Spear fishing, harpooning on the beach


About Backwoods Survival School

Patrick McGlinchey, Chief Instructor at Backwoods

Patrick McGlinchey is the founder and chief instructor of Backwoods Survival School. Passionate about wild places, Patrick has had the privilege of ready access to the rugged shorelines and wilds of the Scottish Highlands, which from an early age have provided him with both inspiration and training grounds.

Originally trained as an artist, Patrick's fascination with wilderness living led him to study survival techniques at one of the longest established survival schools in the UK, where he went on to teach for several years before setting up Backwoods in 2002.

A strong desire to learn practical wilderness living skills directly from indigenous peoples has led Patrick to travel around the world and over the years, through constant study and experimentation, he has built up a wide knowledge of ancient crafts and techniques. He has studied extensively under Mors Kochanski, who he is proud to regard as his mentor. (Patrick is one of only 5 people cited by Mors as his understudies)

Patrick is always eager to learn new skills and to share his knowledge with others. He has lived in the wilds for long periods on many occasions, armed with only his clothing, knife and a metal cup! At Backwoods, we are well aware of the tough mental attitude required to do this and we dispel the romantic ideal of 'living off the land' on our courses.

"I am a firm believer in 'practice what you teach'.
It's easy to talk about wilderness living, but not so simple

when faced with the hardships and realities of it all".


Backwoods Survival School Aims


Backwoods' aim is to teach students not only how to survive, but to thrive in the natural environment - as our ancestors did and as many indigenous peoples still do. We equip our students, not with expensive kit, but with the knowledge and skills to face the challenge of moving from a comfortable modern existence to one of self-reliance, building a closer relationship with nature.


Are you up to the challenge?

Backwoods is not a military style boot-camp, but nor are we woodland romantics. We take a realistic approach to wilderness living, combining the skills, crafts and knowledge of our forebears along with modern methods and techniques.

Courses are educational but also good fun and will give you a great sense of achievement, especially when you light your first fire by friction! Our emphasis is on participation, not sight-seeing - much of the course is accompanied by hands-on practical experience,
so please come willing to join in!


Our introductory and advanced courses in bushcraft, survival and wilderness living skills are run in Scotland. Our students come from all over the world and we welcome all age groups. We are easily reached by road, rail or air.


Backwoods Survival School in the Media


Patrick is available to work with the media.  He has lots of experience working with the BBC, ITV, Food Network and many independents and has appeared in a diverse range of programmes, including Making Scotland's Landscape, Meet the Hasselhoff's, The Hour, Three Men in a Boat, Derek's Dreams, Jeff Corwin's Extreme Cuisine and others.  He is a regular presenter on BBC Landward and has consulted on many other programmes, he also frequently appears in the the press.  Links to recent media work can be found in the News section of our calendar page and in pictures on the Backwoods Facebook page



Backwoods Survival School operates on a full-time basis and we hold full Public Liability Insurance.

A qualified wilderness first-aider is present at every course.



Link to Society of Primitive Technology

Patrick is a practicing member of the Society of Primitive Technology



Link to Institute of Outdoor Learning


We are members of the Institute for Outdoor Learning




Please Call 0141 641 2055 or email at info@backwoodsurvival.co.uk to find out more


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