Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Green alkanet

Why does it have blue flowers then?
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How to make a killing from gale force winds!

Become a tree surgeon!

There has been gales forces winds here and lots of tree failures.

Quite good for the economy in some ways.
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Thursday, 19 May 2011

Big cat in Mourne Mountains (maybe)


A bit of x-files type stuff here Big cat sightings.

I was going through some old photos and found this pic which was taken in the mourne mountains.

My curiosity was peaked by a black spot in the background and when I used Photoshop to zoom in I saw what looked like a head and two round ears!! The beast of the Mournes lives!!!!!!


The pics.....

Army Bivvy bag


Found my old bivvy bag. It has a drawstring closure which is not ideal but it is still cool.

I used this recently and it is still great after years of use. I actually upgraded to a rab one recently which is better but also 3 times the price.

I slept out in it for old times sake and it keept me dry in a constant drizzle.

My mate tried sleeping out in a bothy bag which was less than ideal but he survived and has now bought a bivvy. the big yellow bag is my rucksack, boots etc.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Pendulous sedge


I came across this sedge heavy with seeds. It dos nt take long to gather a large amount which can be processed for flour.

Carbohydrate can be hard to find in the wild leading to low blood sugar and lethargy.

It is all ways worth learning as many sources as possible.

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Deer sign

I came across this large area of flattened bluebells in an isolated wood. Obviously a large herd of deer overnighted here. I later found were the deer had stripped bark from saplings and a droppings site.

Wish I had of seen them.
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Monday, 16 May 2011

Gelert Solo one Man tent review

Hi all just a few thoughts,

Gelert Solo One Man Tent

Having wild wet weather and wind here at the minute which is normal for most months here in Northern Ireland ha ha. I was looking at a number of lightweight one man tents ranging from the Hilleberg Alto (£300+) to this little tent at £28 to use in an upcoming solo backpacking trip.

I had a good search through the internet as you do and came upon this tent on Amazon. There are a lot of reviews saying that it is far superior to what its price would suggest and it is quickly becoming a firm favourite with a large group of experience outdoorsmen.

I decided to bite the bullet and pay out the tiny £28 asking price. After all I have bought rounds of drinks that cost more than that in the local pub (not often cause I am a tight Irish man)

I slept out in it over the weekend in the local hills and have to say that for a £28 tent it is absolutely brilliant. On Saturday night the wind was fierce at 300m above sea level and it took a serious buffeting.
The fibreglass poles held up very well indeed. There is an outer and an inner and the inner has a midge/mosquito net to protect you from being something’s evening meal.

There is a slight downside In that you have to pitch the inner first making it troublesome in wet weather but this is compensated for by the fact that it can be pitched in 5 minutes or less once you have everything ready.

There is a small porch, enough to lie and cook a meal if your careful!! And room for your boots etc. I always like to stick my bag minus what I might need in the night in a big plastic bag and keep it outside to save room anyway.

There is plenty of room to stretch out and to sleep. I am just under 6foot which is average I suppose and there was extra room at the head an foot ends.

There were a few heavy rain showers in the night and no water got in at all. The tent is very close to the ground and thus offers little wind resistance.

I think the weight is around 1.5kg which you could lessen by adding a few aluminium pegs instead of the steel ones.

Overall an excellent buy surprising sturdy and weather resistant.

I got mine here.

Gelert Solo One Man Tent


Budget bushcraft survival kit


I was chatting to a friend the other day and we got to talking about a good basic kit for starting out enjoying bushcraft. He wanted to know what he should buy. I told him not to bother and i had kit enough for the both of us.

However it is a valid concern for people wanting to start out. The most important thing of course is training and skill.

Persoanlly I feel that you cant go wrong with a swiss army knife and some creativity but there are a few tools which when purchased will last a long time and have tons of uses. I went onto Amazon to see what I could find. I wont bother with clothes or shelter etc. These tools will serve you well no matter the length of the journey but lets start with a day in the woods.

