The Bushcraft Days 2018 Calendar Shots

“dedicated to my wife Alison”

For the last few years my wife Alison has compiled a calendar from my photography to give out as presents to our close family. Alison is both a Publisher and an author and she inspires me each year to get out there and photograph life around me – so this blog post is dedicated to my wife Alison .

Looking at the pictures in the calendar they have brought back some great memories of the last year.

January 18

We spent a day visiting our friend Molly from the Field Farm Project earlier this year where I spotted Henrietta the Hen (no idea if this is her name) wandering amongst the Daffodils.

January 18 – Henrietta the Hen

February 18

Anther trip was to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove (went twice in 2017). As the sea was so calm on the first trip I had to get really down low to get any sort of wave action in Lulworth Cove.

February 18 – Lulworth Cove High Seas

March 18

I took lots of wild flower pictures this year however I decided to see what the underside of a Snowdrop looked like – I was pleasantly surprised at the green stripes and the shear number of petals.

March 18 – Snowdrop in the Hand

April 18

On a trip to Chesil Beach to meet my friends Fraser (Coastal Survival) and Dougie (an ex army buddy of mine) we spent time as a family building a Beach Henge. We came across one of these structures years ago on Chesil so decided to build our own.

April 18 – Beach Henge

May 18

This year I got myself a new phone – a Samsung S7 and I decided to test out its zoom abilities. The Stitchwort flower below was probably only a centimetre in diameter so you could say I was happy with the phone.

May 18 – Stitchwort in Profile

June 18

Throughout the year we take time to head out into the woods as a family. This shot was in our local woods at Pamber Forest – I must admit to emphasising the blues a bit but I did like the effect this had on the trees.

June 18 – Family Bimbles

July 18

July found me in Ashdown Forest with the Sea Cadets. In between classes I found time to stalk a herd of wild ponies, Using my phone I managed to get this cracker of a skyline as the sun was setting.

July 18 – Ashdown Ponies

August 18

August was holiday time and every couple of years we spend time in Brittany with our friend Rick. There are great beaches on the Breton coastline however we did find time to do a bit scrambling at Pénestin.

August 18 – Brittany Beaches

September 18

September is a busy time for me with the Cadets and although this picture was not taken in that month it does epitomise to me the adventures we have. I was working as a Mountain Leader Safety Officer with the Royal Marines Cadets on  the Brecon Beacons earlier in the year doing a mountain night nav when I managed to snap this shot as the sun was setting. It was a long night on the mountains but everyone came off safely and had a great time.

September 18 – Marines on the Moor

October 18

My son Finlay is 9 years old now and had expressed interest in getting out into the hills a bit more. In October I took him along with me on a Gold DofE Expedition in the Peak District. Needless to say Finlay showed no fear of heights while exploring Kinder Scout.

October 18 – Father and Son time

November 18

My daughter Catherine has not expressed that same wish for roaming the hills however she is extremely happy roaming the woods. I loved the colours of this winter shot in our local woods near The Vyne National Trust property.

November 18 – Golden Girl

December is winter time and although I was wishing for snow in Southern England there was not much to be had. This shot was taken earlier in the year on the side of Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons. We were there to celebrate the Dining Out Weekend for our friends Perry and Graham.

December 18 – Brecon with the Boys

Cover Picture

This was a tough one for me but Alison decided on this shot of a Swan taking off from the River Thames. I was delivering a course at my friend John Kelly’s Sea Cadet Unit – TS Black Swan and decided to spend a half hour seeing what life was going on on the Thames – a good half hour I think.

Cover 2
Cover Picture – A Thames Evening

Thanks Alison for taking the time to putting this Calendar together – without you I know it would never happen.




Losing the urge and finding it again

Ever lose the urge to do something? – well I did a couple of months ago and that was to whether or not carry on with writing up my little adventures.

I thought at first it was I because I needed to do something different but on reflection (over the Christmas period) I now know it was to do with stresses at work (Adventure Training is not my full time job).

Looking back on my pictures and videos of the year I realised how far behind I have gotten in updating this blog and – what I now refer to as my ‘Digital Diary’. Parts of this diary are instructional (The How To….. section) but the majority is a digital diary of what I get up to in my spare time.

So to catch up…………….

Last July (Yup I am that far behind) it was time to help out with our District Sea Cadet Adventure Training Competition. My good friend Dave Lewis set up the weekend on Pippingford Park in the Ashdown Forest and we were joined by a number of District staff. As you can see when it comes to these weekends we do not rough it – It takes years of training to remember to bring all these comforts 🙂

Set Up


First thing Saturday morning the teams were up and away navigating their way around Ashdown Forest. We only had 3 teams enter this year due to a Sailing Regatta being run that weekend but they were still tested to the same high levels.

The cadets had to carry all their equipment for the whole weekend and as well as testing their navigation they had a number of leadership tasks to undertake as well.

Saturday Strolls

As I said at the beginning it takes years of training to remember to bring along the right ‘comforts’ 😉 and this includes food. Alan, Dave and Charlie prepared some great food over the weekend for the staff – that roast was brilliant and I got a cracker of a Fire Face.

Fine Dining


It was great wakening up in the morning in my hammock but it was soon time to crack on with the Sunday Stances. I had brought along some Atlatl’s and Dave brought along some Darts. These are great for testing out your marksmanship and easy to teach.

Darts in all shapes

Other stances (in between the herds of wild horses) were the stalking game and the Seamanship stance. Both stances require high levels of team work in order to be completed successfully.

Wildlife and Challenges

The weekend was soon over – City of London came 3rd, Haringey 2nd and the winners were Enfield unit – well done to everyone who took part.


It has been good re-starting my Digital Diary and I hope to get back in to making my videos some time soon.

A Great Weekend