Roo in the Bush(craft)!
Year 5 went to Bushcraft Company in Oxfordshire. It was for 3 days and 2 nights. Bushcraft is training for survival in a safe place where you are not actually going to die.
When we arrived we had a snack and our camp leader Chris told us a story that we had won a competition to go somewhere and while the pilot was flying the plane, he had a heart- attack and crashed in the woods and now we have to build a fire to cook our dinner on. And then we ran off to collect wood for the fire.
Everyone was numbered from 1 to 36. I was number 8. We had to remember our numbers for when we had a number off a few times a day. This was to check that everyone was there and not lost. We had whistles round our necks in case we got lost.
We were put in three tribes: the gory gorillas (my tribe), the wild wolves and the wilderness wolves. Each tribe had a tribe leader. Ours was Luke. Luke taught us about different types of widths of sticks that you can use for a fire. You can use ‘wrist’ sticks, ‘thumb’ sticks, ‘finger’ sticks and ‘match’ sticks. The appropriate length for all of these types of sticks is the length of your forearm. We piled the sticks up in their groups and each made 3 sparks with a fire striker and then the best lighter lit the fire.
Our lunch was squirrel kebabs (just kidding, I mean lamb!), and couscous, with either salsa or yoghurt.
We built our shelter to sleep in. In our tribes we divided ourselves into little groups: bedding collectors; wall makers and insulating team. Then we all helped to put up the canvas. In our tribes we used the clove hitch and grapevine bend knots to put up the canvas.
I had to be a temporary artificial peg while we were waiting for the pegs to come round to hold down the canvas. Then we split back up into our little teams. In my tribe, I was in the insulating team. We would sit inside the canvas and wait for the walls to be built by the walls team. Then the bedding collectors would go off and collect grass and moss. the grass was spread on the floor and the moss was stuffed in the cracks in the wall. In the end it was a very comfy shelter.
After dinner we played a game called Predator. One person is picked to be the prey and he is taken by a tribe leader to the other end of the forest and they stand by the prey tree. They will turn around and the tribe leader with them with count down from 5 and all of the predators will have to move to the protection of the bracken or the trees. The prey will turn around and describe anything that they can see. The tribe leader with them will shout it out to the other tribe leaders and they will go and find the other predator who has been spotted. The predator will then be out and have to stand BEHIND the prey tree and NOT help the prey find more predators. The idea of the game is to run up to the prey tree in the final round, touch the prey tree and shout ‘Freedom’ and you win the game. The prey wants to get as many predators out before they touch the prey tree.
Then we had dinner and got into bed which was our shelter. It got dark very quickly so Chris had to come out and sleep with us in case we needed anything in the middle of the night. I was sleeping next to Emma and Immie in one of the smaller shelters with Sophie and Kiera too. We laid out our roll mats and sleeping bags and went and brushed our teeth and went to the toilet (the portaloos were a nightmare!) and we climbed into bed. I was just snuggling down when ‘Oooph!’, I hit a tree root! As I pushed myself into my sleeping bag I just about managed to manoevere myself around it. All of the girls were suddenly quiet after the chatting time was over but the boys were still chatting! They had to be told to be quiet. Then I looked over to my friend Emma and said ‘They were being loud weren’t they?’, but she didn’t reply as she was already asleep. Lucky! Sophie was asleep too but Immie and Kiera were awake and the boys were STILL chatting. I fell asleep for I don’t know how long but when I woke up I couldn’t see anything because it was so dark. I didn’t even have to turn on my head-torch to know that the boys were STILL talking.
It was cold and dark sleeping outside for the first time in my life but I wasn’t scared.
For breakfast we had bacon, hash(tag) browns and scrambled eggs. Yumm! I had never had hash(tag) browns before and they were very yummy. We were about to get up and wash our plates when we were told that the boys had ‘volunteered’ to wash our plates, because they woke up too early.
The girls filled up their water bottles with juice ready for the day. We then did first aid training with Chris and Tom. We learnt about taking ‘DRABS’.
D = Danger
Look for signs of what could have happened to the patient.
