Survival Courses: 10 of the Best in the UK
Want to learn and practise essential wilderness survival skills? Here are the best places to do it
Survival Courses in the UK: Introduction
Most people who are into adventure sports would probably like to think they have fairly decent outdoor survival skills. After all, the know-how needed for camping, trekking, climbing, mountaineering etc. is fairly similar to the sorts of skills you'd need to survive in the wild. But unless you've actually been in a survival situation, how do you really know? Well, taking a survival course is a good start.
Whether it's an overview covering basics like survival food, survival first aid and how to build a shelter, or whether it's something more specific - focussing on winter survival, how to survive in the desert or a sea survival course for example - taking a course will allow you to hone your existing skills and learn new ones.
Not only that, but survival courses are just fun. And while you hope you'd never have to use the skills you learn in a real-life survival situation, they can prove useful for all sorts of things - even if it's just learning how to cook game meat better for your next BBQ.
Here (in no particular order) is Mpora's run-down of the 10 best survival courses in the UK.
Survival Wisdom Courses
Formed by a group of experts that includes several former and serving army and RAF officers Survival Wisdom is one of the UK's best respected provider of survival courses.
Two of their top team are involved in teaching the British military's gruelling SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and extraction) courses, which train troops what to do if caught behind enemy lines.
"Two of the team are involved in training British troops what to do if caught behind enemy lines"
Based in Cornwall, Survival Wisdom offer a range of different courses of different lengths catering for all ability levels. There are more general ones, like their "Bushcraft & Basic Survival Skills" course, but the school also offers bespoke courses including specialised training for dealing with hostage situations and a course aimed at teaching gap year survival skills.
Find out more and book at: survivalwisdom.com
Woodland Ways Survival Courses
Woodland Ways, "the largest provider of adult and family based Bushcraft & Survival Courses in the United Kingdom", run courses in a variety of locations (including Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, the Peak District and Leicestershire).
They offer everything from half day bushcraft workshops and family days out to full-blown expeditions to the Sahara in Africa or the Mojave in the US, that teach you how to survive in the desert.
The school has repeatedly won awards for its teaching of bushcraft and wilderness survival skills, including the awards for "Best Bushcraft Course" and "Best Bushcraft School" in the Survival Skills Magazine 2013 awards.
Find out more and book at: woodland-ways.co.uk
Elite Survival Training Courses
Lead by a team of experts that includes two former Royal Marine Commandos, Elite Survival Training offer full day survival courses, weekend courses and pre-expedition survival training.
A 24 hour course will cover basics like fire building skills, navigation, survival psychology and the basics of survival kit and what to pack. Those opting for more serious training will cover subjects like survival food and its preparation, the correct use of survival knives and how to set up buddy systems and search procedures.
Find out more and book at: essentialsurvivaltraining.com
Adventure 360 Survival Courses
Based on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon, Adventure 360 Survival Courses couldn't be better placed to offer survival training.
Like Elite Survival Training, Adventure 360 was founded by a former Royal Marines Commando and offer regular training in wild camping, navigation and bushcraft and survival courses.
They also do bespoke courses and corporate events for all experience and ability levels.
Find out more and book at: adventure360uk.com
The instructors at Trueways Survival include John 'Lofty' Wiseman, author of the best-selling SAS Survival Guide and a godfather of survival training.
Their courses, which take place at a variety of locations across the UK, range from 2-day family events (aimed at teaching "age-appropriate survival skills to kids ranging from7-15 years old") to advanced survival courses and even an arctic survival course that takes place in Sweden every year.
Find out more and book at: truewayssurvival.com
Ray Mears Bushcraft Courses
Thanks to his long-running TV show and a series of popular books, Ray Mears is one of the most recognisable names and faces in survival.
With his courses he aims to impart some of his knowledge and share essential skills like building shelter and preparing survival food.
There are a plethora of options, from two day weekend courses to full-on weeks away and three expeditions, one to Namibia and two to Canada which Ray himself will be leading.
Find out more and book at: raymears.com/bushcraft_courses
Survival School UK
Founded by Jonny Crockett in 1997, the Survival School has trained more than 25,000 'students' in essential wilderness survival skills in the years since.
Their instructors also offer courses in tracking animals and making and using primitive weapons, with a range of different qualifications on offer for those who complete the various survival courses.
Like many of the other schools, they also lead regular expeditions abroad, including canoeing trips to Sweden.
Find out more and book at: survivalschool.co.uk
Bear Grylls Survival Academy
It may be Bear Grylls' propensity for eating snakes and drinking his own piss on TV that's made him famous, but all those antics (even the truly disgusting ones) are underpinned by some serious survival knowledge.
His academy launched in 2012 with a five-day survival course in the Scottish Highlands now includes a 24 hour family survival course aimed at parents and children, a 24 hour adult course and team building courses for the corporate market.
Unsurprisingly they've proved pretty popular, despite the fact that the school's slogan is "it may hurt a bit."
Find out more and book at: beargryllssurvivalacademy.com
Based in the heart of the Lake District on a 2000-acre site, Woodsmoke Bushcraft put on courses covering everything from basic wilderness survival techniques to specific "axe workshops" and a sea survival course that teaches you how to "drownproofing and open water survival".
These courses can be anything from two days to a week and they also run expeditions overseas - including one that teaches you how to survive in the deserts of Namibia and one that teaches cold weather survival skills in sub-arctic Canada.
Find out more and book at: woodsmoke.uk.com
Founded by scout master Roger Harrington in 1992, Bison Bushcraft's team includes a man who claims to have been raised by wolves.
As well as group courses in essential survival skills Bison offer one-to-one tuition and some interesting variations like a "rifle awareness course".
They'll also teach you how to make your own survival knife and even your own longbow should you wish.
Find out more and book at: bisonbushcraft.co.uk