I am going to describe in this lesson a survival challenge.
Last summer, I tried out a survival camp on a remote Scottish island for five days.
They were the longest five days of my life.
But the whole thing was a truly amazing experience.
I am a city dweller and I have never done camping since I was a kid in the boy scouts. That was more than twenty five years ago.
This was, of course, no ordinary camping trip.
Luckily, I kept in pretty good physical shape by working out twice a week at my local gym while I figured that a basic knowledge of natural science in botany, ecology and geology would somehow come in handy.
I did not know the other seven people I was with until we joined up at base camp.
They were an oddball mix from professional backgrounds and of different nationalities with an awesome display of muscle, tattoo, body display, boldness, bandana, brashness, courage and spirit.
We were not allowed to bring a tent, sleeping bag, map, flashight, compass, matches, lighter, cooking utensils, food or drink or any of the other usual stuff you would expect to take on a camping trip for sleeping under the stars.
Needs must included plastic bags, glasses, a penknife, mountain boots and lightweight clothing, little else.
We were told at the outset that it would not be like a miitary boot camp, religious cult or some kind of therapy gathering but an absolute test of self-reliance with the focus on learning skills for survival, medicine, adventure and tactics.
The first thing we had to understand was the Rule of Three. What was that?
Three minutes without air. Three hours without a regulated body temperature. Three days without water. Three weeks without food.
The priorities for survival were shelter, water and food in that order.
So we were set for the survival challenges which we lay ahead.
Building a debris shelter from wood, moss and leaves. Making a fire with the sap from a tree or with our own hair fibre. Coping with being exposed to extreme cold temperatures and insulating ourselves with limitations. Handling a rough, tough, harsh terrain. Getting clean water. Tracking and trapping animals for food. Being prepared for unexpected, unforseen dangers and hours of insomnia.
I did not die from hypothermia and I have lived to tell the tale.
I did not have a major mishap and some of the foodstuff I ate was truly horrid
I did manage to sleep a few hours on most of the nights.
Only in my worst nightmares did I encounter danger from a wild animal or cannibalistic savage.
Our meteorological skills were also put to the test in judging time, orienteering around and predicting weather.
Red sky in the evening meant that the weather would be dry and sunny.
Red sky in the morning, however, meant that the weather would change and a storm was coming.
All in all, I learnt a lot about my own natural capabilities.
In case you were wondering, for safety reasons, we were all electronically tagged and there were several control points on the island which monitored our navigation across mountains, creeks, cliffs, paths and through waterfalls and caves.
If I ever did get lost in the woods, stranded in the mountains or even isolated on a desert island or in a desert or wilderness, this unforgettable experience has taught me how to be a natural survivor.