Meet the Locals:
What would you do if you found yourself lost in the wilderness, without food, water, shelter or a phone signal? Could you survive? Paul Moore has perfected the skills it takes to live off the land and he has a passion for sharing it with others. His bushcraft courses at Carnfunnock Country Park are a fun way to learn essential survival skills in a safe and friendly environment. We caught up with him to discover more.
Back to Basics
“We teach bushcraft and wilderness living skills to match each season,” he explains, “and Carnfunnock Country Park is the perfect place to do it. We build shelters from wood we find in the park, like coppiced hazel. We make fires from scratch and live the basic outdoor life like cave people – with furs and flint spears, cooking food in a pit.”
Carnfunnock Country Park is well-known for its camping and caravan facilities, and its mind-bending hedge maze. But there are plenty of areas that have been left to nature, burgeoning with natural resources that you can use to survive – if you know how.
“I often take visitors around the Walled Garden here,” says Paul. “It’s packed with herbs and the most unexpected treasures like the kiwi vine, which extends high up over wooden trestles. The fruit is perfectly edible.”
Northern Ireland Survival School
Paul has been living close to the wild since his childhood. “I’ve always had a great affection for wild places, for nature.
From an early age, I remember building huts, camping out and fishing with my friends.”He and his friend Andrew Boe started the Northern Ireland Survival School in 2011 to teach others the skills he had honed over the years.
They run courses in many parts of Antrim, but Carnfunnock is a special place that he keeps returning to.
What else can you expect on the course?
“I’ll show people how to find wood, and how to carve it too – perhaps into a spoon or bowl,” says Paul
“Sometimes, we’ll go down to the sea, finding shells and fish to eat. Sometime I’ll have some locally-caught mackerel and I’ll show them how to take the bones out and prepare it. We’ll stuff it with grasses and plants for flavour.
We’ll also forage for berries and fruits. Our guests will discover a world they never knew existed – and they’ll learn how to survive in it too!”
Northern Ireland Survival School conducts courses for all ages and they are constantly expanding to meet demand.
“People really love to get back to nature,” says Paul.
“Carnfunnock Country Park is the perfect place to do it.”