Testimonial: November 2017.
Fraser ran a bespoke ‘beach forage and cook’ day for our group as a ‘team away day’.
As a group of Royal Marines which included a Mountain Leader a Pilot and several Landing Craft hands in our number Fraser had his work cut out: not only keeping us in check but teaching us something (we thought) we didn’t already know, suffice to say he managed both with great aplomb, his unique style kept us amused and engaged throughout the day, and his knowledge of all things ‘wild and edible’ was very impressive. Just one day spent with Fraser proved that there is no need to go hungry when you are close to the sea, even in November. Every one that attended learnt a considerable amount, despite the significant previous military survival experience in the group. Fraser is a top bloke who was very generous with his time and knowledge and was also happy to talk about his personal experience of living off grid. Our only complaint was he forgot to get the hot wets (drinks) on as he was too busy imparting his knowledge! Next time the wets are on you Fraser!
Major Royal Marines, Navy Command HQ.
Coastal Survival Courses – student feedback.
Complete Coastal Hunter Gatherer course in south-west Scotland From the 29th June to the 4th July, 9 other students and I undertook the course in south-west Scotland. I took the course as my residential section for my gold Duke of Edinburgh and had a wonderful week learning new skills in foraging, hunting and bush-craft. Most of the students arrived on the Sunday night- with tents pitched the next morning we went got up early to check the long-lines and nets. We caught numerous fish including 2 starry-eyed smooth hounds and a large bass. Despite having to get up really early I thought it was well worth it for the experience. As Monday progressed everyone arrived and we went down to check the lines. On the way down to the coast we were taught about the plants and their medicinal properties and their use as food. We were taught about seaweed and shellfish and how to forage and harvest sustainably. We learnt how to fillet and skin different fish such as the shark family compared to flatfish and round-fish.
Over the next couple of days we caught and foraged our lunch and dinner which we prepared and was cooked by Fraser and I must say was some of the tastiest food I’ve ever had. Eating fish that was caught less than 5 hours ago was great and after only a couple of days I felt really good for it. For some of the days we had freshly baked bread, baked in a Danish oven on an open fire which accompanied the lovely soups made for lunch. We learnt how to make gill nets and long-lines. We kept our gill nets in a pristine condition to take home with us but set our long-lines out on the next tide, making use of old salmon net posts. We caught quite a bit on our long-lines over the week, including dogfish plus large plaice and flounder. Then later on in the week we learnt primitive skills, such as making willow crab traps. The weather was variable but the days when it was bright sunshine were great as we could learn in the sun. We learnt how to make oak and black-thorn hooks attached to nettle cordage which we all made. Every one of us made a long-line snood which we attached to a single long strand of natural chord as a long-line. By having three people teaching us, we could take advantage of a wealth of knowledge from each individual- learning different ways of performing the same task, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
Over the next couple of days as the course came to an end we learnt about survival and how to make the most of limited resources. We learnt how to make traps from beach rubbish and the essentials to survive on the coast. On the last day we learnt how to smoke and preserve effectively both hot and cold smoking fish. On the last tide one of the long-lines that one of the students had made caught a decent size dover sole which we had in the risotto for the last meal which was cooked beautifully.
Despite at some points some students being tired and there being difficulties, I would say that we all enjoyed ourselves and came back with a wealth of knowledge. The weather had been difficult at times but we all pulled through to the end and by the end, worked as a single team unit.
I personally would highly recommend Fraser’s courses and would like to thank not only the teachers but the students for a fabulous week, Tom Garner
“I must admit I was a bit uncertain before starting the course, which I was given as a gift – I am a total newcomer to foraging, with no bushcraft experience whatsoever, no flashy kit, nothing. What’s more, I was the only girl amongst a group of blokes so I did feel a bit intimidated at first. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Fraser and his team ran the course so that everyone learned something and everyone got stuck in. We packed in a huge amount of activities, without it feeling too stressful, we ate and drank amazingly well, had interesting fireside chats, met new people, and discovered lots. I came away inspired, feeling like I’d been part of a team and thinking a little differently about my place in the landscape. Fraser is a generous soul, who works hard to make sure everyone is happy and challenged in equal measure, and I am pretty certain that most people would benefit from some time learning alongside him. ” Micha, 32, London.
