Mentoring the professionals

It is an on going privilege to be able to support other outdoor professionals to take their skills and understanding to a much deeper level especially as we spend time on more demanding tasks such as Hand Drill fire lighting or winter tinder.

I had my mentees for a second weekend of training and in this we looked at much more detail with the bow drill comparing different base boards as well as making a quality set each. With the Hand Drill we worked both as a group in relay and individually. Good levels of success were had despite the winter weather. What was particularly welcome by them all was the pump drill which can be very effective if understood well enough.

Like so many friction fire lighting methods the principle is very straight forward however each one requires a level of understanding and technique in order to gain repeated success. One of the most enjoyable bits of the weekend for me was when Ben Rees from The Wildlife Trust asked about the use of a rolled up piece of cotton wool mixed with wood ash and rubbed vigorously between 2 short planks.

The interesting part was that he had seen a clip on YouTube but it was not all the information he needed. We all had a go but by looking at the problem carefully we reasoned the solution between us and most became proficient at it using different additives as well. Well done folks!