Autumn bushcraft in the Carpathians

Autumn bushcraft in the Carpathians

When I’m at the village house I go to the forest at least twice per day, usually morning to retrieve the trap camera and just before dusk to set it. When I’ve got chance I also like spending the day time wandering about in the woods looking for edible fungi.

This weekend we took the kids in to collect some nice leaves for an art exhibition I’ve got coming up. Whilst there my son found just over half a particularly large lynx skull – sadly not including the teeth. That’s now sitting in a bucket of water and bleach in my garage.

The colours of the forest at this time of year just cannot be explained in words. It’s utterly mesmerizing.

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Chinese firelighter bracelet field test

This is a paracord bracelet I ordered online from China as it, purportedly, has a firestick and whistle as part of the locking mechanism.
I decided to try it out whilst out walking in the bush and these are the results. A normal sized firestick usually takes 2 or 3 strikes on Birch bark dust to get a fire going, regardless of how wet the Birch is. This Chinese bracelet had other plans.
To make it even more difficult to use, regardless of the fact that the firestick is only millimetres across and a couple of centimetres long, which ultimately produces a tiny spark without much heat, is that the firestick is positioned between the two clips, thus preventing any but the most awkward strike – and the clips lose a lot of plastic in the process.
I’d say it’s useable if the tinder is mega dry – which would be a feat in itself where I live at any time apart from the height of summer. It really is only either as an emergency tool or as an interesting knick-knack. In no way does it replace a proper firesteel, box of matches or a cigarette lighter for lighting a fire from naturally available material.
After ultimately getting a fire going, there is virtually no firestick left. It was a lesson in frustration and determination. Theoretically, it does what it says on the box, just don’t plan to do anything else for a few hours….

Filmed on a Dazzne P2.

Cloud forest

Cloud forest

The weather here at the moment is extreme. We go from bright sunshine to blizzard and then back again every few hours. Because of this, the snow covering on the trees doesn’t last long and its evapouration causes a cloud layer.

Many visitors to the forest here are shocked to discover how similar it is to a rain forest due to its damp conditions.

It’s Easter and I really thought Spring was here at last. I was wrong…

Lincolnshire garden sunset

Lincolnshire garden sunset

After months of bleak grey, it was very therapeutic to sit in my father’s living room and look out the window onto a beautiful Lincolnshire sunset. There’s something about England… I could sit for hours and just watch the sun go down. I think that as I’m getting older, I’m beginning to understand the benefits of culture and civility offered by middle-England. It’s a much slower pace and there are no ‘wilds’ but perhaps after almost two decades of that, I’ve had my fill….

Laughton Forest

Laughton Forest

Just had a flying visit out to the UK as my grandmother’s not particularly well. Whilst out there, my brother took us to Laughton Forest, which is a Forestry Commission training ground in Lincolnshire. There’s such a difference between Carpathian and English forest but I enjoyed the park-like aspect of English woodland – plus there are no large beasties to worry about. Judging by the horse shoe tracks, the paths are well used as bridleways.

Forest cabin

Forest cabin

This is a cabin we stayed at last weekend in the forest above Svidnik, East Slovakia. It’s owned by the regional forest office and is situated on Black Mountain. The hill is renowned for the bandits who used to inhabit it centuries ago, and also for the number of German soldiers who died there during the war.

Despite being deep in the forest it was silent, creepily so. Apart from one owl which called for 30 seconds, the rest of the night was without animal or bird activity. It was like a blanket of silence had been thrown over the area. Ordinarily, the forests around here produce a cacophony of sound once darkness falls. Not at that cabin… I was pleased when dawn arrived.

I guess that part of the forest remembers the dead.