View Full Version : Wilderness Survival course for writers (UK)

07-28-2011, 12:45 AM
ETA: okay, have a timeframe. The course would be a weekend at the end of October as everything is booked up till then.

I was looking into taking a course on wilderness survival as it's a common theme in my fiction. Its also something I'm very interested in personally. I have found a reputable school based near Salisbury, UK.

The school does bespoke courses over the weekend (Friday evening to Sunday early afternoon) for groups of six and over. The founder of the school, Joe O'Leary, tells me they've done courses for writers of horror films and I have to say it sounds like just the sort of thing I want to know about. Here's what he said:

We could customize the content to fit your needs exactly – primitive fire lighting and survival shelter building with no modern equipment, making improvised tools and weapons from flint, bone, wood and antler, trapping and hunting techniques, medicinal and edible plants, fungi and trees, finding and gathering good drinking water, basic tracking skills, camouflage and silent movement, developed awareness. A weekend will go by pretty fast but we could also show you examples of tools, equipment and clothing made entirely from the plants, trees and animals in the woods and talk you through their construction and the various techniques required to make everything you need from the wild. It’ll be a very busy, challenging weekend but you’ll learn a lot in a short time.

Basically, it is everything you would need to know after the apocalypse or if you were being hunted. The course can be tailored to include any particular skills relevant to our WIP. It costs 200 for the weekend, food included, there is also some kit you might need to purchase but you can get good stuff cheap from army surplus stores and online. (And you'll have it when the End of Days is nigh...;) )

I'm happy organizing everything. I haven't heard back yet about when we could schedule this for (I only asked this afternoon) but you can count on at least a month or two to prepare. Right now though I would like to know if there is enough interest or if I should go ahead and book a normal course for myself.

Their website is www.wilderness-survival.co.uk

This would be a very good course for writers of SFFH and thrillers but everyone is welcome.

Cliff Face
07-28-2011, 02:36 AM
It sounds very interesting, but I can't go, seeing as I'm in Australia and can't afford the 200 pounds, let alone the plane tickets.

Hopefully you'll get some other writers interested in going. Have you considered a Writer's Group in the local area?


07-28-2011, 08:03 PM
Aw :) That said, you must have some excellent wilderness survival training in Australia!

I'm in contact with some other writers' groups and individual writers. I'm asking everyone I think could benefit. The normal course are really interesting but a bespoke course that's not meant for weekend campers is so much more relevant to my interests! :D

200 is cheaper than many a holiday and the skills will last forever as well as making for better fiction. I really hope I can get enough interest!

08-12-2011, 10:16 AM
Best wishes with your course, Thump. I'm also in Australia and I worked on a cattle station just north of the Simpson desert for a year when I first arrive here from England. The station (Lake Nash) is half the size of Wales and had twelve white people on it at that time and a small group of aboriginies. From there I went up to Papua New Guinea for thirteen years, living in the bush in a native house and all that sort of thing. So I really hope you get the sort of course you want. I love living in remote places.

08-15-2011, 01:54 PM
Looks great - October is pretty busy for me however, but thank you very much for posting the details, I may well follow up later.


08-15-2011, 04:30 PM
October...really? Don't you have ragweed there?

08-15-2011, 04:45 PM
Another Aussie, but I'm wondering how they run a wilderness course in the UK? Our average paddock size is bigger than average UK farms.

Survival in Australia is all about water and shelter. Our SAS are masters at it. I assume that the UK version would also be the ex-SAS guys as well? If so they would probably do a fantastic course.

08-21-2011, 05:25 AM
Sorry to say this, but any Londoners would be better off with courses on how to survive on the streets these days. What has happened over there is really, really scary!

08-21-2011, 05:45 AM
I remember reading a Dick Frances novel once, where his hero was supposed to be a wilderness survival expert. He made a big deal out of the importance of boiling water before drinking it, which -- okay. Fair enough. But his suggestion for a make-shift kettle, for someone lost in the 'wilderness', was to find a discarded soft drink can and use that. I'm not sure just how wild the wilderness is, in his mind...

08-21-2011, 02:52 PM
Looks interesting- I may be interested. Keep me up to date, yeah? Unless I'm back in work by then I can't afford 200.

08-25-2011, 07:01 AM
I remember reading a Dick Frances novel once, where his hero was supposed to be a wilderness survival expert. He made a big deal out of the importance of boiling water before drinking it, which -- okay.

I've been told even boiling the water doesn't get rid of everything. That's why in Europe in the Middle Ages most people drank beer all the time. The fermentation process kills most things - sometimes over enthusiastic consumers, but not often.