To celebrate the release of Captain Fantastic, an elite crew of bloggers were picked to carry out a Survival Course at Kippure Estate in Wicklow. These Bloggers were chosen for their unique skills that make them capable of dazzling feats of physical and mental dexterity. This sleeper cell will remain dormant until they are required by humanity, at which point they will rise up and fight against the cursed foes of democracy! Or something like that…
Captain Fantastic is a new film (released Sept 9th) in which Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, a father with a unique view of the world. He has stepped back from modern society and decided to bring up his children in the wilderness. Each child is pushed to the limit of their physical and mental ability. The early scenes in the wilderness are quite unique as we see the children hunt wild animals, climb cliff faces and live in their alternative society.
The event in Kippure Estate was a one day course that aimed to give us a flavour of what survival training is about. We learned about the rule of 3, that humans can live for three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. The course took us through the rudimentary techniques of how you can find fresh water, food, shelter and make your own fire if you are ever left alone in the wilderness.
For fresh water, we learned how to create a water filter out of objects that can be found in a forest. We used a simple two litre bottle filled with moss, charcoal and other leaves to filter water to remove impurities. We discussed other methods of filtering water, such as use of chlorine tablets and UV light.
For food, we learned some techniques to snare an animal, and also how to skin and gut an animal. This was one of the more intense moments of the training, and is certainly not aimed at the vegetarians in the group.
For fire we learned how to start a fire using a fire block similar to the ‘Light My Fire‘ brand that is standard issue in the army. They also showed us the best types of branches to start a fire, with birch and gorse chosen due to their low flash point.
The shelter was all about using the things available in the environment to build a structure that is capable of keeping wind and rain off you for a short period. This structure could be constructed in a short period and would allow you to stay as warm and dry as possible.
The location of the training was just outside Blessington and only a few miles from Tallaght in the Kippure Estate in Wicklow. The estate was perfect for film bloggers, as it was used as a location in Braveheart and other films.
We were also allowed to use the abseiling and climbing walls to get a further feel for the outdoors. The course is run by two survival training experts (Mark & Kieran) who are in the Irish army, which adds an air of authenticity to proceedings. I’m not sure when I’ll get to use anything I learned on the course, but it was fascinating to see the techniques and thoughts behind the variety of skills you learn. It would be a perfect alternative stag/ hen do or just for those who are interested in the area. It will also leave you better prepared for the eventual zombie apocalypse!