Our Wilder Ways Blog Archive

Chancing a return to Chancefield

June 2020

Last week, one week after the socially distanced campout that coincided with summer solstice we went for a responsible distanced meet which was long overdue at least to us – and where is safer than the outdoors to do this? 

We all made our way separately in our vehicles in alignment with the current guidelines. We started in separate groups, both leaving from Chancefield to get to the Tyndall Tower without being seen by the others.

Each group had to make something en route (a carved spear and a bow and arrow), and Ethan who was at home was rolling a dice for them which created consequences, and he was on the phone giving them words which they had to find things to represent. Edward was the messenger. It worked well despite words such as cyanide! This was balanced with words such as flourish, ally, remorse and such like.

After lunch, we engaged in a lot of climbing on and around the tower. Some of us even ran up it.

We made comfrey salve and did an activity to reflect on our different voices.Thought about: are our gaming voices the same as the ones we use to speak to our grannies? Or when we are pissed at our friends? Don’t we all have a hat-trick of voices to pull out for every occasion? Can we engage these consciously instead of reactively?  

We finished off our voice discovery with a sales pitch playoff between Angus and Edward trying to convince the other to purchase mushy orange peas. Yes really. Would you fall for it? The voice may swing it. 

Just as we left the tower, the thunder and rain arrived, and we made a hasty return to Chancefield our familiar haunt. We were so keen that we were like homing pigeons set free. AND….it was just as we left it three months ago…more or less. Some folk were delighted to see it. Some circling into the known was a homecoming. We are so grateful to have had these structures and friendships through all the unfamiliarity. 

New Words and Story Sticks

May 2020

We have all been keeping our wild momentum through zoom tech and some pacing with solitary missions.  Solo nature missions are all very well, and it’s something we always did before lockdown. But it is even better when you can come back and share your stories with a group who know you well. We are feeling very appreciative for the community we have nurtured over the past few years. 

So last week, we made a game of inventing futuristic technology for someone in the group. It said a lot about what we knew about each other as to what we thought they would use the most. 

We did a re-telling of the Dog & Fox story as a group – each person told a part of it, some bits became longer, and other bits changed utterly. The evolution of the story. 

We also came up with a survival journey scenario for each person – they were each “sent” to a place they have secure connections with but at a time when things are not quite right and asked to think of 5 things they’d bring with them. 

We all then ventured out to our sit spot places with a set of three questions and three tasks. These tasks were bird related. We tried building a nest without hands and a human-made beak, and harvesting comfrey. All the more admiration for our feathered friends. For how many thousands of years have we been learning from them? 

The questions could have led to more profound myth or towards looking at issues of climate change and apocalyptic scenarios. Every generation faces the end and beginning of some aspects of culture – what are we taking for granted? What skills do we bring forward?

We also started harvesting stories from our imaginal/real places – mixing real and fantasy – and recognised there is an interface – how can we utilise our imaginations for resilience and future building as well as working through difficulty.

Rhiannon also shared ten pages of her Morris comic – which has been an ongoing project it is fabulous, and she got lots of great feedback from the group.

We are all feeling very grateful for the weather we are having on the East Coast of Scotland at the moment. We are also pretty proud of the strong foundations of Wilder Ways as an entity. 

Even Wilder Ways

May 2020

Wilder Ways, we have been going strong and steady even in these distanced time, it has been an essential scaffolding in our outdoor time and connection with each other. 

Every week on Fridays we have been meeting on Zoom and then embarking on our solo adventures. Setting time aside to reflect and hold ourselves accountable feels supportive and encouraging and reminds us that we are continuing to develop despite the broader freeze that is going on with our regular interactions. 

The things we have done over the past little while are:

 We have explored freedom and fun. Who needs more of that !? We discussed who and what freedom is, concerning the lockdown and throughout history. 

There were lots of interesting conversations that came out of this, and it certainly planted seeds to consider over a more extended period. 

They had fun challenges to do on their time out alone – probably best not to mention them here as they were top secret !! 

In the end,  they had multidimensional and unprecedented experiences. Ollie ended up rescuing a pigeon, Ethan became a ninja and disappeared, Rhiannon was a bearer of gold ( ie, loo roll ) to the people of Anstruther and Henry did an Irish jig with a well-written limerick. We are not allowed to release the footage. 

Then just this weekend they all had camping and solo cooking experiences to welcome in Beltane. Not everyone had the best sleep, but it was good to stretch those camping muscles and think of adaptive and creative ways to camp within the lockdown. 

