22.7.09

Ponassing


In my time as a assistant instructor with woodlore I have ponassed many a Salmon - so many in fact that like the old scottish labours who were paid in the fish - I really dont like Salmon anymore!!


However, in almost all of Ray Mears' programmes he Ponassess one and as such folks often ask to be shown how to do it - thats fine I'll demo it just dont ask me to eat it!


Anyway on a recent private booking we were working in a coast enviroment and as such landed ourselves with a few Mackerel - yum - a nice oily fish, I love mackerel. A few of the guys asked me to demo Ponassing with this and I was happy to oblige.


Now, every days a school day, and having only ever ponassed fresh water fish I was firstly surprised at how easily the skeleton came away from the flesh - much easier than a salmon say. Secondly, I was also surprised how, once cooked, the flesh came away from the skin. Huge, succulent chunks of steaming moist white meat that melted in the mouth!!


So tender was the fish that several fell apart, into the fire!!


Witnessing this we also decided to cook a few by just gutting them and then sticking them on a stick whole - well dear reader they were just as tender - with much less fuss - but like wise once cooked the meat simply fell off the bone!


Wonderful, salty and fresh but beware when cooking, as unlike fresh water fish, a fresh sea fish with its white flaky flesh can crumble - next time I think a griddle will be made - and if only we had had a frying pan!

19.7.09

Air Cadet - Survival Training



Survival training for the next generation.




Over the last few years we have worked with several Air cadet squadrons here in the UK teaching both bushcraft and survival skills for the pleasure of the skills and as part of their respective DofE programmes especially up to Silver, and this weekend was no exception.




Running both a basic and advanced level course (two different areas and two different programmes - phew!) we saw our advance course really coming into their own as they put skills learnt over the previous 5 weekend courses into practice - for these guys Octobers event will be the real test and coalmination of their training!



While the basic course broke into the bushcraft world by learning fire lighting and spoon carving as well as game prep (fish and pidgeon) and other priority subjects such as gypsy wells and gravity filters to produce safe drinking water, even a few bannocks!!



The thunder storms lent the course members focus as dry shelters were important and the warmer sunny spells were much appreciated luxuries.




But the smiles were never dampened and fun was had by all.


Great weekend - looking forward to the next one!



12.7.09

Bushcraft Camp Weekends



Another excellent bushcraft camp weekend!

Its amazing how lucky we are to have such great company for the bushcraft camp weekends. Sadly Steve couldnt stay all weekend and as such missed a good night saturday but regardless, a great time was had by all. It was especially good to catch up with Brendan who passed the WEISS course with us in 2008.


Also special thanks and note goes to young Herby for his excellent home made chamagne and unburnt bannock on saturday night!!









6.7.09

Course Picture - WEISS 2009



Thanks to Chris Brickel for this excellent picture of the WEISS CLASS of 2009

2.7.09

Cutting Tools again ..............


Fate often has a hand in many of the events which shape our lives whether we except it ot not.



On the recent WEISS course fate certainly played me an Ace. Many years ago, when I first started out on the bushcraft trail I was (and still am) a big fan of Mors Kochanski. Unable to afford a expensive Woodlore knife I instead opted for the simpler knife Mors seemed to like.



This was the Original KJ Eriksson Mora knife with its red painted birch handle - a legendary knife even then, after all a knife that has been accepted by outdoors folks for hundreds of years seldom can be bettered by a new design made by folks who only weekend in the woods or have profit at heart!!



May trusty old KJ Eriksson saw me through many a bushy adventure both here, Sweden and Norway always there and always reliable.



Eventually I cut off the wooden handle and fitted a new antler one and made it a nice leather sheath "revamping" the old knife which I used continiously up until I designed the BFK!!



Since then many moons and miles have pasted, adventure fresh and friends old have all come and gone and like a greenhorn I had found myself floundering in a world where knife choice was vaste and confusing ............. last year I remember remarking to a friend how I envied her ability to wear and use a simple knife without feeling the need to own a "better" (read custom more expensive there) knife!



Well, not so long ago Mora knives of Sweden was born out of the marriage of Frost's and KJ Ericsson's - this union of the two top cutting tool makers in sweden promised to bring new and exciting tools to the market and as mentioned on this blog before tools of excellent steel quality at a sensible price!!!



Sadly it would also see the end of the KJ Ericksson brand ........... alas the memories soon fade!!



Then on this years trip to Sweden in a hardware store I found 2 KJ Ericsson's being sold off cheap - brand new - how could I resist??



One I put into service immediately the other I am saving (a draw queen!)



To my pleasure and delight the knife served me well in every area I could think of - excellent for carving triggers and spoons it also excelled at carving my dinner, lifting a hot handled billy off the fire, fire lighting ................ everything.



Harking back to my comments to my friend (as above) I thought "well why not? Why do you have to have an expensive knife? Is your ego getting in the way of your good sense? Good enough for Mors, good enough for you!"



And so there you have it - my new knife is a old style Mora ........... I have several £200 plus knives at home and while one or two maybe be as good in use, none are as practicle or so well priced as that simple classic!!



I pondered changing the scales again - making a new sheath - tinkering ............. but then I thought "no, whats the point?? A serious outdoorsman should have a tool thats functional, that can be used and if needs be, be used hard. A serious outdoorsman should be judged on what he can make with his knife not on who made it!" So I decided to leave it be - even the slightest customising makes the knife less of a tool and more of a thing, a statement ...... lessening it making it stuff. More to the point by keeping it simple I can happily give the tool as a gift and replace it if needs be - I can carry 10 in my sack and still be quids in over the custom carrier .......... and if (no matter how rare it might be) I should lose it or have it stolen, it'll not be the bank or my heart thats broken!



The urge to tinker has passed, now I have a knife that has served generations of outdoors folk, and served them well. I have a knife that professional outdoorsmen and those who live in the wilds trust - I have a knife that will meet all my bushcraft needs and more without carving a hole in my wallet!!



So impressed was I with my rediscovery of the simplistic pleasures of the past and the undeniable utility of this excellent knife I have decided to stock the entiure range on the Bearclaw Website so before you spend a fortune on a expensive knife ask yourself this, "Can generations of woodsman, men who actually depended on a knife to survive have been wrong?"



If your answer is no, then maybe you to should trust their judgement and try a Mora Classic - if your answer is yes ................ well I also have a few tins of Survival Dehydrated water I can sell you when you buy your expensive new knife!!