Foraging in late winter in North Yorkshire
By Andrew Armstrong, Feb 22 2018 03:08PM
The end of February/March, in our local climate, is rated as the hardest time of year for survival. I can’t remember, where I read this, but I would agree. If the climate was similar to now, (and there are variations in the 8 thousand years of Mesolithic/Neolithic climates), as a student of Bushcraft, I can see why. A little imagination can go a long way here. The easy to access game will have been caught, and the remaining games will be depleted in character. The preserved fruits, foraged the year before, will be coming to their end. In addition, your own physical and mental reserves will have been drained by the long winter months. As a student of bushcraft, I find the study of our ancestors lives fascinating. Living in Pickering, the Star Carr archaeology site is just down the Scarborough road. It’s the Stone Henge of Yorkshire, a truly fascinating find, but not much to look at now. However, the finds are amazing and the light it shines on the early inhabitants of North Yorkshire is amazing.
On Sundays foraging walk, we found many interesting resources. Through most of the winter Gorse has been in flower. And recently the flower’s have been available in abundance. On Sunday we found a huge crop, nice and fresh. The flowers taste like raw pea’s and can be used in several ways, from adding to stews to brewing beer! There was also an abundance of wood sorrel. A tasty treat, that is much improved nutritionally by cooking. We also found abundant Roe deer sign. We never saw any directly, but I would guess they saw us. However, in our defence, we were not stalking! There was plenty of wood pigeon sign around too and even a predator scat, probably a fox. So, with a little prep and some luck, we might have survived a few more days! Makes you realise how fortunate we are not to have to really worry about the basics of survival. It always gives a sense of awe at the achievements of our ancient ancestors, how they thrived. They where the true local kings of bushcraft!