Every time we meet up, we also keep chatting about our personal goals – some of those goals need to be acted out throughout the home only but stoking the fire keeps us energised. 

And as ever the Sit Spot has been our anchor. Thank goodness for the beautiful spring – wasn’t it snowing this time last year ??! 

What have you been doing? 

Wilding in Lockdown

March 2020

It has been such an intense month. We would be just starting out Easter Holidays as of the start of the week and instead a lot of us have been away from Schools, if we do go to School, and Workplaces for a while now. 

We hope you are all doing well out there. Generally Wilder Ways is about getting away from screens and learning hand crafts, being connected to nature and owning our attention. These days though call for something different as getting together isn’t an option. We would also be off over Easter but because we are more isolated than usual, carrying on seemed like a good idea. 

Last week we explored our head, heart, hands and body and our purpose, which is something we do on a weekly on camp.

Purpose feels really important even when we are being held up by the current sitation, reminding ourselves of what motivates us can be very healing and empowering – this continuation also feels very affirming.

We also went out on our separate adventures – bird surveying, foraging for dandelions, searching for frogspawn, to a calm sit spot and to photograph rabbits.

Among us we saw a fox; a heron, a kestrel, some thorny stuff and ducks reclaiming the road. The wildlife is not on lockdown and this is an amazing time to use a daily walk for some healing nature connection. 

We also had a story from Marylou and an end of term quiz, it’s great that Marylou can get more involved in real time as she has a large part in shaping Wilder Ways. 

This week we joined on Zoom again – we explored what Easter is. We also talked about what we love and how well we know our local landscape. This is something we are all invited to aquaint ourselves better with right now – and it can be a new horizon if we are used to travelling elsewhere for our social activities.

We talked about what we don’t know – plants, and birds voices.

We explored pausing for Easter – what do we need to do for our pause to really mark it when so much is in pause right now ?

We thought about how well we know our local area through some questions on birds, trees, direction, water

We all went out on the land again – some of us went back to old sit spots and some decided to  explore new ones. 

Then we got together on Zoom again and shared our days story and photos – we talked about identifying new plants – and what we loved.  There was a big need for peace and rest today, everyone is feeling the weight of what is unfolding.

We hope you are all keeping well ❤ 

We heard a story from Martin Shaw – the Lindworm.

​Watch it HERE

Innovations and Collaborations

March 2020

We’ve had a few challenges with the corona virus legislation and new risks of gathering. Before the lockdown we had a great meeting over the weekend. Guidelines were already in place so we were careful with personal hygiene, avoided public transport and kept our distance.

This was a wee bit trickier than our usual mucking in but we all rose to the challenge.

We chatted about new ways for communities to come together

Our core practice: sit spots – haven’t changed. A sit spot will in fact be a great resource for everyone over the coming time, time to connect with our environment and ourselves.

We played one meter stick games – with mindful social distancing – balance and running.

We pooled our resources to build shelters, butcher and cook pheasant, and light fires without cotton wool.

And we did a wilder ways skills and resources audit – and reflected on how we all see a part of the whole picture. This is a very important part of the wilder ways ethos, finding strength in synergy and collaboration !

We’ve had a few challenges with the corona virus legislation and new risks of gathering. Before the lockdown we had a great meeting over the weekend. Guidelines were already in place so we were careful with personal hygiene, avoided public transport and kept our distance.

This was a wee bit trickier than our usual mucking in but we all rose to the challenge.

We chatted about new ways for communities to come together

Our core practice: sit spots – haven’t changed. A sit spot will in fact be a great resource for everyone over the coming time, time to connect with our environment and ourselves.

We played one meter stick games – with mindful social distancing – balance and running.

We pooled our resources to build shelters, butcher and cook pheasant, and light fires without cotton wool.

And we did a wilder ways skills and resources audit – and reflected on how we all see a part of the whole picture. This is a very important part of the wilder ways ethos, finding strength in synergy and collaboration !

Caring, Tending and First Aid

March at the Beginning 2020

Caring and tending day – this last week we were lucky enough to explore the concept that if we don’t look after ourselves we will struggle to look after anyone else. How valuable and rewarding will this be in practice for all of us !! It is certainly needed especially between us all as we battle weather and small hardships week in week out (not mentioning the Oreos and afternoon naps ). 

We had a chat and brainstorm through the following questions:
How do we care for ourselves?
How do we not?
It was interesting to see ourselves reflected as well have respect for the differences between us. 

We shared some A&E accident stories – Lewis, our outdoor first aid trainer had the most gruesome one, hands down,from Kings London. We won’t share for those of you with sensitive minds. 

