A couple of weeks ago we made the journey down to the gorgeous Mount Edgcumbe estate in Cornwall to do a two day intensive survival course with Survival Wisdom. Survival Wisdom is run by a team of incredibly modest but insanely experienced survival experts. The team has decades of experience of surviving in the wilderness and amazingly they were kind enough to donate a two day crash course on how to survive our expedition.
Despite growing up in the countryside we’re about as close as you can get to being the ultimate nerdy, city boys and it’s safe to say we were a bit apprehensive about the prospect of surviving in the wild. All we knew about surviving outdoors was from watching Bear Grylls, so we were fully expecting to be sleeping inside camel carcasses, squeezing moisture out of elephant poo and drinking our own urine. To our astonishment, we were swiftly informed that surviving in the wilderness was none of these things. Reece was particularly annoyed as he’d been training himself on to drinking his wee for months building up to the course. But no, the key is not to drink wee… It’s to drink tea!
That’s right the top tip from the weekend was that the key to survival was to drink tea! Now that’s our kind of survival. It turns out that surviving in the wild is all about your mental state and making a brew, settling down and grounding yourself when everything turns south, encourages you to make better critical decisions that could ultimately lead to life or death. What a result! Practically the only thing either of us are good for and it’s the key to it all. Richard told us all of this in the first 10 minutes so we stood up and said “Thank you Richard, your work here is done” and made our way back to London… Of course there is a lot more to it than that so we settled in to what would be a full weekend of expert advice on both the mental and physical side of survival but also on the importance of good expedition planning.
The weekend kicked off with Jason teaching us about how to plan the expedition properly and what to pack, before Richard taught us about how to use our Spidey senses (that’s an actual thing by the way) and emergency first aid. After a day of frantically scribbling down notes on how not to die, we ventured out in to the great outdoors to learn about map reading and a bit of natural navigation, building emergency shelters, using knives and other sharp things, and of course, making fire.
Despite Matt having studied Geography for a good decade, right through to degree level, he had no idea how to read a map. And perhaps even more ironically, despite both of us having a tattoo of a compass (we we’re all 18 once) neither of us knew how to use one. After a couple of hours though, Jason soon put that right but advised us that even though we made it a couple of kilometers to the camp, we needed to practice a touch more in order to navigate the entire planet.
We then set about making our shelters, which to Jason’s surprise had to be somewhat more survivally than planned: mainly due to our earlier misconceptions of what survival is, we hadn’t packed sleeping bags… Check out how it went:
We both woke up in the morning cold and ashamed of how scared we had been in the dark but we had survived. Jason and Richard then taught us all about how to spark up a fire in pretty much any kind of conditions and how to butcher a tree with a Swiss Army knife and a big stick. This took us through to the Sunday afternoon and we had learnt so much but learnt even more about how much we needed to learn. Thankfully the lads at Survival Wisdom have said we can go back down with the sidecar in a few months and learn a bit more about what it means to survive the wild.
Check out or round up below and, if you fancy getting out in to the great outdoors yourself, make sure you check out Survival Wisdom’s website.They do tailored courses for expeditions, weekends out in the wild and even organise escape room themed fun! Check it out – we genuinely couldn’t suggest a better way to spend a weekend!