R = Response
Physical and mental response i.e. shaking them on the shoulder and calling their name. You must keep on talking to the patient all the way through DRABS in case they wake up.
A = Airway.
Turn their head to face the sky and open their mouth slowly to see if there is anything stuck in their throat. If there is, tilt their head to the side and it will fall out.
B = Breathing
Their airway is clear but they might still not be breathing. Put your finger on their top lip and look down at their chest. If they are breathing you will feel breaths on your finger whether it is coming from the nose or mouth and you will see their chest rising and falling. Check to see if their breathing is fast or slow. This is another part of checking for danger.
S = Secondary Survey
Gently press parts of the body and watch the patient’s face closely to watch for any small signs of pain. Check the back of the head for any cuts (keep on talking to them all of the time). If there is no physical pain, press lightly on the stomach to see if it is hard in different places. If there has been an injury to the stomach it could be bleeding and the blood would be packing up hard inside. Or there could be stones. Remember – if it is a woman, they could just be pregnant. If you don’t have a phone with you, shout for help. If you do have a phone, don’t worry about trying to figure out where you are, because the details sent from your phone to the emergency services pinpoint your location.
Every now and then we would have to go out in pairs and one person would be the patient and the other would be the first aider and you had to work through all the steps that you had learned.
We played Predator again and some other sneaky silent games. I sprained my ankle and then when I was making my way back to the teacher to tell them, Sam accidentally stepped on the same ankle and hurt it even more. (It was a long way back to the teacher.) Then I couldn’t really get up and I had to crawl to the teacher and sit in the teacher’s camp by the fire with an ice pack on it. Then it was snack time and we had some popcorn and played some games with Tom. They were all different kinds of tricks. I worked out the answers to 3 of the tricks. Most people didn’t work out the answers to any of them. They were very hard.
First, the magic paintbrush. The magic paintbrush is a stick. Tom painted a picture with the magic paintbrush and he told us what he was painting. He told us it was worth a million pounds. That’s the puzzle. If you know the trick to the magic paintbrush and you paint your painting follows the rules, then your painting will be worth a million pounds. If you don’t know the trick then your painting will be worth diddly-squat. Some people painted a million pound picture by accident but no one worked out the trick.
Next, catching trains. This one is very simple but no one else seemed to get it. you can catch a train from anywhere you want to somewhere else but you can’t go back. For example, I can catch a train from London to Southampton but I can’t catch a train from Southampton to London.
Next, the magic 4. If you know the trick, you can get any number in the history of numbers back to 4, because 4 is the magic number. This is my favourite and I know the answer. Here are 3 examples and then I will tell you the trick.
5 is 4 and 4 is the magic number.
20 is 6, 6 is 3, 3 is 5, 5 is 4 and 4 is the magic number.
You can also turn words into 4. LOTTIE is 6, 6 is 3, 3 is 5, 5 is 4 and 4 is the magic number.
The trick is you count how many letters are in the word of the number and use that!
The Land of Confusion. Some things exist and some things don’t. What is the trick to exist? There is no water but there are water bottles. No winter, but there is Summer. No wolves, but there are gorillas. There’s bamboo but no pandas. There isn’t even confusion in the Land of Confusion but there is just Happiness!
The trick is, things exist if they have a double letter in the word.
After popcorn and brain games, we learnt whittling skills and made a tent peg. We split into 2 groups. Numbers 1 to 8 went first and did knife work with Luke and Chris making wooden pegs. When we were finished then 9 to 16 went up and we went and joined the rest with one of the tribe leaders Sarah making paracord bracelets.
We all had a relax and I was filling up my friend’s water bottle when Saffy the cook shouted . We ran to see and the next door camp closest to us had come up to our camp and were stealing our wood. When they saw us they picked up some of the wood and ran away quickly. (That’s not fair, we’re not allowed to run in camp.) So we didn’t even have time to ‘Charge!’ before they were gone. Luckily they didn’t take all of the wood and there was still enough for Saffy to make us pizza in the pizza oven. I made my pizza look like a face!
