Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Saturday 30 April 2011

Kit List for a days walking in the hills


I thought I would share what I usually bring into the hills for a days walking.

This is the contents of my backpack and not including clothes which vary on conditions.

I also bring, food, a flask of hot tea or ribena or a stove to heat water on like a jet boil or a trangia mini, now that i have one.

I also bring my walking poles which are good for saving your knees on decents and stability on uneven ground. I have black diamond ones which are superb having owned inferior ones before.

I can easyily fit all this in a 35l Lowe Alpine walkabout sack.

Top left-microfibre towel, middle-dry bag with hat gloves, bottom left- water proof trousers(patagonia) and jacket(Berghaus paclite), right- polarloft Mountain equipment fitzroy jacket(brilliant, warm light0

everything goes into a 50l dry bag inside my ruck

emergency torch and very loud whistle. make sure your whistle is good. go to a park and blow it and if everyone looks round at you and covers their ears then you know its good. I have used both this in a real emergency and they worked great and probably helped save my life and others too.

Map, compass, emergency food, lighter, pace counter

first aid, torch, fire-steel, blister kit, sapre batteries

strong cord, tissues, Leatherman multi-tool

Storm shelter and duct tape for repairs. The storm shelter should not be underestimated. I have slept in one while caught out in a storm and it keep me warm and happy.
Here is what it looks like. There are 3 people in here.

Titanium spoon

A section of foam mat to sit on. I modified it so it folds in two with a hing of duct tape and cable ties. It means you can lie down on it if your caught out. Or put one half up your back to protect it from the wind.

Good water bottle.

You may have noticed that there are little yellow bits of tape on everything. Well this is my idea for finding things in the dark. It also means that your friends can find you in the dark as they are reflective and incredible bright. This is marine reflective tape and i supperglued it on.

Friday 29 April 2011

Trangia mini stove

Hi all,

I was out walking in the antim hills today but more about that later.

I decided to bring a stove with me to have a nice hot drink on the hill. It was quite windy and although the sun was shining down at sea level it was quite misty on the plateau.

The mini trangis weighs just over 300g and therefore very light weight.

I took a small bottle of methylated spirts with me too for fuel.

I managed to boil 300ml of cold water in about 5 minutes or so once the little burner had heated up.

The base is quite small and I was worried about stability but i was fine on the flatest peice of grass i could find.

Like all triangisa it works better with a light breeze but uses more fuel.

I will update as i use it more.

some pics. You can buy them here quite cheaply.

Trangia Mini-Trangia Cookset With Spirit Burner

Trangia Mini Windshield With Spirit Burn Link for my american friends! $22.00 Say what!!!!!


Thursday 28 April 2011

Do you know how to read a compass?

I use one every day to take bearings for work but found this fun anyway.

Try it

Compass bearings

127 Hours

Between a rock and a hard place

I just finished reading this book. I do like a nice adventure yarn and this was very good indeed.

I found that some sections were hard to read due to density of info and to many metaphors and similies and descriptive text.

Anyway over all a very good book with some  stomach churning moments. Just goes to show that even very very experienced outdoorsmen Like Aron Ralston can get complacent and end up in the shit.

Worth a read.


A few photos

The Leuku Part 1

I have been given permission to present this article by my friend at

And This guy makes some amazing traditional knives, check it out!!

The Leuku part 1.

At first, we dont call em here in north,as leuku too often, its usually some twisted pronouncication from word "stuorra niibi", (many ways to write it,though) which in sami language means big knife,nothing more.Leuku is a later name but its ok too. The smaller leuku is called "unna nibas",which means small knife,and those usually have some 5 to 7 inch long blade.

Double-leukus are totally a creation of southern marketing man. Reindeer folk havent carried two knives in one sheath,and dont do that nowadays,except for very very few exceptions.

