Building on our campaigns against opencast coal in the Douglas Valley over the past few years, Coal Action Scotland is hosting another outdoor camp in South Lanarkshire this summer – only this time the focus will be on taking action and using everything we’ve shared over the past two Outdoor Skillshares (from vehicle mechanics to spoon carving!) to stop Scottish Coal’s latest round of opencast plans.

It would be great to have you there! If you’d like any more information get in touch on or check out the website, and if you can help us to publicise and mobilise for Take Back the Land! that would be fantastic. There’s opportunities to get involved and help us put it all together too – just send us an email.

See you in July!

Take Back the Land! // 12-18 July // Mass Action 14 July // Douglas Valley, South Lanarkshire

Opencast coal mining in the Douglas Valley is about the ruling class destroying communities for their own financial gain. It’s about ecological destruction on a massive scale for capitalism’s unquenchable thirst for cheap energy. It’s about absentee fat-cat land-lords making millions off land that shouldn’t be theirs. It’s about morally corrupt local (and national) government putting profit before people. Join us 12-18 July in the Douglas Valley, South Lanarkshire, to build on 20 years of community struggle and four years of direct action against the UK’s biggest opencast mining company. It’s time to Take Back the Land!
Take Back the Land! will be a space for taking action, sharing skills and learning through doing. It will be a welcoming and safe space for all those wishing to challenge the social injustice and environmental destruction caused by opencast coal mining operations in Scotland and throughout the world.

Building on previous years experience at camps such as the Mainshill Solidarity Camp, the Happendon Wood Action Camp and events such as the Outdoor Skillshares, we will be establishing a base for a week of high impact action and low impact, sustainable living.

In solidarity with the communities of the Douglas Valley, we will be directly confronting the power structures and infrastructures which have dominated and scarred the valley for too long with a mass action planned for the 14th July and plenty of room for skilling up, recruitment and affinity group actions to be taken.

The camp location will be announced nearer to the time, but will be in close proximity to many of the opencast coal mines in the area.

Whilst we recognise the camp to be a space to take action against external oppression we also hope a create a space which challenges socialised behaviours that oppress and exclude others and we will try and make the camp as inclusive a space as possible, for all people wishing to be involved.

We are calling for all those wishing to take or support actions in solidarity with community self determination, against destructive fossil fuel industries and towards a more sustainable and just society, to come to South Lanarkshire from 12-18th July and help Take Back the Land!

More updates are on their way. If you wish to find out more information or contact us for any reason please get in touch:

For more information about the Douglas Valley and coal struggles in Scotland visit:

Hi everyone,

As part of our effort to effectively document and record what went on at
The Outdoor Skillshare 2011, we are putting together a zine (otherwise
known as a mini magazine or booklet) containing people’s ideas and

We already have a few contributions to the zine that people did during the
event, but we want more! Specifically, we’d like to have something from
YOU, be it written, drawn, or stuck together with glue.

Contributions to the zine can be anything – pictures, thoughts, feelings,
diagrams, workshop accounts, factual explanations, big or small. We also
welcome contributions in any language. The sky’s the limit!

The last day for submissions is 30th of September (just over 2 weeks away)
So get them either to outdoorskillshare [at] or contact[at]  as soon as you can :)

Need more inspiration?

…We do have a specific request to help give focus (if you need it.) We
are especially interested in hearing more about the many workshops that
took place, as we don’t have much information/descriptions on those.

So, if you facilitated or participiated in a workshop at TOSS we’d love it
if you could tell us;

- Why did you decide to facilitate/particpate in that specific workshop(s)?
- What was the workshop like? Did it turn out how you expected?
- Would you facilitate/attend a workshop on the same theme again, or would
you do something different?

Thanks for you contributions!

Love, TOSS Zine Crew

The Outdoor Skillshare 2011 brought over 100 people to rural South Lanarkshire to share skills, ideas and experiences with each other about all aspects of life and activism.

For four days the Talamh housing co-operative became a hive of mini projects, massive marquees, geodomes and inclusive participatory skillsharing.


The diversity of people at this years event was truly inspiring. Some people managed to hitch to the event all the way from places as far away as Denmark, Sweeden and Germany with others coming from Spain and France all the way to South Lanarkshire. Large numbers also came from Scotland and the rest of the UK often with many different backgrounds, some representing different campaign groups, others simply representing themselves and a desire to learn totally new skills.

We also had an exciting mix of generations over the weekend, with more younger people attending than any of our previous events. As part of our attempt to create an inclusive environment, this was really important for us and made the event more aligned to creating a sustainable and inclusive community of resistance.

