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 or under a tarp. For this course you will be based at a beautiful young 13 acre private woodland within the National Park. There is parking available on site. Once at base camp, you will erect your tent or sleeping system and join the main fire. Please note, whilst there are many mature trees, including ancient oaks on site, the majority of the trees are not yet suitable for hammocks.

Transport:
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. For this course, this will be at Oxenholme station.

Meals:
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. (2 x Evening meal, 2 x Cold Lunch and 2 x Breakfast)

Pescatarian / Vegetarians are well catered for, but can Vegans and those with serious food intolerances (like celiac’s disease) please contact us to discuss your requirements, as you may be asked to bring some specialist food to supplement your diet.

Water:
Purified natural water is provided.

Duration:
2 day workshop (arrive 19.30 on Friday and depart 16.00 on Sunday)

Minimum Age:
13, if accompanied by an adult.

Personal Insurance:
Whilst not essential, it is recommended that you have simple adventure travel insurance to cover yourself and your possessions whilst on this trip.

Course Travel & Delays:  How to get there: A link to detailed set of directions and arrival instructions will be sent directly from Wild Human once they receive your booking. The Virgin West Coast rail line means we can be reached by rail from London Euston in 3 hours on any day of the week. There will be a complementary pick-up from ‘Oxenholme – The Lake District’ train station just before the start of the course for people arriving by train.

Delays and 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.

Do I need prior experience?  Not at all. If you enjoy being outdoors and are keen to learn – we will welcome your company. Although previous camping experience can be an advantage, it is not essential.

Can I attend on my own?  Yes! Our Origins courses are aimed at private individuals who have a passion to learn. 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.

What about bad weather? 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. We have waterproof outdoor ‘classroom’ spaces for use in difficult weather conditions and a large, covered bush-kitchen.

Sanitation & Hygiene  Courses are run from an expedition-style base camp, this means that our toilet facilities are screened, covered, composting toilets. We have used this system for the past 10 years of our teaching experience and find it to be the cleanest, most environmentally friendly and hygienic system. It is an essential part of wilderness living and you will be given clear instruction about latrine use and a few simple protocols about hygienic use upon arrival to base camp.

Terms & Conditions  Before placing a booking, please take a moment to observe our UK terms & conditions of booking, particularly for our cancellation policy. We also highly recommend that you seek insurance against the unfortunate event that you should need to cancel your place unexpectedly – missed course bookings are not transferable.

I would like to cancel my course?  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!

Can I attend from continental Europe and beyond?  Many people travel from outside of the UK to attend our courses; often from continental Europe, but also from further afield such as New Zealand and the USA. Providing you have a good grasp of the English language, can understand this website and feel that you will understand detailed verbal information and instruction there is no problem for you to join us for a course. Please be aware that the Lake district can be much colder and wetter during the summer than many continental countries and so please take our kit list very seriously. Many airlines fly into Manchester airport, where you can board a train to Oxenholme (Please note that some journeys to Oxenholme may require you to change trains at Preston, although many are direct to Oxenholme). This journey usually takes around 2 hrs depending on connections. A standard saver return costs approximately £ 35.00, although with a bit of forward planning, you can purchase single tickets each way for as little as £8.50 each way.

Newcastle airport is also an option, and being a smaller airport is in some ways more convenient. If you decided to opt for Newcastle airport you need to take the Metro to Newcastle Central Station, cost £ 2.40. From Newcastle Central Station take the train to Carlisle, where you change for Oxenholme, where we will collect you. This journey usually takes about three and a half-hours and a standard saver return costs approximately £ 35.00.

Where can I stay before / after my course?  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

Course arrival / departure times?  Origins courses start at 19:30 hrs on the evening of the course start date (with a slightly earlier station meet if you are arriving by train) and you will be back to your cars by 16:00 hrs on the last day of the course (17:00 hrs at the train station). Further arrival details and equipment lists are contained in the email that you will receive once you place your on-line booking.

