Author: BCS Ltd

5 Day Survival Challenge

The basis of the 5 Day Survival Challenge is for the individuals to use the skills that they have learned and practiced on our 2 or 3-day course as well as individual CPD. The first day and a half will be a revision session for those who have attended a course before or an introduction for those who haven’t attended a course. Then they will be moved to a location to go into the exercise phase in the evening following a real-life survival scenario.

Individuals will be given minimum information to allow seclusion and will be visited by instructors to ensure all is okay. There will be emergency equipment with each person including walkies talkie communications.

Due to the prolonged time out in the wilderness, weather factors and the long hours spent learning, a good level of physical fitness and mental stamina is required.

This course is run in areas where there is no one for miles around, it is ran primarily in woodland areas.

This course is open to people who have attended a course with us before and want to put to practice their survival skills in a challenging environment. It is also open to people who haven’t attended a course before but are interested in taking part in a challenging course that will see them learn the skills and knowledge and then put it to practice. This will be a lot more challenging physically and mentally than our 3 Day Survival Course.

If you want to test your survival skills and knowledge then this is the challenge for you.

Summer Survival Courses in Scotland | Backcountry Survival

Water Filtration and Purification Kit

Here’s a selection of our tried and tested water filtration and purification products that we go through on our courses, any of these in your kit? 🌊

Water2Go Bottle

Sawyer; straw, bottles and bag

Grayl Geopress Bottle

Life Saver Bottle

Steri Pen

Aquamira Water Treatment

Millbank Bag

Purification Tablets

2024 Dates

We have been a bit quiet this week as we have been getting 2024 sorted.

Our dates are now live for the following courses:

2 Day Survival Courses
2 Day Winter Survival Courses
3 Day Survival Courses
5 Day Survival Challenge
Foraging Courses at Alvie and Perthshire
Half Day Family Courses
Navigation Skills Training Course
Woodland Skill Leader Courses
Bushcraft Competency Courses
Bushcraft Competency Awards
2 Day Outdoor First Aid Courses

We look forward to having a busy 2024!

May Survival Weekend

3 Day Survival Course ✅

2 Day Survival Course ✅

Family Bushcraft and Survival Day ✅

A day to recover ❌

Guess we can’t get it all😂

We ran a 3 Day Survival Course which see’s participants follow PLAN-M, they start the course learning the theoretical side of survival, then they head up into the hill. Up in the woods they learn about how to build emergency and natural shelters taking into consideration heat loss. From there it was into fire lighting. The group is then tasked with making shelters with a plastic sheet and this is to simulate that they have found themselves in a survival situation and have to make a shelter with that material they have – makes it harder than a tarp! The following 2 days sees the group learn about acquisition, how to make an effective location action plan and get stuck into making an Thermal A-Frame Shelter. There is a lot of practical elements with the 3 dayers giving them a lot of time to put to practice what they have learnt. The 2 Day Survival Course follows a very similar program but a bit more condensed, however still challenging!

Our Family Bushcraft and Survival Day was a really fun and engaging day for all. They learnt how to build natural shelters, how to light fires and obviously got to toast marshmallows. The group also learnt about knife skills and put them to practice making a spatula. With some archery and slingshot activities as well!

A very busy weekend for the BCS team but over all a great success. Our calendar is filled with other dates so be sure to check them out to get involved.

Wales Coast Path Expedition 2024

Backcountry Survival Ltd are proud sponsors of Neil Smith who in June 2024 will attempt the Wales Coast Path unsupported in 30 days to raise money for charities; Walking with the Wounded (WWTW), Combat Stress and the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA). In addition, through this challenge, he also aims to raise awareness of the CitytoSea charity.

The Wales Coast Path covers 870 miles (1,400km) of primarily rugged terrain with a total rise and fall of 95,800ft (29,200m), almost three times the height of Everest. What makes this challenge unique is the conditions that he will be operating within. He will be using no public facilities whatsoever throughout the journey whether that be accommodation, places to eat, shops, campsites etc. He will be setting off on my journey with 20-30KG of supplies and will be required to apply bushcraft and foraging skills along the way to complete the route. He will source and process his own food, purify his own water, and keep himself rested and medically fit through wild camping and the use of natural resources. This is not only a physical and mental endurance challenge but also a severe test of the bushcraft and foraging skills that he will be learning from some of the country’s best survival, bushcraft, and foraging experts. Which is where we come in!

To find out more about what Neil has planned, the conditions it will be under and how to donate to the charities, follow this link to the website.

