Thursday, December 10, 2015

Video Series Highlight: Ask Paul Kirtley

For quite some time now I have been following the writings of Paul Kirtley, for whom I have great respect as a person and as a woodsman.

For those of you who are not familiar with him, Paul is a UK based bushcraft instructor who runs Frontier Bushcraft. Prior to starting Frontier Bushcraft, Paul was an instructor for Ray Mears and has collaborated with several well known educators in the field. His school has received a number of awards.

In this post I wanted to highlight a series of videos that he is doing called “Ask Paul Kirtley”.


You can see a complete list of episodes here, or you can follow them on Paul’s blog here.

The series is simply based on Paul answering questions that he has received from viewers. The episodes run almost an hour in length, and answer the questions fairly directly and without fluff.

As you guys have probably noticed, I rarely do any endorsements for instructors or schools. In fact, you have probably seen me be critical of most such media personas. There are two reasons why I decided to do this post.

The first reason is that I appreciate it when people take time to put out valuable information without a financial aim in mind. I appreciate that Paul takes time away from teaching classes at his school in order to answer questions people may have without advertising products or trying to drum up attendance at his school.

The second reason is that recently Paul was accused of being the equivalent of an armchair bushcrafter because he released a video that he shot in his office. This of course is a phenomenon familiar to anyone who runs a blog or a YouTube channel; drive-by insults from anonymous individuals is just part of the reality. I bring this up not because anyone is taking those comments seriously, but because I want to give you my opinion on the matter.

It is my opinion that Paul Kirtley is one of very few instructors who I don’t consider armchair woodsmen. In that I include not only online personas, but actual instructors as well. Sadly, most instructors, even the ones who intensively practice wilderness skills, have very limited knowledge of what it is like to be in the wilderness. The reason is that all of their skills are learned, practiced, and taught within ear shot of the house or car. They lack the necessary experience of actually being in the wilderness to put those skills in context. For anyone who has spent any time in the woods, it quickly becomes very obvious who those people are based on the skills they prioritize, and the gear they carry. Paul is one of the few people who actually spends time being in, and traveling through the wilderness, not just in the UK, but across the world. For that reason, while I do not always agree with him, I respect what he ha to say.

So, all that being said, I hope Paul keeps up the series, I hope you guys check it out, and maybe even ask him a few questions.

Wood Trekker does not have any affiliation with Paul Kirtley or Frontier Bushcraft, and I reserve the right to be critical of either as the need dictates. ;)

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