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Bushcraft - a dieing art?? Or is it just courses??

Discussion in 'The Campfire' started by Leif, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Leif

    Leif Extremely Talkative

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    I think its safe to say the popularity of bushcraft rose to its height thanks to the popularity of Ray Mears. BR (before Ray) the older amongst us did stuff but didnt know we were bushcrafting, and will probably continue to do so ....... but for maybe bushcraft is what Ray does and now Rays moved on to nature programmes so it appears have the bushcrafters ...............

    Ronnie sunshine said recently that most of his bushcraft sales have dropped off and he sells more outdoor gear to hikers now.

    Woodlore (the market leader for years) is now offering people a £130 discount on fundamental courses, which surely means they need bums on seats to offer that size discount.

    I've noticed the slow decline in Bookings myself ,,.......... so is bushcraft now a dieing art?? Or does the new media, forums and you tube for example mean folks can learn skills and dont need to attend courses?? (Of course thats a whole other thread about whether hand on experience is better than second hand info which in some cases isnt accurate)
     
  2. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member Site Donor

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    i don't think its a dieing art i personally think its evolving into a new age bushcraft...the courses and the such like that are available are still based on oldyworldy bushcraft skills (which isn't a bad thing) ..but the new age bushcrafter is a lazy sod!! as with most things in life people like to take the easy option (even when in the green).....

    so i think unless the various schools/courses out there embrace the best of technology and try to bring it into use along side the oldyworldy skills unfortunately they will be left behind.....

    as you have already said i think we can thank utube for the decline in willing bushy candadates...

    also i think the bushy generation (40-60 yrolds) were out playing in the woodland when they were children..so returning to the woodland to learn new things is easy for us....

    most children these days are eather sat infront of a pc or games machine .....playing or making dens in the woodland are gone!!! our generation will be the last true free generation!!!!!!
     
  3. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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    The bushcraft bubble has definitely burst. The UK is a poor/difficult country for anyone to practice bushcraft in anyway, Property laws, knife laws, etc all contribute to the hobby being too much hassle to be bothered with for lots of folks.

    Bushcraft is more of a lifestyle than a hobby imo, and folk just dont have the time. Those that do tend to lean towards a certain part of it and fit that in with their lives. Also there is the expense. Bushcraft, for all intents and purposes "should" be a cheap past time, after all, its all about using the materials that nature provides us isn't it? Yet the very label "bushcraft" carries a high price tag in kit shops everywhere. Its expensive for most cos they don't want to sleep in homemade shelters etc,they want the Gucci kit. There is even a bushcraft dress code, and lots of snobbery towards those who don't conform to what is perceived to be standard bushy gear

    But in an inverse way, its also a good thing that the bubble has burst. The UK's woodlands cant support a healthy population of shrafters for too long. All the dead wood will be burnt, many trees cut down by folk who just want to try do what ray does etc. Not all bushcrafters are responsible people. I've seen birch trees dead or nearly dead because some muppet has gone and cut a big square out of the bark to try make something with. So a birch bark container has killed the tree that supplied it, that aint bushcraft. Thats vandalism by folk with the gear but no idea. Trust me, the woodlands dont need clowns like that in them
     
  4. Gazo

    Gazo Administrator Staff Member Site Donor

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    One thing for sure is the kids don't get out and about like we used to when we were kids in the 80s and 90s.
    I proved this the other day after visiting a local woodland I spent most of my time in when I was a kid.
    We visited that much we had a 3' wide track worn through the woods, but now it's so over grown you can't walk through it.
    kids these days are just interested in computers and phones (well mine are) if this continues bushcrafting will die out even more in the next 20 years or so.
    The cubs and scouts are doing a good job and I see on TV yesterday Bear Grylls is working on getting kids more involved, but as Matt has pointed out we need to bring the modern into the old and I think kids would be more interested.
    I think if you gave a kid an electronic GPS compass with google earth on it rather than a standard compass it would interest them more.
    I can personally see this happening, as a family we take regular walks in the woods etc and on many occasions I have tried to get my youngest daughter interested in the wildlife we have seen around us but she never showed much interest at all until one day we seen a duck on a canal and I asked her to look on her internet phone to see if she could find out what it was called, she loved this and while out now she looks out for things so she can look it up and find out as much info on it as possible and tells myself and the wife all about it.
    So without a doubt bringing in the new with the old is the way to go.
     
