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Sunday 29 April 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words...

...Sometimes I just need to shut up and let mother nature do the talking.

Saturday 28 April 2012

MORA Robust, First in the UK

I'm very happy to show you all the new Mora Robust and this is the first privately owned one in the UK, the others are only being sent out on Monday!
It's a big bruiser of a knife and a lot thicker than the Mora allround, coming in at 3.2mm thick! For those people who would rather batton than use an axe,this is an answer to your prayers!


Wednesday 25 April 2012

Wolf amongst the Flock

It is so easy to accidentally pick the wrong leaves when foraging, especially when they grow together like here, please always be careful and very sure when gathering wild food!

Sunday 22 April 2012

Fire Light ..

.. Or I suppose that should be fire by light. Of all the methods used to light fire this is probably the easiest and least energy expending method out there, you would use more calories striking a match than getting an ember this way.

It's been raining a lot here but I took advantage of the sunny spells inbetween to try out my Hudson Bay Tobacco tin, ember medium was char cloth

Virtually the instant the focal point of the lens was reached the char cloth caught fire, it was nearly instantaneous!

I'm sure we've all done this as kids but I simply forgot just how effective this method of fire lighting was!

There's no excuse for not carrying a lens even if it's a Fresnel lens, it does the job just as well

again, it's virtually instantaneous!

and provided you have direct sunlight, it's a practically unlimited resource for making fire.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

The Legend of Cu Chulainn's Belt

I'm sure you're all familiar with this plant..
What you may not know is that in Ulster it is referred to as CuChulainn's Belt (Crios Cu Chulainn).
This mighty hero is Ulster's greatest warrior, hailing from the Red Branch Knights he is famous for his battle with Queen Maeve of Connaught. When Cu Chulainn fought his battles having been taught the art of war by Scathach in Scotland, he often transformed into a hideous man mountain of deformed flesh weilding his blades and his Gae Bolg at anyone who came within his reach, friend and foe alike.
To calm him from these violent rages the only thing that worked was to have him bathed by 12 Ultonian maidens in a bath of meadowsweet, the scent of the meadowsweet and the caresses of the maidens calmed him and returned him to his usual form. He enjoyed this so much that after his first bathing he had the maidens weave him a belt from the plant that he wore to remind him of them.
It is said that after his death he awaits a calling and will return if Ulster ever has need of him again.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Buzzard the Hunter

I went out to think and ponder, to seek my muse and spend some time with the buzzards on the hill, there was one up there behaving unusually spending a lot of time circling one area

I watched him for a good 20 minutes until he dropped and stayed down, I was pretty certain he'd made a kill so I went looking for him, I knew roughly where he was

As I made my way towards where I thought he was he must have heard me and I could have swore he took off with something in his talons, but he was just too far away to be sure, nonetheless I went to where he lifted off from and low and behold there was lots of rabbit fur

and more

and more..

and even more including lumps of skin that he'd torn off, and if you look closely just to the right of the top piece of skin you can even see specks of fresh blood..

The interesting thing about this kill was that he'd kept it up off the ground, seemingly hopping from branch to trunk, it must have been a large rabbit and difficult to kill and he'd certainly been savagely going at it,not a nice way to go! Still, this for me is what bushcraft is about,it's a vehicle to bring you closer to nature, I don't see the point of going to the woods just to light a fire or bury yourself in leaves or chop down trees, it should be about wild open places and the flora and fauna that call it home, it should be about the respect for the animals and plants we inhabit this planet along side, if you can't appreciate and study the wonders of the world, then you are simply not a bushcrafter..

Oh, and I think I found my muse.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Wild Onion

The dark emerald tube like plants growing through the brambles,grass and dandelions are Wild Onions..
This was a great find for me as I've only seen these one time before, as a matter of fact on checking the habitas website they seem to be only found in a handful of places in Northern Ireland and most of those sightings were pre 1986.
They're called crow garlic in other places which I find confusing as they certainly have more of an onion taste rather than garlic, just wish they were more widely available!
A nice spring edible.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Evie's first Trout

Evie went out today and managed her first fish, a lovely brownie weighing in at 2lb 3oz and taken on a Black Pennel, somehow I don't think this will be her last!

Sunday 8 April 2012

Hand Drill Hell

Most of you know I dislike fire by friction, it can be unreliable and takes a lot of exertion,  however Sam has been teasing me to try Handdrill again as he seems to have mastered it very well, so I went out and cut some boards

Left them to dry for a while then tried the technique indoors,there is no way I would get an ember outdoors!

Usual form, sitting cross legged with one foot securing the hearth. This was tough! My hands were aching and my shoulders were screaming!! After 3 or 4 attempts I was burnt out, shaking and tired, however...

as I sat back and tried to control my shaking shoulders I noticed smoke coming from the notch, but to be absolutely truthful I think it was more pure luck than skill. I tried 2 or 3 pics of this but I was still trembling from exertion and the photo's turned out blurry, so I sat back and caught my breath and wafted the ember to let grow, I didn't want to move the hearth too soon as handrill embers can be delicate and easily ruined

Funnily enough (or not) I still got no buzz or excitement when I got the coal, fire by friction holds no magic for me and especially this method, the exertion is incredible and the pain in my hands and shoulders was unreal, I guess this is one method were regular practise pays dividends..but this is not a method I will practise often, as a matter of fact I don't think I'll ever try it again!! I remember now why I stopped trying it in the first place..
Sam, you're the handrill expert, fair play to you brother, I just love my flint and steel way too much!!

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Wool blanket Mountain Man shirt

For a long time I've admired the Duluth wool blanket shirt, but at it's retail price plus shipping then import duties and tax it was always going to be way out of my league to buy, so the next best option was to try and make one

The stiching is rough and the seems are wonky, but I like it, it's got that more mountain man, rugged aspect than a machine made one would have.
80% wool material with antler buttons and leather straps with leather reinforcing detail, I'm pretty happy with it and the best about it is I like the autumn red colour..
I was always more of a Will Scarlet than a Robin Hood anyway!

Sunday 1 April 2012

ASDA sponsorship day out

Being a completely non profit organisation Buzzard Bushcraft were very privilaged to be the recipients of ASDA Westwood's "Community Collegues" choice for a free days fishing with Angling First at Dromore, we were allowed to bring a group of kids so as we work closely with a Belfast scout troop they were our natural choice.

The kids all in position, with safety gear on and ready for the fun ahead!

Pole fishing was the order of the day and it wasn't too long before the first fish came aboard,a nice little 6 ounce roach

another roach, a little bigger this time probably around 3/4lb..quite a nice fish!

Zippy caught a gudgeon!

This maybe one of our smallest native fish,but it's one of the most beautiful, I have had many happy hours on the banks of the moyola catching these in my youth!

wee skimmer bream were also caught!

and wonder of wonders even the big man managed a couple of fish!!
the fishing slowed down after a while but we still had fun with maggot races and the odd ducking!
a great day was had by all.

Buzzard would like to say a big thankyou to Angling First and an even bigger thankyou to ASDA for their support and consideration of us with such a generous gesture.