Monday, 4 July 2016

No Smoke Without Fire

Location: the foot of Moel Famau and the Clwydian Range
Terrain: Spruce Woodland
Instructor: Richard Prideaux, Original Outdoors
Date: 28/06-30/06/16
Purpose: to explore outdoor-living possibilities
Skills: Shelter-building, Fire-making, Cordage ( readymade and processing)

The fire - an essence of life and living. A focus.  A necessity. Food. Warmth. Drying. Story-telling. Togetherness. Safety.


A particularly interesting thing of note regarding fire before the advent of processed and automated ignition, was the notion of fire-carrying.

It's a really beguiling thing, the idea of creating fire from two or three sticks of wood. Of all the alternative-living processes, it is perhaps the most evocative. But, like most of these processes - shelter building, water purifying, cordage, trapping etc. -  it is really time and moreover energy consuming.

So - in ancient society, there would have been a role to care for the fire - once made, it would have been essential not to let it go out - to avoid the need to go through the whole fire-starting process - and in the event of having to move settlement, the fire - or the ember at least - would have needed to be carried. It's of interest to think that fires might have had a sense of ancestry.


Richard showed us the bow drill method ( as seen in the video below) - it's probably the most common and well-known method  - but as you can see, even for a professional with hundreds of bow drill "successes" it's incredibly arduous, with no guarantees.

I tried it and failed.

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