Tree-ditions is commissioned to work with local authorities in providing personal development courses for young people. One of these courses includes participants working towards John Muir Awards and Heritage Hero Awards. As part of the course content participants are encouraged to share their experiences, this fantastic group of girls have chosen to use a blog to be hosted here. This group finished in October 2018. This is their experience in their own words.
As part of the Bridges and East Lothian Works project, we went to the woods 2 days a week for 10 weeks to achieve the Heritage Heroes Award and John Muir Award with Tree-ditions. During these 10 weeks we looked at different types of trees, how to identify them and what they were good for. We learned survival skills such as fire lighting, putting up a shelter, outdoor cooking, foraging and tracking and traditional green wood working skills. Below is a more in depth look at what we have achieved.
The pole lathe is a human powered green wood turning tool.
Putting Up a Shelter
In conclusion, we learned how to use traditional tools, how to survive in the wilderness, the need to look after wild places to increase biodiversity, how to harvest wood from a tree without harming it, the need to look after the number of living organisms in this wilderness. The woodland we found was surrounded by arable farm land, crops with little biodiversity. This showed us the importance of helping to conserve these wild places to increase biodiversity.
Using the traditional tools and making things with them helped us connect with our past. As our ancestors would have did the same things in times gone by.
Bedrock Bushcraft Course
The weekend of the 29th and 30th of August saw a bunch of guys trickle into the woods to set up camp for their initiation into bushcraft and survival. Once their sleeping arrangements were sorted the guys got together. A supper of homemade broth and bread, flapjack and a hot drink set us up while we made acquaintances. We discused the plan for the weekend and got some sleep for an early start.
We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning ate again cleaned up and got on with the days proceedings. Fire was the hot topic, where we explored the science of fire and how to get a flame from a spark using natural tinders and ember extenders. The group used ferrocerium rods and flint and steel to create an ember and then turn the ember into flame to build a fire. We discussed the necessary requirements to get fire going and how to maintain them using different fire lays and their uses.
Next up was basic bushcraft tool use, knives, saws and axes. Conservation is intrinsically linked to wood crafts so we looked at tree biology and how to harvest wood safely and sustainably. We include tree identification, as not knowing your tree species limits your success in using the wood you have harvested appropriately for it's specific properties.
A hive of activity as the guys get on with their project of making a wagon stick and practicing tool work.
A hearty curry for evening our evening meal with nan bread and cake and custard set us up for the evening craft session of spoon carving.
I'm reliably told that the plate here was purchased in Africa over twenty years ago and still going strong!
After clear up the evening was spent improving knife skills. Everyone had a go at spoon carving until it was pitch dark! Everyones spoons were great and a credit to them, considering that no one had ever attempted to carve one before.
Day 2 Bedrock Bushcraft Course
Another warm and sunny morning in the woods, bliss! One of the guys relit the fire to get the kettle on for everyone from an ember left over from the night before.
The morning session was on the reasons and how to of making water safe to drink. For this we used a combination of older and newer methods. first it was off to find some un potable water!
So what your seeing is filtering out the gunk and then boiling out the bugs! You can now also sook water through a filter too!
Last but not least we had a quick look at shelter learning some knots and hitches to put up a hammock and tarp. A lightweight system which packs away small for lessening your load.
We hope you've enjoyed our wee insight into the Bedrock Bushcraft weekend, please let us know what you think?
Bye for now, Dave.
"Where Have You Been"? I hear you all shout, "you said you'd do a blog regularly"! I know, I apologise its just that I don't think that I have much to say!
Well I've been told (again) in no uncertain terms that I should as there are lots of people out there who would like to see what other people are getting up to at the woodland crafts school.
So to help satisfy that hunger here's a few shots of this past weekends class on woodcarving facilitated for N Lanarkshire Rangers Service. Three (complete) beginners, see what they produced! I'm totally chuffed for them.
Day One was learning about tools techniques and reading the wood. This involved trying all the tools on an exercise project which helps us understand the grain of the wood and how to cut it to gain the best results. It also involved the all important sharpening maintaining and the tool kit.
