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Lashings after Lunch

Posted: Saturday 4th February 2017 by OutdoorLearning

Trainer Chris Knight shows fire lighting skills

Students brave wet start to learn new skills working with ropes, knots, tarpaulins and fires in woods at Bay Pond, Godstone.

I had a great day and nice to meet others doing same thing.

Despite an early downpour of rain today our adult learning course at Bay Pond Education Centre turned out to be a real success. Tutor Chris Knight welcomed a variety of outdoor learning tutors and forest school leaders to a day-long course about ropes, knots, tarpaulins and fires… all skills needed for a successful outdoor classroom.

Chris started the day under cover of the barn explaining about the different types of rope, cord and string as well as showing us a variety of useful tools. He demonstrated four key knots for erecting an effective tarpaulin shelter using man-made fibre ropes before we got a chance to practice these knots for ourselves.

By this point the rain had stopped so we headed off to a small woodland area of Bay Pond nature reserve pushing wheel barrows laden with ropes, tarpaulins, wood, fire lighting kit and most importantly tea making equipment. The first task was to practice our new rope and tarpaulin erecting skills by making temporary shelters in case the weather deteriorated again… although this proved unnecessary as the day became sunny and mild!

Next it was time to learn how to start fires effectively and fortunately we had followed the first lesson of being prepared by having a supply of dry kindling. We set about lighting small fires in the bases of Kelly kettles so that we had hot water for a tea and coffee break. Then it was all about getting a larger camp fire going ready for lunch time.

After lunch it was time for lashings! Chris demonstrated methods for tying wooden poles together with natural sisal cord, which tightens nicely to hold poles together better than the man-made ropes and cords we had used earlier. We then had great fun building pyramid frames useful for making tepees, temporary sinks and other structures.

A great day was rounded off by some basic tree identification for some students whilst others practised making other types of shelters or wooden structures. We then followed the cardinal rule of outdoor learning and forest school by tidying up the site leaving it in a better condition than when we found it… before pushing full wheel barrows back to the barn and heading home to watch the rugby.

A big thank you to Chris and all the students for making this course such as success and we are all looking forward to his natural paints and ground art course at end of February.

Paul Ritchie
SWT Adult Learning Coordinator

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