Most of our Kenyan team are proud members of the Agikuyu (kikuyu).You will find the Kikuyu very social bunch, who like a good laugh, with townships being alive with chatter, Kikuyu brand of music and the smell of Nyama choma (roasted meat). The women are strong its quite regular you’ll spot a Grandmother,carrying baby on back and fire wood or water on her head as she cheerfully goes about her daily chores. The word Agikuyu translated means a type of Sycamore tree, a tree which is believed to be where the tribe were nurtured by their gods Gikuyu and Mumbi. It is believed that the group being of Bantu origin moved to the Mt Kenya region from the Congo with their Gods and spirits making their home on Mt Kirinyaga (Kenya). I am lead to believe from speaking with elders, it is traditional to still face Mt Kenya when praying for rain, orientating hut doors and also concerning burials. Join our Kenyan team and immerse yourself in this fascinating culture and socialise with these good people during your Adventure. On our bush craft and traditions weeks you’ll hear great stories and put great techniques into practice.
An intrepid canoe journey and bushcraft day for 4 people and one sausage dog. We began with some tandem paddling skills practice and journeyed south on Loch Lomond past the historic village of Luss. As there was a strong south westerly wind racing up the loch today, we rafted our canoes together so that we could more easily make the crossing to the islands. As we made the journey, we talked about Ben Lomond (Scotland’s most southerly munro), Conic Hill and the highland boundary and the various ways to ward off midgies, including the midge-repelling qualities of the plant Bog Myrtle.
We chose a beach on Inchconnachan and were pleased to see a plentiful supply of driftwood washed ashore. After finding a safe and clear space and collecting a range of tinder and kindling, the group showed great perseverance, getting some of the best parks I’ve ever seen from a flint and striker, until the fire was alight. We made ourselves long skewers and cooked sausages over the fire, roasting sweet potatoes in the embers. We talked about the various methods of filtering and purifying water and also found some sphagnum moss and chatted about its anti-bacterial qualities. We came across blaeberries growing behind the beach and also some Bog Myrtle.
Once we had made sure we were leaving the beach as we found it, we returned to Luss in our raft and I think only Pippa the sausage dog was really glad to be back again.
It was the day after Catrina’s wedding – Congratulations Catrina! – and to allow the adults to relax after the celebrations a bushcraft/survival event was organised.
After a blindfold team game and guessing the weight of an Atlantic Oak tree, we set off to explore the natural world. First was and Alice in Wonderland examination of mole burrows underneath the grass. Then we were off along the coast of Loch Lomond in search of ‘alien’ species.
For their own protection the group realised a shelter should be built and everyone work hard as a team to ensure a superior quality shelter was made.
Once the shelter was build they set off in search of wild foods, but found it more fun to play Mountain Soft Rush darts instead! On the way back to the Hostel everyone stopped to find out more about fire-lighting and great effort was made in using strikers – more fireworks than flame – but the techniques were definitely developing.
A great time was had by all and I must say, that from a leader’s point of view, I have seldom worked with a more attentive and hard working group.
Well done teammates!
A good family day was enjoyed paddling to Inch Tavannach and back from Luss today.
It involved some bushcraft too; searching for wild berries and plants that were useful to people in the past. We also tried some fire lighting with bows and pintles and then strikers. The latter was successful but it was clear that firelighting, in the past, was a very specialist skill.
On a field walk in Luss I recently can across this little fella’. The day was warm and sunny and he was probably taking advantage of the heat to go out looking for a mate. You may well recognise him as a Slow Worm; but, of course, he is not a worm. Neither is he a snake. He is actually a legless lizard.
For our young readers he is harmless. But if you find one, don’t touch it. They are not too unlike young Adders which are not harmless!
Today we were on one of our Classic Lads n dads experiences. These are a fantastic way to learn some Bushcraft skills and pass them on to kids while enjoying the countryside.