As his journey develops we will post updates. Best of luck to Neil!

Easter Holidays with BCS

Looking for something to entertain the kids this Easter Holiday? Get the youngsters out learning in the woods this Easter on our Bushcraft Bonanza🌲

A half day event learning about shelter building, fire lighting, whittling, navigation, team building and more.

Monday 10th April – 10am to 2pm – Murthly Estate – £25pp. Open for 5 – 16 year olds.

April Courses

Got a youngster who you’re looking to entertain during the Easter holidays? Are you looking at becoming a leader/instructor in bushcraft? Want to give yourself a challenge? Or are you looking at gaining first aid knowledge to compliment your adventures?

We are running the following in April:

Monday 10th – Bushcraft Bonanza for 5-16 year olds. Half day event. Courses for Kids and Families – Backcountry Survival Ltd

Wednesday 12th – Friday 14th – Bushcraft Competency Course – for those starting on the leadership / instructional path. Survival Training Courses in Scotland | Backcountry Survival

Friday 14th – Sunday 16th – 3 Day Survival Course Summer Survival Courses in Scotland | Backcountry Survival

Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th – 2 Day Outdoor First Aid Course and a 2 Day Survival Course Outdoor First Aid – Backcountry Survival Ltd

How to prepare your vehicle for the unexpected

This blog is going to go into detail about how to prepare your vehicle for if you ever find yourself stranded due to bad weather, breakdowns, or unforeseen circumstances. Many people drive up and down the country not even thinking about what do they have on them if they were to find themselves in a situation where they have broken down in a remote location, stranded in bad weather, etc. In certain areas it can take a few hours until rescue can get to you and this has to be considered.

Watch this short video where Derek discusses critical items he carries in his vehicle:

Carrying these items will help you thrive instead of just surviving, as well as keeping you safe if you ever found yourself in a situation.

  1. Protection – Starting off with your vehicle, if you are able to, staying in your vehicle protects you from the elements – rain, snow and wind. However if it is not running it won’t protect you from the cold and if it is running then running your vehicle for 5-10 mins every hour will give some minimal heat while conserving fuel. Therefore it is useful to remember about the clothing layering system:
    • Waterproof Jacket
    • Waterproof Trousers
    • Down Jacket
    • Thermal Middle Layer
    • Hat
    • Gloves
    • The clothes you are wearing
  2. Continuing with protection, having methods of fire lighting; matches, lighter, striker, cotton wool etc. You will see in the video above Derek is also carrying tea lights with him as he can light them and have them in the vehicle with him as a source of light and some heat (have it lit on a non flammable base and crack the window open a little bit), another use is to keep a flame if it is challenging fire lighting weather.
  3. Tools; knives and multi tool – this will assist with collecting kindling for the fire, cutting cord to make a shelter and even whittling to keep your mind busy; referring to keeping the Will to Live.
  4. Means of getting located:
    • Whistle – having a pealess whistle is a necessity when going out and about, it is loud enough to get you heard by anyone nearby.
    • Survival Bag – the bright orange survival bags are great for using as a form of protection or as a method of highlighting your location.
    • Phone and battery pack – have a way of charging your phone that doesn’t rely on your vehicle working. This will help hugely. Refer to our blog “DEVICES AND MOBILE APPS; WHAT DO BCS USE” on how we use our phones to help get located other than calling 999. Also keep the battery pack insulated if possible to prolong battery life.
  5. Having a personal first aid kit as a minimum is beneficial, you don’t know what situations you could end up in. Keep the first aid kits stocked up as well.
  6. A compass – if you end up stranded in an area you do not know, this will help orientate yourself and hopefully help you get to safety if your decided to leave your vehicle. If you do have plans to go somewhere, get a map of the area.
  7. Paracord is a fantastic item to carry due to its multi use; it will help with shelter building, making a pot stand to aid boiling water, repairing items, etc.
  8. A method of boiling water. Derek shows his gas cooker and metal pot that does not rely on a fire being established. This way he can always have clean water (as long as he is near a source of water) and he can have a hot drink or cook himself food.
  9. Food and snacks. Have a stash of food like ‘boil in the bag’ rations and some long life snacks stored away. Keeping yourself fed, especially with warm food, helps to increase your internal body heat keeping you warmer.
  10. Keep fresh water. When going away Derek fills up the container/bag with water so he is always carrying around 2L of water with him. This will keep him hydrated as well as assisting with cooking up his food. Having a water filter or chlorine tablets will give you another method of making water safe to drink if you can’t boil it.
  11. Headtorch. Having a good quality head torch and spare batteries is also a good idea. This means you don’t have to use your vehicle lights and waste its battery. It will also give you a light source if you make the decision to leave your vehicle.
  12. Sleeping System. You don’t know how long you may be stranded for so it is always best to be prepared, having a sleeping bag in the vehicle will not only help if you need to be in it overnight but it will also protect you from the cold whilst you are waiting. This alongside a bivi bag and a sleeping mat will help you thrive and stay warm in very cold conditions.
  13. The best advice is usually to stay with your vehicle, however if the situation arises that you have to move, it is useful to have a rucksack so that you can carry gear along with you. This could be used to store your items in whilst not in use as well.
  14. Snow chains. During winter conditions these can be very useful to ensure you can still drive safely on snow covered roads.
  15. Extra fuel. This will allow you to run your vehicle for longer if stranded with it or to drive further to safety when in areas with no fuel stations. If carrying extra fuel make sure you have a funnel or nozzle that fits into the fuel filler cap. Modern filler caps are designed to only let certain types/sizes of nozzles in so make sure you carry one that fits.
  16. Shovel – to help dig you out of the snow if your vehicle became stuck.
  17. High vis jacket, to keep you seen and safe if moving around the outside of your vehicle.

