What's His Back Story?

My Back Story

My name is Jamie 'WildMan' Frizzell, I'm from Scotland and I'm a survivalist known worldwide in the survival & bushcraft industry. Since a very early age, I've been interested in the great outdoors, anything from trees, streams, animals, mountains to old buildings and cobble streets. Growing up in a busy, industrial, seaside town limited my options for exploring the wilderness which stood just outside of town, too far for a young lad to travel on his own. I watched some TV when I was young and my love for Ray Mears and Bear Grylls grew as I got older. Watching survival programs, my subconscious brain knew that this was the path for me. I just didn't realize at the time.

Around 2011, I joined the British Army. My time with the armed forces was eventful, with only being in a few weeks I had started a passive income business of renting out adult magazines to the squaddies due to lack of internet! I had some great pals and felt like part of a family separate from my own. However, my time was cut short when I injured my knee during a TAB (Tactical Advance into Battle) The TAB was around 6 miles long, if I remember correctly. At the very start of the TAB I felt my knee move out of position and then return within a split second creating an enormous shooting pain up the inside of my leg and around the whole knee area.

I knew something bad had happened and seconds after my injury became apparent I started to slow down considerably. I kept on pushing through the pain and distance. My platoon by this point were leading the way by about 100m. The ambulance was following me, I could almost feel my heels skiff its front bumper it was that close. My section commander asked to relieve me of my kit and weapon to which I disagreed and continued to carry myself, my kit and my dignity across the finish line.

This giant demonstration of self perseverance and physical fortitude unfortunately came with its consequences. After the TAB, It was on our schedule to go to the ranges for contact drills and then head out on a 3 day exercise. Needless to say I completed everything I had scheduled for that part of training and in return my knee was completely obliterated. 

After receiving the news that I had to leave training almost brought me to my knees and some might say that it did, it was one of the most disheartening, shocking and lowest points of my life, however that didn't stop me!

Going through the Army discharge process was sickening as it was such a huge passion of mines to be a part of the British Army. I would try and hide in rooms where other trainees or soldiers were carrying out their duties in order to "blend in" was I loosing my mind or was I just unhappy that I was getting sent home?

Arriving back at home I didn't know where to begin with rebuilding my life. Although I was young and could easily fix my situation, I almost gave up and started feeling sorry for myself. I knew this wasn't right and I knew one thing that would bring me back... the great outdoors!

I packed some kit - knife, ferro rod, metal water container, mess tins and some risotto. I headed out to a big reservoir with some surrounding forest. The weather wasn't the best on the lead-up to my outing, everything was soaked. Once I found a spot to set up camp, I began to collect firewood and tinder. The tinder was saturated with water and it took me a lengthy 5 hours and 30 minutes to start a fire. This was the first time I had used a ferro rod so starting a fire with one was a challenge especially since all the materials were soaking wet!

I got my fire stoked, made a bed with spruce branches under an overhanging tree, filtered water from a puddle using my sock, charcoal and pebbles and sat by the fire with a nice hot tin of risotto. The night drew in pretty quickly, probably because I spent so much time starting a fire. It was eerily dark, I was alone, I was gazing into the fire which was so bright I couldn't see past the flames and then from out of the darkness, BOOM!! The sound of a shotgun echoed throughout the whole forest. My inability to see beyond the fire heightened my vulnerability. My first though was "Who in the right mind would fire a shotgun in pitch black" my young mind started imagining the worst - was it a mob murder, was kids who stole their parents shotgun or was it someone looking for an escape. I got as low as I could, listening for any slight noises or clues as to what the noise was. An hour past and nothing more was heard, I relaxed and started to enjoy the rest of the night. 

Night time felt long, I would wake up cold as the fire was just about to go out. The fire wood was gently stacked behind me acting as a fire wall and also a means of easy access to firewood during the night, this is my preferred way to sleep in a time of survival. 


Morning came and what a beautiful sight it was. The night was long, cold and unpredictable. I had learned a lot but more so I put my theory skills to practical use. I was met with challenging circumstances such as all the material being wet and my general fire lighting skills never being tested in a real life situation until now.

Life is tough, just like survival, we are on this earth to survive and learn. Learning doesn't come easy and survival is anything but easy. What we have as humans though is a conscious mind, perseverance, hope, wonder, sacrifice and determination. If we can use all of these assets we are born with then there are no limits to what we can ultimately achieve.