Sixteen skills in 2016

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Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Laying in a sand dune on the Winter Solstice of 2014, I decided to set myself the challenge of 15 nights wild camping in 2015 (defined as Solstice 2014 -> Solstice 2015). As it stands I have just over a month 2 go, and have so far done 13 nights. I have at least 2 more nights planned (with option of a 3rd). This challenge has been really good and helped me get out more.

On the back of this I was pondering what to do next year, to keep this momentum of self challenge going. After much thought I reached the conclusion that I would try to learn, or improve on, 16 skills in 2016. This works out at roughly one every 3 weeks, which isn't totally implausible. I'm not talking massively complex things, just stuff I've not managed before. Some may even mesh together so I can achieve them at the same time. But right now I am struggling to work out the 16. So far my list is:

  1. Fire by friction
  2. Nav skills - This is more of a brush up than learning the skill from scratch
  3. Catch a fish with Improvised equipment (challenge made harder by legalities)
  4. Make a meal from foraged ingredients
  5. Natural Shelter
  6. Carve a spoon (and only a spoon, no fingers..., and without a trip to A&E...)
  7. Carve something useful that isn't a spoon
  8. Basic flint knapping (this one I may fork out for and go on a course *).
  9. ?
  10. ?
  11. ?
  12. ?
  13. ?
  14. ?
  15. ?
  16. ?

As you can see that's only the first 8. This leaves me with 8 more skills. So, people of BCUK, what skills would you suggest for my Sixteen skills in 2016 challenge?

I'm pondering something tracking/stalking related, but can't think of a useful way of quantifying it for the challenge... Ditto something astronomy related (learn more constellations maybe?)

Any ideas?

Thanks

J

*Unless anyone in SE UK could teach me basic flint knapping in exchange for beer, biscuits, or both... :p
 
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Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
12
Scotland
Sounds good Julia, oh, some ideas...

I) Make your height in natural cordage.
II) Make a try stick.
III) Learn and eat five seaweeds.
IV) Stalk to within ten feet of a non domesticated mammal.
V) Make a set of snow goggles.

Some daft & fun but all will broaden your skillset.

Hope you have fun, looking forward to hearing how you get on.
GB

Sent via smoke-signal from a woodland in Scotland.
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
It is good to know i am not the only nutter who keeps track of things like this and makes little 'to do' plans for myself.

Colin beat me to make a good length of natural cordage, what about

Make a knife and a sheath

Make a fishing net

roast something in a stone age oven

make a crab trap/lobster pot/crayfish trap from natural materials

weave a basket

make an item of clothing

In 2014 i spent 21 days wild camping and had the goal of doubling that this year (new years to new years), so far in 2015 i've done 35 days sleeping under a tarp, itching to squeeze another 10 days in between now and new years but it is bloody cold and seriously windy at the min so i am currently chickening out
 
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dewi

Full Member
May 26, 2015
2,644
5
Cheshire
In 2014 i spent 21 days wild camping and had the goal of doubling that this year (new years to new years), so far in 2015 i've done 35 days sleeping under a tarp, itching to squeeze another 10 days in between now and new years but it is bloody cold and seriously windy at the min so i am currently chickening out

Managed half that you've managed Bod... just 17 days this year, but I did only start in July... thats my excuse... but I'm still going. Got a wet and windy weekend ahead, and very tempted for a December meet up as well... so a possibly 21 by the end of the year.


My suggestion for Q would be to make an everyday item for outdoor use out of iron.
 

Paulm

Full Member
May 27, 2008
1,091
175
Hants
How about adding making char cloth and fire with flint and steel (and char cloth) as well as fire by friction, and perhaps some "primitive" cooking without pots and pans like on here http://www.britishblades.com/forums/forum.php

Carving fire cranes, pot hangers, kuksa and similar, sourcing water by solar still and other less common means, learning some useful knots ?

Cheers, Paul
 
Dec 6, 2013
417
0
N.E.Lincs.
How about (Ray Mears Demonstrations - Fish Hook from Thorn, Low Tide Line Fishing) (see youtube)......several things there to inspire you and attempt to fulfil things already on the list.

DB
 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,116
271
70
SE Wales
Restore an old tool/implement tht you will use to do some of the above; or make one, needn't be large or complicated.
 

