Specialist Instructor Biographies
Brian DesmondBrian, who oversees our courses in Norway, served with the British military for 25 years, specialising in winter warfare. He has represented Great Britain in X-country skiing, ski orienteering, (5 World Championships) and is a former British biathlon champion.
Brian's last 6 years in the Army were as a full-time adventure training instructor at the British Outward Bound Centre, Norway. As a BASI 1 ski teacher, Brian was responsible for running BASI courses in Norway and assessing summer/winter expedition leaders for the 3 services. Brian has also completed a two year Norwegian Ski degree course at the University of Volda in Northern Norway. In addition to skiing, Brian has qualifications in many outdoor activities.
On leaving the services in 1988 Brian remained in Norway with his Norwegian wife and their children. Brian is now the course coordinator and manager of the Joint Services Training Centre, Evjemoen, an adventure training establishment in Southern Norway. The JSTC is an all-year round outdoor activity centre for both service personnel and civilians.
Over the years Brian has led over 70 summer and winter expeditions in Norway, some as long as 450kms through some of Norway's most well-known mountain areas. Brian is well recognised for his expertise, an example being asked to work as a special consultant for the Norwegian army to organise and teach Dutch special forces in Arctic warfare and X-country skiing.
Brian's other main interest is Norwegian war history, particularly the dramatic and daring raid on the heavy water plant at Rjukan during the winter of 1943. Brian's intimate knowledge of this action, of the Hardanger Vidda, and his close relationship with some of the surviving saboteurs led Brian to be heavily involved in Ray's documentary, "The Real Heroes of Telemark", in 2002/3. Since then Brian has also been sought out to work on several other film projects associated with this particular action.
Brian is very excited to be involved with Woodlore:
It was a huge pleasure to work with Ray on the Telemark series and, now being involved in working with Britain's leading Bushcraft company as well as leading the most exciting and demanding battlefield tour in the world – the 'Heroes of Telemark' winter expedition.
Lars FältA true master of his environment, Lars has lived and worked all his life in the frozen splendour of the Arctic North and has already squeezed into one life time what many of us couldn't hope to achieve in several. For 35 years he instructed at the Swedish Army's Ranger School in Kiruna, Lapland and the Parachute Training School, Karlsborg. He has also trained with UK and US Special Forces, and in 1980 he established the Swedish Army's Survival School.
As well as his military instructing, Lars has worked with indigenous peoples from such far flung places as Siberia to Canada, all the way down to Australia, and is also the author of 8 books on Survival and outdoor skills.
As if that wasn't enough, Lars has also completed many arduous journeys across the frozen North, one dog sled trip covering 2000km over 5 weeks, and every year he takes a month out to canoe the vast arctic wilderness that he calls home.
Tony Pape (Blue)Being originally from the Lakes, the great outdoors and outdoor activities formed an integral part of Blue's life from as far back as he can remember. He'd climbed the 5 highest mountains in England before he was 12 yrs old.
At 15 Blue began canoeing, originally as a means of keeping in shape on the wet days when he couldn't climb. His 15th summer also saw the beginning of a career in the outdoors with his first instructing job at Denton House LEA centre in Keswick. He left the Lakes at 18 and went to work in Spain, then Italy and finally ended up in France – leading groups down the Ardeche Gorge. Blue managed his first outdoor activity centre when he was 21 yrs old. In the 21 yrs Blue has worked and lived in the Ardeche area he has lead in excess of 1200 canoe expeditions in 10 countries over 3 continents.
He loves the challenges that are posed by canoeing on open and moving water in remote locations. Blue has spent 27 yrs and over 25,000 hours attempting to master the canoe but he still considers it to be a means to an end; a beautiful means, but it's the journey that counts.
Blue lives with his wife, Caroline and their daughters in a small village at the bottom of the Ardeche Gorge. He provides high quality courses in canoeing and adventure training as well as outfitting and guiding across the southern Alps, Massif Central and Ardeche. Blue is a BCU UKCC Trainer and Assessor. He also holds a number of qualifications in several outdoor activities and is a keen scuba diver.
Glyn SheppardGlyn Sheppard leads the Woodlore Nordic Skiing, Heroes of Telemark and Nordic Intermediate Ski Touring courses in Norway under the guidance of Brian Desmond. Glyn has served with the British military for over 30 years, specialising in physical and outdoor education and has been skiing for over 30 years. He has been involved in Nordic X-country skiing at the highest level, coaching and managing members of the Great Britain ski team. His final 3 years in the military were spent preparing soldiers for the 2006 Everest West Ridge expedition, when he was a leader on the extremely successful "Development" team.
