How to forage out the perfect bushcraft experience in Argyll & The Isles

Author: 
Wild About Argyll

Argyll’s landscape is perfect for bushcraft and foraging. Most of the region is rural and remote, and the forests, beaches and hills provide the perfect setting to learn a host of outdoor and bushcraft skills. From lighting fires to fishing, building shelters to natural navigation, set your inner Bear Grylls free in Argyll!

Bushcraft and foraging is all about getting back to nature and enjoying wild places. As well as being a lot of fun, it’s also a fabulous way to spend time outdoors and get off the beaten track. You’ll get closer to Argyll’s incredible flora and fauna and really experience the unique landscape. You might even uncover more about the area’s history – bushcraft is often about using traditional outdoor skills and knowledge.

Most of Argyll & The Isles is rural and remote, so you can enjoy bushcraft and foraging adventures almost anywhere in the region. Argyll’s native woodlands are ideal locations, while Argyll Forest Park offers a variety of different woodland settings. Woodlands can be great places to forage for free food. You'll find a host of edible species, from elderflower to blackberries and sloes, not to mention fungi. Enjoy seashore foraging all around Argyll’s coastline and head out to any of the islands for pristine waters. Or why not pack your rucksack and head for the hills to seek out freshwater lochs?

Better still, you can learn from the locals. You’ll find a number of Argyll-based guides and organisations running foraging and bushcraft courses. Wood Watch Heritage is based in a native woodland at Mount Stuart on Bute. You can take an informal tour of the site to see how people lived and worked in woodland on the island in the past. Find out about charcoal burning, green woodworking, cob ovens, spinning and weaving. The team also runs a series of workshops. Learn the ancient woodland skill of charcoal making, build a cob oven, craft a traditional walking stick and more. You can even learn to make a coracle boat from willow and canvas! Kilfinan Community Forest on Argyll’s Secret Coast also runs various bushcraft, woodworking and outdoor skills workshops for kids and adults. Learn new woodland skills while enjoying breath-taking views over the Kyles of Bute.

Courses at the National Outdoor Activity Centre in Lochgoilhead include sessions on bushcraft, covering a selection of skills including plant and tree identification, animal tracking and natural shelter building. The team can provide bespoke courses for a variety of groups. Stramash in Oban is another great place for an outdoor skills adventure for all ages.

Of course you can always combine a spot of bushcraft and foraging with another activity. Try your hand at fishing on a kayaking trip with Wild Argyll, camp out under the stars on a Wilder Ways horse riding adventure or test your survival skills on one of Argyll’s long-distance walks. Or how about letting someone else do the foraging for you? You’ll find a number of Argyll restaurants featuring locally foraged food on their menus. Botanica is a lovely restaurant in Tighnabruaich. Head chef and owner Michal has a passion for foraging for wild food. Look out for foraged mushrooms, flowers and other delights on the menu.

Always forage responsibly, and make sure you stay safe and within the law. See the Woodland Trust’s Foraging Guidelines. It’s also worth taking a look at the Outdoor Access Scotland guidelines. 

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