Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Woodlands survival

Last week, I spent 4 days out in the woodlands in Derbyshire receiving survival training with my classmates as part of our Cross-Cultural Communication course. On site, we were provided with a few pots and pans, a limited amount of water every day, and an experienced instructor to give us training in how to survive in the woods. We were able to bring our sleeping bags and clothes and food, but only what we were able to carry on our backs. Tents were not allowed. We would have to learn how to build our own shelters from what is available in the woods.

We packed our cars early Monday morning and drove for about 2 1/2 hours to a place in Derbyshire where we could leave our cars.




From there, we hiked about 40 minutes into the woods.




After we arrived, our instructor Dave first taught us how to build a shelter.



And then it was up to us to gather materials for a shelter...



... and to make a shelter that would hopefully be waterproof!



Here is the finished product and my bed for the next three nights (with a makeshift mattress out of branches and foilage)!



This was what our camp looked like:



We learned how to make string from plants...



... start a fire ...



... even without any matchsticks or the like!



Plenty of smoke!



And useful for roasting a chicken or two!



We also learned how to make traps for animals...




 ... and where and how to find and make sense of animal tracks.


We had great weather every day, with just a few raindrops landing on my face on Thursday morning at around 5 a.m. - because my head was sticking outside of the shelter, not because my shelter wasn't waterproof! ;-)

And then it was time to pack our bags and head back to the car park again.



Goodbye woodlands!



The first to arrive back at the car park! =)


All in all a great experience - learned lots of interesting new things and had a good few days out in the woods with my classmates!

8 comments:

MichaelLJ said...

Interesting ... Judging from the faces it must have costed some energy to live out in the woods.

IS the animal trap designed to let something heavy fall onto a small animal like a rabbit? Or what kind of animal size should be trapped? I think for wild pig the stone/the bough is to small to trap it.

Michael said...

It wasn't too bad, actually! Yes, the trap is designed for smaller animals. You put some food at the end of the stick and at the slightest movement the whole thing is meant to collapse. We didn't catch any animals that way, though. Just learned how to set it up.

Anonymous said...

The pictures look like a combination of an armed forces and a Robin Hood camp. Are you sure that it wasn't somewhere in Sherwood Forest where you guys spend your time? Maybe you guys should revive the good old English tradition of "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor":-)

Michael said...

Hello anonymous,
Hmmm, come to think of it, it may not have been too far from Sherwood Forest... But it was neither an army nor a Robin Hood camp. No training in robbery, either...

Jennifer said...

This looks like a blast! I came across your blog as I was looking for information about NTBI in North Coates and it gave me the insider info I am looking for! I am praying about applying to go there next fall.
Jen

Michael said...

That's great! You should come and visit some time!

Jennifer said...

I'd love to, but I live in the USA. It's a bit far for a visit! Speaking of which, do you know how I can pay the application fee, since I don't usually have pounds in my wallet? I emailed the address on the form, but have not heard a response. I just tried contacting the bmtc office from the website, so I'll see what happens.

Michael said...

Hmmm, not sure either, but I am sure there is a way and they will let you know. You can also e-mail me at michael_schmid@ntm.org.uk if you have any other questions about anything. Hope it works out for you - in the past few years it's been quite difficult for Americans to come over here to study.