13.12.10

Winter Thoughts

My good friend Preben sent me a picture of my house in Sweden last weekend, all covered in snow and looking like a Christmas card scene.

And that got me thinking about winter travel, bushcraft and the fun to be had when the temperature drops and nature paints her canvas white!


Whether your inside the Arctic circle in Finland


Or in in the Mountains of Norway's Telemark region


Or the snow capped Cairngorms of the Scottish Highlands winter is a great time for the true bushcrafter and outdoors person.

Firstly, and primarily because of the beauty which surrounds us and creates a winter playground of crystal wonder.

Secondly, because the fair weather shrafters are all tucked up at home polishing their shiny kit and tripling their post count on their favourite forums.

And lastly because its in winter time that you need to really be top of your game, especially over extended trips at sub-zero temperatures.

Sleeping out for more than one night requires a good depth of knowledge, a decent splash of self discipline and a better than average understanding of your kit and the basic routines of the winter camp.

Trips and expeditions to Finland and Norway with temperatures down to -42c rapidly taught me the few tricks needed to live comfortably and these skills I have enjoyed teaching to folks who attended our winter WEISS courses over the years.

The futures looking bright too - with better than average snow in the UK myself and Steve are planning a few camp outs just for fun and then early next year we'll be hiking the Wall once more, OK maybe we wont be needing snowshoes and Mukluks for that but the following month its off to Sweden for a weeks winter training so the acclimatisation of the Scottish borders will be welcome!

It always amuses me that so many people seem to panic when the white stuff falls, looking upon it was fear yet for me it never ceases to bring a smile. Firing up that childish twinkle in my eye as I imagine myself part of great adventures ranging from Captain Scott to the Battle of the Bulge with more than a sprinkling of Call of the wild added for good measure.

The quiet of the forest in its winter coat, the clean air, the sudden ease of access to water and the snug pleasure of a warm winter bivouac are all treasures tattooed on my memories - this winter, caste off your fair weather coat and try the secret season for yourself ........... you never know you might even enjoy it!
































6 comments:

Perkunas said...

Hey man,so youre alive and well?

Great to see you writing your good topics again. Have you thought about taking a plane into Finland.If so,my home is your home if you want to crash in our coach,any day,youre wellcome.

I hear and read that in England theres almost like a catastropic times now that youve got your share of cold and snow as well? Like everything stops and people sleep in their cars,on highways due to bit harsh conditons?

Survivall said...

Hi Mikko - well ditto if you decide to visit my home in Sweden - might be a good idea as its in the middle for us both!

As for the snow and England - actually its Scotland thats fallen apart because of the snow - Englands pretty much business as usual - although it makes me laugh as many of my scandinavian friends seem to think this is common in England yet most of the flights cancelled into say Gatwick are coming from NORTHERN EUROPE so if your cancelling flights they cant arrive here!

A second thought and one more pertinent is that generally (twice this year though) we dont get the heavy snow falls and as such dont have official infastructure to deal with it well, although it does seem most people here lack the intelligence to deal with it too ..... but that aside you guys have to be better prepared as you get heavy snow annually - you cant bet a brit for knowing how to deal with rain though!

Perkunas said...

Haha :),

well i wouldnt bet on myself,about living in constant humidity and rain,youre right about that.

So do i get this right...you have moved to Sweden permanently ?

In any case,are you goin to spend your christmes in sweden,yes?
I bet theres a lot nicer views from your northern homes windowns for that special occasion.

Survivall said...

No Mikko - not moved there yet ...........but working on it

if nothing else it'll make a great retirement home ")

Krystal said...

Hello from New Zealand!! I've never been camping (or even hiking) in the snow, but it sounds really amazing. Do you have any tips, for somebody who's only seen snow once in their life?
eg. I think I heard somewhere that there were different types of snow, some quite slippery / deep and more dangerous than others ...?

Thank you ~~ !!!

Survivall said...

Hi Krystal,

There is some much to know I couldn't possibly write it all in a little reply like this.

However if you've never experienced snow my first bit of advise was wrap up warm and seek it out - to me the winter snow environment is not only the most beautiful but also the simplest on the camp in as you only have to contend with cold - it's also a easier time to travel in arctic and subarctic regions as the waterways freeze!

Drop me an email if your seriously planning a trip and I will happily give you more advise.

Hope that helps.