We also played a first aid quiz for the Oreos – Ollie won with Edward a close second, thank goodness as they were feeling hungry and looking faint. Anything becomes possible with biscuits as the prize.  

Lewis gave us a run down on most things first aid that we may need at Wilder Ways and in our wider lives – we covered situations like: choking, bleeding, burns, bites, stings, cardiac arrest. It was so through  and engaging. You will now be much safer around us ! 

After the training we went to the sports field for some very welcome sun and looked at our own needs. We reflected on what’s important to us right now and chose a need individually that we were going to address over the following week.

Before we went home, we played some games. It wouldn’t be Wilder Ways without games. 

We hope you will join us one time, in the meantime have a look through our photos.

The Past Couple of Weeks

February 2020

We’ve had a lot happen over the past few weeks. ​

Some of the things we’ve done are as follows: 

We asked ourseleves the question if we knew we’d succeed what we would do? It was inspiring to let our optimistic visions for ourselves and the planet soar. 

 Then we asked why not now? What stops us? This was a fantastic way of digging into our most treasured hopes and dreams. 

Following on from that, we hear the story of the Two Wolves. This illustrates the power of our choices over our destinies. It is a reminder of the freedom we have to feed either negative or positive thoughts and attitudes. A tale to carry us through life perhaps – both individually and collectively. 

We did the sit spot of course – and in the freezing wind, sleet and rain pondered solemnly what animal would we like to be on a day like today?

As usual, we also spent some time working on our personal goals. It’s great to hear how others are getting on, as well as share in the humanity of obstacles. 

We smoked some fish around the fire and cooked vegetables in the dutch oven, this warm fare was very welcome in the inclement weather. Brrrrr 

We played a game called. stag and doe

It was Rhiannons birthday, and she made a birthday river – a drawing charting her journey thus far and also looking into her goals for the future. Birthdays seem like a good time for this! The boys made a Wilder Ways river card for her too. 

Looking at the constant seesaw between negative and positive again, we reflected on how we had done positive /negative thoughts when working on goals

To cap this particular day off, we then wrote full-page positive affirmations to keep us on the right track. The group witnessed and agreed with them all.

The following week: 

On friday we: 

Asked the question if we could change one thing about how humans evolve what it would be? (Some ideas that were generated: an extra hand, instant healing, being shorter and living shorter lives). What would yours be? What do you think is likely with what humans around you are encouraging in themselves now? 

When we did our sit spot today we thought about how we landed upon finding the right one for us, can we pick the perfect one – whats our criteria? What about you – what makes a right sit spot right? Proximity to water, likely animal passers, being under a tree, in tall grass? Like so many things, there is no definitive, one-size-fits-all answer which doesn’t mean exploring the question is not fruitful and revealing on the individual scale. 

We then went on to play the zombies & humans game where humans had a chance to evolve by answering questions linked to sustainability – we had 1 human left with 1.5 mins to go and then we failed! Failure is an influential teacher, this is what we tell ourselves… 

We spent time working on personal goal projects – which were oven building; fire starting; overnight shelter building – all of this in the incessant sleet/snow of February in Scotland! 

We also processed firewood for the store, this will be needed for some time to come by the looks of things. 

Using the power of our inner “seer” we worked with the imaginal realm. We visualised ourselves as doing something on an alternative day and did some journalling afterwards, either drawing or writing before going on to share our stories. Lot’s of gold mined. 

In our story of the day, we reflected on how the weather affects our activities and what kind of day we had. According to the feedback, it was slow, awesome and as well as scattered with some boring bits as we battled the hardy weather. We then made a rainy day bag of things to pull out to do when the chips are down. This is taking responsibility for our own experience. The agreement we came to is we are all committed to each one in there. 

We said our goodbyes promptly as we were going to be there the next day for… 

…Saturday

There were quite a few additional new and familiar faces that joined us today as Saturday is our open to those at high school day. It was great to catch up. 

To start off with so many other bodies and a slight relief in the harsh weather, we made the most of it by playing games: birthday line up, hagoo, ninja, stump. Please get in touch if you want details of how to play or better yet get in touch to find out how to join us for the next Saturday escapade! 

We then did some pole lathe turning – made spoons, clubs, bats, fish batons – used a side axe, different chisels and a billhook. 

Overall we used our bodies a lot by sparring, arm wrestling, falls of trust, human pyramids, human bridges – lots of energy expended and generated. What a cycle of abundance. 

To settle ourselves, we gathered and discussed our next month’s workshop and to top off a fantastic, challenging and productive weekend made our own acrostic poems.