We hope this blog and supporting video gives you some ideas of items to consider having in your vehicle next time you are heading off on an adventure or long drive up and down the country, especially when there is a chance of adverse weather conditions. For further advice or training on this topic or other survival and bushcraft courses please head to our website

Packing your rucksack? What are the essentials?

When it comes to an adventure, the preparation stage is crucial. In our last post we discussed what devices and apps we recommend, here we will discuss some small essential items that can be really beneficial if it came to dealing with a bad situation.

  1. Whistle. Don’t rely on the whistle that is incorporated into your rucksacks buckle, get yourself an actual whistle. The orange safety/warning whistles are the best to get. If you’re ever in need doing 6 long blasts in the space of a minute then stay quiet for a minute. You’re wanting to hear 3 blasts back. Do this back and forth until you’re located. Remember, you may be the one who has to respond to the whistle.
  2. Emergency Blanket. So many uses and it is so light, no excuse to pack a couple. They can be used in many ways, starting off with First Aid; it can be used to wrap up an injured person to keep them warm. Secondly it can be used as an emergency shelter to get out of the elements, set it up as a lean-to shelter you’ll get protection from the wind and the thermal properties will help keep you warm. Finally, it can be used as part of a location action plan, it’ll reflect the sun as part of a tinsel tree or use it with a head torch to reflect the light into the sky.
  3. Survival Bag. Similar to an emergency blanket it has a good few uses. First of all as a survival bag which can be put round an individual and their bag to protect them from the environment. It can also be cut and opened up and made into an emergency lean-to shelter.
  4. Cylumes. Both small and large are useful to pack in your rucksack. They can be utilised in a location action plan to reflect off of emergency blankets at night time. They are also useful for putting on or near your shelters especially natural shelters to help when you go away from your shelter to make sure you don’t get disorientated. Cylumes are also a great fire ignition; some ways are cutting open a cylume pouring some of it onto a cotton ball then lighting it or as a fire is struggling to catch pouring a small amount of cylume onto it.
  5. Head torch – This should be in every rucksack when going out as you never know what could happen and when you might find yourself out when the night comes in. You can also use a headtorch as part of a location action plan. Place it on a small tripod and reflect it off of an emergency blanket and it will reflect a beam into the sky. A top top is when you’re storing your headtorch turn one or more of the batteries around so it won’t turn on in your bag and potentially die. Also, always carry spare batteries.
  6. Small pocket knife/multi tool – Remember the best knife you can have is the one you have on you. Although you may be carrying a knife, it is always good to have a small pocket knife/multi tool in your rucksack especially as with multi tools it has various sections that you may find useful when out and about.
  7. Battery pack – Mobile devices are useful tools and we do strongly recommend not relying on them however carrying a battery pack can enhance how useful they can be and for how long.
  8. Paracord – Paracord is very useful as in one metre of paracord you have a total of 8 metres (depending on the paracord some have different amount of innings) of useful paracord as you can pull out the innings of the paracord to give you more material.
  9. Small First Aid Kit – Depending on the activity it is always useful to carry a first aid kit, even if it is a small one. Being able to apply basic first aid to injuries could really help avoid ending up in a survival situation.
  10. Lighter/Matches – there is no cheating in survival, don’t leave it to rubbing two sticks together to make a fire. Always carry a way of lighting a fire and even a back up method.

