I’ve been a runner since I was eleven, but it was in the 1990’s that I became a mountain runner. I loved spending long days in the Welsh Mountains running huge distances up and down the mountains, exploring and drinking from streams and picking whatever came to hand.
I had epics then – epics being those experiences that narrowly avoid killing you and you can laugh about in the pub afterwards. My most memorable epic in those days was running 30 miles deep into the Snowdonia Mountains. It was a hot day (remember them?) and I’d only taken a little bit of water, however after four hours running, the intensity of the sun gradually began to burn my fair Scottish skin and by the time I got back to my home, I was extremely dehydrated and exhausted. I felt very unwell and took myself to bed and had the strangest of dreams through the night that consisted of wrapping myself up in cool materials. The next morning, when I woke up, I found that I had obviously sleepwalked during the night and collected all the posters off my wall in my bedroom and taken them back to bed. Needless to say, that was a learning experience.
I took up climbing and mountaineering, strangely after I had left North Wales – I never climbed whilst I lived there because of a friend’s death whilst climbing. However, nothing felt greater than running and climbing in the Alps and one of the most memorable experiences, but not really an epic, was running from Zermatt in Switzerland up to the Hornli hut underneath the Matterhorn. Again it was hot and we’d managed to burn ourselves quite well and had to wear wet gloves just so that the backs of our hands didn’t burn anymore. The experience of running passing long lines of people up to the hut at 10,700 feet above sea-level, was a great feeling and people nicknamed us the Matterhorn Express after the famous train that takes tourists to Zermatt.
The most memorable part of that adventure was only having enough money – for we were very poor – to afford to purchase from the hut guardian, a small bowl of muesli and a small glass of beer which we shared. Then we turned tail and ran back down the mountainside all the way to Zermatt and, since we couldn’t afford a taxi, back to our campsite outside the town.
Therefore Yvette - my wife-to-be - and myself, for she was the other person in that story, have spent a long time preparing for Farafoot Bushcraft. We’ve lived and worked in the outdoors all our lives and have walked, run, and climbed in many locations over many years - always with the aim of self-sufficiency. I have lived for almost a year just in a tent and have run distances of one hundred miles in a single weekend. I have nearly frozen to death in a tent on a glacier under Mont Blanc in the Alps and run through and survived a stormy winter’s night, only to be presented with the most beautiful sunrise in the morning.
Bushcraft therefore is the culmination of thirty years of preparation and experience. It has taken that long to acquire the knowledge and the absorption into our wild landscape and if that seems too over-the-top, then come on a course and see for yourself.