Bushcraft Week with Thornlie Major – Aspen Outside Ltd


IMG_20181109_212415Positively one of many highlights of 2018 for me will probably be Thornlie Major’s bushcraft week. Me, Kenny Noble and Jean Ewen spent three days final week working a variety of bushcraft actions for your entire faculty, working with three courses a day. We had a lot enjoyable creating, constructing, cooking, studying, enjoying and sharing…. with pure supplies like hazel, cleavers, birch bark, willow and clay. We made play-dough forest animals, an iron age spherical home from willow, friendship braclets from raffia, pottery bowls from squidgy clay and tug-of-war rope from cleavers. We cooked and ate bread buns with chocolate unfold, mountains of popcorn, muffins in orange rinds and toasted marshmallows. The kids labored along with persistence and kindness, they have been attentive keen learners, they bubbled with enthusiasim and excitment and have been all the time useful and respectful.

I’ve been lucky to work with Thornlie Major College in Wishaw for a 12 months now, working some bushcraft coaching for academics and exercise classes for the kids, on the faculty and at Wiston Lodge. It’s a fairly great faculty: with academics and workers that foster a cheerful, nurturing, stimulating studying surroundings for the kids and supply studying experiences which can be inspiring and enduring.


Getting ready for the three day session took a number of days. Kenny and I collected heaps and plenty bushcraft of supplies like seedheads, willow, birch bark, clay, firewood and cleavers. Then there was all of the cooking supplies: oranges, cake combine, marshmallows, bread dough, popcorn kernals and sizzling chocolate. With it being November we needed to be prepared to deal with some unhealthy climate too, utilizing huge tarps over the fireplace and exercise stations to maintain us dry. The varsity grounds at Thornlie are incredible. The playground is absolutely huge, it has firepit and there are many willow timber, which we harvested to make our spherical home.

The times have been structured into 1 hr 30min blocks, working with one class of about 25 youngsters at a time. We break up the category up into two teams and ran two 45 min exercise classes: a hearth exercise the place we discovered about pure tinders and did plenty of cooking; and, a craft exercise the place the kids did shelter constructing and created with clay and play-dough.

It’s all the time a delight to see youngsters reply to bushcraft actions. For me bushcraft is a type of play: it’s inventive, imaginative and prompts you to discover. There’s one thing about enjoying within the open air, utilizing pure supplies to create issues which can be primary to our wants, like making a shelter, that’s facinating and rewarding.

I’d like to supply my because of Jean and Kenny for working so arduous over the three days and thanks to the workers and kids of Thornlie Major College for the chance to share our enthusiasm for bushcraft. Thanks as effectively to our P7 helpers – you we sensible! Oh and the thanks playing cards have been sensible.

All images courtesy of Thornlie Major’s Twitter account.

Right here’s a number of extra detailed notes on the actions we ran:

Truffles in orange rinds: The kids work in twos and threes and juice the orange halfs (then can drink the orange juice). Subsequent they whisk up a easy cake combine in bowels and spoon the combination into the empty orange halfs. The oranges are then baked on the fireplace (we put them on a baking tray and coated them with in foil). Relying on how sizzling the fireplace is they will take about 20min to cook dinner.


Popcorn: Put somewhat oil within the base of a dutch oven, pour in some popcorn kernals then cowl with the lid. Droop the dutch oven over the fireplace and quietly look forward to the popping to start out. When the popping stops, it’s prepared. Sprinkle on some sugar for style.


Bread buns: With some bread dough ready earlier, youngsters take a small piece of dough every and spherical them right into a bun form, then place within the base of the dutch oven. The kids additionally made plaited bread buns utilizing three sausage formed bits of dough. Cowl dutch oven with the lid and droop over the fireplace. The bread can cook dinner in as little as 15min if the fireplace is sweet. Get pleasure from consuming them with chocolate unfold.


Friendship bracklets: You need to use plenty of pure supplies for this, however Raffia is partiularly good. Youngsters work in pairs. Hammer a nail into some wooden. Get some strands of raffia, maintain the center and twist in the wrong way. A kink will kind. Place the kink over the nail. Every youngster holds a strand of raphia after which twist the strands to the proper. As soon as tight they swap strands over, twist once more and repeat to kind rope. Make a size of rope about 20cm lengthy then wrap across the wrist and tie to kind a braclet. For more information on cordage making see this weblog.

Play dough animals: Make some play-dough beforehand utilizing this recipe. Make completely different colors. Every youngster fashions a woodland animal – like a mouse, owl, hedgehog and many others – utilizing the play dough and different pure supplies; like, leaves for wings or small sticks for spines. Use cleavers to make nests for the animals. Additionally use willow to make dome or wigwam formed little shelters.



Iron Age Spherical Home: Harvest willow branches (skinny ones and thick ones). Hint out a circle on the spherical utilizing a central stake and a few string like a drafting compass. You may make it as huge as you want. Ours was 4m in diameter. Hammer in hazel stakes (50cm lengthy) alongside the circumference of the circle, evenly spaced out. You need to have an odd variety of stakes in order that the next weave will work. Weave lengthy, skinny willow branches horizontally via hazel to kind a low round wall. Use lengthy, thick willow branches and push these into the bottom vertically, evenly spaced out, via the round wall. Bend these willow branches over the centre of the hut circle to kind a dome. Tie along with willow bark. Tie on extra banches on a diagonal to provide the shelter extra energy. Our shelter was constructed over three days.


Pottery with Clay: Earlier than the session, dig up some clay, take out the little stones, knead and kind into balls. Every youngster takes a chunk of clay and makes a bowl, cup, mannequin animal, cube or no matter they like. The clay is then dried by the fireplace earlier than being positioned within the centre of the fireplace to be ‘fired’. The clay needs to be fired crimson sizzling, then allowed to chill over the course of an hour or extra.



Firelighting with pure tinders: For this exercise you should have collected pure tinders. I used birch bark and seedheads from three crops: cotton-grass, reed mace and thistle. You’ll additionally want some high-sided metallic baking trays and hearth steels (ferrocerium rods). Exhibit to the kids easy methods to use the fireplace steels and tinders to make hearth. Youngsters work collectively in teams of three or 4 and are given a metallic tray, one hearth metal and a small bundle of tinder. The metallic tray helps to forestall the tinder blowing away and retains the fireplace contained.



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