Most people’s days began with morning meetings and a breakdown of all the tasks that needed taking on by the group for the smooth running of the event. Many of the daily chores were taken on as part of the skillsharing experience. Cooking for over 100 people twice a day, washing up for the same number, stocking and emptying the poo loos, emptying recycling and rubbish waste etc, etc. It was all part of the collective responsibility and it all happened with some inventive solutions being devised to make the tasks easier. Here is an ingenious wood fired water heater for washing up, made from old gas canisters and plumbed up to the sinks.

Some people began their days by waking up extra early and fixing up bikes that were to be donated to the Unity Centre. Over the weekend a number of bikes were restored and will soon be going to Glasgow as a donation to asylum seekers. Others chose to get up and do yoga in the beautiful morning light that filled the quiet dawn on site.

After the morning meetings most people dispersed to workshops or got on with the tasks they had taken on. The mix of workshops included many practical skills, more theoretical discussions and grand tactical discussions about the direction of “the movement”.

Practical workshops included spoon making (initiating a wave of spontaneous spooning throughout the event), climbing/rope access, chainsaw maintenance, 12volt electrics, knot tying, fence climbing, putting up tripods, lock-on making, vehicle maintenance, tunnelling, treehouse building, self defence, herb identification walks, herbal 1st aid, cooking on gas and building a compost loo. There were also spontaneous basket weaving, slingshot making and wood chopping skillshares (as well as many more that I cannot remember or was not aware of.



More theoretical workshops included facilitation for consensus, a discussion of safer spaces, permaculture, international grassroots resistance to coal, a discussion of environmental safer spaces, coal in Scotland, funding radical groups and working with communities.There was also a highly enjoyable session by the Beehive Collective called the “true costs of coal”. This was similar to the info tour sessions around Scotland arranged by Coal Action Scotland, earlier this year.

As part of a “Fighting Coal in Columbia” session there was a translated discussion with indigenous community leader Jairo Fuentes of the Tamaquito community, in the Guajira region of Colombia. As part of the development and expansion of the Cerrejon mine, the communities of Tabaco have been forced off their land by force, with murder and intimidation by paramilitaries being routine tactics. Coal mined from this region as a direct product of the destruction of communities and cultures, is being imported into Scotland at the Hunterston coal port and used to power UK elctricty networks. The solidarity felt via this link up was very important and provided yet another example of why our resistance here is crucial. For more information see here.

The evenings were generally a time to unwind and socialise. There were films playing, musical performances, a pub quiz and a camp fire warming those who wished to see the stars. There were also opportunities for campaign sharing and hearing the numbers and variety of awesome campaigns that people were representing, was an inspiring and humbling experience.

Part of our initial aims for TOSS 2011 was to document this years event in a more tangible way. Whilst we definitely hope that people have many skills to share with their communities after the event, we felt it would also be nice to have collective way of sharing experiences of TOSS and so this year we will be having a zine produced from contributions made by participants. There will also be a film released, made as part of the workshop “Cheap Thrills on a Dying Planet” which was produced over the weekend and is currently being edited. For further updates on this please check here.


On behalf of the collective who helped to organise the setting up of this years Outdoor Skillshare, we would like to thank all those who came to South Lanarkshire, shared their skills and got stuck into collective living. We hope to see you all very soon.

Love and rage,

TOSS Collective XXX

(P.S. Thanks to Fabio Lagana for kindly letting us use his photos for this report)

This year’s Outdoor Skillshare was an overwhelming success, bringing together over 100 people for a weekend of skill sharing at the beautiful Talamh Housing Co-operative in South Lanarkshire. A full report will follow soon but for now here are some pictures to remember us by:

On behalf of the collective who put on the event Id like to thank all of those who attended TOSS 2011 and making it such a productive and enjoyable space. Hope to see you all soon!


Coal Action Scotland warmly invites you to join us in beautiful rural South Lanarkshire for a weekend of skillsharing and workshops about outdoor life and resistance techniques. From mass catering to foraging wild foods, from land defence to self defence, from climbing trees to digging tunnels and everything between; come and learn new skills, meet new people and share your experiences with others.

Since the occupation of Mainshill Wood and the recent nine month occupation of Happendon Wood, Coal Action Scotland has had much collective experience of occupying and defending land along with sustaining and growing a community of resistance. The skillshare was conceived of because even though we have lots to share, we still have much more to learn and we hope to collectively empower ourselves and others to increase our mutual capacity for effective action.

This skillshare will be a safe, inclusive and participatory environment for learning new, interesting and transferable skills and is open to people of all abilities and experiences. Whatever your particular campaign, whatever interests or excites you, the skillshare will be a creative melting pot of ideas and techniques to sustain life and resist oppression (however it manifests itself).

Check the website or join our mailing list to receive updates as they happen and feel free to contact us with any suggestions/requirements/questions you may have at outdoorskillshare [at]

While you’re waiting see here for a report of last years event.

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