Friday, 30 March 2012

A walk up to Kinder Scout

The weather has been more like summer than early spring of late, and it held long enough to make a good walk great. I went up to the top of Kinder Scout a high upland bog at over 2000m above sea level.

Normally when ive climbed up here its been autumn or winter and the weather is very changeable and intense. Fog and snow are common experiences up here. Today however it was wonderfully warm and sunny. This walk was preparation for a walking festival to support the 80th anniversary of the mass trespass, when in 1932 after years of other protest walks, a much larger group of local workers frustrated with the private ownership of the moor walked onto the area and went up against the local owners, gamekeepers and police to enjoy the countryside as we now take for granted.

There was some great examples of traditional newly layed hedges

Kinder reservoir

A brew up at the top, and the view back down to the reservoir. It was quite hazy even with the great weather.
I brought the usual bushcrafting gear in a canvas day bag (german army mountain rucksack) so it wouldn't matter if the weather closed in I'd have the basics to keep warm and dry.
Stove is just the crusader cooker with gel as fuel. With the flask and cup it takes up little room and is great for a quick cup of tea. Sandwiches and snacks for quickness this time as the walk leader likes to get a pace on.

Water courses starting to dry up

The upland peat bogs, another world! and fast disappearing, so there are lots of people working hard to preserve them from erosion by damming up areas to re-wet, and provide a stable place for newly planted cotton grass plants and heather seed to establish. This work is being coordiated by the current owner the National trust.

The edges of the plateau are gritstone great for climbing and bouldering, offering excellent grip but rough on the hands!

The mermaids pool, and my trusty hazel thumb stick. This helped me no end on the the way up, down and across uneven ground and testing the boggy areas. It doubles up as the main and only support for a large tent tarp I made which is open fronted to favour a fire but can be closed off with doors if needed.

..and in use with two longer poles on the outside for more internal space

A nice spot of woodland on the way down, complete with stream. We found a few decay fungi and some owl pellets here along with poor camping by wild campers who have left fire places all over. One huge fire was still burning from the night before with foil and cooking pots left around the site. Not very cleaver on dry heathland surrounded by larch.We poured several litres of water to put out the fire deep below ground, and cleared away what we could.

A great day in great company. Cant wait till next time.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A misty march day in the trees

Yesterday I was able to do some practical tree work, keeping up some skills and clearing the mind a little from report writing.
First off a climbing inspection of  a large Lime, then deadwooding a pair of large Sweet Chestnuts either side of a track. After that clearing a fallen Birch that had failed into another tree due to Birch Polypore -Piptoporous betulinus.

The site is Shipley Country Park, and this area is known as shipley hill, which has the more established trees/woodland. Its a nice spot, with daffs coming up at the mo

As well as snowdrops

One of the chestnuts, note the cut off ends up to the top of the picture. We removed the danger to the public but left some deadwood for habitat.

Going up!

A grumpy looking Birch

One of the Large Beech I felled in 2005, someones put a nice carving on it since.

And a nice peice of Sweet Chestnut saved for making a bowl. Ive got to make an Adze first though! Have to crank up the forge again.

Was a nice day, but aching a bit now. Im either old, unfit or both. Still.. climbing trees is good fun

Addo :)

Friday, 23 March 2012

The big burly kuksa

Ive made a few large kuksa now, but I wanted a pretty one and a large sycamore burr came my way.
I also wanted it to hold hot liquids, not crack or leak.

I'm pleased to say its passed and working well. I made up a pine pitch using Pine resin, beeswax and ground charcoal for the suspect knots, and oiled the outside with Rapeseed oil.

It holds 350ml to the brim so theres a bit of room spare for movement which allows me to wake up in the morning with a good strong large coffee :) This will be my new camping buddy.

Frosts 106 knife for scale

and the repair and test...


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Carved boat style bowl

Managed to get chance to do a spot of carving today in the very pleasant sunshine. I thought I'd have a go at one of these upside down type bowls which creates a nice naturally curved top.
This one is made of Ash felled a few weeks a go so my hands are feeling a tad sore now but i think it lends itself to the great grain patterns that carving this way also creates. They look like the timbers of a boat so I made a type of bow and stern to suit.

Using the Hans Karlsson small adze. I really like this tool.

Lacking a push knife, I tried a draw knife and secured the piece with sisal onto the bowl mate end. This worked very well to smooth out the axe marks and develop wall thickness. I finished the shaping with a Frosts 106

Im leaving the bark on for now as I love the way it works, but I'm thinking of eating my dinners out of it so it might have to go. It's so tempting to add a Viking style sail and try her out on a lake : )

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Spoon Carving Course March 2012

Just back from teaching a course I've been putting together for a while now. I wanted to teach beginners to use Axe, knife, and saw to make Spoons. The main focus was safe use of the tools and a spoon was a bonus so we went though various stages of techniques to remove wood by practising on other items during the morning, followed by a full spoon during the afternoon.

We had a range of folks from 16-60+ ladys and chaps all with different abilities so quite a challenging day but all went well, and met some lovely people. Graham was great assisting and keeping eyes peeled for poor technique and answering questions. 

Four of the ten students wanted to make hooks on the rear of the handles and Karina did a wonderful job. This is hers below and as with most of  the students it was the first attempt at a spoon and using an axe to carve.

Some of he students spoons...

..and some kindling to dry for the fire.

Now very happy and tired.