There’s something about this time of year, the evenings closing in, the colder mornings, the dew on the ground.
It sparks something off inside me, something that makes me want to get outside and follow my instinctive nature to forage and stock up for the winter.
The change in seasons always has an impact on me but the onset of autumn has by far the strongest.
I think it connects with a programmed survival instinct, as if it’s nature’s way of giving us a kick start for the hard months ahead.
If you look outside, the same thing is happening all around as our relatives in the natural world are doing the same; squirrels are busy stashing food and birds are on the move.
In our modern lives we are relatively disconnected from the impact of the seasons on our survival. We can bimble from one month to the next without changing our routines too much; maybe we need to start wearing a scarf or check the guttering for leaves before the winter kicks in but we no longer need to worry too much about adding more thatch to our shelters or stock-piling dried or preserved foods.
My response to this instinctive urge will be reflected in my time outside this autumn, I’ll be out nature watching with the family, we’ll out out hunting for fungi in the woods and hedgerows. I’ll also be taking the Scouts on adventures in the woods and practicing skills along the way.
Lots Of Opportunity…
So, as the seasons start to change what are you going to do?
Why not set yourself some goals or commit to learning a new skill?
There’s lots of opportunities…
Here’s some ideas, things you can work into your personal or scouting programme for the autumn and winter:
Join a fungi walk: Find your local fungi club and either sign up for a guided walk or arrange for an expert to come and meet your group.
Do some carving: Decide to improve your carving skills, set yourself a goal to carve something useful or challenging.
Practice your fire-lighting skills: How many types of tinder can you find and light a fire with? Can you light a fire in the driving rain? Have you made charcloth? There is always something you can do to challenge and improve this important skill.
Improve your sharpening skills: Practice getting an expert edge on your knife or teach your Scouts how to do the same and recap on knife safety at the same time.
Sleep outside when it’s freezing: Bushcraft doesn’t stop when it gets a bit chilly outside. That’s when it gets started. Your skills and personal organisation become more important. Plan for a night out in sub-zero temperatures. First with a decent sleeping bag and a bivvy bag and then with just a fire and a shelter.
Navigation: The early nights in winter shouldn’t restrict us to more time indoors. The dark nights are a great way to improve navigation skills with night hikes and compass work.
So what are you going to do? Let us know what you are planning to do this autumn and winter?
Whatever you do, we wish you well on your adventures.
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