Bushcraft was never a word I had ever come across as a child. To me it was just playing outside in the woodlands and streams collecting insects, fossils and looking at wildlife. As a boy I was a member of many wildlife clubs often going out in organised groups identifying beetles, moths and butterflies followed by hours of meticulous illustrations back at home documenting my findings. Like all young boys the bigger the insect the more interesting it would be to me and my goal was always to find a male Stag beetle. As I got a bit older my fascination grew, particularly on how human beings interacted with nature historically. Hunting and fishing became a normal part of life for me and I would spend days buried in the woodlands and fields of Gloucestershire waiting for that perfect opportunity to present itself. I learnt a lot about myself in these years and became very comfortable in my own skin. Observation and listening were the keys to success.
In my teenage years I began taking myself away for several days at a time sustaining myself off of what I caught, attempting to live like a hunter gatherer. I quickly realised that I did not know enough for such endeavors and like a lot of younger people I fell into the romantic ideology of trying to live alone in the wilds of nature, but this was just a fantasy. The reality being hunger and exhaustion, although its always good to be shown your limitations the hard way. I began teaching myself about plants and trees, roaming the woodlands and waysides with my books drawing my findings in field journals to etch what I seen in my mind. As time moved on my knowledge grew and my time spent in nature became more fluid with a pace that was more in tune with the environment around me.
Today I spend a huge amount of time in nature and there is still so much to learn but this is the wonderful thing about it. To some Bushcraft and primitive living skills carry a testosterone loaded stigma where knowledge is power and nature must be challenged and defeated. To me these skills are just tools that I use to bring me closer to the natural landscapes I wish to spend time in. The more I have learnt the less I have had to carry while I explore my own country and others. Some of my fondest memories are of Northern Sweden, the vast wilderness void of human encroachment and loaded with wildlife aligns your being into a frequency were you are a part of your surroundings. You feel less of an alien and more of a human again.
I was very lucky to meet a beautiful women named Megan who loved spending time in nature as much as I did. I proposed to her at the end of a grueling hike in the mountains of southern Norway, it seemed like a good time to cheer her up. Now we share our life together exploring the natural world and travelling to places that still remain as natural as they can in these developed times.
My life now is dedicated to teaching a subject now known as Bushcraft. I run a range of Bushcraft course around the British Isle designed to reconnect people with modern methods and primitive skills giving them the ability to competently spend time in nature but also understand and care for it. I also run a popular YouTube channel called MCQBushcraft that houses over 130 high quality bushcraft training videos and is watched by over 200,000 people worldwide. One of my favorite pastimes is working with natural materials and over the course of my time in nature I have created many useful items that I can carry and keep my tools in. If you are interested in natural crafts then feel free to look at my shop. My crafts are made by hand and are limited, but if you follow me on social media you will be notified when crafts are ready for sale.
I did also find that male Stag beetle I was looking for when I was a child While studying Traditional Illustration in Bournemouth on my final year. The beetle larva can stay underground for up to seven years until they emerge for a short period as a full grown beetle. I must have been in the right place at the right time.
Thanks for reading.