No matches? No problem!
Some bold young explorers joined real-life Siberian adventurer Neil Foote of Back Country Survival to learn bushcraft skills in Laggan Forest. Neil has recently returned from the Black Ice Race, crossing Lake Baikal in Siberia, so the wilds of Strathmashie must have seemed like a gentle walk in the park.
Two groups of primary age children set off into the Laggan Forest at Strathmashie for the activity, organised by Laggan Forest Trust, and learned what is safe to eat in the forest (and, importantly, what is not) and how to find clean water to drink.
The children dug seep wells to collect water which they then filtered, and built shelters from materials to be found on the forest floor. After dealing with the essentials of food, drink and shelter, they turned their attention to starting a fire…with no matches.
Having kept an eye out for materials since they first stepped into the woods, the children were all kitted out with Downy Birch bark for tinder and Larch twigs for kindling, and they all gathered larger twigs and branches to add to the fire once lit.
Using flint and steel the children practised making sparks and once they had got the hang of it, used charcloth made by Neil to kindle a flame in a “nest” of dry grass. They added twigs and branches under his expert eye, and soon had a very respectable blaze going, perfect for making pine needle tea!
One child yelled enthusiastically as he raced back to add to the woodpile “This is brilliant! It’s just like camping!”
Iona Malcolm, Projects Officer with Laggan Forest Trust told The Strathy “We had a great turnout for the survival skills sessions and the kids had a whale of a time! We have now had some enquiries from some big kids to see when we might run a course for them, so watch this space!” If any readers would like to put their name down for future sessions, please get in touch with Iona on 01528 544366 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.