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Sunday 30 January 2011

Some new ground

We decided that if we want to find some decent new territory we have to be prepared to travel for it, so we checked a few places over the past month or so and have been left less than impressed until today. Unfortunately it's not a place that we will be able to get to on a regular basis but when we can it will be very worthwhile. A quick scout around found some interesting things for the bushcrafter, so here are a few pics..other pics will follow if we manage to get there again in the spring..

Sparrowhawk kill, this was one of 3 we found close together.

Dead standing Giant Hogweed. Now Davy is a big lad, well over 6 feet so you can get an idea just how big this stuff is, it's easily 9ft tall!!

Basket makers heaven!

Fire was lit with flint and steel and some of Davy's charcloth.

In no time at all the blaze was well under way..

Wednesday 26 January 2011


Everyman and his dog publishes edible and medicinal uses for plants, there are hundreds of websites and blogs with so much similar content that it can become tedious and repetative, so to try to vary the info somewhat, whenever I see a plant that takes my fancy, I'll post a pic of it and tell you something about it, but this time with a little bit of earth magic..I'll try to relate some interesting myths or folklore about it instead of, "yes the root can be made into coffee and the leaves taste of green, and a decoction will keep you regular!!", yawn !... so a trip last week saw us come across this lovely thing..

The dried heads used to be used to raise the knap on woven cloth but Irish tradition has it that when you have finished with them you should leave them on the wall of a graveyard for the Banshee to use incase she ever forgets her comb!

Sunday 23 January 2011

Pikers dawn

We decided to make a little trip to a great Pike Lough for a day after the waterwolf..

It's a gorgeous atmospheric place, especially early in the morning

But all is not what it seems..

There's something strange about the water..

It was two and a half inches thick!!!, so no fishing today, but

We did see this little fellow as consolation, not too many albino ducks out there!

Saturday 22 January 2011

Weekend in the Woods

Seven of us went out last weekend for an impromptu trip into the woods, at this time of the year it gets dark quickly so we only got a few small projects accomplished before night fell, anyway as usual with us food and fire formed the basis of a great camp..

Steven lit the fire this time with a ferro rod and Pampas grass, quite a good tinder actually.

We made some charcloth

Succeeded in boiling water in a plastic bottle without it melting.

Yes, those are bubbles going nuts in the bottle! This was after just 3 minutes!

The bottle lost about 1/3 of it's capacity but was otherwise unharmed.

Dinner was served!

Not much left after it was shared around!!

A great time was had by all, thanks for making it a great trip!

Sunday 16 January 2011

Chemical fire..

There are a number of ways to light fire using different chemicals and Stephen showed us a great way using a particular substance that had some great results..

First a little sprinkling on a non combustible stable surface.

A quick spark from the ferro rod and away she goes..

Getting hotter and bigger

Then stand back!!

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Winter Tinders

I have no doubt that our ancestors carried prepared tinder with them, however I'm sure that rather than exhaust their stock they would use whatever they could when it was available, and this includes tinders in the dead of winter..even at this time of year there is still plenty to find that will do the job. These tinders all took light from a spark from a ferro rod, a great many others will work from a match.

Fireweed, as the name suggests it works well provided you really fluff it up and allow a lot of air around it, the hogweed stems are a favourite of mine for helping the fire establish itself.

Buffed up grass, as you can see this works brilliantly.

That good old favourite of mine, Birch bark.

Buffed up Cleavers and dried bracken stems.

All these were found over the recent couple of trips and proves that even when it's raining or snowing  you can still find good tinder at any time of year if you know what to look for.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

The boys of summer...

I love looking back at the fun trips we've had over the past year and it makes it more special when you share them with the little ones in your life..There are some people out there who believe that bushcraft is for adults and kids shouldn't be allowed, but Davy and I completely disagree and find that some of our most memorable trips are ones we have shared with our kids. It is only fair that they have as much fun outdoors as we had when we were kids and it's something we should all encourage..

Matthew, Adam and Logan toasting their weiners, bushcrafters in training!!

Logan with his catch of mackerel after a day out, we took them home and smoked them and they were the best mackerel I have ever tasted !

And Ryan with an absolutely wonderful Ballan wrasse that fought like the Kraken!!

Well done kids, you make us all very proud!!