The first of course is a good knife. You do not need to spend a fotune on a knife. Just get a Mora of sweden and you will join the ranks of experienced and satisfied outdoors men the world over.
Of course as you advance in the hobby you can upgrade your knife to something pretty and usefull at the same time. Here is one that is perfect and only costs £9.00

Mora Quicksnap 911 Knife - Carbon

Next I would go for a saw. A good Bacho laplander will serve you very well indeed. I have had one for about 5 years and it has cut everything. You can even re-sharpen the blade. £12

Bahco 396 Lap Laplander Folding Saw

Next, something to cook in. I love Trangia kit. Anything swedish is usually good stuff. this billy can is 2.5l and only £16 bargain.

Trangia 2.5L Billy Can With Lid

A firesteel. The swedish (again) ones are good. You can get ones which are crap or a bit hit or miss so i prefer to go for a good brand myself. £6 cant be bad.

Light My Fire Mini Swedish Firesteel

I think that there are altenatives to all of this stuff of course and you may be able to get it cheaper elsewhere I used Amazon for convenience. It is allways worth going on ebay too.

Good luck. Suggestions welcome


Excellent book on human endurance and survival


The long walk by Slavomir Rawicz

I looked this book up after seeing a trailer for the film which was made recently. It is a tale of a man suffering through horrendous conditions and showing what the human spirit is capable of. The men of yesteryear were a hell of a lot harder than us wimps. There is lots of bushcraft and survival tips in it too. Breaking through a frozen river to catch the fish and using an axe and a homemade knife for everything. death, life and everthing in between. Could you march 1000miles over several months on 100g of bread and 2 cups of coffee a day?

Overall a very very good book.

Check it out if you need something to read.

The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom

Good blog


I have been reading this guys blog quite alot recently. Very good content and regularly updated.

Have a look.

Woodtrekker blog

Moving mountains lyrics or poems


Does anyone know any good montain songs or poems?



Nice spot to spend a few hours

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Saturday, 14 May 2011

A step back to childhood.


My young nephew just asked me to help him build this.

I of course played it cool. However inside I can't wait ha ha.

It looks hard though 150+ bits.

I bet I end up finishing it while he plays xbox and then he will say he finished it.

Let the fun begin.

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Gor-tex problems vs paramo solutions


I was having a chat to a fellow outdoors man about waterproofs and the merits of different materials.
As usual I had strong opinions.

A few years ago I went completely off Gor-tex and made the move to the Paramo system. Here is why.

I used gor-tex garments for many years. They do keep the rain out in a heavy down pour , they shed the wind, they create a micro-enviroment inside the jacket which helps keep you warm.there is no denying that fact.

However once you start to get warm and produce a bit of sweat the pores are overworked and become clogged. They work great in a lab where water vapour is forced through them. But once they are clogged with condensed water vapour(liquid water) they no longer work and the jacket becomes a sweat box. This is  big problem as you are making your under clothes wet which could lead to a dangerous position. Of course the water problem can be managed partially with ventilation zips etc but all you are doing is opening a big hole for the rain to come in.

End result an un-breathable jacket which is wet on outside from rain and wet on inside from sweat.

In my opinion it is better to have something  breathable no matter how hard you work.

I first started using Paramo when i went walking with a friend who raved about the system.

The rain that day was torrential and we walked to the top of a mountain and found shelter for lunch.
3 of us were clad in gor-tex and the fouth had a full suit of paramo.

In the shelter myself and the other gor-tex users tool off our jackets to reveal huge wet pathches from the sweat. Paramo man took his off and appeared to be bone dry.

The system works by having an outer which is not water proof but water resistant and wind resisitant.
The inner is called a pump liner and activly pumps water towards the outer. the potential for water to move away from your body is greater than the potential for water to move towards it thus making it effectivly water proof.

The first time I wore it I was amazed at the quiet fabric, the incredable breathability and the water proofness. I have 3 jackets now and they all get used. This being my favorite for everyday use.

The only thing is that they are thicker than a normal gor-tex but having used both while walking up hills I can say that because of the breathability vs the sweaty gor-tex enviroment they dont feel as bad.

These jackets dry incredibly fast and I have even worn mine in a rain storm, got into the tent, cooked some food by which time it wa nearly dry then crawled into my synthetic sleeping bag and it has dryed in about 15minutes. Could you do that in a gor-tex jacket? The beauty is that you dont loss heat by removing your jacket. Just stick a warm jacket over the top and the water vapour will move away form the heat. Simply physics really.

