A Spider Snack – A Video Post

Sorting some Adventure Training kit in my garden this afternoon I heard a buzzing sound to my side. Looking down I spotted this little scene being played out.

All I had to film this was my Samsung 7 Edge  phone. I was not disappointed with the results though.

I was enthralled at how quickly the fly was wrapped up and happy to see the amount of detail my phone camera picked up.

Cheers

George

Coastal Survival at the Bushmoot

The flaming lollipop

This week I am camping on the beautiful South Wales Coast at Merthyr Mawr. It is Bushmoot time again and I thought I would try a quick post using just my phone.

We have been mostly setting up the Bushmoot for the main event starting this weekend.

I did though pop around today to see a couple of the early starter courses Fraser from Coastal Survival was running a course and was when I was passing, teaching his students the art of getting a small fire going on a windswept beach. He got the fire lit using the tiniest piece of firelighter and soon had his cup of water boiling away.

The tiny piece of lit firelighter was inserted into the small tinder pile using a stick – kinds like a flaming lollipop 🙂

Cheers

George

My Kind of Glamping

Family camps tend to be busy affairs for me – setting up the tipi, sorting the fire etc, etc.

Not for this weekend last April- my wife Alison booked a Pod at the Durdle Door Holiday Park for us all.  It was a weekend of exploring, swimming and eating – without touching a tent 🙂

Dorsetr Days

The Pods were tall enough to stand in, had two single beds, one double, plenty of storage and electricity. We even had space to put up some hammocks (not an April shower in sight) and treated Finlay and Catherine for lunch at ‘Finley’s‘ cafe in Lulworth Cove.

A spot of Glamping

So after a quick emptying of the car into the Pod it was off around Scratchy Bottom (I love that name) to get the views from Swyre Head down onto Durdle Door. Along the way the Hawthorn trees were all bent into that classic ‘South Westerly’ pose.

Scratchy Bottom

Just to the East of Swyre Head is a crevice with a rope down it. This is an escape route off the beach if you get caught out by the tide. We though decided to take it down to the beach so we could approach Durdle Door from a less busy route.

We spent a little while relaxing by Durdle Door before deciding to pop over the rocks to Man O’ War Cove.

Durdle Door

We told the kids to just paddle as it was evening time but before long they were both saturated and having a ball. For myself I was up and around the cliffs trying to get a good shot of the Cove and some of the local plants.

Man O’War Cove

Saturday

Next morning it was time to head back down to the beach at Durdle Door. It is a pretty steep decent to the beach and Flip Flops are definitely not recommended for the descent.

We were lucky to arrive at a time as a couple were paddling in and around Durdle Door – kinda lent well to photography. The kids though were soon back in the water in their wetsuits having a splash about – not many folk ventured into the chilly April waters so I was quite proud to see them having a go.

Lazy Morning

Then it was back over to Man O’War Cove for a family dip – boy that water was cold.

We ventured East a bit more digging ourselves into the beach and finding bits of driftwood that looked quite artistic.

Along the coast

Along the way I put this short video together.

Before venturing into Lulworth Cove we stopped off at Stair Hole. This mini cove is a delight to photograph with its caves, blow hole and folded limestone strata.

Stair Hole

After a spot of lunch we spent some time at Lulworth Cove. If you have never been here before I do advise a trip as it is quite beautiful (even on a busy day).

Lulworth Cove

At the end of the day we walked up onto Hambury Tout hill. There is a large Bronze Age Barrow on its summit that still stands proud. We hung around for long enough to catch a quite lovely sunset to end the day.

Grand Views

Sunday

After a quick pack up (love this Glamping business) we headed west for an hour to Chesil Beach. Here we met up with some friends of mine.

Firstly we met my friend Fraser from Coastal Survival as he was running a course on the beach. We left him be teaching and went off for a paddle and also met up with an old friend of mine – Dougie Gray (from my days in 15 Para) and his lovely wife Carol. It was great to catch up with Dougie and see all the pictures he had brought along from all these years ago .