As always subscribe for updates and get in touch – we love to hear from you !!! 

The Exploration Continues

18/02/2020

It is just as important to understand our environment as it is to understand ourselves. Indeed, the two are linked, and the interaction is what makes us. This week we pondered the questions: where does our energy come from and go? As well as: what patterns do I have?

Potentially these questions can give us valuable insight into why and how we get the results we do and also what we may be able to change when we aren’t getting the results we want. 

We walked East Lomond – and discovered the difference between the times we projected and the actual time it took us. This helped to hone our instincts. 

Looking at the energy flow of land through connections and using word chain association was very useful. It was illuminating to notice the subjective differences between what we picked up on from the landscape. 

For a bit of light relief we played the zombie apocalypse game. Who knows it may come in useful sometime.

We also had a go at scale mapping; this hones our communication and observation skills no end.

Henry led a creative writing session, and we sowed many seeds for ideas for us to develop in our own time. Thank you, Henry,

In the end, there was nothing left to do but express our gratitude for another fun, exploratory day.​

The Weekend One

2/05/2020

Every month Wilder Ways includes a Saturday date so that people who are ordinarily at school can join us, this was our weekend and was also Imbolc, a traditional Gaelic festival marking the start of Spring! 

Friday

A cold crisp day, we met at Pillars of Hercules  the perfect spot to pick up any additional food or supplies for the day too. 

We checked in with our inner compass – our yes and no. It is such a vital tool and skill for life, it was interesting to find out what that felt like for each of us. 

Surveying of the woodland using quadrants and the DAFOR scale. The DAFOR scale is a way of understanding an area and in this case what tree species make up a particular area of woodland. DAFOR is an acronym which stands for Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional and Rare. It’s generally used for plants and gives an idea of what types of trees are in an are, which is good for management and also for understanding the soil and age/maturity of the land as well as the larger ecosystem and what other creatures may find the woodland hospitable. 

The teenagers have started to bring their gifts to the fore and will be leading sessions. Today it was Rhiannon’s turn. Rhiannon has been learning about taxidermy over the past year or so and was keen to test and share her skills so she brought along some deceased mice which had been frozen and her equipment. 

We also did some more den building and were ambushed by the Flexi Friday group.

It almost goes without saying but we rounded our session up with a sit spot and a story of the day before discussing our personal goal setting for the term to come. 

Saturday

Saturday we learned a lot about working all sorts of tools and several people who can only join us on non-school days came along. This filled in much of our day as you may see from the images amongst other things we practiced on the pole lathe, starting rolling pins, baseball bats, torch handles. Once you master these time tested tools the sky ( or torch handle ) is the limit… 

We played a torch game to symbolise Imbolc, a reminder that the days are getting surely and steadily lighter and brighter. To mark this we lit a torch and walked clear paths setting intentions for the next part of the year

What a tiring day, we also played a lot of games! 

More next time…. and as always get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.

A Recap.

12/09/2019

Over the past few weeks we have: foraged for food in the rockpools while thinking and talking about our ancestors

We all visited Scotland the Bread and learned about the nutritious ancient grains we used for sustainability. 

We walked the chain walk in Elie,  which was an exciting challenge. 

We cooked potatoes, bedouin bread, seafood – limpets and whelks on the fire.

We made a quiz – on the creatures we foraged for, and even got some of the answers right. 

Played ninja again! There is a pattern forming…

​The next week: 

We reflected on personal food choices and considered alternatives that take the planet into account. 

Considered trapping today – Henry experienced it first hand!

The Estate gamekeeper visited with the deer manager – we talked about trapping animals, stalking deer and regulations

Played an anatomy game – getting into the anatomy of pigeon, rabbit, deer, and pheasant

Played water ninja.

We worked on building projects, researched grey/red squirrels and re-set the camera trap

We reflected on trap designs and also did a visualization of what being trapped like an animal would feel like and we also and wrote about what the outcome could be.

We played games to explore questions such as Who Are We? Who Am I? Identity is such a slippery thing and it was so good to do this exercise in a group. 

Sharpened axes and knives, felled a tree and made mallets. All useful instruments helping anyone be at one with living a little wilder. 

Stay in touch. ​

Risking and Benefiting 11/10/2019

It has been great to get to a point where we are seeing real progress with our personal goals – one thing we have been exploring in particular is seeing the unseen – and delving into risk and benefit.

Now, this may sound obscure so here is an example this week we started by considering a risk situation we have been in and ended the day writing about a risky we’d like to be in. Instead of just seeing the risks and dangers we thought about what  the benefits were in that situation ? How does risk help us grow and is risk ever avoidable or do we always just trade for another set of risks including not growing our resilliences and abilities to handle what life throws at us?

