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Father and son bow drill firemaking

Our society bombards us with challenges from climate change to increasing costs to illness -- the more we develop our ability to overcome obstacles with grace and ease, the better we're able to handle stress and navigate modern life successfully.

Our 3 Hour Firemaking Course is designed to develop your self-confidence by overcoming difficulty and succeeding through perseverance.

  • course summary

Course Summary

Start time: 5:00pm

End time: 8:00pm

Cost: £35 per person

Dates: see Calendar or request date

Location: Bamff Ecotourism Estate

Build resilience in the face of challenges

Making fire with a bow drill takes patience and determination, a steady focus and effort which requires accepting failure again and again. 

Using a bow drill

Discover the magic of fire

There's nothing like the moment when your tinder bursts into flame. You experience a moment of magic that touches your memory and soul.

Happy woman with tinder nest

Rewild yourself through firemaking

Together with learning how to use your senses, navigating and living in the outdoors, firemaking continues the journey of rewilding yourself, of becoming the person you truly are and are meant to be.

Woman blowing on tinder nest

Thank you for an absolutely brilliant evening yesterday – Ellie hasn’t stopped talking about it since. We have tonight made fire and even demonstrated it to someone else.

alistair r.

What happens in a firemaking session?

1) Connect with nature by foraging for your firemaking materials.

We first begin by heading out into the lush landscape of Bamff, foraging for some of the materials we’ll need to make our fire and enjoy a gorgeous cup of wild herbal tea.

Depending on the season, we will harvest fresh pine needles, raspberry leaf, birch or beech leaves and many more for our tea.

We’ll look for dead grass, thistles, rosebay willow herb and other plants for tinder. We will gather twigs and small kindling for a perfectly sized fire for our needs.

2) Learn to use a bow drill and spindle.

Learning to use a bow drill is difficult, and it’s meant to be.

A rite of passage requires challenge and humility, and this is an opportunity to stretch yourself and learn how nature can help you get where you need to go.

You will learn how to create the tinder nest, the ember and finally the flame. Words can’t convey the magic of the experience, as it’s something you have to experience for yourself.

3) Have a cup of wild tea on the fire you just made.

Feel the self-confidence and calm you’ve gained from the experience.

Savour your success over a cup of hot tea. Marvel at your achievement and know that you’ve entered a gateway to a different way of seeing yourself and your connection to the world.

It may sound like we’re exaggerating, using a bit of marketing hyperbole. But time and time again, transformations occur in the people who commit to the alchemy of firemaking, who are willing to try something challenging and surrender to nature.

It is a fast track to joy, wonder and awe.

Firemaking deepens a process of reconnection to yourself and your most wild and free self.

Activity leader Malcolm Handoll

Malcolm, co-founder of Five Senses, lives at Bamff Ecotourism Estate with his wife Rachel and son. He is passionate about ancient living skills and loves making friction fires in wet and windy weather.
More about us >

  • course summary

  • what to bring

Course Summary

Start time: 5:00pm

End time: 8:00pm

Cost: £35 per person

Dates: see Calendar or request date

Location: Bamff Ecotourism Estate

Book Now

If you don’t see the dates you want, please contact us for alternative dates.

We run special events for families, youth groups and provide bespoke training at the highest level in addition to the dates listed.

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What about Covid?

We continue to practice social distancing and the wearing of face masks in close proximity. As all activities are outdoors, we should be able to be mask-free. Sanitiser and soap will be provided. Let us know if you have tested positive for Covid within 2 weeks prior to your course and we'll reschedule you.

What about toilets?

We will be in the outdoors, so there are no designated toilets unless an emergency.

What about food?

Bring good pack lunch and snacks.

What about ticks?

Ticks are present, however we select areas where we can largely avoid them. We are very aware of the seriousness of potential tick bites and choose locations accordingly.

How to get here

There is ample car and bike parking, whilst those wishing to use public transport can catch the 57 bus from Perth or Dundee to Alyth. Services are hourly and traverse scenic countryside.

From Alyth you can walk the delightful, wooded Den of Alyth (SSSI) for the 2 1/2 miles to Bamff of you can arrange to be collected at the bus stop.

On Google maps, we can be found by looking for ‘Bamff Ecotourism' near Alyth. Sometimes GPS has led people astray, so here are more precise directions:

From Edinburgh to Blairgowrie
Take the M90 over the Forth Bridge signposted for Perth. Leave the M90 after the Friarton Bridge over the Tay and follow the signs for Braemar (A93), through Bridgend , and then Blairgowrie.

From Glasgow to Blairgowrie
Take the A9 at the Broxden roundabout just west of Perth and stay on it until the turning for Luncarty. Go through Luncarty and Stanley the bear right for Blairgowrie, right again at T junction and left for Braemar/Blairgowrie at the junction with A 93.

From Blairgowrie to Alyth
Drive through Blairgowrie, going left at the traffic lights, cross the River Ericht, take the A926 out of Blairgowrie, signposted for ‘(Alyth)’ and Kirriemuir. Look out for the signs for Alyth shortly after New Alyth and turn left off the A926.

Drive straight through Alyth, leaving the Square to the right. The parish church is straight ahead. Cross the bridge over the Alyth Burn and swing left up the Bamff Road. Leave the church on your right.

From Alyth to Bamff
Follow the Bamff Road, signposted for Glenshee and Bridge of Cally for 2.5 miles.
After a sharp left hand bend, signed Glenshee, Bridge of Cally, (Glenisla is to the right) you will see the lodge at the end of the drive to Bamff . Turn off the road (to the right) and up the drive – about two thirds of a mile.

From the North
You may approach by the Tullymurdoch/Alyth road from the A93, or from the west from Bridge of Cally take the Drimmie Road. If you are approaching from Bridge of Cally go left at a sign for Bamff, then after Mains of Creuchies go right(for Alyth). You will see the Bamff farm road to your left after a few yards. Carry on for another half mile and take the next left, marked Bamff.

Perth to Blairgowrie is about 15 miles and Blairgowrie to Alyth is 5. Alyth to Bamff is 3.5 miles or so.

Will the course be cancelled if the weather is bad?

No, the course will run come rain or shine as that gives us a chance to learn in more realistic conditions. However if lightning is forecast, we will change locations.

Where to stay

We are based at Bamff Ecotourism Estate, which includes self-catering accommodation in cottages, yurts and off-grid cabins. 

What if we're late?

Please allow plenty of time extra to get to the start point -- don't rely on Satnav to get you there on time! Due to the rural location and farm traffic, travel times can be longer than you would expect.

If you're not going to make it to the start of the course at least 15 minutes prior to start, please contact us so we can make any arrangements.

What is the minimum age?

Children are welcome accompanied by parents, and 16 and 17 year olds are welcome solo with written permission.

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