Fire Making

The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Survival Skills Workshops in the UK

The wild, untamed UK landscape calls to the adventurer in us all. But with great adventure comes the need for great responsibility—or, more accurately, great survival skills. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer of the craggy Highlands, a weekend warrior in the Lake District, or a coastal path trekker, understanding the basics of survival is not just fun; it’s wise. These outdoor survival skills workshops offer not just lessons, but also fun adventures.

Why Attend a Survival Skills Workshop? 

Imagine being able to light a fire without matches, find water in what seems an arid landscape, or navigate by the stars. Survival skills workshops across the UK offer you the chance to learn these invaluable techniques and more. They’re not just about the ‘how’; they explain the ‘why’, giving you a deeper understanding of the natural world. Having the knowledge of survival skills will allow you to enjoy the adventure, knowing you are prepared for the unexpected. 

Real Life Stories

In 2016, 72-year-old Ann Rodgers survived nine days in the Arizona desert after getting lost. She relied on skills from a survival course, stayed hydrated by drinking from ponds, and signaled for help with a large “HELP” sign made from rocks and wood. Her rescue highlights the importance of survival knowledge and the effectiveness of signaling for help in remote locations​.

After being drugged and left for dead by robbers in the Australian Outback in 2006, Ricky Megee survived for 71 days on insects, frogs, and water from a dam. He was eventually found by a survey crew, barely alive. Megee’s experience is a testament to the human body’s ability to survive in harsh conditions with minimal resources

These stories, ranging from accidents in nature to intentional acts of violence, show that survival often depends on a mix of luck, preparation, and the will to live. They serve as powerful reminders of the human spirit’s capacity to overcome even the most daunting challenges.

Survivor Skills Workshop

What Skills Will You Learn? 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of specific techniques that could be part of an outdoor survival skills workshop: 

  1. Bushcraft Fundamentals: 
    • Tool Crafting: Learn to make basic tools using flint knapping for cutting tools and shaping wood for spears or fishing rods. 
    • Foraging: Identification of common edible plants like nettles, wild garlic, and berries, and understanding their nutritional value and medicinal properties. 
  1. Firecraft Expertise: 
    • Bow Drill Technique: A friction-based method to create fire using a spindle and fireboard made from specific types of wood. 
    • Flint and Steel: Using a piece of flint and a striker to create sparks, catching them on tinder to start a fire. 
    • Wet Weather Fire Starting: Techniques for sourcing dry tinder in damp environments, such as birch bark or the inner wood of dead branches, and constructing a fire lay that facilitates airflow. 
  1. Advanced Navigation Techniques: 
    • Compass Use: Basic orienteering skills, including how to read a compass, understanding bearings, and navigating to specific points. 
    • Map Reading: Interpreting topographical maps, identifying landmarks, and understanding contour lines. 
    • Natural Navigation: Using the position of the sun, the stars (particularly the North Star), and natural land formations for direction finding. 
  1. Shelter Building Mastery: 
    • Lean-to Shelter: Constructing a simple yet effective shelter using branches and foliage to protect against wind and rain. 
    • Debris Hut: Building an insulated shelter from leaves, moss, and branches, suitable for colder conditions. 
  1. Water Procurement and Purification
    • Water Sourcing: Identifying signs of water in the landscape, such as vegetation types or animal tracks leading to water sources. 
    • Purification Methods: Boiling, solar water disinfection (SODIS), and filtration techniques using natural materials like sand and charcoal. 
Survival Skills Workshops

Choosing the Right Workshop 

The United Kingdom offers a variety of natural landscapes, each offering unique challenges and opportunities for outdoor survival enthusiasts. When choosing a survival skills workshop, it’s crucial to consider the specific environments you intend to explore, as survival techniques can vary significantly from one terrain to another. Below are key locations and their associated survival skills: 

Scottish Highlands:

  • Known for its rugged terrain and unpredictable weather, workshops here often focus on navigation in challenging conditions, building shelters resilient to strong winds and heavy rain, and identifying local flora for food and medicinal purposes. 

Lake District:

  • With its abundant water sources and forested areas, survival courses in the Lake District might concentrate on water purification, fishing techniques, and constructing shelters in wooded environments. 
  1. 6-Hour Canoe and Bushcraft Experience:
    • Immerse yourself in a day of wild exploration, learning the art of bushcraft alongside thrilling canoe adventures. Whether with family or a group of friends, indulge in a blend of nature-inspired learning and exciting outdoor activities.
    • For families, the day is packed with fun and engaging activities. You will start with canoeing, and end with bushcraft, toasting marshmallows over your own fire. Kids will be thrilled to build fires and shelters, engaging actively in collecting kindling and firewood.
    • Adults can expect a deeper dive into bushcraft, blending ancient methods with modern tools. Everyone will learn how to navigate canoes efficiently and live comfortably off the land, making use of natural resources.
    • ‘Leave No Trace’ principle – As you learn and enjoy, instructors focus on respecting and preserving the natural environment. This ethos is woven through all the skills and techniques taught, ensuring an eco-friendly and responsible outdoor experience.
  2. West Pennine Moors:
    • This workshop is specifically designed for women looking to boost their confidence in navigation skills. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced navigator aiming to advance towards Mountain Training qualifications like the Lowland Leader Award, this workshop is tailored to you. It offers a supportive and empowering environment for women to learn and refine their map reading and navigation skills.
    • It’s in a women-only environment, so a great place to make new connections with like-minded women who love the outdoors as much as you do!