What happens upon arrival?  For this course you will be based at a beautiful young 13 acre woodland within the National Park. There is parking available on site. Once at base camp, you will erect your tent or sleeping system and join the main fire. Please note, whilst there are many mature trees, including ancient oaks on site, the majority of the trees are not yet suitable for hammocks. After a brew, some bread and soup, and safety briefings, you will be introduced to each other, the Wild Human team and to the course. You will also be shown the camp set up and simple protocols will be explained. You will spend the evening having a chat around the fire and teaching will begin the following morning.

What will I be eating?  All meals are cooked on site. Food preparation and cooking will be a joint effort, involving both students and staff. All of our full time staff hold ‘food handling and hygiene’ certificates. All our courses are fully catered, however you may be required to cook for yourself or in groups on occasion, forming part of the educational aspects of the course (please see individual course page for further information). A typical days food (may vary as Covid restrictions continue) would be: Breakfast –  fruit and various cereal options; Lunch – bread rolls, a selection of fillings (e.g. cheese, ham, tuna), a healthy salad, fruit and snacks; Evening meal – Rice dishes with Thai, Indian & Chinese style curries; or pasta with Italian style, tomatoes based, sauces. Course participants are usually pleasantly surprised by the high standard of the food and meals we provide, however please remember that this is an expedition style base camp and therefore has inherent limitations with regards to producing meals to cater for individual tastes. Whilst we are proud of the tasty, nutritious meals we produce with basic amenities, our focus is to educate, not to compete with restaurants. There will always be a brew pot on the go so that students are free to make tea and coffee at any time. The food provided will be more than adequate, but feel free to bring extra provisions if you wish. On wild food-related courses, foraged finds will make up a larger proportion of meals than on other courses.

We are happy to cater for medical intolerance’s, allergies and for vegetarian diets, but please let us know when you place your booking. However, we do not cater for preferences or mild intolerances. If you have a dietary intolerance of any kind then you are kindly asked to bring your own snacks, gluten free bread, and any other specifics you may feel necessary. If you are in doubt then do contact us to discuss options. If you have very specific requirements or very serious allergies then you may be asked to bring your own food and cooking equipment so please inquire about this before booking on-line.Are the courses tough?

Our 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. Due to the nature of the location and the course content, you will be expected to take short hikes over uneven terrain, therefore a good level of fitness is required – on occasion you will be wet, muddy, tired, too hot, too cold, frustrated and exhilarated!

Where will I park my car and will my stuff be safe?  At this site you will never be too far from your car. It is private land, with no access to the general public. There are gated parking facilities provided on site, and whilst we cannot make absolute guarantees, there have never been any incidents of theft within the grounds. We would recommend that you keep any valuable personal belongings in your day sack. You will not be required to walk more than 250m to the camping area.

Is it safe?  “Adventure is a romantic name for trouble…” At Wild Human the opposite is true, as you will get the opportunity to learn wilderness living skills in a safe and controlled environment, where making mistakes will not put you in danger. However, you must come in the knowledge that no outdoor activity is entirely without risk, as you may be using sharp tools or walking across uneven terrain. Accidents can happen. We advise you take out adequate adventure travel insurance for the duration of your course or expedition – here is a link to one bushcraft specific insurance company – Sports Cover Direct. The biggest risk to your welfare 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. Any wild foods should be checked with a member of Wild Human staff before eating, otherwise anything consumed is entirely at your own risk.

Alcohol?  Alcohol is strictly forbidden on all our courses, due to the obvious health and safety risks. Alcohol and cutting tools don’t mix! On some of the foraging course we bend the rules a little.

Axes?  Axes must not be used at any time, unless the individual student can prove competence and has permission from the Wild Human instructor leading the course.

Dogs?  Pets are not permitted on any of our courses – sorry!

Mobile Phones?  Mobile phones are permitted, but please use them very quietly & discreetly, i.e. not around the campfire as many people come on our courses to ‘get away from it all’! Please bear in mind that you may not get a good signal. EE receives the best reception. We do not provide facilities for charging phones but there are many external battery packs on the market.