Gary grew up in the west country surrounded by open countryside in what is now a nature reserve. Seeing deer, foxes, badgers and other wildlife yards from the backdoor was commonplace. Allowed to venture out at a very early age, he spent much of his childhood wandering through the woods, making ‘dens’, climbing trees (and occasionally falling out of them), swimming in rivers…. School holidays were spent on an uncle’s farm on the edge of Dartmoor.
From around 14 onwards he would regularly spend 4 or 5 days at a time wandering around and sleeping out on the moors, mostly knowing where he was. These early experiences led to a lifelong love of the British countryside and culminated in Gary qualifying as a bushcraft instructor and co-founding Jack Raven Bushcraft.
Nicola is an expert back country cook and amazes us all with the consistently high quality meals she produces. Nicola is continually devising new wild food recipes for us all to try, and manages to create wonderful foraged versions of many classic dishes.
She is also a keen herbalist, currently studying for a Diploma in Herbal Medicine, and makes a wide variety of remedies such as yarrow creme (small cuts & abrasions and minor burns) self heal creme (general aches and pains) and comfrey ointment (sprains, joints and pulled muscles) and various tinctures. Needless to say, Nicola plays an important role on our plant and tree walks.
Nicola has developed a passion for carving and many of our family and friends now own spoons, spatulas and honey drizzlers carved by her. More recently, she has taken a keen interest in pole lathing.
Ross served in the IVth Royal Tank Regiment as a tank driver for 7 years. After leaving the army he spent 8 years teaching green woodworking at Poulton Wood.
Ross’s interests turned to metal and he began to learn the art of blacksmithing and he has spent the last 15 years building up his skills; 6 of those years were working for the Duke of Buccleuch at Drumlanrig Castle. He now runs his own blacksmithing company, Kaos Blacksmiths.
As founder and director of Inspirational Changes, Jayne specialises in bringing scientifically-validated Mindfulness approaches and a wealth of corporate experience to organisations and individuals, through a range of bespoke offerings, to enable them to make positive changes, be their best and live life to the fullest.
Mark is the founder and lead instructor at Arran Bushcraft & Survival. He was born and bred on Arran (an Arranach) and has been living and working in forestry and the outdoors, exploring wild places, all of his life. Building a fantatsic knowledge of not just the island but its wildlife and habitat, Mark formalised his skills, knowledge and study of bushcraft and improving on his teaching ability by completing the NCFE Certificate in Bushcraft Leadership in 2010-2011.
Mark is a member of Arran Mountain Rescue Team, having joined in 1994 and taking on the roles of Equipment Officer and Emergency Medical Technician.
We really appreciate Mark’s experience and local knowledge as he acts as host and guide on our Arran Adventure.
|Ho Kyung Hoebeke
Ho Kyung came to the UK in 2004 to teach kung fu and tai chi. He had his first experience of bushcraft in 2011 and has since embraced the British countryside passionately. He believes that practising bushcraft is an extension of his martial arts training, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Ho Kyung particularly likes knife and axe work and is becoming increasingly keen on tree and plant identification and uses. He is a strong advocate of sleeping in a hammock and thinks everyone should try it at least once in their life, preferably during a storm!
He delivered bushcraft taster sessions at Nethergong Campsite on our behalf for much of 2015.
Inspired by his parent’s experiences and love of nature Bob soon started his own adventures in the local woodlands. After Cubs and Scouts, fishing became his ticket to spending extended periods amongst wildlife. Bob joined the school Explorers Club where his love of the wild landscapes of Wales and Scotland grew. Spending his summers in Scotland fishing, walking and exploring saw him become ever more self-reliant in the outdoors.
Working with an expedition company Bob realised that he was never more at home than when outdoors. With several trips to Nepal and the usual trekking destinations ticked off, the higher more remote mountains beckoned.
After a lucky encounter with the guys from The Bushcraft Magazine, Bob’s memories of time spent in the woodlands returned and along with it a desire to encourage people to reconnect with the more simple joys of nature and the spirituality of the woodlands
|Paul Bradley (AKA Bardster)
Paul became involved with Viking re-enactment in 1998 and this started his love of working with leather. Since then he has amassed a large number of tools and techniques, which he enjoys sharing in his workshops.
Paul is a regular contributor to the Bushcraft Magazine and as a teacher he is in much demand, with guest appearances for Bison Bushcraft and The Bodgers, for example. His leather items are highly sought after and his work has appeared in both museum and film.
Peter grew up in Bow, East London. Because there were no fields or woodlands nearby, he would visit Bow Locks Canal for fishing and camping. His love and interest for the outdoors expanded from there and in 2007 he became an Assistant Scout Leader. Peter now runs survival camps for his group and also helps to run the District’s survival camps.
Peter’s hobbies are hill walking, wild camping and practising bush craft skills at any opportunity.
Willow is our 5 year old yellow Labrador. She spent her first nights out under the stars at just 10 weeks old. She is completely at home in the outdoors and like the rest of us, she gets restless if she doesn’t get out to the woods regularly.
She has a fondness for ramsons in the spring and picks blackberries directly off the brambles in the autumn. Come the evening she will look for a comfortable lap and if you sleep under a tarp, it’s likely that she’ll give you a good morning kiss – you’ve been warned!
Willow recently won the Dog Show at the Westwell Summer Fete and is very pleased with herself.