Definitly worth looking into.

Paramo clothing

Friday, 13 May 2011

Lost posts

I seem to have lost a load of posts. Has it happened to anyone else?

Finders keepers

Found this very old axe head. I wonder is it salvageable.

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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

One of my all time favorite bushcraft books.

Hi all,

This is one of my all time favorite bushcraft books. Mors Kochanski has taught all the greats like Ray Mears, Cody Lundin and Patrick Mcglinchey.

This book is full of charming drawings of a woodsman going about making all sorts of brilliant stuff.
This book is aimed at being comfortable in the northern forests with an axe and a knife. There are chapters on firecraft, axecraft, bindcraft and more.

Although the book is based in North america, it is very applicable to other places too. Good bushcraft skills apply everywhere and there is considerable cross reference between skills used in the jungle and skills used in the temperate forest. Friction fire lighting is a good example.

I love the style of writing which seems to be like a good teacher teaching a student insider tips.

Get it and you will find that you refer to it often. If you have this book I would love to know what you think of it.

You can get it here and its only £7. I think I paid full price for mine when i bought it years ago, raging!

Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival

Sunday, 8 May 2011


"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them"
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Thursday, 5 May 2011

A few pictures of a walk in the eastern coatal hills of Northern Ireland part 2

A few pictures of a walk in the eastern coatal hills of Northern Ireland part 1


This is a subject that really interests me.

To find yourself on a fog shrouded moor with only your map and compass to show the way is to me a part of the thrill of the outdoors.

Its part challenge, part puzzle and a very rewarding feeling when you take a bearing and walk into the unknown.

Amazingly your mind can play tricks on you which can make you hopelessly lost.

I remember being in a complete whiteout on Ben Nevis in February a few years ago and trying to navigate off the summit.

The route is given on the map in the form of a bearing to take and a distance to walk and there are a few direction changes.

The problem is that there are a number of gullies which have dangerous and unstable cornices build up. These gullies have claimed a lot of lives.

So from the summit hut we walked on a bearing of 282 for 1200m then headed North.

Because we could see more than 10m this was difficult to maintain a straight bearing. We also got the feeling that the compass was not correct and that we were too near gullies.

Of course this is the rule. The compass is all ways right, trust the compass! (Unless your in an area with magnetic rocks)

Myself and my partner took turns to walk a head on a bearing to the limit of vision. the other waited and watched to make sure we didn't go off course.

This worked well enough but a few errors were made and it was a case of back tracking and keep going.

Sometimes we could hear the cornices collapsing nearby and it felt like we had gone of course.

We threw snow balls ahead to try and separate the white sky from the white ground and give a sense of depth and something to walk too.

A 14 hour day in the end.

All in all an enjoyable trip.

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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Antrim Hills way section 3.


As I mentioned in a previous post I walked a section of the way on Friday. Unfortunately I wasn't invited to the royal wedding so I had to do something.

The Way extends for 23 miles across the antrim Plateau. The terrain is elevated moorland and bog and it is quite desolate and isolated in places.

The place is teeming with wildlife and within a few hours I saw 2 Mountain Hares their coats still showing signs of the white winter fur.

This section of the way follows a line of cliffs with seams of chalk.

Old, stunted Rowan and Hawthorn cling to ledges and cracks on the cliffs.

I haven't spent that much time in the antrim hills having always favoured the more popular Mourne mountains.

My interest in the Antrim hills has been peaked by a friends recounting of tales of adventure in the frequent mists and talk about the numerous ancient standing stones and other neolithic sites.

The beauty of the place is sublime with views of the sea to the East and moorland to the west.

There are lots of hidden hollows, sink holes and pools. Buzzards and crows circle above.

The last thing I will mention is that if you want to be a great navigator this is the place to practise. The land is featureless and micro navigation is the name of the day when the mist descends and visibility is reduced to metres.

I do love a bit of navigation I do.

My self and my best friend plan to walk the entire thing in a day in the coming weeks so that should be fun.

We have already conquered the 28 mile Moyle way in 09 which was a bit of endurance event but a great experience.

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