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.
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.
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”.