In the 1980’s the developed world was cruising headlong into the computer age, living by mantra’s such as ‘lunch is for wimps’ while the corporate ladder offered the promise of untold riches and promotional carrot ‘if you stay on after work to complete this report for me’. In our oil driven economies the prospect of the black gold riches drying up was too far off to really worry about, habitat destruction was a problem limited to the Amazon basin and the reality of climate change was still mainly academic.
Into this crashed Paul Hogan starring as the larger than life character Crocodile Dundee. Amongst the outrageous plot lines were some gems of the subject we now know as bushcraft. Who could forget the scene where Mick Dundee calls on his aboriginal friends for help using the ‘bush telegraph’ (an item properly known as a bull roarer). Or, when he introduces his girlfriend to the wilderness known as Belongamick (Mick’s Place). The film also introduced us, albeit with clumsy Hollywood simplicity, to the idea of respect for first nations people and their knowledge.
Returning three weeks later, I felt a certain amount of nerves. It had been a good few years since I had sat any form of written exam. John and his team reviewed every subject the day before each assessment. I found it really helped to be in the context of the woodland. At one point I chatted with John about the assessments and we both agreed they are not designed to be stressful provided the candidate has spent time to practice and revise during the consolidation period. If no additional work had been done it would be a struggle.
I’m now looking forwards to incorporating more bushcraft activities into Ranger Expeditions courses, enabling clients to enjoy a deeper understanding of the environment in which they are journeying and maybe sense the traditions of those mesolithic hunter gatherers who have gone before.
What’s great about bushcraft is that there is always more amazing things to see, skills to learn and experiences to enhance understanding. In many ways the journey has just begun.