Over the last decade the name Ray Mears has become recognised throughout the world as being an authority on the subject of Bushcraft and Survival. He has also become a household name through his...
Over the last decade the name Ray Mears has become recognised throughout the world as being an authority on the subject of Bushcraft and Survival. He has also become a household name through his television series: Tracks, World of Survival, The Essential Guide to Rocks, Extreme Survival, Trips Money Can't Buy with Ewan McGregor, The Real Heroes of Telemark, Bushcraft Survival, and Wild Food.
It is obvious to some and a surprise to others to discover that Ray has spent his life learning these skills and is truly a master of the subject he calls Wilderness Bushcraft.
Ray grew up in Southern England on the North Downs, where he discovered a countryside abundant with wildlife. Developing a unique attunement to his local environment, he learned to track foxes into the forest, never realising that he was embarking on a journey that would become his life's mission. Wanting to be able to sleep out on the trail yet unable to afford camping equipment, he resorted to a more Robinson Crusoe approach to solving the problem.
Digesting every scrap of information relating to survival that he could find in his local library, he soon began to re-learn skills that had not been employed on the North Downs for perhaps as long as ten thousand years. Since those early days Ray has expanded his horizons literally travelling the World over many times. Conversing in the universal language of Bushcraft, he has won the friendship of many of the Earth's first Nations and has been privileged to accompany them while hunting, tracking, and searching for wild plants for food and medicine.
Ray founded Woodlore, School of Wilderness Bushcraft, in 1983 and has been teaching for the past 25 years as he puts it "to enable others to drink at the well of Bushcraft". Realising that the subject can be studied at many levels, Ray has adapted his tuition to the needs of his students, a rare ability that has enabled him to teach not only civilian students but also military. At the heart though, his passion is to teach Wilderness Bushcraft as an encompassing study of nature that transcends mere cultural and linguistic differences.
Bushcraft liberates and empowers. It re-acquaints man with nature and his roots and provides an escape from the shackles of modern life. Bushcraft is about being practical and resourceful. Rather than teach ten things he prefers to teach one which can be put to use in a wide variety of environments. It is not a sentimental retreat into the past, a re-enactment of Aboriginal life, or an exercise in Rambo-style machoism, or a cult-like spiritual experience. He teaches but doesn't preach. He encourages people to open their eyes and see for themselves, to enjoy their own personal sense of wonder and discovery. He is merely a guide, passing on his knowledge.
Nothing pleases him more than to see a student reaching beyond their own expectation of themselves, challenging their own beliefs about the world around them as they see it new through the eyes of Bushcraft, what Ray calls, "The art of the possible".