Chesil Beach with friends

While we were on the beach we decided to start a couple of Beach Henge’s. This was something we came across on Chesil beach a number of years ago and decided it was time to build our own.

They take ages to complete as you need to scour for the right stones but well worth the effort for the cracking pictures in the end

Beach Henge

After saying goodbye to Dougie, Carol and Fraser we headed East to see our friends Brian and Jane in Southampton. As a treat for us their daughter Annabelle had made the most wonderful cake and scones for us to enjoy

Perfect End – Time for Tea

Thank you Annabelle for putting the icing on the cake of what was a wonderful weekend.

Cheers

George

BEL – 2016 – Preparing for Assessment

This year has once again proved to be a busy one for me on the Adventure Training front, however it has probably not been as busy as it has been for some of our ‘soon to be Basic Expedition Leaders‘ (BEL) in the Sea Cadet Corps.

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Catching up on all that paperwork

This weekend my friend Perry Symes and I ran the penultimate weekend in this years BEL course. The BEL award is a nationally recognised qualification designed to give adult instructors a good grounding in becoming Adventure Leaders.

Next month they all go for assessment so this weekend was all about catching up on their paperwork and really testing their navigational and group leadership skills.

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Practice and more practice

Joining us on the weekend were Sarah, Lee, Charlie Chris and James. Everyone had to lead specific legs of the route we chose for them and manage the group as we went along.

There were lots of challenges set for them in terms of giving short lessons on different subjects and making sure they could navigate to a high standard (as well as teach navigation to others).

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Woodland wanderings

It was great to get out at this time of year and see all the autumnal colours really starting to show through. We studied hard over the weekend however we did have fun along the way.

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Autumn is here

Over the weekend we stayed at the Sunbury and Walton Sea Cadet unit TS Black Swan on the banks of the river Thames. I must say thank you very much to all the staff who welcomed us, fed us and  looked after us so well.  I for one got to kip on my friend Paul’s canal boat (Thames Boat Training) that was moored up next to the unit – so cheers Paul :-). This enabled Perry and myself to fully focus on preparing the guys for their two day assessment next month.

Cheers

George

 

Jason and the Ember Extender

Last August I was at the Wilderness Gathering here in UK with my friends from Coastal Survival. Just across from us was my friend Jason Sears demonstrating the use of a bowdrill to visitors.

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Meet Jason

Jason is passionate about fire lighting and passing this skill onto others. I decided to sit back and watch his progress. I cannot remember the combination of wood types he was using but he did spend a minute gently warming everything up with some slow rotations of the spindle.

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Warming up

Once he felt everything was a dry as he could get it where the spindle meets the hearth board he really powered up to produce a hot ember. The day had been really wet so all this preparation was essential – all the while he was talking to the visitors explaining what he was doing.

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Powering in

To help himself along in getting his flame Jason had a piece of Cramp Ball fungus (Daldinia concentrica) on hand. He gently laid the piece of Cramp Ball beside the glowing ember to get it alight. This is a handy trick to remember in damp conditions as the ember created from the bowdrill can easily die out if you are not careful.

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A small coal with a touch of cramp ball fungus

After a few seconds and a few puffs of breath the Cramp Ball was well alight then………………………

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Well lit and very stable

He added to some straw and huffed and puffed for a bit 🙂

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Easy to control

Jason’s straw was also a bit damp so he spent a few moments just drying out the area around the cramp ball by gently blowing into it. It is at this stage that many embers disintegrate if you are not careful or they simply die out as they are too small to overcome the damp material.

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Spreading the heat

After a minute the centre of the straw was well dried out and smouldering nicely. Normally, I notice a sudden increase in smoke at this stage and the colour  changes slightly telling me I am about to get a flame………………………

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The straw is smoldering well

Which he did – one impromptu looking candle in fact.

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Flammage

It is always a pleasure to watch Jason at the Wilderness Gathering teaching visitors fire lighting, so if you are thinking of coming along next year check him out.

Cheers

George