Clayesmorians venture into the outback

Ian Rockett writes on the Survival School bushcraft adventure:

Mid-June saw 14 students from across the year groups depart for a night living in Wildwood Wood, Escot. After a short drive and disembarking in the wilds of Devon the students were introduced to their camp for the next 24 hours. Hammocks were rigged up and a fire lit to boil the kettle for a hot drink. The staff of Survival School then introduced the environment that we would be living in, including a tour of the area and instructions on using the “tree bog”.

The students embarked on a Level 1 NCFE syllabus which included ethos of wilderness living, first aid, cutting tools and techniques, and shelter building, before a much needed open fire cooked meal and post supper smores (a combination of toasted marshmallows and chocolate biscuits) until the sun finally went down. Some found a night in a hammock cosy and comfortable, others chose to utilise the improvised shelters constructed in the wood.

Once stirred from their overnight habitats, breakfast of bacon and eggs included a lesson and the making of Damper bread from only water and flour (with some sweet additions to improve the taste supplied by Mr Rockett).

The syllabus was completed with lessons on fire starting, collection and preparation of water and foraging. All of the students managed to create fire using just a spark, and all sampled some of the tasty – and not so – offerings of the forest. The wood sorrel proved to be the group’s favourite.

Thomas M. from Y10 describes the experience thus: “The bushcraft survival course was a very enjoyable time, and I believe I speak for all of us that went when I say that we would all go again in a heartbeat. We learnt a lot of valuable survival skills from how to safely and effectively use a knife to foraging in the woodland environment for things to eat that are safe and nutritious. All in all, it was a great trip and I cannot wait to go a second time for the next stage in my survival education.”