Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Making fire with just a Hatchet.

For me the pinacle of Bushcraft is pure skill and few tools. Making fire with just a cutting tool is a superb and enjoyable experience that few try. These pictures document one such challenge. Enjoy.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Children and Bushcraft

From an early age I have been talking about and showing my girls wild and garden plants and trees.  Now they enjoy looking for new ones and identifying them from books.  My eldest daughter is 6 and on a recent school trip the teacher asked if anyone knew what sort of tree it was they had stopped at. (It was a Sycamore ) she shouted out the correct name.

By the end of the day the teacher was having regular  consultations with my daughter on plant Id. She is now the class nature expert.

The key is to make it fun and talk about bushcraft and plant lore in a matter of fact way and use the correct names in normal conversation.  They are like sponges and will take in any info you give them, even advanced botany and Latin names, only to regurgitate it at a later date word for word.

Take them with you.


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The difference between Horse Chestnut and Sweet Chestnut- And which one is edible?


Over the years when teaching tree identification for bushcraft a few questions frequently pop up.

One common question is " Is sweet Chestnut the same as Horse Chestnut and are both edible"?

The simple answer is

Sweet chestnut is a relation of Oak and Beech trees and resides within the Fagaceae family. This is the edible one. The nuts come in a spiny husk and when roasted are quite delicious, a Christmas treat at many christmas markets.

Here are the descriptive images from my favorite tree identification book Collins Tree Guide by Owen Johnson and David More.

My well used copy

If you want to learn more about Bushcraft I would highly recommend learning as many trees and their uses as possible. Good bushcraft books frequently list trees and their uses but the actual indentifaction info is often missing. Get a good ID book to go in your bag and learn a new tree a week. Before long you will know hundreds of trees and soon enough recognise them by shape from miles away.

Here is a link to amazon for the book above.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Big blade Bushcraft Challenge

Hi all.

Here are a few pics from a recent adventure/challenge.

The idea was to provide water, shelter,fire and food with just the aid of a large knife.

I choose the Kabar Cutlass and Big Ken choose the Martindale Paratrooper.

Interestingly we obtained fire from Sitka Spruce roots including cordage using friction fire. Water was collected and boiled in a Spruce Bark container. And we ate Spruce inner bark amongst other foraged foods. Lastly we built our shelter from spruce boughs. Did you know Spruce could be so helpful?

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Best Bushcraft Books

Hi all,

I have been absent from the blog for a while but have been busy in the woods. Over the last few years myself and my good friend Paul have built up a bushcraft school which is going from strength to strength.

One of the most frequent questions asked on Bushcraft courses is "What Books on Bushcraft should I buy"?

For the past 30+ years I have been collecting and more importantly reading books on Bushcraft so I have decided to compile a list of my favorite books here. I have included a link to amazon for each recomendation. So here goes...

Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski. This is one of my all time favorites due to the unique content written by the very experienced author. If you don't have his book get it as it will someday be a classic(if not already) 5/5

Botany in a day By Thomas Elpel. Of all the books I own on Plants this is my favorite. The perfect mix of personal information and science makes for an entertaining and educational read. 5/5

Primitive Living, Self-Sufficiency, and Survival Skills: A Field Guide to Primitive Living Skills by Thomas Elpel. Another superb book told in the form of a story or journey. I have read this book many times and always find something new to enjoy.

Essential Bushcraft By Ray Mears. Beautiful illustrations by Ben McNutt too.  A great look at lots of different aspects of bushcraft.

Outdoor Survival Handbook by Ray Mears. Another great book divided by the seasons and more aimed at the temperate climate. I always refer to this one from time to time.

By John Boe (No relation) A great little book about enjoying bushcraft with Kids. I have two young daughters and we all enjoy reading this.

Handmade Baskets: From Nature's Colourful Materials (Search Press Classics) by Susie Vaughan. Great book on a very important and under rated skill. Making containers. I have used the advice contained in this book time and time again. Superb.

The last English Poachers. by Bob and Brian Tovey.

I am all for learning through story and this delivers in bucket loads. A great read and very entertaining indeed.

Norwegian Wood By Lars Mitting . This book is very entertaining in a strange way and educational. If your into bushcraft woodlore is a very important topic and this book has lots of good info on firewood. Highly recommended. I have read it twice.

One of the best herb medical guides I have ever read. Why? Because it is modern and written in a strong structured way. I have bought all of the books in this series and they are as relevent in the uk and Europe as they are in the USA. Afterall dandelions grow everywhere and so do the majority of other plants contained in this book.

Most Books on Friction fire are brief. Not this one Loads of clear photos and good instructions and as an added bonus I wrote it!! Available for Kindle.

How could i forget this classic! I got this book when i was about 8 and have re-read it many times. I was so excited when i saw it in an airport in London I wanted to explode. I have the Bushcraft Bug. I recommend the original manual .