Tank

Full Member
Aug 10, 2009
1,918
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39
Witney, Oxfordshire
tanktracks.blogspot.com
Looking back at my year I have thought about things I have done, some for the first time some I just wanted to do more of, so my thoughts for you to think about.

1. Source material from nature and make pine pitch glue.
2. Flint knapping and make arrow heads and small tools. Then use these tools.
3. Make a natural shelter and spend a 24hrs in it.
4. Spend 24hrs in the woods and only eat what you can forage.
5. Learn 10 new wild edibles and cook with them.
6. Make a net needle and make a net.
7. Make natural cordage (already mentioned)
8. Get some basic leather craft tool and make yourself something.
9. Make fire using Flint and steel in wet conditions.
10. Make a bowdrill set and get an ember from freshly sourced materials rather than nicely dried stuff at home.

Just some thoughts

Cheers T.



Sent from my D5803 using Tapatalk
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,046
1,577
63
Pembrokeshire
When I was searching for a "focus"" to my outings I chanced upon the Bushcraftusa "Bushclass" and found it fun.
I had so much fun with it infact, that I became the first person to complete the Advanced classes. It took a couple of years to do but - if you do not cheat (you are only cheating yourself anyway - no kudos there!) it gives you a shed load of skills to play with. I have now done all the sections more than once (except the fishing bit - I do not like fishing or eating fish much) ..purely for fun and focus on my trips into the woods.
The certificate and badge at the end of each section mean nothing really - but they give you some sort of "bragging rights" :D as well as "markers" on your progress
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Sounds good Julia, oh, some ideas...

I) Make your height in natural cordage.
II) Make a try stick.
III) Learn and eat five seaweeds.
IV) Stalk to within ten feet of a non domesticated mammal.
V) Make a set of snow goggles.

I've made nettle cordage before, but I only made a couple of feet. Maybe my height, or perhaps 16'...

Try stick?

What do you mean by snow goggles? do you have a picture?

Make a knife and a sheath

I am in the process of building a forge, was thinking that this 16 skills would steer away from the blacksmithing. Will concentrate on them later.

Make a fishing net

roast something in a stone age oven

Making a net is a good idea, I made a net needle at the Moot, Tho I may try to make another. I could then try and make a decent size net.

make a crab trap/lobster pot/crayfish trap from natural materials

weave a basket

make an item of clothing

Clothing is something I've made before. I'm guessing that basket weaving, and by extension, trap wearving isn't the sort of skill I can learn from youtube videos and web pages ?

My suggestion for Q would be to make an everyday item for outdoor use out of iron.

As mentioned above, blacksmithing is something for a future project.

- Make cordage from stinging nettle (cordage suggested in an earlier post)
- Make a willow basket
- Make a figure-4 deadfall
- Make moccasins
- See an <insert animal here> in its native habitat

Nettle cordage seems a popular choice. Can I legally use a figure 4 deadfall trap in the UK?

I've made shoes before (several pairs to medieval patterns).

I like the animal tracking idea, it's certainly one to consider.


Shall investigate, thank you.

How about adding making char cloth and fire with flint and steel (and char cloth) as well as fire by friction, and perhaps some "primitive" cooking without pots and pans like on here http://www.britishblades.com/forums/forum.php

Carving fire cranes, pot hangers, kuksa and similar, sourcing water by solar still and other less common means, learning some useful knots ?

Char cloth, flint and steel are both things I've done before. Primitive cooking makes sense. Might have to add that.

How about (Ray Mears Demonstrations - Fish Hook from Thorn, Low Tide Line Fishing) (see youtube)......several things there to inspire you and attempt to fulfil things already on the list.

That video is the inspiration for the fishing item in number 3.

Restore an old tool/implement tht you will use to do some of the above; or make one, needn't be large or complicated.

That could work, I have an axe that needs restoration.

1. Source material from nature and make pine pitch glue.
2. Flint knapping and make arrow heads and small tools. Then use these tools.
3. Make a natural shelter and spend a 24hrs in it.
4. Spend 24hrs in the woods and only eat what you can forage.
5. Learn 10 new wild edibles and cook with them.
6. Make a net needle and make a net.
7. Make natural cordage (already mentioned)
8. Get some basic leather craft tool and make yourself something.
9. Make fire using Flint and steel in wet conditions.
10. Make a bowdrill set and get an ember from freshly sourced materials rather than nicely dried stuff at home.

Some nice ones in there. I've done a lot of leather work before, but the rest have some potential.

