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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Simple Improvised Lure Saved the Day.

It's been a long long time since I've fished a rock mark, I normally fish from the boat these days, but I thought I'd head out to a place I haven't fished in 20 years. The weather wasn't great and I really didn't plan the trip but grabbed a bag and got to the mark at midway on the flow. However on opening my bag I realised I hadn't brought any lures, just line, weights and hooks, so breaking out in a panic and not fancying another 50 mile round trip to get them I searched along the rocks to see what I could find..the result... one pigeon feather! So I whipped it onto a size 1/0 o'shaugnessy and added a 3oz lead and started the day by casting to the horizon..

After an hour I hadn't had a thing, but with no option other than to try or give up I kept plugging away, it wasn't long after I had my first take and landed a nice little mackerel, then the fish came on..

you can see the improvised feather lure over the mackerel in the above pic.

I ended the day with 8 mackerel, 3 coalfish (we call them 'blocken' locally) and a pollock, all in all a good day which could have been a waste were it not for the luck of a simple feather.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The 12 Buzzard Bush-rites.

We often get asked by people what steps they should take when learning bushcraft, what to practise and what to learn when it comes to simple practical skills, as a matter of fact we get asked this so often that over time we developed the 12 Buzzard Bush-rites.
These are little steps to take when first setting out on your bushcraft journey, they are only to help and guide and give an idea of what a beginner might like to try out when starting off, they are by no means exclusive but they do set a good foundation on which to start building your knowledge, (there are another advanced 12 bush-rites but these come later with much experience and practise).
I thought you might like to see them.
1. Build your own debris shelter and spend the night in it.
2. Make a fire from a spark using tinder gathered only on the day, nothing preprepared or brought along
3. Find water, filter and purify it and make a bush tea.
4. Be able to identify 10 native wild plants and know their uses.
5. Make your own knife from flint, bone or steel.
6. Get an ember from a bow drill set you've made yourself.
7. Be able to pick out the north star.
8. Use a bush medicine to heal a small wound, cut, bite or sting.
9. Make 10 feet of natural cordage.
10. Prepare a complete meal from  the wild using only food you have fished, foraged, hunted, trapped or gathered by yourself.
11. Carve a spatula, spoon, kuksa or bowl from wood and use it.
12. Pass on your knowledge freely asking nothing in return.
I'm sure each person has their own ideas as to good beginners lessons and I'd love to hear your suggestions.
Buzzard Blessings to you all.

Friday, 12 August 2016

St Johns Wort

It's one of those plants that everyone has heard of and everyone knows it's got a long history of very effective medicinal use but most people would walk past it without being able to recognise it if they saw it growing wild, which it often does.
I've found it growing in a lot of places and it's one of those herbs that I often pick and keep dried should anyone ever need some.
It's quite easy to distinguish with it's woody base, bright yellow flowers and oval opposite leaves and if you look very closely little dots on the leaves.
It's medicinal uses include a cure for diahorrea, bladder complaints, nervous disorders and depression.
The fresh or an infusion of the dried plant can be used to treat infected wounds and ulcers, also swellings and bruising, however side effects have been noted with this herb including some as severe as anaphylaxis and foetal abortion so never use this plant unless you know what you are doing, and even then use in moderation.
Legends about this plant say that it can keep away the devil, evil spirits and apparitions, being named after St John the Baptist this holy plant was often thrust into the mouths of witches to make them confess.
Paracelsus said the plant should be picked early in the morning as the first rays of sun touched the petals, it was this plant that was most effective in creating the potion called the blood of Christ.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Elder pith for flint and steel.

I've wondered about using this for a while but never seen any other articles on using it so I thought I'd see if it works..

So I found a few pieces of dead elder (sambucus nigra) and took the pith out of the center

put it in the usual char tin and in the fire just for a few seconds as it chars incredibly quickly

then into the tinder box, I broke some of the pieces up to increase the surface area and create a better chance of getting a successful spark though this may ultimately not have been a good idea, the steel was struck with a piece of flint onto the charred pith

and as you can see it took very easily.. However there are a few downsides, if you put the tinder bundle into your tinder box to blow to flame the charred pith blows out everywhere as it is so incredibly light, the slightest movement of air scatters all the pieces so be gentle.
Also putting the embers into a 'birdsnest' tinder bundle and blowing it to flame is tricky, it's hard to keep all the little pieces together so the ember spreads as they have a tendency to separate and the ember then only spreads along one piece, so if using this method use the biggest single piece of charred pith in your pile.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Opinel Explore No 12 - New Knife

The traditional opinel has been an iconic outdoor knife for years and we all love them and I'm sure have more than one, well wanting to expand the range into a more upmarket outdoor scene they've brought out a very nice number 12 in modern materials.

A 12c27 blade with polymer handle containing a ferro rod and a guthook/lanyard hole, although I don't need another knife I am tempted, it should be available in stores very soon.

Monday, 25 July 2016

The Blusher Mushroom - Amanita Rubescens

The Amanita family of fungi are really difficult to identify and potentially life threatening if you get it wrong, this one however is edible but to be on the safe side I've never tried it as I'm too worried about getting it mixed up with the Panther cap! However I'm getting there and my ID is getting better and I got this one right even from a distance!


Called the blusher because they blush pink. I have often read that they do this when bruised but after a chat with an expert mycologist he said they rarely do this but will turn pink when broken and exposed to air. Anyway above you can see the defining features of this fungi, examine the cap, ring and base and whatever you do don't mix it up with the panther cap!!
Many thanks to Geoff Dann for the help with the ID.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Importance of Distinction

Here are two inflorescences from two different plants, one is edible one is not..can you tell the difference between them and what they are?
It's relatively easy to differentiate between whole plants but it's much more difficult when you only have part of a flower, even more so when you have to choose between them for a particular reason.. Make sure you know your stuff, don't guess.. if you're not sure then don't use them.