Welsh Mountains and Valleys:

  • The varied landscapes of Wales provide a perfect backdrop for learning a wide range of skills, from mountain safety and navigation to foraging in both upland and valley environments.

Coastal Areas (such as Cornwall and the Scottish Coast):

  • Workshops in these locations could include coastal survival techniques, such as signal fires, seaweed foraging, and understanding tidal patterns for safe navigation. 
  1. Paddleboarding & Bushcraft Experience in Newquay
    • An unforgettable journey combining the serenity of stand-up paddleboarding and the thrill of bushcraft survival skills. This family-friendly experience is your chance to explore the scenic Gannel Estuary and toast marshmallows on an open fire. They’ll teach you how to launch, land, balance, and paddle in the stunning Gannel Estuary.
    • After a relaxed paddleboarding tour, you will experience the ultimate survival challenge, learning about how to build a fire and survive in the wild.
  2. Kayak & Bushcraft Adventure in Cornwall
    • Teaches you how to kayak and survive in the wilderness with our friendly and qualified instructors. Pick between the blue sea or the serenity of the river, and make the experience your own. With a full safety briefing, heated changing rooms, and outdoor showers, we make sure you’re taken care of.

Forests of England (such as Sherwood Forest and New Forest):

  • These areas are ideal for learning about woodland living, including tracking, the use of natural materials for tool making, and identifying edible plants and fungi. 
Survivor Skills Workshop

Safety Tips and Preparation

Before diving into the wilderness, it’s essential to prepare both body and mind. Physical fitness plays a crucial role in navigating the challenges of survival training, so consider a regimen that boosts your stamina, strength, and flexibility. Mental readiness is equally important; familiarise yourself with survival basics and mentally rehearse scenarios you might face. 

The stories of people like Ann Rodgers, who survived nine days in the Arizona desert, explain the crucial role of a positive mindset and the will to survive. In interviews, they often speak about the psychological challenges faced by survivors, such as fear, loneliness, and the temptation to give up.

The thrill of adventure comes with its risks. Prioritising safety means learning how to identify potential dangers and effectively manage them. Workshops teach vital skills such as making distress signals, navigating safely back to civilisation, and administering first aid in emergencies. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the beauty of the wild without leaving anything to chance.

Gear and Equipment Recommendations

Equipping yourself with the right gear can make all the difference. From multi-tools and water purification systems to emergency shelters and fire-starting kits, selecting gear that’s both sustainable and effective is key. Workshops provide insights into choosing the best equipment that won’t let you down when you need it most. 

Check out our Gear Blog with must haves for any adventurer – ranging from practical gadgets to comfortable apparel, they cater to various needs of outdoor enthusiasts, from beginners to experts. They are not just tools for adventure, but also means to enhance the overall experience of being in the great outdoors.

DIY Survival Gear

Why not take your preparation a step further by crafting your own survival gear? Creating simple tools and kits at home not only enhances your survival skills but also deepens your connection to the adventures ahead. Workshops often include sessions on making basic gear, providing a satisfying preparation to the challenges of the wild. For ideas, check out this video – A Homemade Compact Survival Kit.

Seasonal and Specialty Workshops

Dive deeper into your survival training with workshops focused on particular skills or environments. Survival strategies can differ vastly from summer’s heat to winter’s chill. Workshops tailored to specific seasons equip you with the knowledge to handle the unique challenges each one brings, from navigating snowy landscapes to managing hydration under the scorching sun. 

Whether it’s mastering coastal survival, navigating the complexities of winter terrains, or engaging in family-friendly sessions, these specialised workshops offer a more targeted learning experience.

For those ready to push their limits, advanced workshops offer a deeper exploration of survival techniques. Tackling extreme conditions, advanced navigation, and complex shelter-building are just some areas where seasoned adventurers can further their expertise, preparing for whatever the wild throws their way.

Environmental Awareness and Conservation

Leave No Trace Principles

At adventuro, we believe in the power and the necessity of conservation, which is why we Partnered with Rewilding Britain. Embracing the Leave No Trace principles is a testament to our respect for nature and commitment to preserving its beauty. 

Many of the outdoor survival skills workshops stress the importance of minimising our footprint – be it by careful planning, sticking to trails, or managing waste properly – ensuring that our adventures are sustainable. Through hands-on conservation activities and education on local ecosystems, participants are encouraged to become stewards of the land, advocating for its preservation long after the workshop ends. 

Learn more about Preserving the Playground: Connecting Adventure Sports and Conservation and how Climate Change Is Affecting Adventure Sports

Preserving the Playground

How to Choose Your Adventure

Post-workshop, the real adventure begins. Choosing your next journey requires careful consideration of the skills you’ve acquired, the environments you wish to explore, and the challenges you’re ready to face. Workshops can guide you in selecting destinations and planning your expedition, ensuring a memorable and safe adventure. 

Head over to adventuro and explore our wide range of courses and adventures that might spark your interest!

Survival skills workshops offer more than just a set of skills; they offer a new way to see the world. They encourage mindfulness, respect for nature, and a sense of preparedness that transcends outdoor adventures. Plus, they’re a fantastic way to meet like-minded adventurers.

Whether you’re preparing for a specific expedition or just looking to broaden your outdoor skills, survival skills workshops are an investment in your safety, confidence, and appreciation of the natural world. So lace up your boots, pack your sense of adventure, and step into the wild, equipped not just to survive, but to thrive.

Where to Find Workshops in the UK

Many reputable organizations across the UK offer a range of survival skills training;

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Writer and Marketer

I am a keen adventure sports enthusiast and have been mountain biking and kayaking around the world for many years!

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