Winter is around the corner…

No matter how much we want to deny it, there are only 5 months left of 2022, and we will soon be in the midst of winter. Which is why we have released our 2023 Winter Survival Courses dates!

Join us in January, February and March to put your survival skills to the test in Scottish Winter Conditions. Sleep out in a version of Mors Kochanski’s Super Shelter and put the science of survival to practice.

Winter Survival Courses in Scotland | Backcountry Survival


This article discusses a small handful of a wide variety of devices that can help with sharing your location, either with yourself, your emergency contact or to emergency services if the situation arises. Everything we discuss here, we use and promote the use of in our Location lessons.


eTrex 10

The Garmin Global Positioning System receivers work off of the 24 GPS satellites that orbit the Earth. These orbit the Earth twice a day and transmit signals back. The Garmin eTrex 10 Handheld GPS has high-sensitivity and works off of the GPS receivers and HotFix® satellite prediction. We have found that this has been able to maintain our location in all kinds of areas and has kept it’s accuracy. The Garmin eTrex 10 Handheld GPS holds a wordwide basemap, however, you can not download additional maps on to the system. It is powered by 2 AA batteries, so it is easy to keep it charged when out on longer hikes.


inReach® Mini

The Garmin inReach Mini follows the same GPS system as the Garmin Etrex 10 Handheld GPS however, it has quite a few more features that make it one of our favourite devices. The inReach Mini does require a subscription but you can pay for when you want to use it. For example, if you’re planning an expedition August – September, you’ll pay for those two months then don’t pay for it when you’re not using it. Here are some reasons why it is one of our favourite devices:

  1. One of the most useful features is it’s Two Way Global Messaging. You can send text messages to your contacts and communication inReach to inReach when out and about. We have used this to send our emergency contacts a message to say we have arrived at our camp and then they have been able to message us back confirming they received the message. This is really beneficial when we have found ourselves with little to no signal, the messages are sent via the global Iridium satellite network. There is reports of it being used to post on social media as well, however we have yet to try this out.
  2. There is an Interactive SOS Alert, which once alerted get’s sent to Garmin over in Houston, once your position is located it get’s pinged to a station near your area, which for the UK would be the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, Fareham.
  3. Location Sharing; this feature is great for when you’re heading to areas out of signal to keep your loved ones up to date, it has an ability to share your location and they can ping your device for an update. With this feature, the more you pay a month, the more frequently your location pings.
  4. It has a weather forecast service, so you can check on the weather forecast for your location or look ahead at points ahead of your journey.

Here is a short video explaining how the Garmin inReach Mini works when you require help:

App Store – Official Apple Support


Before we start, we want to emphasise that when you go out on hikes or adventures, do no purely rely on your phone. Always take a map and a compass with you as your primary method of navigation. If you are using your phone (alongside other aids) ensure you bring a portable charger as well. Here are some things on our mobile phones we use and discuss in our Location lesson that can be used for when you have signal.


SARLOC can be used without downloading an app but it requires data signal:

  1. When you have data and signal, you will phone emergency services , they will then send you a text message with a URL link and as soon as you click this, it will send your location to Emergency Services.

Emergency Services were trying to find out a way to help lost personal when they don’t have data, which is where the development of SARLOC V 2 was created, which is an app that can be downloaded. If you have the app and find yourself with signal and no data then:

  1. You will phone the emergency services, then you can use the app to give you your exact location and verbally tell the Emergency Services what your grid references are.

If you have the app and have data signal then Emergency Services may give you a SARKEY which once entered into the app will send your location to the Emergency Services like the URL link does.

The SARLOC app can currently be downloaded on the Apple App Store for less than £2. An android version is currently under development and testing.

Here is a link to Mike Raine Upland Lives podcast episode with Russ Hore who is the creator of SARLOC:


Cover art

OSLocate is an app that compliments the use of Maps and should not replace a compass. The app doesn’t require signal, the inbuilt GPS system can find your location. OSLocate converts the GPS location readings from your mobile phone to the Ordnance Survey National Grid references so you can locate yourself on the map accurately. The app also includes a compass feature as well as the option to share your location with friends and family via messaging or social media.