We had time at our sit spots considering hazards and their benefits. Lots to think about ! 

Felled a small tree the classic 3 cut way – risks and benefits came into how we approached this.

We cooked and eat road kill vension stew on the fire – with foraged and ingredients that we collectively brought along.

As well as this we: 

  • Processed the tree into our log store.
  • Wove more of the toilet walls – they are coming along great !
  • Learnt more about tinder and what burns well. 
  • Considered our projects and re-evaluated the timeline on some of them
  • Played ninja – an old favourite ! 
  • Reviewed how we are showing up with each other and with our long term goals.

All this while keeping as warm and dry as we can – the winter weather has well and truly set in….

29th October 2019

It is incredible how much food comes from Fife and is grown and made locally,  when you start looking it feels very empowering to know so much is on our doorsteps – no bananas or chocolate grows locally  sadly ( that we know of…so far but happy to be corrected ! ) but there is much wholesome fare to be had. This week the wilder ways wanderers  had a challenge to buy and forage local food and turn it into lunch. Thankfully this was not hard as we were all pretty hungry. We had leek and potato soup with freshly baked bread. Not to be sniffed at ! 

The energy we gained stood us in good stead to play a game called Get Off The Couch -looking at  what motivates us to do those things we need to do but don’t love doing.

Essential life skill 247 covered at Wilder Ways ! 

We also explored leaders and followers through practical tasks and journalling followed by discussion to expand our comfort with being able to take both roles – all essential for successful teambuilding. We looked at SMARTER goals too which is way of framing what we want to achieve and making sure that we have ways to get there. SMARTER is an acronym for Specific Measurable Achieveable Realistic Time Bound Ecological and Responsible .. Having a goal framed in this way means that we have hope of getting where we want to and also have an awareness of where our responsibilities lie. 

We also had our routine sit spots – a core part of the wilderness awareness school. 

Last week was our two day session too so on Saturday we welcomed new faces to play ninja games of theft and daring. This and building took up much of our day with intrepid adventure. We curled up like hibernating animals mirroring what will be happening in the wild and observed nature from this space with all of our senses… 

Well it was a packed and pleasant  time and next it will be Samhain ! 

 Stay Wild and stay in touch…

29th October 2019

It seems like a while ago now but the end of last term was as eventful as ever…

We explored using a wider variety of our senses including our body awareness and internal compassing when we had a blindfold car journey. This was challenging and fun in equal measure with resulting chaos. Then from that we found our way to camp using some of the skills we had honed with our earlier jaunt. 

When we arrived at camp we made ourselves comfortable and started to make the place suitable with a dakota fire and paracute to keep us sheltered,warm and with something to cook on.

The den, as ever needed work and the crew brought their by now well developed den building expertise to the fore with that. 

It wouldn’t be a day at Wilder Ways without games and we explored how we saw things in a fun collaborative way, before eating our Dakota fire cooked pasta and harvesting our valuable moments from the last few weeks and taking time to pause and also look forward to what’s coming up after the break. 

22nd September 2019

This week was based on orientating… 

We did an interesting challenge walk to camp, blindfolded in a chain were we were not able to walk on the road or verge – how did we do ! Well we are still here – I promise. 

We worked collectively on the design of the day and camp design – developing a den and did some more work on the toilet and also did more renovations on the main shelter. 
We played a game called Ruminant Bellies. 

Sit spots were a big feature as they always are, they help to settle us down and orient to our surroundings and ourselves. We also did some journalling in this space which helped us dig deeper. 

For lunch we cooked lasagne together and it got a large thumbs up from everyone. Cooking together has so many functions and also keeps our energy high and stomachs from rumbling.

We played more games, really too many to sum up. 

We used our visualising skills to visualise a path… 

Have a look at our photos and stay in touch !! 

20th September 2019

We arrived to West Sands beach early to help prepare the area for a Climate Change march coming from the centre of St Andrews town today. The march was loud and triumphant and we were there ready to greet the large snaking line of people with the sand art we had been working on all morning. The art and writing we worked on represented the goals of the campaign, which was being observed around the world today in cities, towns, schools and workplaces and seeks to heighten awareness about ecological matters and sustainable ways of living. 

The turn out which stood at over 1200 people was unprecedented and many schools, nurseries and community groups were in attendance to show their concern and commitment to finding ecological and sane solutions to life on earth. 

We look forward to staying involved in community engagement and learning more about our responsibilities and abilities in these changing times.