“I had long wanted to do something like this. In an age where we increasingly rely on technology to run our lives, it was incredibly refreshing to peel back the clutter and to reconnect to a more traditional way of living. I thought the dynamic in the group was really good, which I feel had a lot to do with how the weekend was set up. It felt like you were getting a genuine experience and a lot of the learning was achieved by being immersed in the environment. Although there were discrete tasks, I felt one of the plus points was how flexible the course was to fit around the people and their abilities. As a total novice, I was put at ease by the way Fraser allotted campsite tasks so that everyone felt useful. This was far more than some naff ‘how to start a fire’ course, but an entry into a whole new way of living. I hope to do more bushcraft in the future.” Tom, 30, London.
2 day (private) off-grid + 3 day CHG. March 2014.
I have recently returned from the above mentioned courses with Fraser and his team at coastal survival, as i intend to move to Portugal in the near future to live off grid. The courses where first class, and I would reccomend them to anyone intrested in Bushcraft, Survival or the present social climate.
Coastal survival HQ is in a woodland off the beaten track in Dorset, plants, trees and wildlife are in abundance, parachute teepi’s hang from trees and little vegetable patches are here and there every thing is in harmony with nature.
The Primitive hunter gatherer course was packed with everything you you need to thrive on the coast and inland with a healthy balanced diet, all methods of fishing using natural, man made materiels and scavenged debris where covered, seaweeds, shellfish and plants both edible and medicinal where covered in great detail, every thing we collected was taken back to camp and turned into fantastic fireside evening meals “Huckleberry Fin by day-5 Star Michellin diners by night”.
The course was made up of people from all walks of life, everybody mucked in and enjoyed themselves . Sleeping arrangements were up to yourself, hammock, basha, parachute or the 5 star Army 12×12!. Breakfast was allways a big part of the day good food and a chin wag to remind and revise on the previous days instruction. Thanks to Fraser’s team, Zoe- natural cordage and lashings, Laff- hedgerow basket making, Paul-animal tracking and trapping, Steve (Frasers 2ic).
I have over the years been trained by and worked with some of the best people both military and civilian in the survival industry, Fraser is right up there with them, he has created something special at Coastal survival school, the fact he has been chosen by the Royal Marines to train it’s own Elite speaks volumes.
Fraser lives “Off grid” his Bender/shelter made from natural and skip scavenged items, this is his home and office, he taught me the pro’s and cons of 12 volt solar panels and wind turbines, wood burning gasifyer stoves, and his daily routine. Home cured air dried bacon and road kill smoking where covered as was foraging, wine making with basic items and primrose flowers, water collection, storage and purification, self composting toilets, herb and veg growing all this and much, much more was crammed in to two days, I think in the near future more people will wish they had these basic skills, A great course, I learnt so much, iI am planning to return soon for more!
A Royal Marine survival instructors review
Hello Fraser my review I am in the royal marines and attended the hunter gatherer course that coastal survival and Fraser Christian run over a three day period. I went on the course with very little knowledge of coastal survival and I wanted to learn as much as I could over the three day period as I have been tasked to deliver a coastal survival day for the royal marines. I was not disappointed. From what I was taught over the course from the highly knowledgeable instructors I was able to run a coastal survival day for the royal marines. If anything I had too much information to put across to the lads and not enough time due to tides. Feedback from the lads and the higher Archie came back along the lines that it was a very good lesson and all of this just from one weekend with Fraser and his instructors. When on the course it met all my expectations. The manor of which the course is run was ideal really relaxed with some very small amounts of pressure. When the day’s lessons have finished from improvised lobster pots, costal vegetation and to my favourite the gill net or pulling wild carrots out of the beach you will be back at Frasers camp under a parachute around a fire eating what you have caught and foraged over the day. For me this is what I liked CATCH IT KILL IT EAT IT. Nothing went to waste. After that and everything is cleared away and clean and you have got a beer open you are still learning as everyone is spinning their dits (stories) around the fire about their methods and experiences. I would recommend this course and Fraser Christian to anyone that fancies getting into or enhancing their knowledge of survival or just getting back to the basics this environment would also be ideal for some father son bonding time. There will always be a link between the Royal Marines and Fraser Christian as what he has got as a product is exactly what we need and delivered at the rite standard and tempo. With that in mind we will be looking to put lads on the course in the future to keep our own knowledge current and up to date.
I attended the ‘Eat the Beach’ foraging course on a rather blustery, and at times squally day in May. Fraser led us from a convenient car park at the top of Lyme Regis through a small patch of woodland and on to the beach. He talked passionately about the role that wild plants have had, and should indeed have in our daily lives with regards to nutrition and medication. This was backed up by some common and some unusual examples that he found close to hand while walking.