  5. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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    Only problem with GPS is that batteries die, signal goes, they can be broken easily etc. Kids equipped with this and not a proper compass would be a disaster waiting to happen. For example, when i did my duke of edinburgh gold expedition, we went to Bavaria for 5 days to do it. No staff ( i was in the air cadets) during the walks, they just met us at the end of each day. Every person there knew how to use a compass proficiently. If we had a gps there and something went wrong with it, we would have been in deep doodoo.

    I reckon kids should be taught how to use a compass, its the most reliable method out there for navigation, but i also feel it will be good for them to have GPS aswell. Trust in the old, play with the new. :)
     
  6. stephenjames213

    stephenjames213 Technical Support

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    I am very lucky as my oldest is only 5 and she tells me off and moans because i aint tuck her camping in a age, when we used to go every weekend regardless of the weather,, what i dont agree with is the price tag on kit ,clothing because it can be used for bushcraft thats why i shop around and find the cheapest, as long as it can/up to the job im a happy bunny. Why spend 100s of pounds on a tent when you can make a shelter or get a basha/tarp cheap and make do with that, rucksacks you must be a mug to pay anything over £50 for one when a ex army bergen can be picked up for £25 and it's 120ltr,, it's the same with knives to thats why alot of people use the mora cheap and more then up to the job......this world lives on greed and lust for money , what hapend to the days of swaping a bucket of milk for a tray of eggs or a days hard work on some ones land for a hot meal and some goods to fill the larder,... the world is made up of fat greedy snobs that leave us poor/just getting buy folk to the wolves but this will bite them in the ass as it is us who will survive ,, this is what we do best i will quote what a friend says "do what you can with what you have where you are......."
     
  7. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member Site Donor

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    ok guys lets look at this another way ........what do you need to know what to do when your out in the green???

    (1) shelter
    (2) fire
    (3)food
    (4)water
    (5)navigation

    there are many ways to deal with each issue ...its good to know a few different ways just incase the kit you have fails .....
    so why spend loads of money on kit.....when a basic kit will do the job (there are to many people trying to make a killing from the shrafters).....
     
  8. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member Site Donor

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    the basic kit is good for us but the younger generation need the gizzmos to keep them interested....
     
  9. elliott92

    elliott92 Very Addicted

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    i think you're right in the fact it's dying out with younger generations. (im 20 in a couple of weeks for the benefit of this conversation) not one of the lads i know that's around my age wants anything to do with bushcraft. which i can understand why, being my age it's easy for us to get scrutinized for being what a lot of people would call a chav or trouble maker. if we go into the woods with a knife and make a small fire and cut up deadwood for a shelter... im a vandal and should be hung. if one of you guys do it, your a bushcrafter. it's the stereotyping on the age. that's why a lot of people my age don't bother. and the fact that there isnt anywhere to go in my area to get the feeling your away from civilization.

    mind you, all that doesn't stop me from enjoying it
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  10. Kernowek Scouser

    Kernowek Scouser Quite Addicted Site Donor

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    I think bushcraft, camping and hiking are activities that some people, particularly those who find their own way to them, have a slightly back to front relationship with.

    With no one to nudge them in a particular direction, when starting out they tend to go for the big, shiny, branded and often expensive kit. Once they have been doing the activity for a bit, met and spoke with other folks who do the activity, they start to get their heads around what kit they need, what kit they don't, where to get it from, what to pay for it and refine their kit and spending accordingly.

    So in the case of camping, for example, when someone is starting out from scratch, they could easily end up spending between £500 and £1000 on kit (like a mate of mine), because they don't really know what they need, go with brands they have vaguely heard of and believe the nice man in the shop who tells them that for camping in Britain it is prudent to get the lightweight. super technical expedition tent, that can withstand a bear attack, during a snowstorm, on Svalbard; just to be on the safe side.

    Some people have to get the gucci kit and use it, to realise they don't need it.

    The only problem, for instructors in particular, is that once folks have reached the realisation that they don't have to spend a fortune to have fun, they will go to the other extreme, try to spend as little as possible and make it up as they go along (aided by 'How to' videos on YouTube).

    Bit of a catch 22 really.

    I don't think any of these activities will die out, less people may do them for sure and what they actually 'do' may end up being a marriage between traditional knowledge and modern technology, but there will always be folks who want/need to get out and do 'something' and it is such people who will be intrigued by courses / instruction offered by various folks.

    They might come and find you using their modern fancy dan GPS smart tab gizmatrons, but with a bit of encouragement, I'm sure they could be shown more traditional ways of finding their way home.

    I might be on to something or I could be talking out of my arse?
     
  11. Leif

    Leif Extremely Talkative

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    Elliots post was interesting - maybe a new relevant skill would be teaching people how to go about accessing land and etiquette that will enable them to gain more access or be approachable by others ............I'm not saying its a young versus old thing but there are certainly ways of making yourself more acceptable to various types of land owner etcetc ......
     
