It’s been just over a year since I took up the baton of self employment and launched the site. I thought I’d write a few lines of reflection on the journey.
Working for ‘oneself’ appears to me, beyond providing for necessities, a bit of an oxymoron. Much of the winter was spent looking at what activities and projects inspire me, make me rise in the morning with passion rather than dread. Finding a balance between my diverse interests and serving various communities of interest; was an illuminating process. Using a tool from an online course with the 8 shields institute known as ‘The Renewal of Creative Path’ I reflected on the things which bring me into connection with people, places and myself (and the obstacles that that stand in my way). I did this co-currently with my partner and some close friends in the Forres basin and we gathered to share our findings and seek collaborations for the year of 2013.
One such finding was a regular fire (3 monthly) where we would gather and share our stories and support our paths; other commitments were vocation based which wanted to speak of here.
Laura and I embarked on a tour of Scotland in our home come tool shed- a retrofitted Mercedes Sprinter by the name of ‘Atalanta’ replete with wood burning stove! The tour has seen a number of ovens springing up across the country, many enthusiastic self builders and small communities forming for workshops in natural building. Leaving them to break bread in our wake; we are satisfied that the tour has been a success and we have taken a number of orders for ovens in the year of 2014.
See some pictures from the Dunbar leg here.
Nature Culture Scotland.
Following a training course with a gathering of international facilitators from the UK in February; I held a position of Site Coordinator and web overhauler on the administration team setting up for the Art of Mentoring event in July of this year. I also made a commitment to delivering the model as training courses for my own ‘society’; the field of traditional outdoor education.
This summer I had the honour of leading a group of experienced outdoor educators in running a teen programme as part of the annual ‘Art of Mentoring’ with the newly formed charity ‘Nature Culture Scotland’. The group of young people was led from a preparation phase as part o the 250 strong temporary village out to a wild camp and then to a standing camp of their own making on the fringes of the estate before being welcomed back toward the end of the week.. The varied and cohesive support of the village made for a very powerful learning experience for the group. Activities included camp craft, expeditioning, solo journeying, camouflage, concealment and tracking, …. Perhaps more significantly than the varied elements of the programme., having the young people’s commitments witnessed by the presence of visiting ‘elders’ raised the bar from a summer camp to a genuine sense of passage rite.
It is my hope that I will return to future events and continue exploring and propping up this rich mine of cultural renewal. Over the winter months, I also hope to release a short video/slideshow of the experience together with a short blog.
Also with NCS I have been developing some Training Courses which we will be rolling out into the New Year.
I have been supporting the work of Venture Scotland this year, mentoring volunteers and providing residential session work on a number of the Challenge and Adventure trips. Venture Scotland has seen many changes of late and coming into its 25th birthday anniversar and looks set to remain a key player in providing opportunities for disadvantaged young people in the central belt. I look forward to continue my support over the coming years.
At the time of writing, I am recouping following a first pilot of a private tour which we entitled the ‘Fungi Safari’. In collaboration with a foraging expert and amenable guide; Mark Williams. I led an expedition down the River Spey as the mode of travel and the banks and woodlands provided the setting for an immersion into the world of mycelia. Collaborations such as this are an absolute joy for me to facilitate. A sense of Adventure, a sense of the hunter gatherer and a sense of purpose weave with the scent of evening wood smoke, sounds of water and touch of the wild. For those practitioners that read these words; I remain open to ideas for collaborative planning and expeditions. Outdoor Learning may be our vocation, but the woods, valleys, rivers and mountains are ours for the inhabiting.
Some pictures of the trip are trickling onto a photostream here.
I hope to include a guest blog and photo stream of the Safari in the coming weeks.
I have also been in dialogue with the Venture Trust and hope to support their residential programmes as a freelance practitioner in the New Year. Frequent visits to Glasgow have also enabled me to nurture a relationship with the mighty Galgael Trust (I recommend visiting on a Thursday night open evenings/soup sessions/jam nights). I also had the pleasure of meeting Ninian Stuart of the Falkland Centre of Stewardship and Dr Sam Harrison of Open Ground. I hope to be engaging in some consultancy work for both parties in the new year around creating low impact residential facilities.
We also spent time cooking at the Scottish Permaculture Convergence where we met many old and new friends.
Other partnerships being cooked up continue with old comrades Mr Chris Yule and Iain Waugh of knowyourself.me
The slippery online fish known as ‘Social networking’ I must confess has been a bit of a learning curve this year. Launching Rhyddian Knight (facebook) and @Bugle_Rhydd (twitter) as a platform was the easy bit; the ongoing question has been: ’What are these tools for?’.
My working plan going forward is to spend more time showcasing other peoples work and promoting debate than blowing my own trumpet using the Loop and blowing the bugle to highlight any breaking news or collaborative efforts. I welcome interaction, comment and debate as ever. Sharing and Liking content goes a long way toward highlighting my work.
Continuing Professional Development
I will be following the threads of the following interests over the winter months
Tribal Breath correspondence course with the 8 shields institute.
Gourmet and medicinal m’ushroom cultivation.
Five Star Canoe Leader hours in preparation for assessment.
To close, I’m very pleased to announce that I will shortly be moving onto a land base with friends and colleagues at the Anam Cara Retreat Centre in Inverness.
Over the year, we have been tending the relationship over a number of visits and we have been invited to become members.
Anam Cara is a 25 acre woodland site and backs onto 5 hectares of community woodland. It is our hope that we can further the aims of the trust, support the tree nursery and gardens and deliver courses of high value as collaborative and solo ventures.
Having a land base has been a long term goal, Laura and I are over the moon to have been made such a generous offer and we look forward to becoming stewards of this wonderful land.
Yours with gratitude;