Wilderness Emergency Medicine for Bushcraft

We’re very lucky in our club. Aswell as experience in the outdoors we also have people who are medically trained and operating in pre-hospital environments. When it comes to any outdoor activity, having basic first aid should be high on someones priority list. We spend lots of money on fancy kit but often investment in skills can be overlooked. The cost of a basic first aid course is probably a lot less than a custom knife or another stove and they are skills that could save a life. I’ve been on different foreign bushcraft trips and never had to rely on “bushcraft” skills in a serious emergency. However I’ve seen several medical incidents over the years including some hospital visits with some people from the group.

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Frontier Bushcraft Intermediate course

I decided to go back and do another bushcraft course. Something I hadn’t done one for a long time, mostly working on my own skills with the club. I signed up for Paul Kirtleys Intermediate course as it mentioned that there was a challenging element to it. I didn’t think much of it but one or two people I know, knew about the course and mentioned that it was quite tough. Someone even rang me giving me advice on the course, which I found surprising. I just wanted 6 days in the woods for a break and learn some new skills. I didn’t pay too much attention to the course content. I did however want to improve my hand drill technique and material selection. So that was probably my only goal going over

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Wild Uganda

There are some things you do in life that have an impact on how you think. Sometimes a single event. Other times a whole series of them. One of the things about Bushcraft is that for me, I need to remind myself that I have so much to learn and never get comfortable in what I feel I know. I feel like I’ve done a bit but still I am only scraping the surface of such a vast topic. I must challenge myself to practice what I know and remind myself of what I need to work on.

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Arctic Circle trip

When doing certain types of trips, you need to be surrounded by compotent people. People who know what they are doing and can take of themselves. More importantly though, is that when the going gets a bit difficult, no one loses their cool and the job just gets done. The further you push your skills, the more comfortable you are in different and difficult environments. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve spent some time in the snow and cold. So I wanted others to see what it was like also. Where else could you go but into Northern Sweden and into the Arctic Circle.

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Bear/Wolf tracking in Romania

It’s always nice to give your skills context and scope. One such way of doing this is to see if what you know applies in different parts of the world. Last week I traveled to Romania and to different parts of the Carpathian Mountains. Most people would call this the Transylvanian region of Romania and indeed it has some of the best scenery in any part of Europe that I have been.

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Currach (Coracle) building in Meath

We had a fantastic day learning skills from the Boyne Valley Currach centre. It’s great to see Irish traditional craft from hundreds of years ago, living on in those from the area where they were used. These skills should be celebrated as our heritage and not forgotten. I have such respect for people who walk the walk when it comes to traditional craft and admire their dedication.

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When the weather doesn’t play ball

We’ve been very lucky over the years in our Bushcraft Club. Its rare that on any weekend, it has managed to rain for more than 24 hours solid. Well this weekend was an exception. It makes me think, what our ancestors would have done. Huddled around the winter fire, in a hut with their families. Making cordage, weaving baskets, fishing hooks and spears for the forthcoming spring. Telling stories and playing simple games to pass the time.

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