Wilderness Survival Skills in the Great Outdoors – How Not to Be Like Bear Grylls
I discovered today that it’s easy to laugh at Bear Grylls and his crazy Wilderness Survival Skills from the comfort of an armchair. I usually watch him on every Monday night throwing himself into inhospitable environments so that he can eat raw unidentified insect larvae, washed down by drinking his own urine that has been filtered through a substance containing millions of germs.
Bear Grylls actually made my list of Funny Travel Television Shows, just because he takes Adventure Travel to a whole new level. Now I respect him a lot more after spending a day in the Welsh countryside, after realising how hard it can be just to light a simple fire for the camera!
I had a crack at some Wilderness Survival Skills in some woodlands near Swansea, in southern Wales today. Surprisingly, there are still some woodlands left in the United Kingdom today after centuries of clearing, conquests, and relentless sheep farming.
Rick and Andy, two good sports from Dryad Bushcraft, showed us how to get by if for some reason you get lost in the forest and want to avoid eating any of your fellow colleagues as a means of sustenance.
I thought things were going to be easy. At first, we just needed to try and light a fire with a flint. But that’s no problem when the object to burn is cotton wool, which is relatively flammable. Just flick the steel bit on the flint and a shower of sparks leaves your hands with little effort that would make any arsonist drool.
Wilderness Survival Skills And Tips on Video…
Then I was put into 1 of 2 teams to try and light fire by rubbing a couple of pieces of wood together. This is like going back to the stone age, trying to recreate how to be a hairy knuckle dragger discovering how to light fire for the first time.
Just like my attempts to learn the Welsh Language, trying to light a fire stone age style became another almost insurmountable challenge.
This is how it’s done properly – Andy obviously has done this way too many times, and could probably do this blindfolded.
Then it was our turn. See this footage? This was only just an example of the numerous stuff ups that occurred trying to make this damn fire! You can actually hear the other team celebrating their glorious win while we struggle just to make a single spark!
Finally, after fart-arseing around for a long time, we finally reinvented fire. Like this:
After spending ages on this task, other interesting Wilderness Survival Facts I learnt today:
- Wood from the willow tree can be used for medicinal purposes, as well as cricket bats. The Willow Tree leaves contains salicylic acid, the precursor to aspirin. But I’d rather watch cricket than eat Willow Tree leaves.
- Stinging nettles can hurt, but can also be made up into a tea that tastes like boiled grass.
- Blackberries grow feral everywhere in Wales, so you could probably survive on them for a while. I’m used to every plant that looks delicious having the high potential of killing you.
Lighting fire was only part 1 of the day. We also had to build a shelter with a variety of logs and twigs. Enough to comfortably fit 3 people to keep each other warm in a hypothetical situation of trying to survive in a cold environment.
This was a better effort, even though I thought our survival shelter looked more like a pterodactyl’s nest rather than a structure to keep one alive. But we lost this challenge as well. D’oh.
So there you go. The moral(s) of the story here is:
- If you really want to light a fire with the minimum amount of grief – I’d suggest carrying around a lighter and a considerable supply of unleaded petrol!
- I’d rather try and make beer than make a fire or a survival shelter.
- Don’t ask me to be a survival expert!
More Wilderness Survival Skill Stuff
There you go – how not to apply some Wilderness Survival Skills.
Anyway, leave a comment to practice going into the running for a Flip HD movie camera! And you don’t have to answer in Welsh this time!