Today confirmed to me what I had been thinking for a long time. The UK is an extreme environment. I truly believe that it is up there with the harshest environments. Us Brits are so good at making fun of the temperamental weather conditions we endure on our soggy island. And many of us look to escape as quickly as possible jetting off to sunnier destinations as soon as the holidays come round. I myself when I am not away leading expeditions or working on film shoots have been based in Switzerland and France for the past 9 years where the weather is far more stable and I can climb and mountaineer more readily when I am not away.
On my travels and when working as a survival expert for TV shows I often thank my British roots. I can light fires under pretty much any conditions including jungle monsoons, this comes from spending years as an assistant for bushcraft companies where part of my role was to light the fire and maintain it no matter what. People mistakenly imagine monsoon rains as being non stop. In reality there is usually a time in the day, when you experience torrential rain often the mid afternoon and through the night but it is relatively predictable and there are times of the day when it isn’t raining. The UK however can experience random weather changes. It is hard to predict and there are so many factors that affect our little island. Wind, high and low reassure systems, the jet streams, the gulf stream. We are in a constant state of flux.
It was so great to get out today back in the British hills where my addiction started. It really made me just want to say to all you aspiring British survivalists out there, if you’re struggling to make water tight shelters or light fires in the rain and source dry wood. Don’t stress! Keep practicing and when you crack it you will be one amongst the ranks of the best wilderness survivalists / bushcrafters in the world. If you can make fire in the UK no matter what, you will be able to make it anywhere!