Parachute TipiSo it rained. A torrential downpour from mid-afternoon till around 11pm. Embers hissed before dying in the main fire pit – but we were prepared. A parachute became our tipi; another fire pit was dug and before long dinner was bubbling away in the potje.

Bushcraft living isn’t about surviving outside; it’s about adapting to and maintaining a harmony with nature. So the rain came down and we got wet. Our tipi kept the worst of the weather off and allowed us to realise the importance of shelter in contributing to and nurturing our little community. We laughed and chatted, sharing stories – our faces glowing as we made ember bowls. The wettest of us bared our bottoms to the fire. Not literally but with waterproofs around ankles, wet pants were dried. Even waterproofed we were wet!

Most participants bravely slept in their shelters and at 7.30am the fire team realised they had a task on their hands getting some heat going for porridge. A chunk of pine resin, a lot of blowing and 45 minutes later there was fire. Breakfast was a little later than usual but Lief (minus spurtle) made her usual perfect porridge.

Lighting the camp fire

The Fire Stalk

It was a very practical and eager group of adult bushcrafters who arrived on Friday morning. By Saturday night’s Fire Stalk only Hannah and Lief were left to “guard” the camp.

Dark shapes moved silently through the woods, shadows, ghosts of the surrounding trees. Melting into trunks, onto the earth, inching closer and closer and closer…..

It’s true – it’s got to be played to be fully appreciated.

Night vision kicks in and it’s hard to believe you can’t be seen. Lying on the damp earth I could have reached out and grabbed Hannah’s leg and yet I was invisible.

After returning to the fire and looking back out to the woods it becomes clear – it’s impossible to see anything. No wonder the kids love it!!

What I learnt from the weekend

Humans lived and thrived outdoors for eons before we moved away from the earth and surrounded ourselves with bricks and mortar.Our connection to the land is deeply embedded into each of us.

To remove ourselves from the land, to view our lives as a battle against nature is to miss the fundamental truth that we are a part of nature. Our lives are only a struggle against nature when we choose to remain unchanged.

Only when we fully learn to adapt to our natural environment, instead of striving to change nature for our convenience, can we consider ourselves to be true bushcrafters.