Chris showed us different types of traps that you would use to catch your food in the wild. There are Mangle, Dangle, Strangle and Tangle traps.
Mangle – you squash the prey under something.
Dangle – you lift the prey above ground so that it can’t be taken away by anything else that comes along looking for dinner and so it can’t run away.
Strangle – you strangle the prey!
Tangle – you catch the prey by the leg so that it can’t run away.
Chris made us make bunnies with one hand and then do the trap in the other hand.
We played some more games and brushed our teeth and had cocoa and marshmallows while we listened to Tom telling us a story about a monster that only wanted to play tag. Then we went to bed. Me and my friends Milena and Emma slept in the bell tents as there was no room in the shelters. It was much colder than the shelters but it was easier to get to sleep as there were only small muffled sounds, where there should have been the roaring sound of the boys in the tent next door.
We woke up in the morning and we watched Chris prepare a salmon. He took all of its bones out (it was already gutted) and then he pulled it’s head of and took it’s eyes out. It must have hurt a lot!
My friends Emma, Lottie and Immie went up with 3 boys and volunteered to eat the salmon eyes. It wasn’t a nice experience. Emma and one of the boys threw up. Immie and 2 other boys spat them out straight away, but Super Lottie chewed and chewed and chewed, gagged 6 times and then swallowed. I think it didn’t taste very nice! I’m glad I didn’t volunteer to do it.
Then we all got to try and skin our own rabbit. They had been frozen for a while so they weren’t as fresh as they could have been and they smelt bad. But we were all allowed to cut off their legs and twist their head out of its socket.
First the legs; we had to feel around for the joints and push hard. Me and Milena let Caspar and Rafi do this. I think it was a very good decision because of the very loud CRACKS that came from behind us as we turned around and plugged our ears shut. Then Milena got her hands messy and twisted the head off because the boys wouldn’t do it.
Then I felt around for a little lump of fur on the rabbits back and made a slit with the knife. It was cold and wet and I didn’t like it one bit but still I pulled the fur apart to find a very blue/orange/purple and pink thing that was supposed to be a rabbit.
Then Chris told us that the rabbits were not fresh enough for us to do the rest so we went up to his table and he showed us the inside of a rabbit. We got to see its intestines; they weren’t very different to ours, just smaller. We got to see the kidneys, the stomach including the access on the inside. The lungs, the diaphragm, the wind pipe and the food pipe, the bladder and finally the heart. Then we got to see Christ blow through the air pipe into the lungs and make them inflate. I’m glad they didn’t pop. Most of the girls weren’t there to see it. Lily, Alanah and the girly girls ran off. But the Tom Boys like me, Melanie and Milena stayed and watched in awe. I must admit, it did smell.
We went swimming in the icy cold lake. The girls got some privacy and got to go in without any boys in there. I dropped myself in from the side instead of jumping in because they said it was so cold that you would be in shock for a few seconds so I went in with a boyancy aid, just in case.
It was very cold. My friend Milena can’t swim very well so Chris jumped in first and caught her when she jumped off and put her in the water in a boyancy aid. The best part of the whole experience was seeing our Deputy Head, Mr G, push Emma in 3 times! She wouldn’t jump in!
Then we did camouflage face paint. We were shown what was wrong camouflage and what was correct. Then we had to guess what was the best colour camouflage in different locations. If you were in the desert the best colour to camouflage yourself was pink, because the sun bouncing off the shadows of the dunes is pink.
Then we packed our stuff ready to leave. We had to walk back to the coach and by the time we left the safe bushcraft bubble around the camp we then realised how exhausted we were!
After 3 days with year 5, the teachers had gone a little bit crazy as this video proves:
On the coach we watched Puss in Boots so that our eyes had something to distract them in case we fell asleep.
When I got home, my mum put me straight in the bath and spent 20 minutes trying to get the camouflage paint off of my face. She then put me in her bed and I fell asleep at 5:30 pm!
I thought Bushcraft was better than when I went to Mill on the Brue. At MOB there were loads of rules for no reason but at Bushcraft they were all sensible rules.
If you would like to find out more about this adventure, look here: