Deborah grew up around beech woodland and feels lucky to have had freedom to climb trees and roam over large areas of countryside. Her parents encouraged her love of wildlife from early age and instilled in her an interest in native trees and plants and their uses. She feels rooted in the British landscape but being drawn to wild places has led her to travel and explore further afield.
Inspired by her grandfather, who brought back beautiful artefacts from his time in Africa, she has always been fascinated by the skills of indigenous people around the world. Deborah set off on her first solo expedition aged 19 with the aim of crossing the Himalayas and Tibet. Self-funded, by working as a cycle courier in London, she spent two months travelling on foot and by every method of transport, from horse-back to tractors, and stayed with local families along the way. She feels strongly that learning from experiences such as this can be life-enhancing, and as a result loves working as an expedition leader and encouraging other people to get out there. Deborah is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a qualified Mountain Leader and is a member of the teaching Faculty of WEMSI – International: Wilderness Emergency Medical Service Institute.
Deborah has travelled extensively and her work has taken her to some of the world’s most extreme environments, from the blizzards and polar bears of Arctic Greenland to trekking in the jungle of Madagascar. Deborah is also keen to pass on her fascination in different cultures and wild places to her own children and has taken them on many adventures, to learn new skills and other ways of living, including time staying with the Kamba people in rural Kenya and a 3 month overland trip across Siberia to live with the Kazakh Eagle hunters and nomadic herders of Mongolia.
Deborah studied Art, working from the landscape and collecting her own pigments. She has an MA in Fine Art from the Royal Academy in London. Her love of working with natural materials is evident in the many ancient and traditional crafts she makes. Deborah has always worked outdoors whether guiding people in the mountains, walking hundreds of kilometres surveying footpaths, teaching navigation or inspiring the next generation about the hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age. Deborah is passionate about sharing skills and her enjoyment of the natural world with others and has been instructing on bushcraft courses for six years. She started working with Ben and gained her Instructors knife in 2017.
At home in the Lake District, Deborah spends as much time living outside, with her children, as possible. Long summers living in a tipi, cooking on the campfire and tracking wildlife have made bushcraft a way of life. In 2011, with a small inheritance and a lot of digging and help, Deborah realised a lifelong dream of planting a woodland. She enjoys sharing this haven with others and it has become the base for some of our craft courses.