about the founders
Entrepreneurs, Simon Ellar and his wife, Olivia, have always had an interest in bushcraft and wilderness living and their vision is being realised, as they have moved to Caithness in the Scottish Highlands, referred to as the UK’s ‘last wilderness’. There they run their growing publication, with paper subscriptions going all over the world, including most European countries, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. Simon and Olivia live a bushcraft lifestyle on a daily basis, heating and cooking with a solid wood stove, rearing their own livestock, growing and foraging for their food whilst restoring an Old Schoolhouse. With four children, ranging in age from 2 to 11 years, a renovation project and running their own business, this couple really show that they have the determination and drive to achieve their initial goal of increasing interest in bushcraft and making this information widespread and readily available.
Simon’s interest in what has now become termed as bushcraft began at an early age, when he would go off into the fields and woodland and practice skills he had read about in his brother’s copy of The SAS Survival Handbook and No Need to Die. Equipped with a copy of the Survival Aids catalogue he began to build up a collection of bushcraft and survival related kit, some of which he still has today! From its launch, Simon subscribed to Combat & Survival Magazine and purchased copies of Survival Weaponry And Techniques only to skim through to the few survival based articles, longing for a magazine dedicated to these areas! Belonging to a particularly active squadron of the Air Training Corps these skills were further honed and developed throughout his formative years.
Embarking on a career in sales and marketing, Simon retained his interest in the outdoors, survival and woodland crafts and after some years as he started a family, got out of the rat race and set up a successful tree surgery company ‘Ellar’s Tree Fellas’. Favouring the woodland management services that the company offered, Simon spent much of his time in the woodland feeling at one with nature. It was then after a discussion with his wife that they had the idea to launch Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine and subsequently sold the business. Since then, Simon has been privileged to work with people such as Lars Falt, Bear Grylls, Ian Maxwell, Gabriel Branby, Mors Kochanski and Perry McGee all contributing in different ways to the growth and interest in bushcraft and survival.
Olivia grew up ‘down the brook’ an area near her childhood home surrounded by woodland with a stream running through it. There she was able to build shelters, forage for and eat wild food. The things she was practising were her own creation and little did she know that her play was in fact practising bushcraft skills. At a young age she joined Brownies, with camp craft based activities at the fore, progressing on to become a Girl Guide and then through her College and University years she was involved in outdoor camps and had the opportunity to travel. She then went on to work with children and has studied differing methods of teaching and outdoor learning. A growing interest in natural crafts and marrying Simon meant that these interests could be developed further and much fun has been had practising craft based skills and camping out together, both alone, in days gone by and now with their young family.
Simon and Olivia have always worked as a team, they are dedicated, hard working, bursting with great ideas. Their four hardy children live for the outdoors and will be found outside whatever the notorious Highland weather is doing. They enjoy going off on ‘bushcraft’ walks, making and sitting by a fire and camping in their tipi. This very much is a family business!