Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine – Issue 89

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Bushcraft as we know it was born, in part at least, out of the spirit of self-reliance and rugged individualism espoused by the likes of Hugh Glass and the generations of tough and resourceful frontiersmen and women throughout history. They bucked convention, faced the storm and pushed forward into the unknown. Seeking adventure and freedom rather than safety and security, these intrepid and resourceful individuals have been admired and immortalised in books and film. But recent events have given me cause to ask, what does the future hold for individualists in the 21st Century?

Perhaps our interpretation of the past, and concepts of individual sovereignty, are little more than a romantic yearning for something that never truly existed. After all, we humans are and have always been community focussed creatures. We depend on each other for support, both in terms of our material as well as emotional needs. Our societies function through a complex system of rules and conventions of behaviour, without which chaos will surely descend. Indeed, ostracisation from society has been viewed by many cultures as a punishment worse than death. Those who choose to live outside the system are often portrayed as misfits and dangerous outlaws.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that setting aside my own liberty and independence for the common good has been one of the most challenging aspects of the past year. It’s not that I have a problem with social distancing.

In fact, spending time away from most people has always been one of my favourite pastimes, and staying at home watching Tiger King on Netflix wasn’t entirely without merit. But, when freedom and independence are the fundamental principles by which you live your life, the shackles of conformity do not rest easily.

Perhaps no man (or woman) is an island entire of itself, but as individuals we can choose to surround ourselves with those who share our values and respect our opinions. The sacrifices we’ve al) made to protect the most vulnerable members of our society have been remarkable, and we should feel justifiably proud to have played our part in helping to reduce the impact on our health services. This has been an unprecedented situation, teaching us to never again take our freedom for granted. We should also remember that these extreme restrictions on our individual liberty should never be accepted as normal.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, and as I write this introduction, life in the UK appears to be returning to something resembling normality. We’re back on schedule with regards to publication of this magazine and I am very pleased to say that the Bushcraft Show will be going ahead at our wonderful new Chillington Hall venue, later this year.

I’ve been busy scheduling a new range of courses, and launching a new project that will utilise bushcraft and wilderness therapy to help those who have suffered from mental health problems due to Covid 19 and the subsequent lockdowns. I’ve also been taking advantage of the fantastic spring weather to field test the superb Lars Fait Bushcraft Knife, by Casstrom of Sweden (page 58).

I’d love to hear about all your post-lockdown adventures, so if you’ve been camping or just spending some quality time in the outdoors!