Glyn retired from the Army as one of the leading specialists in Adventurous Training (AT) in remote environments. His final position was as a Major responsible for delivering safe and robust AT across the whole Army. Glyn has a variety of top qualifications in both skiing and mountaineering and has been responsible for producing instructors in a variety of activities for many years. As well as holding many national and international activity qualifications, Glyn also holds a postgraduate diploma in outdoor education from Edinburgh University.
On leaving the services in 2007 Glyn has specialised in personal and inter-personal development through the medium of outdoor activities. He has been a consultant on many projects within mainland Europe and is currently involved in leadership development programs for young people.
Glyn has led and guided on many ski expeditions over the years around the world including Alaska, Canada, Asia, European Alps and Norway and is still involved in leading military groups in partnership with Brian on various projects in the heart of Norway. He is now excited to be involved with the Woodlore program and more specifically in teaching, leading and guiding on the Nordic Skiing, Heroes of Telemark and Nordic Intermediate Ski Touring courses.
Jamie CookeJamie Cooke is our First Aid instructor for the Woodlore Wilderness Emergency Medic level 1 and Level 2 courses, and also trains the Woodlore team. Jamie is a State Registered Paramedic and worked in the Sussex Ambulance service for 8 years. During his time in the ambulance service Jamie was involved in the teaching of Paramedics in Pre-hospital Thrombolysis and ECG Interpretation.
On leaving the ambulance service Jamie established Fusion Medical Limited with his partner Sharon, an Ambulance Technician, providing realistic first aid training, a private ambulance service, event medical cover and medical escorts. In 2012 Jamie decided to concentrate on the medical training side of the business and established Solo Medical Training Limited. The Solo Medical Training name was chosen as it reflects that the skills learnt are often put in to practice when the rescuer is alone, solo. Solo Medical Training Limited is an HSE approved first aid training company.
As well as running Solo Medical Training, Jamie is an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Instructor for the Resuscitation Council (UK) as well as being a Resuscitation Officer teaching all grades of clinical staff in a number of Hospitals, both NHS and private around the country as well as in General and Dental Practices. Some of his teaching also involves working with Police and other emergency services making every day different.
Before being a paramedic Jamie started his working life as a fire-fighter in Norfolk for 8 years.
Will LordFlint Knapper Will Lord grew up at Grimes Graves, a group of Neolithic flint mines in Norfolk. Together with the support of his father, John Lord, Will mastered the art of flint knapping.
Will has developed his skill to a level and knowledge of its uses in the Stone Age and now delivers this with a clear and interesting approach. He uses the same tools and methods to work the stone as had been used in the past, such methods include quartzite and basalt hard hammers and deer antler soft hammers.
Flint knapping with Will is a great way to unfold the complexities that you will be faced with in the stone and gain access to the minds behind the tools that remain with us today from vast distances into the past (Great Britain 1000,000 years to 3500 years ago).
Phil ColesPhil Coles has worked for the past 15 years as a wildlife film maker, often working with Ray in the UK and overseas. He's widely travelled and has spent a lot of time observing animals at close quarters. Though currently a producer at ITV he's also produced films for National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery among others, on subjects as diverse as baboons to bears or hummingbirds to humpback whales.
Animals have been Phil's greatest passion since childhood, and from an early age it was marine mammals that particularly caught his imagination. From the age of 15 he has regularly taken part in whale-watching and scientific surveys, was one of the founders of a whale and dolphin charity and has written and illustrated numerous books and articles on the subject. He's also worked as a guide on many whale and wildlife watching trips, mostly in European waters.
Phil loves wildlife art and photography and spends a lot of time in the field gathering reference material to feed into his next painting. Aside from books his pictures have been used in television documentaries, including the title sequence of Wild Britain with Ray Mears. He's been travelling to Wyoming regularly since 2000 and considers it his favourite place, having a special soft spot for mountains, aspen and moose!
Chris BoytonFrom an early age Chris has been fascinated by bows and arrows and how far he can get the arrow to travel. Chris's father reinforced this love of bows when he made Chris his own bow and arrows to practice and experiment with. Whilst on a camping holiday in the summer of 1974, Chris found a small shop in Edenbridge, Kent where he could purchase Yew staves from. He bought one of these and with the advice of the shop owner, Tony Harris, who gave him an outline, Chris produced his first self-Yew bow, and never stopped making bows from that day to the present.
In 1976 Chris met Richard Galloway, the late Scottish artist and bow designer, who had quite an impact on Chris's understanding of bow design and construction. Some of Galloway's techniques are only just being re-discovered by bow-makers today, as if they are new ideas. In 1993, after being made redundant from his full-time job with British Telecom, Chris continued his hobby as a business, and Boyton Archery was formed, to produce Swedish Pine arrow shafts and superb wooden bows that he has become renowned for around the world. Chris even supplied all the arrow shafts for the film Gladiator.
