Spear fishing, harpooning on the beach


Backwoodsman Course


Base camp

Making fire by friction

Gathering materials

The Backwoodsman course teaches students the core skills of fire, food, shelter and water. You will learn to light fire with different techniques, including the bow drill, and using natural tinders. We will walk through woodland identifying trees and plants that have food, medicinal and other uses. You will build and sleep in your own shelter, discuss wilderness safety and hygiene, apply natural navigational skills and learn how to source and purify water. Other topics covered include woodland crafts, wild foods, backwoods cookery, trapping and snaring, improvised tools, river crossings, distress signals and much more. 


Course duration: Fri - Sun       Number of students: 5 - 10       Dates: Check Calendar       Cost: 195 



Beachcomber Course


Fish hooks and cordage

Cooking venison in a rock oven

Fish harpoon

The Beachcomber course is aimed at students with an interest in extending their wilderness living skills to the shoreline. Learn how to harvest the abundant seaweeds and shellfish available on our coastlines. You will manufacture hooks, line and sinkers from natural materials and fish with them. Other fishing techniques including netting, spearing, and trapping will be demonstrated and there is a group exercise to construct a basha canoe. Alternative methods of sourcing shelter, fire and water (including distillation) will be covered. Due to limited places this course is only available to students who have completed the Backwoodsman.


Course duration: Fri - Sun       Number of students: 5 - 10       Dates: Check Calendar       Cost: £265 



Native Paths Course


Smoking venison jerky in a natural shelter

Log raft

Native Paths Students

Native Paths is a 5 day advanced course for students who have completed the Backwoodsman course. There is a day's basic skills refresher, followed by a day learning more advanced techniques. Students then leave camp to put their wilderness living skills to the test! Independently from other students and instructors, you will spend the next three days building your shelter, creating fire and procuring food and water. Further classes are held over the three days and instructors are always on hand for advice and assistance. This is a physically and mentally demanding course that will put you to the test - it is not for the armchair enthusiast!


Course duration: Fri - Wed       Number of students: 5 - 10       Dates: Check Calendar      Cost: 495 



Skills of the Hunter Gatherer Course


Flint arrowheads

Will Lord and Patrick McGlinchey

hand made ropes from natural fibres

In our brand new and unique 5 day Skill Sets of the Hunter Gatherer Woodland & Coastal courses, Patrick & Will Lord take you on an intensive journey into the lives of our ancestors and empower you with the skills and knowledge required to survive in our wild but changed landscape. Living in woodlands or on coastline, you will learn and apply a wide range of skills and crafts including flint knapping, hide tanning, making natural cordage, bindings & glues, bone and antler tools, traps & triggers, utensils and containers, hunting tools and many other items of great use in wilderness living, using only natural raw materials. For more information and to book, please follow this link, Book a place on Hunter Gatherer 2 or Coastal Hunter Gatherer


Course duration: Tues - Sat      Number of students: 10           Dates: Check Calendar      Cost: £650 




Scraping a hide

Hides ready for braining

Buckskin bags with antler toggles

During this weekend course, students will prepare a hide from start to finish.  Working with our native Roe deer, students will learn the ancient skills of brain tanning. You will practice the processes of wet scraping, tanning and smoking a hide and at the end of the course you will be left with a soft, supple buckskin to take home. Please be aware that this is a physically demanding process. We believe in the values of our ancestors, who celebrated their catch and wasted nothing. Starting with the beast, you will observe how to remove the skin and prepare the meat which will be cooked in a hangi. Additionally, over the weekend you will make venison jerky and learn about preparation and uses of the various animal by-products, eg sinew, antler, bone and hooves.


Course duration: Fri - Sun          Number of students: 5           Dates: Check Calendar      Cost: £295 



Veidemann Course


Veidemann course Norway

Nature's harvest - fish and berries

Ant hill in Norway

Veidemann - man of the wilderness. This 7 day advanced course in the remote, wild and beautiful Telemark region of Norway aims to take students back to a simpler time, when man worked in harmony with nature and the environment to meet his needs. As fish is the main source of protein in this locality, the course has an emphasis on primitive fishing techniques, many of which are not possible to practice in the UK. After building our own elk-skin coracle, we will make and use fishing nets, hooks, line and fish traps and employ gill nets, harpoons and weirs to catch the abundant local wild trout. Other subjects taught are natural shelter building, fire-craft, foraging and wild food cooking - including making elk jerky! We also cover craft work with flint, reindeer skin & antler, birch bark and natural cordages among other subjects. This is a physically demanding course that requires a good level of fitness. Costs include all transfers, food and materials within Norway. Students arrange their own travel and insurance to Oslo city (inexpensive flights are available though Ryanair)     


Course duration: Mon - Mon      Number of students: 5 - 10       Dates: Check Calendar      Cost: 925 



Other courses and day classes


Willow binding

Field mushrooms

Bow drill fire by friction

We cater for corporate and team-building events, private groups, family days and offer day classes on specific topics to individuals or groups. We also offer bespoke courses for Forest School leaders. Please contact us to discuss your particular requirements.


Fire Craft . Fungi Foray . Camp Craft . Plant Lore . Trapping & Snaring . Shelter Building
Game Preparation . Backwoods Cooking . Natural Cordage . Bark Craft . Navigation



Notes on courses


All food will be provided by Backwoods or gathered by participants. This will vary according to season.

Participants for all courses must be over 16 years of age, unless accompanied by a responsible adult.

No alcohol or illegal drugs are allowed on any of the courses, students found to be using them will be asked to leave the course.

Backwoods reserve the right to change location and content of the course at any time.

Safety procedures regarding the use of cutting tools and fire will be discussed and demonstrated before students participate.

All courses involve some degree of exertion, so a reasonable level of fitness is required.

All courses are run from an expedition style camp.


Kit list and RV instructions will be sent out once we have received your booking form and payment.


Backwoods Survival School operate on a full-time basis. We hold full Public Liability Insurance.


Please read our terms and conditions



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