Local charity worker Luke Funnell experienced a challenging week in the wilds in a remote part of Scotland.
Luke is an outdoor learning facilitator for Education Futures Trust, an award winning local charity which supports children, adults and families.
He leads forest schools and therapeutic outdoor learning programmes for adults and children.
The week long Quest is a the culmination of a year of training and preparation with ‘Wildnature’ the programme has included advanced survival and bushcraft skills and a deeper level of understanding in nature connection and nature philosophy based on native American teachings.
Reflecting on the week, Luke said: “Spending a week in the unforgiving Scottish wilderness with merely a knife to survive would not appeal to all.
“No food, no phone, no sleeping bag, just one’s own mind and whatever nature can offer.
“After a year of intensive training I was hopeful that my practical skill set would meet basic survival needs and indeed it did. Within 24 hours I had an acceptable though not complete shelter and a hot fire, the fire was indeed an extreme highlight when achieved in the dark after a whole day of intense physical work with no food.
“Joy is quickly replaced by panic when I realise that in my haste I had not collected enough dry wood to sustain the fire for more than a brief moment. A frantic dash through the woods to collect handfuls of wood in the dark ensued.
“It would prove to be a long night of constant wood collection to keep the fire burning and the bitterly cold Scottish air at bay.
“Every moment is hard work, a constant and seemingly endless struggle to just meet my basic needs and to stay alive.
“I discovered a small water spring which allowed me to replenish some energy.
“I graze on juicy blackberries and suck on sloes as I walk; the usually tart taste now seems surprisingly sweet and intensely enjoyable.
“The thirst to eat more, to rest more, for the end to come, it starts to break me The real skill is submitting to nature, working with and not against the environment.
“The week was hard, it was challenging, I had to come face to face with many personal demons and for the first time in my life make peace with them. I was lucky enough to have glimpsed another me that lived in every moment and desired nothing. I found for a short time at least my true wild nature, and what I found will change my life forever.”
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