*Still in the Sherwood Forest……?
January in Sherwood Forest was known as ‘Wolf-Month’ for a very good reason; wolf packs driven by snow or cold to shelter in the woodlands in the same way as the outlaws would become a serious threat; the wolves natural food was scarce at that time and starving animals were known to overcome their natural fear of man and enter nearby villages in an attempt to carry off livestock and on more than a few occasions even small children – grown men and horses passing through Sherwood in the medieval period are recorded as having been attacked by wolves, a wintertime hazard that remained until the 14th Century.
In one medieval example, a wolf leaped out on a horse and rider, bit off a piece of horse-rump and fled into the forest with the reeking piece of flesh before the rider realized what had happened. A small child was carried off from Linby by a wolf in the early 12th Century.
Even an armed man on foot would become a hunted quarry and possibly have to face a desperate and terrifying foe suited to the environment and equipped with deadly weapons designed for face-to-face close-combat.
A wonderful morale-booster, fires frighten animals and give off warmth and light and you can then heat your water and cook your food using it, adding a civilized aspect to living rather than just simply surviving outdoors and is what makes most folk today remember as a comfortable camp under canvas or the stars from a past outdoor experience.
Fire can be made using natural materials and is not as hard to create this way as you think if you simply have a go and practice; an everyday task which would be as natural and easy to a medieval person as tying shoelaces or switching on an electric light would be to a modern city-dweller.
Medieval people often carried flint and steel but could also recognize the correct materials for ‘making fire by rubbing two sticks together’ at a glance. This method generally falls into two categories – the fire plough or the fire drill.
Credit: Jonathan C.
P.S. We have many survival advantages Robin Hood and his Merry Men did not have. They lived before matches and other modern fire starters.
Fresh Bow Drill (Poplar on Hazel)
*Thanks to Survival Lilly for the vid; Good job Lilly!
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