Friday, 13 April 2012

Back garden camp

I took my daughter camping for the night but with the weather as it was and trying out a new set up for when I take her out at night we decided to head up to the wild end of the garden. Plenty of deadwood and tinders around under the trees so apart from a raised fire all was the same as normal really.
I took the polish lavvu and a tarp for the entrance and cooking area. Sleeping bags and wool blankets kept us warm as we slept, and plenty of brews and food was consumed.

My Lad popping up for a visit.

Inside the lavvu complete with tea light powered micro UCO
This was great for light and a bit of warmth and the cheap candles from Ikea burn for 8hrs

Snug as a bug in a rug

Fire lit and spare kindling for the morning including feather stick wood.
Feather sticks, dead thin willow and matches were the method used this time.

We had sweet bannock with raisins and lots of hot chocolate during the evening with marshmallows on sticks over the coals.

Turning in

 A new fire in the morning with a quick brew up of tea while we get some embers for the sausages

Sausages were wrapped up in homemade Derbyshire Oatcakes with cheese and cooked on the grill to warm through and melt the cheese. These are the best breakfast ever, especially with smoked bacon.

Munching away

A great time was had and we are off to my permission soon to make a new debris shelter and camp out.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Woodland skills course

Yesterday I had a busy day teaching woodland skills/bushcraft to a group of 10 in a nice section of woodland within a country park. It was a one day course to test the site and introduce these sort of events into the county councils annual event programme. I'm glad to say it was a great success with all leaving happy and well informed.
I wanted to fit in as much as possible but also allow time for the students to practice skills demonstrated and ask questions if they were unsure.
Laura was a great cook and willow weaver, and James led the tree felling which gave me a break from the day job. Both were a constant help on the set up and take down too, and helping the students throughout the day.

Setting up

We covered

Knife use and sharpening.
Fire lighting methods including friction firelighting.
Campfire cookery and gadgets.
A walk in the woods finding resources,cordage, tree ID, and locating wildlife.
Tree felling using hand tools.
Shelter building.
Willow weaving berry pickers.


The camp kitchen and brew stop, well visited by all.

 Breads, cakes, soups and sausages all finished off. 
My favourite is still banana and chocolate cooked in the embers.

 Obtaining materials and woodland works. 

I'm now paying for a day constantly bending legs and kneeling, but it was definitely worth it.

Shelters started. These will be finished by the next group of forest school visitors.

All sorts of other subjects were discussed briefly, but as there are so many outdoor skills to teach we had to keep some back for another day to spend a proper amount of time on. Overnight camps were requested by most folks for next time, with time allowed for them to practice general campcraft in the evening on there own or in small groups.

Looking forward to the next one already as it is a pleasure to spend time in the woods practising and passing on skills to enthusiastic and friendly people.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Snow April !

This Wed the 3rd April saw wet snow over many parts of the East midlands close to 20 inches on the higher ground, combined with constant gale force wind this also caused drifts to form over the main roads from off the adjacent fields. So I spent all day with a college dragging and digging folks out using the works landrover.
Later on near Buxton on the A515 at one point we could go no further and walked out to around 20 vehicals that were stranded and handed out food and drink and did what we could until the ploughs came. Then they got stuck! Mainly the drifts and cars were in their way.
The main thing that got things moving again was a JCB 3CX, then slowly we could clear cars. Ive never seen so many lorry's stuck though, they were everywhere on the highways, and good on them, most had stayed on one side of the road with gaps between to allow folks that could and needed to, to pass.

This was good driving visibility

My mate trying to stand up

Waiting for folks in offices to make there mind up, we got bored and the four of us walked out to the cars rather than sit around. Emergency planning on site were great.

Yours truly, this was typical of the drifts across the road. Note the dry stone wall behind.
Chainsaw trousers and waterproofs helped to keep the worst out, but I was a tad damp when I got home.

The way back and the ploughs, and gritters catching up.

Quite good fun really, but I felt sorry for the folks trapped in it for hours, and we nearly ended up joining them. I wish some of them had some idea where their towing eye bolts are and try and help more with digging themselves out. Most of this work was unnecessary as the conditions were bad when these people from the area set out on this road. Best advise for next time, stay home or bring a 4x4 with a phone, medical supplies, shovel, food, sleeping bag and flask.