First aid. Real first aid not the first aid at work which is a joke to cover legal requirements.

I have extensive FA experience, so won't include that, but thank you.

J
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
You should have no problem finding instructionals on basket weaving on Youtube, tonnes of crab pot making videos too.

You are right in concern over deadfalls they are illegal here
 

dewi

Full Member
May 26, 2015
2,644
5
Cheshire
I've went on a day general blacksmithing course, which was excellent and I came away with a basic knowledge, but my time with Dave Budd made me appreciate just what is involved to make a useful tool... he's an extremely good tutor in my opinion and he was very clear from the outset that we would have to work hard to produce what we wanted in a weekend.

Very much enjoyed it and I would highly recommend some time with him, not to mention he's got a great woodland to camp in. I want to go again next year... I want to do the same course again because it was so much fun making an axe that I'd like to make another in a different style.

Just saying, if blacksmithing is on the cards... its worth considering. If you're setting up your own forge, you may well be a lot more experienced than me, but still, I reckon even the experienced would get something out of time with Dave. Knowledgeable fella and thoroughly nice chap!

As is usually said, no affiliation... just enjoyed my time there so much. Good memories and I have an axe I made with my own hands.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,267
2,246
S. Lanarkshire
Sounds like fun Julia :D Loads of variety and keep it interesting :cool:

Make stable outdoor 'furniture'. Bed, seat, stool, etc., using cordage you've made. It's more of an aim than just so many metres of the stuff.
How about making cordage from sixteen different materials too ?
Fiona and I managed over fifty between us one year :) so it's very do-able.

Forage sixteen different types of edible or useful fungi over the year ? Fire, food, medicinal, etc.,

Find and use sixteen differenty types of stone&#8230;.from flint and chert to slate and soapstone. Everything from firelighting to making cups/soapstone lights.

Going to be interesting hearing how you get on with it all though :D

M
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
12
Scotland
Hi Julia,

Sorry I should've been more informative, was thinking of the Morsel Joystick, basically a stick that you carve that will take you through all the different cuts and knife handling techniques, good practice and promotes safe handling. I have a PDF on file I can send you.

Again on the carving thang the snow goggles are carved from wood or bone, cover the eyes with slits cut to cut down the transmission of light. You'll also need some cordage to held them in place. Have some pictures of Eskimo/Inuit ones I'll post up when I get to town.

You've had some great suggestions from folks, be interesting to see how some of them work out.

Sent via smoke-signal from a woodland in Scotland.
 

tsitenha

Nomad
Dec 18, 2008
384
1
Kanata
Quixoticgek, I don't know you or your realistic skill level, so take it slow and methodical. I didn't know what I know now in a day, weeks, months, years, I was mentored by elders, family, friends I am still learning new skills (right now is learning to play a chanter, first step towards playing the pipes), be patient.

Instead of chasing a magic 16 skills, learn 1 skill very well, when you can control it, start with a second one and so on.

First skill is to make a shelter, nothing elaborate, find a tree, take out a poncho, sit and listen. Take a plastic sheeting they use for painters and with some nylon cordage build a larger shelter that will protect you from sun, wind, rain etc... No such thing as cheating, as you accrue skills then expand in their variations.

Actually start a fire, use kindling and remnant pieces of lumber, tinder, get that fire going and alive for at least 1/2 hour, I get my students brew me a cup of hot tea. Oh yes I walk away, for 5-10-15 minutes and expect a hot cup of tea when I return. Devil you say YES I say. It doesn't matter at first of how you start your fire, BIC lighter, matches, when you are competent then expand your sources of fire making.

Learn maps and compass, get to know your neighborhood, city and such. Proceed to a known park and repeat the same exercise. When you are comfortable with your navigational skills apply them for more remote wilderness.

I highly recommend learning butchering skills, in the UK maybe approach a butcher and exchange skill learning for service.

Maybe you are farther along than I realize, so much the better. Learn skills slowly let them sink in, don't be afraid of failure, learn from it, everybody does.
Enjoy the process otherwise it defeats the purpose of the outdoors.
 

tsitenha

Nomad
Dec 18, 2008
384
1
Kanata
Snow goggles can also be fabricated with birch bark and string use a sharp object to pierce a hole on both sides (not while you are wearing it) so you can see.
The same goggles can "replace" broken glasses if need be, crude but possible. Think of a pin box camera.
Good luck, enjoy.
 

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