The UK is seen as a hub of Bushcraft knowledge, a centre of excellence, with a number of strong, well-established bushcraft schools and experienced professional instructors. There are also many part time instructors and many, many enthusiasts and exponents of the skills we collectively call “bushcraft”.
This is an observation which has been related to me on a number of occasions by people in mainland Europe in particular as well as North America.
There is a long history of bushcraft intertwined with British exploration and colonialism, one consequence of which was Baden-Powell’s Scouting movement. For more on this listen to my podcast discussion with Dr Lisa Fenton.
Of course, much of modern bushcraft is built on traditional skills and local knowledge.
In many countries there is a vibrant reinvigoration of interest in learning traditional skills and interacting with nature in a practical, hands-on way.
Even in countries where there has remained a strong culture of outdoor life, bushcraft is taking hold as a movement in its own right. For example, last year I was invited to speak at the inaugural Swedish Bushcraft Festival
This January, I was a guest instructor at Stichting Bushcraft’s winter gathering in The Netherlands, one of Europe’s more densely populated countries, yet one which has a very strong bushcraft movement.
Indeed, in 2017 Stichting Bushcraft is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an organisation.
Cross border relationships are made much stronger by meeting in person and I really appreciate being invited to events outside of the UK, both to represent British bushcraft but also to form and strengthen friendships.
We are living in an increasingly interconnected world, where it is easier than ever to find groups of like-minded people and sources of information online, both close to home and internationally.
Over the last few years, we have received many international students, attending our courses, mainly from elsewhere in Europe, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and Hungary but also further afield.
I’ve recently run a block of courses through April and they have been no exception with a number of international students attending.
We also had Thijmen Apswoude from Living By Nature in the Netherlands pay us a visit while he was in the UK recently, again strengthening Frontier Bushcraft’s international relationships. He was visiting along with Steven Le Say of Axe and Paddle Bushcraft and Danny Reid of The Bushcraft Journal. Danny has previously attended some of Frontier Bushcraft’s courses and Steven, Thijmen and I write for his magazine, which has an international readership as well as contributor base.
Despite the isolationism in some quarters of society, we look forward to receiving more international students this summer as well as for many years to come, in addition to visiting our bushcraft friends around the World.