Saturday, 28 March 2015

Outdoor Adventure Manual anniversary


Upon a morning visit to Facebook I was greeted with a 'flashback' that the site provided me reminding me of the fact that I'd posted about the imminent release of a publication called The Outdoor Adventure Manual 2 years ago (4th April 2013 to be precise).

Whilst not a bushcraft publication in its entirety I was lucky enough to be asked to help write stuff for this publication which was a joint collaboration between the Scout Association and Haynes publishing (famous for the car manuals). I’ve written articles for Scouting magazine and the Cub supplement (whilst it lasted for)  for around 18 months/ 2 years (it started by accident) and whilst on a visit to Gilwell HQ to see one of the magazine editors I was approached by The Scout Association's Creative and Brand Advisor Chris James, had a meeting with him and I was on board with several other scouters!
Chris asked me if I could recommend any other potential writers, I said ‘What about if I could get some professional outdoor instructors on board to write?’, Chris meant scouters but left it with me. A little bit of networking later, including email, face to face, the Bushcraft Show and Facebook (a positive use of a much maligned media) and the following were on board:
Pablo ( )-Tracking
Paul Kirtley (  – Knife sharpening and usage
Joe O’Leary ( – Water
Tristan Gooley ( ) Natural navigation
Dale Collett ( )- Bowdrill
Kevan Palmer/ Jason Ingamells ( Dutch oven usage
Fraser Christian ( –Countryside  and coastal foraging
Scouter Terry Longhurst also asked Jon Mac spooncarver, kuksa maker and all round woodworking clever chap ( ) if he would do a ‘How to’ on spoon carving too. The Scout Association also asked the Red Cross to do a big piece on first aid. I also did the draft illustrations for Tristan's and Joe's articles and started a Facebook page for the publication that is still getting likes today..

It started out with Haynes wanting articles into Chris in a very short window, and then once it was all gathered there was a large period of relative inactivity until Haynes suddenly asked that all the articles were proof read. I volunteered and on one occasion I sent an email back having checked one lot as another email load came in! This short editing window did mean that there were some recommendations made that couldn't be acted upon due to the timeline.

 Despite some faults I felt that a book knocked up with all contributors in relative isolation didn't come out too badly and it  had several positive plaudits at the time. I’ve already thanked the guest contributors but I feel obliged to thank them again…every one of them to a man readily agreed to contribute to this project and it’s very satisfying to know that they all feel comfortable aligning their name to the Scouting brand.

I managed to get an article in the John Lewis internal weekly magazine and my local paper (with a potential audience of 100,000+). I've also included a basic shot of the two articles that I've mentioned. 

And here's a picture that Jon Mac posted on his Facebook page and I just had to share it. He was so pleased to be included in the above book that he asked his postie to pose for a picture with it! How refreshing. Have a look at his blog . Bushcraft & Survival Skills also reviewed the book in a past issue too, once in the in the news section and also in the book review section and I thought the review was very fair.

I think this book has pushed the outdoor agenda more than any other Scouting publication and to my mind the next step is a book called 'Scoutcraft' in which the outdoors focus is skills and (bush)crafts that B-P would recognise.

And whilst on the subject of Scouting, if you are a bushcrafter, why not volunteer with your local group with the occasional outdoor activity? A lot of groups have loads of kit, a place to have fires (do you?) and a willing audience, even simple stuff like charcloth leaves them spellbound.

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