The Blade – Bushcraft knives from stone, bronze and steel

£200.00£595.00

11-15 Jul '21
The Lakes
Medium
Knapping, Smelting, Forging
6-12

What was the sound that heralded the arrival of mankind? Perhaps, about two and a half million years ago, it was the sound of pebbles striking together, as one of our distant ancestors Homo habilis (skilful man) made the first stone tool – a functional blade. It could be argued that it was this act that defined our species.

 

As a mammal, we are the only apex predator without natural weapons. No horns, fangs or claws – only our intellect and our ability to shape the environment. Our species has literally carved a niche in this world using a blade – by cutting and shaping natural materials, from shelter and clothing; to food and weapons. It is hard to think that the attitudes and lifestyles of today’s high-tech society are entirely based on a broken rock. The word blade originates from the Anglo-Saxon word blæd, which means a leaf.

 

Join us for a five-day workshop, jumping through time; charting the development of the blade, from stone… to bronze… to iron.

 

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Description

What was the sound that heralded the arrival of mankind? Perhaps, about two and a half million years ago, it was the sound of pebbles striking together, as one of our distant ancestors Homo habilis (skilful man) made the first stone tool – a functional blade. It could be argued that it was this act that defined our species.

As a mammal, we are the only apex predator without natural weapons. No horns, fangs or claws – only our intellect and our ability to shape the environment. Our species has literally carved a niche in this world using a blade – by cutting and shaping natural materials, from shelter and clothing; to food and weapons. It is hard to think that the attitudes and lifestyles of today’s high-tech society are entirely based on a broken rock. The word blade originates from the Anglo-Saxon word blæd, which means a leaf.

Join us for a five-day workshop, jumping through time; charting the development of the blade, from stone… to bronze… to iron.

Days: Sun PM – Thur PM (4 Nights)
Location: Lake District, England
Food & Accommodation: Fully catered and includes camping fees
Activity: Knapping, Smelting & Forging
Group Size: 6-12 
Physical Rating: Med
2021 Dates: 11-15 July

 

Highlights

  • Knapping principles
  • Reading flint
  • Controlling conchoidal fractures
  • Hard & soft hammer
  • Pressure flaking
  • Stone blades
  • Resin glues
  • Blast furnaces
  • Bellows
  • Malachite preparation
  • Smelting copper
  • Bronze alloys
  • Lost wax technique
  • Bronze blades
  • Simple coke forges
  • Forging & smithing
  • Annealing & tempering
  • Iron blades
  • Handling & sharpening

Inclusions

Stone – Your instructor will be John Lord, arguably the countries most experienced and finest flint knapper. John studied Stone Age technology at Grime’s Graves, neolithic site, for over a decade. He has crafted many replica stone artefacts for universities and museums. John was recently awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the flint industry. 

Bronze – Your instructor will be Will Lord, John’s son, Will spent many years mastering the entire spectrum of skills needed to survive any time before the end of the Bronze Age, from flint knapping to the magical alchemy of transforming rocks into metal.

Iron & Steel – Your instructor will be David Watson, who has created and runs the Moorforge Viking Settlement. David started blacksmithing for British Steel, but now specialises in traditional blacksmithing and forging skills. 

  • This course is fully catered throughout.
  • It includes camping fees and any specialist equipment.
  • We offer a complimentary pick-up and drop-off service from and to the nearest railway station at set times.

General Information

We will aim to cover the following –

Please click on the + symbols opposite to read about what you will learn each day.

Accommodation – On this course you will be wild camping, either in your own tent, under a tarp, in a hammock or in a natural shelter you have built.

Travel & Transport – A detailed set of arrival instruction will be emailed about a month before your course start date. A complimentary pick-up and drop-off service is provided at the beginning and end of the course at a specified time for those arriving by train. This will either be from Windermere or Oxenholme station, depending on the specified course location.

*Very Important – Do not book any trains, transport or other accommodation until given the go-ahead by Wild Human, as the course needs a minimum number of participants in order to run.

Meals & Drinks – This course is fully catered and all meals will be provided whilst camping in the woods, from a light supper on the first night to lunch on the final day. (1 x Supper, 1 x Evening meal, 2 x Cold Lunches and 2 x Breakfasts). Mains water is provided in clean jerry cans and are always available. At our Oak Howe site, disinfected water is pumped directly from the river.

Duration – 4-day workshop (arrive 19.30 on Sunday and depart 16.00 on Thursday)

Minimum Age – 16, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Insurance – Whilst not essential, it is recommended that you have simple adventure travel insurance to cover yourself and your possessions whilst on this trip. No outdoor activity is entirely without risk, as you may be using sharp tools or walking across uneven terrain – accidents can happen.

Wild Human has very comprehensive public liability cover.

Difficulty Rating / Health Requirements- This course is rated as ‘Medium’ due to the extensive hammering involved. Our bushcraft courses should be viewed as being a wilderness education experience and not as an ordinary holiday. They are educational courses, but just as importantly, they are a ‘hands on’ experience and at times can be quite challenging. If you have any concerns about your personal fitness or physical capabilities, then please contact us.

Max / Min Numbers – This course requires a minimum number of 6 to go ahead. The maximum number is 14. We will inform you 8 weeks before the start date whether the course will be going ahead to allow time for you to book any transport. The balance of payment is due 8 weeks prior to the start date. If you book less than 8 weeks before the start date please pay in full.