Fraser’s open and informal manner invited questions from the group and it was possible to ask about anything that you had either found that day or heard about as a ‘rural myth’. He also stated that he himself is always learning and this encouraged members of the group to share their knowledge or anecdotes about the plants around them.
Due to the adverse weather, the beach forage was quite short, but we did find enough to take back to camp (set up at our morning meeting point) and have a tea making session and cook up in relative comfort. The seafood/seaweed/woodland plant risotto/paella really was quite delicious.
The course gave us the confidence to try unusual things and attempt to thoroughly explore them with all of our senses to help lodge them firmly in our memory. Even common plants that we find all around us like stinging nettles proved versatile and nutritious.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone with any interest at all in finding out about the benefits of plants around you and are keen enough to discover new ones. It can, I imagine, become and addictive pastime which can help us to re-establish a bond with the natural environment.
I thoroughly enjoyed the coastal foraging trip yesterday. Your enthusiasm and knowledge was evident, and coupled with your undoubted talent as a chef a perfect day was had. I shall be looking closer at the hedgerows near my home from now on and will drink nettle tea more often! Thank you and all the best. Martin Holliwell
Thank you again for your Coast Hunter course. It was a lot wilder than I expected and more interesting because of it. This wasn’t the sort of make-believe survival course where everything has to be whittled from sticks and we pretend that plastic doesn’t exist. It was about using the things we are actually likely to find around us. I had no idea that so many plants were edible, nor that they would actually turn out to be quite nice to eat. I booked the course as a Christmas present for my son, with the idea that we could do some male bonding together. It achieved this goal brilliantly but what I didn’t expect was that I would also have as much fun as I did. You are a proper ‘wild man of the woods’. Not just an only-while-the-cameras-are-running television personality, but the real deal.
Here are some of the better photos from the weekend. Feel free to use any of them on your website, if you like.
When my best mate asked me to be his best man, my thoughts went straight to the Stag Do. I had previously arranged my brother’s stag with Fraser and had such a good time it was an obvious choice again.
Although the Stag was arranged for early February in one of the coldest winters for a few years, I decided a survival camping trip in Dorset would be a great idea!! Fraser and Si organised a bespoke 2 day course covering the basics of survival including, fire making, foraging, game preparation and cooking. It was not only educational but a really good crack. For some of us in particular who have moved from the “sticks” to living and working in the city it was a real reminder of our childhoods.
If you’re looking from a change to traipsing round dull bars and getting thrown out of strip clubs it is a great alternative. 12 guys all from quite different backgrounds all had a great time and there is even talk of a stag reunion (albeit in slightly warmer weather).
Big thanks to Fraser and Si (especially helping to take Jim’s wellies off).
“Many, many thanks for an outstanding weekend of knowledge sharing/learning, fun, coupled with great food which was caught by understanding and using sustainable, simple (once you’ve been shown) survival techniques and traps. The Seaweed risotto with wild picked salad was a revelation. Denise & I left richer for the experience.”
“Big thank you to Fraser and Tom for a brilliant weekend last week.
I’ll be in Dorset for a week after the wedding and will be foraging and cooking wild (whilst expending as little energy as possible – as I’ve been taught).
“Thanks for an excellent stag do last weekend. Everyone from the party agrees it was great and want to get together for a coastal version, maybe in the autumn. I particularly appreciated the mix of survival skills, other discussions, and anecdotes, which made the vast amounts of info easier to absorb, and put the foraging etc. into context, not just an academic study weekend. Also it was a good laugh.
All the best.
Really enjoyed last weekend.
Excellent work done by both Fraser and Tom.
Thought that there was a good balance in the emphasis – enjoyment/learning. Maintaining an ‘edge’ on things with constant reminders that we are supposed to be in a survival situation but without shouting at us like pretend soldiers. Enjoyed the view of food for both fuel and for pleasure. Fraser is a legend. Great to have him share his rich and varied knowledge from various previous lives. I guess this kind of thing is something that is vanishing from modern life (especially urban living)- the sharing of wisdom and techniques through demonstration and great stories to both illustrate and entertain. I really appreciated the fact that F. didn’t hold back on his opinions about the failings of modern society and especially the food supply industry. Stuff that needs saying… whether to a receptive audience or not. Not to overlook Tom who also did a great job.
My mates and I all agree that we came away with plenty to think about regarding our lifestyles, and the future. But on the whole had a really good time and a great laugh. Many thanks and good luck with all your various activities. All power to you.”