Bushcraft and canoeing in Sweden with Woodland Ways
Each autumn we run a 9 day guided canoe trip into the Swedish wilderness area of Malingsbo Kloten. It is a truly stunning location and one that will provide ample opportunities to pit your skills and know how against the turning seasonal weather.
The expedition aims to blend traditional Bushcraft skills with a journey element through some of southern Sweden’s’ wild water ways using canoes to transport people and equipment. Initially your instructors will bring you up to speed on the essential skills needed for day to day comfort in the woods re capping on fire lighting, water purification, navigation and camp site selection. The course then moves into the more involved crafts phase undertaken from a fixed camp for around three days.
This course was inspired by many past students on woodland Ways courses all of who asked the question ‘where can I go and practice these wilderness skills freely?’. This has always been a tricky question to answer for those students living in the UK as our truly wooded areas are an ever dwindling treasure upon which there is always intense interest from many differing groups; forestry, public amenity, conservation or game management for example.
One solution to practicing Bushcraft legally is to befriend a private land owner with some woodland and gain their permission to practice skills there. At Woodland Ways we devised a membership scheme allowing customers to gain access to our woodlands at a much reduced price from a typical bushcraft course and these have been very popular with the workshops we have laid on.
What our Swedish canoe and camp craft expedition provides is the freedom and ease of mind that the skills you are undertaking are not only permitted but an essential part of your daily routine. By placing ourselves and our students in an environment relying on traditional skills and equipment we are keeping true to the very essence of where these skills originated.
So what can a student expect to learn or refine whilst in the Swedish woods and lakes?
You can read a full trip itinerary here but in summary the following skills will be covered in detail both theoretically around the fire in the evenings and practically through hands on experience during the days.
An introduction to the anatomy and basic operation of the canoe, paddle and life vest.
How to pack equipment into the canoe and how to portage equipment.
Basic weather interpretation – wind strength and direction will be your main focus here both for canoe progress and camp site selection.
Selection of appropriate camp sites.
Water safety – filtration and purification.
Range of fire lighting techniques.
Safe and efficient use of cutting tools.
Camp fire cooking skills.
Rigging tarps and hammocks for sleeping systems.
Basic fishing techniques.
Foraging for seasonally available foods.
Basic metal working to produce awls and crook knives.
Track and sign.
Celestial navigation and moon phases for direction.
Use of withies, roots and bark for craft and camp projects.
Ultimately what this experience offers the willing student is an immersion (hopefully not literally!) into a wild landscape. Day by day participants gain an expanding appreciation of the resources surrounding them. These resources combined with some basic robust equipment and a little knowledge will provide you with everything you need to travel through and be a part of one of Europe’s last true wilderness regions.