This interview is partly educational and partly entertainment. Tom Langhorne is a wilderness and survival instructor based in the highlands of Scotland. A superb challenging environment to learn and put skills to the test. Skills which really ‘have’ to work to keep you warm and create shelter when the famous Scots weather turns from the touristic beauty into harsh cold wet reality.
A few years back Tom started looking more closely at the recorded historical detail of the 17th Century Scots inhabitant. A turbulent time in Scottish history, when every male would have been either conscripted into the army or alternatively the rebellion before travelling long distances on foot across mountainous landscape. During which they would need to camp and survive off the land whilst preparing to be ready to fight at any moment.
I’ve often thought of these men and their families when walking across Scotland, past the ancient ruins of homesteads, where these people would have lived and eaked out a living on the land. Without any of our modern day luxurious, every day would have been one of survival. The keep warm, fed, watered and attend to their beasts.
The Penicuik Drawings are a collection of famous sketches by an eyewitness, depicting the armed forces that passed through Penicuik, near Edinburgh, in the years 1745-46. The allegiances of the figures depicted is not noted in the sketches, though a majority of them appear to be Jacobites.
Tom has taken these drawings as inspiration for recreating the clothing and equipment of a 17th century Scotsman and tested it in the field to see what comfort and life they may have led in the hills and how the materials and equipment would have been put to use. How they made camp, how the famous plaid blanket ‘woven material’ would have been used to keep warm or create shelter, what food they would have eaten, how did they light their fires and so on. In the process of this, he has expanded his knowledge of getting the best from this older equipment and applied to his modern day teachings.
One interesting comment he makes is that his entire equipment, including weapons and food would still have only weighed around 10-12kgs. Which would be classed as a respectable weight for someone setting out with a modern day rucksack and gear.
So what has he learned from his 17th Century ghost? Tune in and listen or better still view our conversation on YouTube where you’ll see some of the video clips he has recorded during his adventures.