How to choose the right map scale – 25k, 40k or 50k?

How to choose the right map scale – 25k, 40k or 50k?

There are two mapping scales that tend to be used for walking, mountaineering and other human-powered travels across the landscape in the UK – 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales. The main producer of topographical maps for outdoor activities (and everything else) is the Ordnance Survey (OS), and the 1:25,000 (Explorer) and 1:50,000 (Landranger) scales are readily available at outdoor shops, online and local retailers. They also produce various digital mapping products, as well as an online mapping service and smartphone app. Continue reading

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New Foraging Course Dates for 2019!

New Foraging Course Dates for 2019!

We have added new dates to the 2019 course calendar to cope with demand for our Foraging and Wild Foods day course, plus launched brand new Level 1 and Level foraging training courses for professionals and those who want to take their foraging seriously. Continue reading

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Pacing, timing or ticking off – measuring distance when navigating on foot

Pacing, timing or ticking off – measuring distance when navigating on foot

On our navigation courses we always end up coming around to the subject of distance. Indeed, it’s one of the ‘D’s of navigation and unless you intend to just stand still and survey the surrounding countryside you’ll need to deal with the problem of measuring distance both on the map and on foot at some point or another.

There are three ways that we cover in depth on the EST Framework navigation courses – ‘pacing‘, ‘timing‘ and the enigmatically named ‘ticking off‘. They each have their merits, but also a few drawbacks. Like pretty much every other navigational technique – they are just a tool in the toolkit, and it is up to you to select the right one for the right task Continue reading

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COURSE REPORT: Woodcrafter Course July 2018

COURSE REPORT: Woodcrafter Course July 2018
COURSE REPORT: Woodcrafter Course July 2018 The Woodcrafter - our original and long-established 2-day bushcraft and campcraft course - remains one of our most popular courses. The July 2018 course was a mixture of rain, sun and smoke - but everyone seemed to survive and have aRead more...

Course report – Wild Camping Weekend June 2018

Course report – Wild Camping Weekend June 2018
Course Report - Wild Camping Weekend Photos and notes from our June 2018 Snowdonia Wild Camping Weekend Last weekend I was joined by Richard, Allan and Amy for our 2018 Mountain Wild Camping course in the hills of Snowdonia. This course has two learning outcomes - planningRead more...

Why tracking doesn’t work for misper SAR in the UK

Why tracking doesn’t work for misper SAR in the UK

Here we go… this post will attract a minimum of two types of response:

1. “you don’t know what you’re talking about, if your skills were as good as mine you could follow a flea across a glacier”
2. “tracking is too slow/doesn’t work/is overrated”

Well, quite.

Both views have some validity, and that’s the point of this post.

Tracking, within the context of SAR/non-combat scenarios, is often represented by evangelists who want to present tracking as a panacea to locating any human OR by those who have sworn off it having tried the techniques (sold to them on a course) on a live operation and found that it just slows everything down and eats up resources. Each side will defend their own hilltop to the last man – neither attitude being actually that helpful to achieving the end goa Continue reading

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Why is foraging still so popular in the U.K?

Why is foraging still so popular in the U.K?

For a decade our foraging and wild foods courses are filled – but why?
My name is Richard Prideaux, and I am a forager.

It’s not much of a confession really – through Original Outdoors I have been leading foraging courses and walks for a decade or more, as well as working as a supplier of foraged plants from a local organic estate and working with chefs and restaurants to find new ways to use wild plants, fungi and lichens in dishes served to the most discerning of clients. It is safe to say that a large part of my working life outdoors has been linked to foraging and wild food, even if peripherally on our bushcraft courses. But none of that would have been possible if there hadn’t been such a demand for information and training in this ancient activity – so with shops and food suppliers all around us, why is there such a cultural draw towards edible plants and fungi?

I have two theories on this, and they require a little unpacking. They may also be complete cobblers, but allow me to explain… Continue reading

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Our 2018 course dates are online!

Our 2018 course dates are online!

The 2018 Courses are now live! Around this time of year I normally find myself pretty much locked in the office working out course dates and descriptions for the courses next year. We’ve found that a good number of our course participants attend our courses after receiving

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Foraging and Camp Cooking with 16 Hospitality

Foraging and Camp Cooking with 16 Hospitality

Foraging and Wild Food with 16 Hospitality Last year we teamed up with 16 Hospitality for their first external training course – a day of foraging and wild food cooking in the woods. For 2017 they wanted to push things forward a little and really challenge their

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Do I need to bother with bow drill?

Do I need to bother with bow drill?

Bow Drill Skills: Are they worth learning? One of the skills most associated with the world of ‘bushcraft’ is that of making fire by friction. The image that normally accompanies that description is somebody crouching over a contraption that looks like a fiddle crossed with a rolling

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Private Expedition Training in North Wales

Private Expedition Training in North Wales

Private Expedition Training with Mike and Wayne In the winter of 2016 I was contacted by a gentleman (Mike) who was enquiring about the possibility of some bespoke private training. Funnily enough, Mike had found us through the review of the Katadyn Gravity Camp Water Filter we

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Tracking Training and Awareness with North Wales Police

Tracking Training and Awareness with North Wales Police

Track and Sign Awareness with North Wales Police A training and skill-sharing session with the NWP Rural Crime Team A few months ago I was joined by police officers from the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team for a session on track and sign awareness and to

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UK Knife Law Explained

UK Knife Law Explained

UK Knife Law Explained for the Outdoors UK legal carry law discussed with a former police officer What can I carry in the UK? Is my knife illegal? What knife can I carry for bushcraft? The above is a good example of questions we’re asked with regards

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Doug’s Green Woodworking Books

Doug’s Green Woodworking Books

Doug’s 5 Favourite Green Woodworking Books As part of my work with Original Outdoors, Richard asked me about the Green Woodwork books that I thought were worth recommending to everyone and which ones were my favourites. This lead me down a road of looking out many of

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How to sharpen an axe!

How to sharpen an axe!

How to sharpen an axe! In another of our series of tutorial videos with green woodworker (and axe hoarder) Doug Don we look at his technique for sharpening axes, using inexpensive materials and a technique that can learned easily and done safely. It’s a longer video, but

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How to make a spatula (flat spoon)

How to make a spatula (flat spoon)

How to make a spatula (flat spoon) In this video I spend some time in the woods with Doug Don learning how to split down and process a log into a useful kitchen implement. Even if you aren’t interested in making a spatula there is a lot

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Moments – Bow Drill Demonstration

Moments – Bow Drill Demonstration

A Bow Drill Demonstration Instructor Kevin goes through an honest demonstration of lighting a fire with a bow drill set (note the thick smoke and flames just visible in the last few frames) towards the end of a Woodcrafter course. Getting a valid ember (and eventually flame)

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Moments – Breakfast in Camp

Moments – Breakfast in Camp

Breakfast in camp A morning timelapse in a bushcraft camp The morning after the first night in any camp is always interesting. If you’re up early it’s fun to watch people arrive at the communal fire area and go through the same conversations: “how did you sleep?”

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VIDEO: How to rig a tarp

VIDEO: How to rig a tarp

VIDEO: How to set up a tarp in the woods Simple rigging for a DD Hammocks tarp In a two part video I share how I set up my DD Hammocks 3m x 3m tarpaulin for wild camping and general camp use. It’s a quick, simple and

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Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016

Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016

Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016 we’ve been working witht he team of volunteers at the Brymbo Heritage Project near Wrexham for over 6 months on a few projects, but the one that has really inspired us has been the pilot of a new outdoor qualification

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