May 2015 Class: The Art & Science of Being a Woodsman/woman

Location: Northeast Nova Scotia, Twa Corbies Hollow, approx. 1 hr from New Glasgow and Antigonish

Date & Time: May 23 and 24, beginning 0900 Saturday; ending 1600 Sunday.
Cost: $100 per person

Equipment Required: Warm to cold weather outdoors clothing for wet and dry conditions, and waterproof, insulated hiker boots.  Also mandatory: sleeping bag, sleeping pad or cot.  Also bring any other personal outdoor gear and toiletries you require. Recommended: knife, binoculars and camera.

Campfires: At this time of the year it may or may not be dry.  If dry, campfires will not be permitted.

Level: basic to moderate


Base Camp One: spending the night as we prepare the site.

This class is for those who want to develop the skills to enter the woods and live well with them.  It is for beginners seeking to develop initial skills, and for experienced persons who are finding gaps in their knowledge, such as how to sharpen a knife and hatchet on an ordinary stone, how to start a fire in wet conditions, or how to keep the tent from being blown down in a storm.  This profoundly informative class will cover a number of woodsmanship essentials:

  • Where to make your shelter.
  • Types of shelters, from tent to tipi.
  • Making your shelter rock-solid and ensuring it stays dry.
  • Gathering useful firewood in wet or dry conditions.
  • Essential tools of the woodsman.
  • Plants, mushrooms and animals that can aid in getting by in the bush.
  • Basic tracking skills.
  • Getting water.
  • Finding your way.  Navigating in back country by landmarks, compass and celestial bodies.
  • Campfire and trail stove cooking.

Dawn in the western woodlands during an autumn deer hunt.

This is the course!  A comprehensive introduction with advanced tips on all aspects of bushcraft.  If you only make it to one of our courses this year, make it this one.  Because of the immense amount of material to cover, we’ll be starting early Saturday, so students are advised to arrive during daylight Friday in order to get camped and be ready to start Saturday morning.


Students should arrive Friday afternoon to set camp.


0900  Essential bushcraft tools: knives, axes, hatchets, saws.
0930 More than you ever wanted to know about sharpening.
1100 Break for lunch and discussion
1200 Creating shelter
1500 Break
1530 Nature hike with tracking and wild food instruction
1830  Dinner


0700   Breakfast
0900   Making traps to secure food
1100  Natural tinder, tea and woodland crafts
1300  Lunch
1330 Essential back country navigation
1530 Break
1600 Questions & Answer Period
1800 Conclusion

This intense course will take two days and take place at the Base Camp One of Twa Corbies Hollow School of Bushcraft & Homesteading.  This lovely wooded camp is a quarter mile in the woods behind the cottage yet easy to access, set off a seldom-used dirt road beside a brook and offers a beautiful natural setting in which to practice the skills covered.  Persons will leave this course with well-rounded basic knowledge of how to get by in the woods and wilds.

Camp food preparation over a wood stove (pictured above right) or over a fire is a rewarding skill to develop.

Tipi’s and lean-to shelters will be provided, though persons are welcomed to pitch their own camps in designated areas.  Persons will be responsible for their own meals and beverages.  Persons must bring their own bedding.  Cool weather sleeping bags and pads or cots are recommended.  Usually the Hollow is bug-free in May but if it is especially warm there may be some early biting flies, so bug repellent is recommended.

Your teacher: Author and naturalist, Cliff Seruntine, is a certified psychotherapist, shaman, horseman, and fiddler. He is also a veteran of some of the most rugged wilderness on Earth–the Alaskan bush–where he dwelt at a remote cabin for many years.  Cliff now resides on a homestead in the Nova Scotia highlands and brings a polymath, spiritual perspective to Nature experiences and decades of wilderness living know-how to his courses.

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