So there I was, wandering through the woods with the dog. This is one of several woodland sites that we occasionally rent to run some of our bushcraft, survival and other wilderness skills courses in North Wales. I am far from any of the footpaths, both the public ones and the ones made by locals through the trees. It’s about 15 minutes after sunset and the light is poor – nearly time for the head torch. Continue readingRead more... →
Extreme Low Tide foraging is becoming popular and one of the increasingly common requests we get for a private coastal foraging course over here in North Wales. It’s easy to understand why – when all of the most interesting and edible parts of the beach are under the water for part of every day then there’s a lot more to see when the water has retreated to its lowest point.
The UK is home to one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world – the Severn Estuary can have a difference of as much as 15m (49ft). The tidal range of one particular spot can be dependent on several factors, ranging from the shape of the bay, inlet or estuary where the range is being measured to the underwater geology and topography, and even the direction it is facing relative to the prevailing winds. Continue reading
As you have probably guessed – what Lonely Planet wanted was somebody to write some unique content for them (for free) and then for them to make money from selling that content as one of the ‘expert voices’ in the book. Apparently they “never pay interviewees (they benefit in terms of exposure)“. Well, quite. Exposure can be a dangerous thing – too much of it and it can kill you. That’s why our survival courses always include some training in awareness and prevention of hypothermia.
However, it prompted me to write this post – are there any generic survival tips I can give for people travelling the globe? Something quick and easy to read and as applicable to someone travelling to Mongolia as it would be to Mali? Tips that would work in Belgium or Belize?
It turns out I can. So here are some of those top travelling survival tips – given away to you for free – but I like you, so it’s OK. Continue readingRead more... →
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”
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 readingRead more... →
The recent hullabaloo over the Strava heatmap reminded me of a strange case from a few years ago…
If you have any kind of interest in GPS, fitness apps, unusual maps or just technology news then you were probably at least vaguely aware of a story about the fitness app Strava and some analysis of the heatmap they published last month. This publicly-viewable heatmap of anonymised user data isn’t new – but the last update was from 2015 data. The 2017 data release included over 1 billion activities and 10 terabytes of raw data. The total distance clocked up was 27 billion KM – 180 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. It’s an impressive piece of user-generated information and it’s quite good fun to see which are the most popular routes to the summit of Snowdon, or the tracks made by people swimming, kayaking or SUP’ing in Llyn Padarn.
There’s also potentially a bit of a security risk – but that’s something I’ve got prior experience of, and it’s still a potential problem for those who work in ‘sensitive’ areas of the world. Continue readingRead more... →
We want your outdoor questions!
Pretty much every week we receive an email, Facebook message, Twitter DM or comment somewhere that is asking for advice, information or just somebody asking for help with their own adventure.
Of course we try to help as much as we can, and it’s not unusual to find ourselves on the phone for quite a while talking through one subject or another.
This has given me an idea – why not make this more of a public process? The questions we get are often very similar to each other and I know that more people would possibly benefit from those answers.
So this is the idea – you can submit your questions to us via one of the following sources, and we will do our best to answer them in our upcoming videos: Continue readingRead more... →
What’s with all of the gun videos? Is Original Outdoors a gun channel now?
Well… No. But for the UK it’s closely related to one of the subjects that we ourselves are closely associated with – foraging and wild food.
Due to a number of UK laws the most accessible, legal and ethical source of wild meat for the keen forager is probably via a sub-12ft/lb air rifle. It’s potentially a huge subject with a lot to explore, and to be perfectly honest there is a lot of very poor information online.
We are pulling together a series of videos running through the basics of buying, owning and using an air gun in the U.K. which we can refer our customers to in the future – but rest assured we’ll also be creating more mountain, survival, bushcraft and other wilderness skills content in the coming weeks. Continue readingRead more... →
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 readingRead more... →
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 receivingRead more... →
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 theirRead more... →
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 rollingRead more... →
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 toRead more... →
How to put together a first aid kit outdoors Wilderness personal medical kits How do you put a first aid kit together for the outdoors? Or a bushcraft first aid kit? Are first aid kits for mountain biking different to ones for kayaking? Carrying a first aidRead more... →
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, butRead more... →
Foraging with 16 Hospitality On Tuesday we were joined a by a group from 16Hospitality, owners and operators of pub, bar, hotel and restaurant businesses in North Wales and Cheshire. We had been approached by Operations Manager Matt Parker to create a unique foraging and wild foodsRead more... →
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 qualificationRead more... →
Ten books for your Summer Mountain Leader Award The Mountain Leader award is often seen as the gateway into a career in outdoor instruction in the UK. The effort required to gather enough Quality Mountain Days, to go through the registration, training and assessment process and toRead more... →
Bushcraft Basics Course January – What the clients thought… Our first Bushcraft Basics course of 2016 was run on Saturday, amidst snow showers and a steady breeze. We were joined by five others (and a spaniel!) in our private woodland for the course – and we hijackedRead more... →
NAVEMBER 2015 Every year we run a month of navigation training courses in North Wales and the Lake District during November. The courses run from entry-level Basic Navigation Courses through to GPS and Natural Navigation courses. November Navigation Course Dates Basic Navigation Course (Grasmere, Lake District) 7th-8thRead more... →