Covid-19 Regulations – We will make a decision 8 weeks before the start date as to whether the expedition is able to go ahead due to current Covid-19 regulations. if the course cannot go ahead at this point, we will refund monies paid in full.

Special Requirements – If you have any special requirements, please contact us prior to booking and we will do our best to accommodate them. Pescatarian / Vegetarians are well catered for, but can Vegans and those with serious food intolerances (like celiac disease) please contact us to discuss your requirements, as you may be asked to bring some specialist food to supplement your diet.

Complaints – We are able to consider complaints within 6 months from the date of the conduct complained about.

Course variables – The outline itinerary needs to remain flexible to take into account inclement weather conditions and other unexpected events.

Clothing:

Sensible outdoor clothing is essential for all of our courses.

We recommend that you bring:

  • A hat
  • A waterproof and windproof Jacket
  • Wool jumper or fleece top
  • Several long and short-sleeved T-shirts.
  • Cargo/combat trousers are ideal; as they are strong, light and fast drying (do not bring denim jeans).
  • Sturdy hiking boots are a must, as some of the terrain is steep and rocky.
  • We also recommend that you bring a pair of old trainers for the evenings
  • And spare changes of clothes stored in a plastic bag to keep them dry.

Equipment checklist:

  • Small day-sack
  • Sleeping bag, preferably 3 season
  • Self-inflating or closed-cell foam sleeping mat
  • Tent, or fly-sheet & bivy-bag
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Small first aid kit, including plasters, blister kit, tweezers, foot powder and any personal medication
  • Sun block and lip balm
  • Good insect repellent
  • Wash kit and towel, preferably containing biodegradable soap Knife, fork and spoon
  • Mug, bowl & plate
  • Water bottle
  • Notebook and pencils
  • Ziploc bags

For weeklong courses you will also require:

  • 10 meters of parachute cord Swimming costume and large towel

Optional extras:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars

Spending money: 

It is not unusual for students to get together for a well-earned pint at the end of a course.

Tampons:

It is not uncommon for a sudden change of environment to start an unexpected period.

Please note:

You do not need to bring your own knives or any other cutting tools, as you will be loaned a folding saw and knife when required. Students on the Woodlander course will be given a sheath knife to keep.

Prior Experience – You do not need prior experience to attend any of our courses. On some of the more advanced craft workshops, it is advantageous to have experience with safely using sharp tools.

Solo / Group Bookings – Our courses are aimed at individuals who have a passion for the outdoors, a desire to learn and reconnect with nature. Although some people attend in pairs or small groups, the vast majority of our groups are made up of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Course LocationsWe run courses from three private estates within the Lake District National Park. These are a young woodland in the Lyth Valley, a secluded valley in Witherslack woodlands and deep in the forest on Claife Heights. Please ensure that you have received and printed the correct arrival information!

Parking – Courses are conducted on private estates, with limited access to the general public. There are parking facilities provided within the estate grounds, and whilst we cannot guarantee the safety of your vehicle, there have never been any incidents of theft. We would recommend that you keep any valuable personal belongings in your day sack. 

Climate & Weather – The Lake District weather is notoriously fickle, so please ensure that you have brought all of the equipment listed in the Kit List. It is always better to pack warm. It is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Courses will run in all but the most extreme weather conditions. Bad weather makes learning the skills more challenging and harder to master, but you will be rewarded with a higher level of ability and a greater sense of achievement. The unpredictable weather in Britain makes it one of the best training grounds in which to learn bushcraft. 

On Arrival – Please already be wearing outdoor clothing and footwear on arrival, and have a head-torch handy. From your cars, you will walk and your kit will be driven to our base-camp location, therefore it is not essential that you pack all your equipment into one rucksack, you will not be required to walk more than 200m with kit to the camping area.

 Late Arrivals – Late arrivals will have to make their own way to the course venue. Wild Human will not be responsible for any costs incurred by late arrivals or late returns that are outside of our control.

 Course 1st Aid & Medical Care – All Instructors carry valid outdoor first aid certificates. There is always a well-stocked and comprehensive first aid kit on hand. Risk analysis and management systems are in place for each course and course venue. The nearest A&E department for all locations is in Kendal.

Sanitation & HygieneToilets are simple earth screened, covered latrines. Toilet paper is incinerated at the latrine. We have used this system for the past 20 years of our teaching experience and find it to be the cleanest, most environmentally friendly and hygienic system. Hand washing stations are always available, as are hand sanitation dispensers. Personal washing is in a stream or nearby lake, only biodegradable products are to be used. The biggest risk to your welfare on any outdoor UK activity is from ticks, but through good bite avoidance measures they should not present any problems – you will be well briefed at the start of each course.

Course Cancellation – If, for any reason you wish to cancel your course, please refer to our Terms & Conditions. You will not be offered a refund for any money for late cancellation, neither will you be offered a transferral of your money to another course. Please seek appropriate insurance against late cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances!

Pre & Après Course Accommodation – If you are interested in spending some time enjoying the stunning scenery of the Lake District, either before or after your course, you can contact Windermere Tourist Information via their website.

Personal CommunicationsAll of our sites have reasonable 4G coverage. Please be discreet when using your phone so that it does not impinge on anyone else’s experience. We would encourage you to switch it off, and bring a notebook and camera to record your experience. 

Power & ChargingThere are no mains charging facilities available. Please bring a power bank. If you ask really nicely, you may be able to charge from the Wild Human vehicle, but you may need to supply your own cable. 

Pets Unfortunately pets are not allowed on any of our courses.