to sign up for the online course this year or wait until next year to do the 6 day 'elementary' field course.

How much of the online course are you able to practice on your own in the UK's Autumn/Winter conditions? The video samples seemed of very high quality.

Is your Forest Hunter course going ahead? That one is definitely on my radar for the future.
 

Thoth

Nomad
Aug 5, 2008
329
18
Hertford, Hertfordshire
I am a participant in both Paul's online courses and have also attended courses with Paul through Frontier Bushcraft and one course led by Paul when he was working at Woodlore. I think the online courses are good value for money (you retain access to course materials indefinitely by the way and can continue to participate in webinars). The video content is high quality, Paul initially worked with a professional cameraman, and is head and shoulders above almost all other online bushcraft content I've seen (John Rhyder has some high quality instructive videos online). There is a (closed) Tree and Plant ID Facebook group for course members to participate in too. You need to have discipline to study effectively and get out and practice of course. I have enjoyed revisiting topics I learned years ago in addition to learning new things. Much better than working only from a book in my opinion. Personally I recommend the online courses, either as a stand alone learning experience, or as an addition/follow-up to hands on teaching from Paul.
 

TinkyPete

Full Member
Sep 4, 2009
1,885
97
uk mainly in the Midlands though
The plant course is based around a full year so that you get used to seeing the plants in a year cycle so you can identify them whether from barks, twigs, seeds or leaves. As part of the practices you find an area close to yourself which you can easily visit throughout the year. It may not give all the trees and plants but it will get you to know what is in your area and after a while you start seeing plants wherever you go.

The Bushcraft course gives you the materials and lessons to be used at anytime some seasons are better than others for certain practices, but because you have the materials, videos and lessons as you require them. I find it a great resource to learn from and even after I have been practicing some of this stuff for years, it is always to have a fresh perspective or just to re-practice skills I have done for years and compare them to have I have done it for years.
 
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baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,446
195
45
Coventry (and up trees)
Thanks for the info. My wife and I are weighing up whether or not to sign up for the online course this year or wait until next year to do the 6 day 'elementary' field course.

How much of the online course are you able to practice on your own in the UK's Autumn/Winter conditions? The video samples seemed of very high quality.

Is your Forest Hunter course going ahead? That one is definitely on my radar for the future.
As far as i'm aware, the course is still going ahead, and not heard from either frontier or the guys doing the DSC to suggest anything to the contrary. The online courses are very well designed so that all throughout the year there are skills to be learnt and practiced.
 
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MikeE

Full Member
Sep 12, 2005
992
39
62
Essex
The online elementary course is excellent and if you pay monthly not too bad on the wallet. Paul and his support team are very professional and the production values are high. I've been reminded of loads of things I'd forgotten and quite a lot of new 'titbits' which were newish to me, it is still under development with extra bits being added periodically. My feather sticks are now massively improved and really do catch better than even before. Overall, I found it to be good value and with practice in the woods and back garden it has really helped me, plus it was a good break during lockdown. :cool3::cool3::cool3::cool3:
 
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