Day 2, the students Kitty, Bill and Craig brought in a project of their choice, the brief was to not over complicate things and make it difficult to implement the skills to be practised. The guys were great and brought in some nice wee challenges. See for yourselves.
Tree-ditions last day in Edinburgh city centre as part of the East Lothian wish you were there event. Saturday 1st thing we got a wee fire going and put out all the tools and timber. Even during the festival the city was quiet early in the morning except for a couple of people sitting at the beach which had been brought up from East Lothian too.
A cup of coffee and bacon roll then the work began in earnest.
Loads of people came and went over the day with loads trying out the shave horse and pole lathe, they just love it. This I can understand totally! There were a few folk having a go at splitting wood with one who showed particular tenasity with a large gnarly piece of ash. With bags of enegy and determination she got it split. Well done Jennifer!
A lot of family interaction with these lads, between them they were all over the tools and showing a real flair for green woodworking. Well done Yan, Alex and Dad
As well as traditional woodland skills being used we were joined by a friends son who entertained us with traditional music. He played for a while and ended with a rather cool tune from Sweden (If I remember right) he had learned on a recent European tour. Thanks Lewis
Meanwhile I waffled on explaining the rudiments and teaching the skills traditionally used to make day to day stuff and how to survive or even live in harmony with the woods.
So there you have it, a wee snapshot of the last day of a week spent in the city centre of Edinburgh during the numerous festivals that are on, doing Bushcraft and green woodworking with the toonies and tourists.
Hello out there!
Hi there, I'm Dave the owner of Tree-ditions. A friend of mine told me that the website was looking good (I was pleased, not bad for a non techy). He then went on to tell me that my blog was rubbish, this raised question marks in my head until he told me that I had this spot on my website! AAH I said, he then went on to tell me that I need to write stuff in it and that I need to do this regularly in order to keep you interested.
So here I am writing stuff for you, I only hope I can make it interesting too.
here at Tree-ditions were building a woodland crafts school where you can come and learn the ways of the woods in a fun and leasurely way. We run green woodworking and bushcraft courses as well as carrying out many other functions related to the outdoors. We build mountain bike tracks, pump tracks, dry stone dykes, carry out landscaping both hard and soft, create bespoke buildings from traditional American scribed log cabins to garden bothies to name a few things. Though I expect you know this by now if you've looked at the website.
Ok so now that I've started this blog I'll tell you what were up to at the mo, East Lothian cooncil are holding an event in Edinburgh's St Andrews Sq. Here there are a number of businesses showing their wares to the international visitors and locals alike to show off the delights of East Lothian and I can tell you there are many. Including the Woods we operate out of, we have the most magnificant view over the region, you can see one of the shots on the facebook page. In the toon we have set up a mini camp to let people see what were about, come along and say hello were there until Saturday 10th. Today we were packed out with families learning to blow a tinder pile to flame, we started off with 8 then they flocked to the camp clammering to set fire to stuff, it was great all these wee faces delighted with themselves with their acheivements, the adults did well too.
We demonstated using green woodworking tools using a shave horse with a drawknife and pole lathe with gouges and chisels and made a wee stool. We demonstrated splitting wood and got some help from people watchingI was knackered by the end of it. Thursday we will do more of the same and try and squeeze in a knife skills session too! Friday with time permitting I'll make a few bow drill sets and you can give fire by friction a go!
My friend also told me to add photos, I will I promise......when I get some! I'll get some tomorrow and put them up at the weekend, see I'm going to do it regularly (that's what I said about the facebook page, my eldest daughter told me to so this I will do).
In the meantime get in touch and make suggestions for courses you might be interested in were keen to develop them further.
Oh I'll also get round to putting up more detail to the course contents on the website as well as do my job, spend time with the family, do my books, download photos, clean the house!! build the camp, run the daughter around, speak to the wife, tidy the workshop, go to meetings, finish painting the windows, clear the yard, manage the woods......................
I love the outdoors the natural history, I love being close to nature in all it's diversity, from repairing an old dyke on a hillside and seeing the life which lives in there to skinning a deer to cook in a ground oven in the woods.