A window cleaner who predicted Covid in 2016 and was dubbed ‘paranoid’ for stashing food in Britain for two decades in preparation for Doomsday feels vindicated as ‘apocalyptic’ food prices sweep the country. In March 2020, when the pandemic hit the UK, ever vigilant for disasters, Ian Coulthard, 52, had 100 boxes of potatoes, 100 boxes of carrots, 72 rolls of toilet paper, more than 40 boxes of curry and two dozen kilos of rice. and pasta stocked throughout the country.
Insisting that he is a “normal man with a mortgage”, the army and territorial army veteran, who served in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2013, is constantly prepared, in case of civil war or of mass terrorist attack, which he has been protecting against for 20 years by hoarding supplies and honing his survival skills. Ian, who is single and lives in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, who chillingly predicted in 2016 that the world could face a major virus, said: ‘I started learning about survival, because I realized that the global economy was going to collapse one day.
“I thought some kind of pandemic would happen and socio-economic collapse. Doomsday preppers like me were called paranoid for saying all that, but it’s all happening right before our eyes.
“I suspected in 2016 that a pandemic was brewing and in 2018 I told my neighbors and family that they needed to stock up on food before people started panic buying. In 2019, I urged my friends, family and neighbors to stock up on food because I knew things were going to get worse.
Not only did Ian not need to join the panicked shoppers at the supermarket when Covid-19 hit, he also had enough supplies to give to a vulnerable friend. He said: “I gave my friend most of my food stock because he had kids and was struggling.
“I was rotating my food supply, so I gave him a lot of cans. With what’s to come, food will continue to get more expensive.
Already highly trained in the military, at the turn of the century, Ian made sure he knew how to live in the wild and scoured Britain in search of the perfect hiding places for his supplies. He chose five secret locations – in Wales, Cornwall, the Yorkshire Dales, Northumbria and Scotland – where he stored food and essentials.
He sorted each stash into army ration-inspired packs, including 5,000 calories of food – made up of candy, chewing gum, cakes and dry meals, plus first aid supplies – that should last. up to three months.
These are hidden two or three feet below the ground and wrapped in plastic, so that animals cannot find them. He said: “I had a place in Wales, a place in Cornwall, a place in the Yorkshire Dales, Scotland where I would go.
“I’ve been hiking for many years and love finding out the best places to go on Doomsday.” He added: “I have everything planned out so I can go in a certain direction to pick up supplies, and there will be a few weeks of essentials for me.
“A hiding place is hidden in rocks and everything is in a place where no one would think to find it. Everything is buried, so the animals can’t find it. Convinced that war is part of human nature, Ian has spent years planning his “bugging” – standing down during military action – because he believes it will one day be necessary.
While he stores long-term preserves, he also grows potatoes in buckets and goes hunting. He said, “During the centuries, in every generation, we tend to have wars. It’s just human nature.
“Vegetables like carrots, peas, potatoes, sweet corn all last a really long time, so they’re great foods to buy canned.” He added: “And even when I grow my own food, I always experiment, to learn how to live in nature without anything.
“I started growing potatoes in buckets just to see if it worked – and it’s amazing.” Most at home outdoors, with his dog Pepper, a nine-year-old collie, Ian spends most of the year camping and living by ‘bushcraft’ – the use and practice of skills to survive and thrive in a natural environment.
He has learned to purify water, make fire and feed himself and says he is improving his survival skills every day. Bushcraft essentially takes what is in our natural world and puts it to good use.
“But preparing is preparing for a situation that may or may not occur. The thing about survival is that you have to know how to use anything to survive, while you come back to a safe environment.
“I have, sometimes unwittingly, prepared my whole life.” As he travels across the country in order to navigate the dense forests, Ian has become an excellent map reader and uses his knowledge of plants and nature, as well as the pursuit of stars, to survive in the outdoors. .
He continued: “Things will get worse and there will be a lot less supply overall. People will learn how expensive life is going to be.
“There is a lot of unrest and there could be a civil war.” Despite a lifetime of preparation for Doomsday, Ian feels he can’t guarantee he’ll survive it, but believes he has a “fighting chance”
As part of his long list of contingency plans, he bought a 17ft sailboat, so he could flee to Norway along with two Land Rover cars and some canoes. He said: “It’s arrogant to say you’ll definitely survive Doomsday unless you have a bunker, but what I’ve learned gives me a better chance of doing so.”
Ian grew up near the forests of the northeast and learned from an early age to forage for food. He said: “When I was younger, long before it was known as prepping, I was really into hunting and the outdoors.
“I always knew you could make tea, you could eat dandelions and I’ve always been interested in nature. I grew up with a housing estate, so growing fruits and vegetables is second nature to me. My father was an avid gardener. He grew tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.
- Ian runs the Preppers UK Facebook page and the Hikers Haul of Survival YouTube account where he offers advice on bugging.