Ray considers Chris Boyton to be the country's top bow maker and he has worked with Woodlore for many years with his specialist expertise on the Primitive Technology and Christmas Walk in the Woods courses. In addition to this, Chris makes the wonderful Woodlore Folding Buck Saw. Together, Ray and Chris designed this exclusive version from a very old concept for Woodlore.
Chris has also featured in Ray's programme Aboriginal Britain from the Bushcraft Survival Series, making a bow and arrows using Stone Age tools and methods. In the same series Ray visited the Hadza tribe in Northern Tanzania and gave them a bow made by Chris.
During his career Chris has made bows for celebrities both on Television and radio. He has also made a bow for the keeper of weapons at the Royal Armouries, and given talks on Bowmaking at the Tower of London. Due to Chris's wealth of knowledge he has also been asked to help and appear in various television programmes regarding bows and their history including with Robert Hardy on a programme from the series Trees that made Britain and also in the documentary The Real Robin Hood for director Ridley Scott.
Furthermore, Chris was part of the team which measured and recorded the details of the longbows found on the Tudor wreck the Mary Rose. Information from this study is to be found in the publication, Weapons of Warre: The Ordnance of the Mary Rose.
Hector ColeHector Cole has a worldwide reputation for the forging of high quality historic arrowheads. This reputation is based on years of blacksmithing experience. Hector specialises in the reconstruction of archaeological artifacts using the same materials and techniques of ancient smiths.
He has not only carried out extensive research on the forging of arrowheads but is also a leading authority on the smithing techniques and skills of Saxon swordsmiths. Hector Cole's expertise is seen regularly on numerous television programmes dealing with the reconstruction of ancient craft skills and in particular the skills of the swordsmith.
In addition to his historic work, Hector Cole is also a Silver medal holder of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths and a Livery man of that company. To achieve this prestigious award, a broad knowledge of smithing skills is required, ranging from the traditional smithing skills, design skills, knowledge of the blacksmith's craft and its history and the use of modern techniques and equipment.
Hector Cole's work can be seen in museums throughout Europe including The Royal Armouries, The Mary Rose Museum and The Museum of London. He has also produced forge work for members of the Royal Family including the gates and rail for His Royal Highness Prince Charles's Highgrove House.
Pinock SmithDaniel Smith, or Pinock as he is known within his community and surrounding area, was born in 1950 and was raised on the native reservation of Kitigan Zibi and is of the Algonquin Nation. Kitigan Zibi, being a poor community with very little work in those days, meant that many people depended on Nature to help them meet their needs.
As a child and a part of his earlier years, Pinock was therefore exposed to his native culture and many of the old skills being practiced, whether it be in birch bark works like canoes, baskets, shelters, snowshoe making, making clothing from tanning hides, sleighs, toboggans, etc. Pinock says:
Pinock has had a varied employment history including farm work, factory work, guiding, forestry, but most of the time he has taught in schools, college, and for the past 25 years he has been earning his lively hood from nature and his culture, either in giving workshops, demonstrations, or just talking about his culture, which he enjoys.Although I was never formally taught I am definitely not self-taught, I was taught from the school of life and I had good teachers, grandparents, parents, and the whole community, so a little did rub off on me.
In 2004 Pinock joined Ray in Canada to build a birch bark canoe for the television series Bushcraft Survival, and we are now very pleased to welcome Pinock into our camp and offer a special course based on this for our 30th Anniversary.
Nigel WilliamsNigel has been the Head of Training at Glenmore Lodge the Scottish National Outdoor centre for the past 15 years. Prior to this he had worked in an LEA outdoor centre on the west coast of Scotland after retiring from the Army.
During his time in the services he spent a number of years in Norway as both an instructor and chief instructor of the Joint Services Adventure Training Centre. Later he had a similar role at the Joint Services Scottish Adventure Training Centre.
Over the years Nigel has taken part in a wide variety of expeditions which include trips, to the Himalayas, Greenland, South Georgia and Alaska. He has crossed the Greenland ice sheet following Nansens’ original crossing route, been to 8000m on Everest on two separate expeditions, and summited the 7,500m peak Pung Pa Ri in Tibet. He reckons he has spent several hundred nights in snowholes including a 5 night stint at 7,500m.
Nordic skiing was the original catalyst for all his adventures and still remains his preferred mode of travel in remote areas. Nigel holds national and international qualifications in mountaineering and Nordic skiing and is delighted to be teaming up with old friends Brian and Glyn to support the Woodlore Nordic ski program.