Back in 1986 my paper round money went on a copy of John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman’s SAS Survival Handbook. I still have it.
I’d managed to get a copy just before it was banned. Shortly after it was revised without the mantraps and chemical concoctions. All the bits we would talk about at school.
I had spent a good chunk of my childhood living in and around woodland and to say this book changed me is an understatement. My dens soon became sturdy shelters with some still standing 15 years later. I had always had a knife, ever since I was five. My Granddad had taught me how to respect it and Lofty had taught me how to use it. His book not just gave me new skills, it gave me a new understanding of the wilderness and how to survive in it.
While others my age were doing their homework or playing football, I was trapping, whittling, building and foraging. As I explored the book I explored my surroundings and fell in love with nature and all the secrets it looked after.
In a large tent surrounded by likeminded outdoors folk & Bushcrafters, we all sat and listened as he told us a little about his own journey and what he had learned while serving 26 years in the SAS.
I sat cross-legged at the front and without thinking clicked record on a small digital recorder. I am not sure there is another audio record of this talk.
Due to the number of mobile phones in close proximity, the recording was close to inaudible in places. I had @MCFontaine (Mark Cotton – audio wrangler) take a look at it and he has tweaked and restored it so that all three 30 minute parts can be comfortably listened too below. I’m amazed at how well he has cleaned it up. There’s still a little distortion in a couple of spots but hang in there, Lofty tells a great story and shares some unique insight.