Ray Mears is internationally recognised as being an authority on the subject of Bushcraft and Survival.
Ray has spent his life learning these skills and is truly a master of the subject he calls Wilderness Bushcraft.
Growing up in Southern England on the North Downs, Ray discovered a wildlife-rich countryside. Wanting to be able to sleep out on the trail yet unable to afford camping equipment, he resorted to a more Robinson Crusoe approach to solving the problem. Developing a unique attunement to his local environment, he learned to track foxes into the forest, never realising that he was embarking on a journey that would become his life’s mission.
It was Ray’s judo teacher (Kingsley) who fired his imagination and encouraged Ray to look at the World differently. Kingsley was a wonderful man. He had fought behind enemy lines in Burma during the Second World War, and he taught Ray to challenge conventional wisdom and practices. “You don’t need equipment; you need the knowledge to survive in the wild”, he would tell him. “Maximum efficiency from minimum effort” was another of his themes. These simple principles have been enshrined in Ray’s Bushcraft philosophy in his writing and teaching.
Digesting every scrap of information relating to survival that he could find in his local library, he soon began to re-learn skills that had not been employed on the North Downs for perhaps as long as ten thousand years.
Since those early days, Ray has expanded his horizons, travelling the World over many times.
Conversing in the universal language of Bushcraft, he has won the friendship of many of the Earth’s First Nations. He has been privileged to accompany them while hunting, tracking, and searching for wild plants for food and medicine.
Ray founded Woodlore, School of Wilderness Bushcraft, in 1983. When he first started, there were only a few others in the UK teaching Survival courses, but Survival is only one chapter of the Bushcraft story. It is the short-hand version, an ABC nutshell guide. Bushcraft is an encyclopaedia – a vast area of knowledge constantly being updated.
Realising that the subject can be studied at many levels, Ray has adapted his tuition to the needs of his students. This rare ability has enabled him to teach civilian students and the military. At heart, though, his passion is to teach Wilderness Bushcraft as an encompassing study of nature that transcends cultural and linguistic differences.
Bushcraft liberates and empowers. It re-acquaints man with nature and his roots and provides an escape from the shackles of modern life. Bushcraft is about being practical and resourceful. Rather than teach ten things, he prefers to teach one that can be used in various environments. It is not a sentimental retreat into the past, a re-enactment of Aboriginal life, an exercise in Rambo-style machoism, or a cult-like spiritual experience. He teaches but doesn’t preach. He is merely a guide, passing on his knowledge. He encourages people to open their eyes, see for themselves, and enjoy their sense of wonder and discovery.
Ray is perhaps the foremost expert in his field, yet people are often surprised to see him rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck in with those enjoying Bushcraft for the first time. Nothing pleases him more than to see a student reaching beyond their expectation of themselves, challenging their own beliefs about the World around them as they see it anew through the eyes of Bushcraft, what Ray calls “The art of the possible”.
He has also become a household name through his television programmes which include:
- Wild Tracks (BBC)
- Tracks (BBC)
- Ray Mears’ World of Survival (BBC)
- Ray Mears’ Country Tracks (BBC)
- Ray Mears’ Extreme Survival (BBC)
- Ray Mears’ Adventure Special (BBC)
- Ray Mears’ Bushcraft (BBC)
- Ray Mears’ Wild Food (BBC)
- Ray Mears Goes Walkabout (BBC)
- Ray Mears’ Northern Wilderness (BBC)
- Survival with Ray Mears (ITV)
- Wild Britain with Ray Mears (ITV)
- Ray Mears: Close Encounters (ITV)
- Wilderness Walks with Ray Mears (ITV)
- Wild River with Ray Mears (ITV)
- Wild Australia with Ray Mears (ITV)
- Wild France with Ray Mears (ITV)
- Australian Wilderness with Ray Mears (ITV)
- Wild China with Ray Mears (ITV)
Ray’s programmes have reached out and engaged viewers of all ages, from small children to grandparents. They are enjoyed by many because of Ray’s down-to-earth approach, evidential love for his subject and the empathy and respect he shows for indigenous peoples and their cultures.
Ray Mears – Guest Speaker
Ray talks passionately about the environment, enjoying the great outdoors and the importance of team spirit. Furthermore, he has many stories demonstrating courage, bravery and knowledge.