See the source image

We are often asked about What3Words and the reliability of it after some negative reports came out. The app has divided the world into three metre squares and each of these squares are given a combination of three words, for example the BCS Bothy is articulated.eagles.revolting. This has become rather handy when sharing amongst friends and family to share where you are, however there were reports of Emergency Services not advising the use of what3words due to the issue of pronunciation. As we all pronounce words differently, there were issues where the Emergency Services were getting sent to the completely wrong place as they had heard a word wrong or it had been said differently due to accents. What3Words has listened to these reports and have now added the feature of 6-10 figure grid references being provided alongside the three words. If you have this app and haven’t set that up yet, here is how:

  1. Click on Setting
  2. Click on Display Settings
  3. Scroll down to ‘Country-specific systems’ and drop the arrow down to open up the menu
  4. Here you can choose to have either Eastings, Northing or the choice of 6, 8 or 19 Digit Grid Reference

Depending on your choice your location will look similar to this:

No description available.

This has been a brief run through of some of the devices and apps we have trialed and use when out and about either on our own personal adventures or with groups. As mentioned before there is a wide variety of devices/apps available and all have their advantages and disadvantages and it is all down to personal preference. No point having a device or app that you don’t know how to work. Just don’t be that person who climbs a hill using Google Maps…


We are ready for 2022, all survival courses are now live to book onto!

For our winter survival courses (including our Winter Skills and Snowholing Courses) from January to March follow this link:…/winter-courses/

For our summer survival courses (including our 5 dayer) April to October follow this link:…/summer-courses/

Keep your eyes peeled for our 4000s, Lairig Ghru, Woodland Skills Leader, Bushcraft Competency Course and Outdoor First Aid Courses getting released soon as well 👀

Family and Kid Courses

October Holidays are round the corner, so we have got our Bushcraft Bonanza (5-10 year old), Survival Mission (11-17 year old) and Family Courses running to help entertain either the young people in your life or the entire family.

Come and spend half a day learning bushcraft skills and putting them to practice. The course will cover various survival and bushcraft lessons, some of the things covered may be:

Basic Navigation



Water Filters

Knife Work

First Aid

Team Building and more!


Saturday 9th October @ Alvie Estate – Family Course – £50pp

Monday 18th October @ Murthly Estate – Bushcraft Bonanza ( 5-10 year old) – £50pp

Wednesday 20th October @ Murthly Estate – Survival Mission ( 11 – 15 year old) – £50pp

Friday 22nd October @ Alvie Estate – Family Course – £50pp

Email to book your spaces. Bespoke family courses are available at Murthly and Alvie, minimum booking value £200.

Upcoming Courses

Upcoming Courses July to August:


23rd – 25th: 3 Day Survival Course

23rd: Survival Mission/Bushcraft Bonanza @ Alvie

For more information follow the link for the following courses:

2/3/5 Day Survival Courses:…/summer-courses/

Bushcraft Bonanza / Survival Mission:…/young-people…/

Outdoor First Aid and Bushcraft Competency Certificate:…/training-courses/

Lairig Ghru and 4000s Expeditions:

5 Day Survival Course

“Challenge yourself, it’s the only path which leads to growth” – Morgan Freeman

Have you attended a 3 Day Survival Course with us or an equivalent course with another provider and are looking for your next challenge? Well, get yourself booked onto our first 5 Day Survival Course!

Running 26th-30th August, the first day will see you go over revision from the 3 Day course then from there the rest of the course will follow a survival scenario where you will have to survive for 4 days. A brilliant course to put your knowledge and skills to the test 💪

Head to our website to find out more details and book your place.

Covid Update

Courses are back up and running in both our Murthly and Alvie sites! With the ever changing circumstances, if we are not able to run a course we will publish an announcement to say so.

Got concerns about booking onto a course and covid restrictions? Check out our updated Terms and Conditions to see what is in place to ensure Covid doesn’t ruin your chances of getting onto a course with us.

Good news, we’re back!

Finally some good news and we have a lot to share!

April – All our April courses will be run in Murthly, Perthshire. We have the following courses (also pictured below) available to book on:

For those wanting to focus more on survival skills we have full day survival courses available for Under 18s only and Over 18s, you can book your place following this link…/survival-courses/

May onwards:

1) May will see us back up at our Alvie Estate so all 2-3 Day courses will be back up and running open to everyone from all areas. You can book your place following this link…/summer-courses/

2) May will also see our Woodland Skills Leader course going ahead over the 21st – 24th May with Andy Lewis Bushcraft. If you are interested in delivering woodland & bushcraft skills or are a teacher, scout leader, outdoor instructor or youth worker who wishes to deliver woodland skills, such as Bushcraft & Survival activities then this course is for you. Anyone interested will have to email showing leadership experience and other NGBs or teaching/coaching qualifications as well as any Bushcraft/Survival experience.…/training-courses/