  12. Rob

    Rob Very Addicted

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    Also I think that kids now are wrapped up in cotten wool, and not aloud to have a knife or axe (incase they cut themselfs) Not aloud to go into the woods and play (The boggy man) Not aloud to play with fire, have matches or a lighter (in case they burn themselfs).
    Also the parents are to quick to jump on the band wagon and sue who ever, if there little jonny gets hurt (LEARNING SOMETHING).
    Plus it seems you have to have BIT OF PAPER TO SAY YOUR QUALIFIED you may of only got it sat in a classroom but you qualified, and then theres the insurance just incase some one wants to sue, and so it goes on and on and....
     
  13. bigzitt

    bigzitt Slightly Addicted

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    yeah, too many parents are too busy with all these new gadgets themselves to bother with the kids, sit em in front of the telly where they'll not bother em......
    .missing out on loads of the best things in life if you ask me. watching your kid get his/hers first knife, toolset, rifle is wonderful, and kids love the outdoors if given the chance, and they'll never lose that love for freedom,
    thats why us oldies are still out,playing in the woods, only we go about it in a more legal way, (most of the time) if only cuz we're too old to run from the farmer nowadays:(
     
  14. Leif

    Leif Extremely Talkative

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    Bullseye - I agree to a degree but the courses we run with cadets and schools etc these kids are allowed knifes and such and generally are great but it took time for the organizations to trust the Kids ...........and the parents are sensible too I think sometimes the "myth" doesnt actually reflect reality

    The problem is more one of city folk being isolated from the country - and the skills needed being different, the mind sets bearing different too - worse is as cities get bigger the countrywise people get less - its not so much a dumbing down more one of prioritizing, city kids need to know how to cross a busy road more than how to navigate with a compass for example (and if their parents cant then they will never learn to either)
     
  15. Rob

    Rob Very Addicted

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    I agree with your comment but its not the kids that need encouraging its usually the parents. it doesnt matter if its a city kid or townie if you nurture then at the right age they will want to learn. A lot of the time its the parents who need convincing that their little Johnny (or female equivilent) is safe and sound. He may come home with a minor injury or two but its all part of the learning curve (no need for a law suit)
     
  16. ReubenBushcraft

    ReubenBushcraft Quite Addicted

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    I must agree completely!!! Fourteen mist be the worst afe for bushcrafting ever! I know quite alot but legally aquiring gear and land is a nightmare. I have to scout out what I want to buy, then get my parents to come in a different day to buy it.... Although the food folk in Tisos sell me quite a lot of stuff :) but the law restrictions concerning land and fire are ridiculous... I am growing up in an age where no one respects the police, and where I live there is an abandoned school that is use for people 1/2 years older than me to drink. Frankly, the police are always looking out an if they see a group theywill search them all.... So what happens of I'm out with a few friends and we all have axes, knives, firesteels , lighters and more..,. And i we get away from that land is a massive problem. I currently use some abandoned land and some old grant land :/ if i get caught on grant land i'm screwed....

    Overall, I think all the laws and restrictions are what is stopping people gettin into bushcraft. Not they need new technology... I dont and none of my friends do... But we can't access the bare essentials.
     
  17. udamiano

    udamiano Slightly Talkative

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    i think one of the issues is the lack of contact with the great outdoors to the younger generation. I was lucky to have access to woods and fields near my family home, and parents who spent a lot of time out of doors, but this does not seem to be the case anymore, children are not being taken on field trips any more, or if they are it to some city based sterile environment.
    parents seem to be more interested in who has won the latest talent show (proud to say never seem even one episode of any of them) took a friend and his family out over last weekend into the wonderful Warwickshire countryside, and was amaze when his wife said she needed to get back to watch this or that ....what a completely sad existence to be a slave to such broadcasted carp.
    I spent over 200 days out last year, in the cold, the rain, the storms, and the snow and loved every minute of it and wouldn't change a thing.
    I watch people now walking past real beauty, never once looking up from their mobile phones, while texting this or that, and then complain that they didn't see anything of interest. I ban phones on site, unless there is a special reason to have it.
    We need to encourage the kids more to get out, and stop sitting in front of the console and getting so fat that their usually on their second heart attack by the time they're forty.
     
  18. ReubenBushcraft

    ReubenBushcraft Quite Addicted

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    Yes it is reducing, but there are still people my age doing it. Actively there are my friends, but there also a group two years beneath me who make shelters and fish, but we are in the countryside. So....Semi-disagree