Barhaugh goes wild!

Alston, a treacherous landscape of sleeting rain and howling winds. A desolate land of open fells, icy rivers and the ever present, ever curious sheep. Six staff members braced themselves for a day in this unforgiving place. Would they make it home for a cuppa by 5 o’clock, or would they succumb to the wilderness?

Okay, perhaps I’ve over exaggerated, but bushcraft was certainly on the agenda and for once, the weather was on our side.

Merls led a group of six of us through the ins and out of bushcraft. Giving us a taste of survival in the- admittedly rather tame- Barhaugh Hall wilderness. First up was a demonstration of knife and axe safety, handling and usage. A quick but important lesson we’d apply to the rest of the day!

We tried, failed and tried again to make feather sticks for fire lighting- this took more concentration than we thought… though was oddly satisfying.

Next up, we packed the Path Finder with water, our chopped wood and Merls’ huuuuuge bag of supplies and headed down to the start of our old Stream Walk.

Here we talked a little about ‘leaving no trace’ and learnt how to set up a fire for our yummy dinner! Merls cooked us Sour Dough bread and Leek and Potato soup on the open fire while five of us turned our hands to spoon carving and one to crafting a wild bow out of a young Ash tree.

We also learnt how to safely tap a Silver Birch Tree, that starting a fire is not for the impatient and that wood carving is knackering, but pretty fun! Mix that with learning rossetta cuts, how to split a tree down its length and how to make your camp (waves hands manically) disappear and you’ve got yourself a training day we’d do over and over again!