Leuku ( the larger, popular one) is usually with a blade ranging from 7to 10 inches,sometimes even more closer to 12 inches. Bevels are NOT knife-like. In tourist leukus they are like in puukko+s but in real leukus,no way. Bevels are ground to what they call as " cat cheeks".
So its a more convex-like. In some 5 millimeter thick and 40 millimeter high blade, you find bevels to be from 15 to 17 millimeters high and its NOT,again a V profile,no. Its close to convex thats  like magnifying lense with 2mm radius .  It starts from up,as a V but it turns,towards the edge it self,to very round. Similar to axe sharpening,kind of,as they have two bevels usually,here, but in leuku the border of bevels is very rounded and not so visible. Well, if i say its very rounded convex,you might get it.

Common thickness in real leukus, is form 4,5 to 6 mm. And the blades tip, its originally more closer to shape of traditional puukko,meaning its more pointed in real leukus, since it can be then used well, for gutting and sknning. The more dull shaped leukus are also creation of businessmen, who wanted leuku to be more exotic looking and maybe more mean too. But you cant do leukus wide range of tasks with a dul tip shape.

Its use in foreign countries is bit awkward in our eyes often, People compare them to hatchets and axes and it wrong. Leuku is used in task more suitable for billhook,rather than any axe type.

In lapland, a tree thats over 15 centimeter thick,is more like rarity, and usually most trees are bush-like, thin birch,that grows slowly and is bended in every directions. Leuku fits more than well,for felling and processing wood like this. Traditionally it used for about every task there might be,from building rendeer fences, shelter poles and pieces, reindeer bone chopping and splitting, reindeers sled pulling gear making,ad such,so its actually an ancient multitool :).
Its still common to see man treat a reindeer,from skinning to putting meat in parts in 15 minutes with just one leuku,you know. They dont need dedicated several butchers knives...

More to come.........................

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Aonach Mor


I love going through old photos and being reminded of things you had forgotten.

About 10 years ago myself and a friend packed up the car boarded a ferry and drove through the night to get to the Nevis range of mountains in the highlands of Scotland.

We camped in the shadow of Ben nevis and survived a few storms to attempt a few winter climbs in the gullies on the North face.

It was quite testing at the time but the thing is I seem to thrive on being in situations like that were there is no future or present just the moment that your cowering in your tent hoping that it dosnt rip apart in the battering ice laden wind.

We went on to climb to the top of quite a few Munros that winter which was brilliant.

This photo was taken when we reached the top of Aonach Mor and discovered that huge cornices had formed overhanging the gullies. Of the 6 feet or so of snow between me and the edge, 4 of it is unsupported cornice. i didnt realise this at the time but luckily a hard old scottish mountaineer shouted in no uncertain terms that I should get back or die, of course he used a few more swear words than that. He then went on to invite us into his bothy shelter for a cup of tea.

We went back every year after that for about 5 years and had many more fun times and plenty of heart stopping moments but I suppose its all about adventure.

Good times good times.

A few pics from my recent overnighter

My home for 2 days

There is a rising problem with teenagers buying a bargain tent and then leaving it in place when they are done. Good if you need a shelter in a hurry

Beech coming in to leaf and an opertunity for a bit of  food.

The small leaves are the ones to eat.

Typical forestry plantation of Sitka Spruce

A wind broken Spruce.

A place where water gathers is often indicated by wet loving species like golden Saxifrage (edible) A good place for a gypsy well

Hairy bitter cress. Tastes like normal cress and can be quite powerfull

A nice stream coming of the mountain. I still boiled my water though.

Tent pole bag left behind!!

Wool twine left behind

Can left behind. A cooking pot

Camp fire and grill left behind. Crazy. Why can't the lazy bastards just take it home again.

Spruce new rowth is excellent for tea or to eat straight of the tree. Takes resinous though. I think you can taste the Vit C which they are high in.

Protein or a little friend for the night.

My Leuku, which was an outstanding tool and very usefull indeed.

Feathersticks for the fire.

3 good feathersticks produce alot of heat and will release alot of energy, worth practising.

A bit of split willow and kindling  on top of the feathersticks and the fire was established in under a minute!

The cutting tools I brought.

Original post here