Sunday, 6 August 2017

Bushcraft with children; wild food and nature

I write regular articles for Bushcraft and Survival Magazine on the topic of bushcraft with children. Mainly because I have a profound belief that time outdoors in nature and engaging with traditional skills is good, indeed vital, for childrens development. Also partly because I love practicing bushcraft with my children and want to share ideas with others.

My children get to do a lot more bushcraft than you see in the magazine though. Here is a snapshot of this weeks fun;

Dusk rasberry picking.
Backgarden foraging for fat hen, redshanks, penny cress and chickweed.
Eating borage flowers.
Finding a bay bolete

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Tinder... not the app

A selection of natural tinder ready for fire lighting. Birch bark, cat tail down and willow down. Some of the cat tail down has been charred ready for fire lighting with a flint and steel.

Saturday, 27 May 2017


Having just moved to Scotland I'm getting to learn my surroundings and part of that has involved a little swatting up on some of the plants which were not so common in my last stomping grounds in Cheshire.

Although wood avens were common where I last lived I didn't see water avens very often. They are larger and have these drooped flowers.
Water aven flower.

There has been more obviousley but that's it for now.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Give a little whistle!

This time of year now that the sap is up making sycamore and willow whistles is a fun bushcraft project and they are greatto make and use with children.

You don't need special equipment or advanced skills just a pocket knife and a few minutes to sit and whittle.

The first one I made this year with my Swiza pocket knife.

This short video I made a couple of years ago shows how to make these simple whistles, willow or sycamore are the best choices of material and are both common and easily identifiable. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Forget piute deadfalls a rifle will get you some dinner

Although as modern 'bushcrafters' we idolise the old mountain men, Native Americans, Aboriginal cultures and any other group who lived or live using primitive skills we often forget that although their equipment and methods are primitive by todays standards they were using the most technologicaly advanced methods available to them at the time. And we shouldnt feel guilty about doing the same. 

Sometimes primitive methods are even illegal due to modern hunting and animal welfare legislation.  

.17 HMR is a modern rim fire round perfectly suited to shooting rabbits and other small game and vermin.

A bolt and full magazine are a lighter load than balls and/or shot, powder flasks, wads and spare flints that the mountain men would have carried in addition to their rifles.

The results of the harves, a couple of three quaters grown rabbits and some veg made a delicious stir fry.


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Eggs, chicks, traps and mushrooms, all in a days work.

Bushcraft encompasses a range of outdoor and wilderness living skills and is very closely related to homesteading and self sufficiency. Here my children are checking the progress of some quail eggs in the incubator.
After seventeen days in the incubator the chicks start hatching

They are soon out and about under the heat lamps.

Checking a larsen trap to reduce predation of wild bird eggs and chicks by magpies and crows.

A little bit of mushroom foraging, in this case St. Georges mushrooms.


Sunday, 23 April 2017

A week in Scotland

Every other year we have a week long family reunion in Moffat in Scotland and as well as a great oportunity to catch up with cousins, aunts, uncles and extended family it's a great chance to enjoy the outdoors too. 

Having fun on the Solway firth
Beach combing for shells and sea slaters
A spot of fishing, the first time I've had the fly rod out for ages.
The trout stuffed with sorrel and butter ready for baking.

My daughter adding foraged greens to her picnic.
Delicious, wood sorrel, common sorrel and golden saxifrage in our sandwiches.
Golden saxifrage.
One of our picnic spots
Walking on the Southern Upland Way
A beautiful waterfall
A bit of whittling