With the hot weather we've been having this spring I decided to take a day out and revisit a forest which has been my home many times over the years. Infact my first memories of the forest day back to when I was a sprog about 7 years old - on a family picnic my little brother and I, lured away but our imaginations and got lost!! All we had between us as a little pen knife (yes in those days all kids had pen knives, maybe we had more sense or maybe we just had more moral fibre and courage but no one went around stabbing people - a fact kids today find amazing!)

Anyway we wandered through the woods for hours - afraid but resolute, I can remember telling my brother not to worry as we could catch rabbits for food! Eventually we found a road and the Gods were looking out for us that day as shortly after my parents drove past - I remember seeing the car and being relieved, then seeing my mums face and feeling more fear than I did when lost!!

Older, bolder, bigger and uglier today I wandered happily around the forest, which I realised I hadnt really visited for around 10 years .......... it was a amazing feeling rediscovering trails I used to know.

The first thing that amazed me was the amount of dried up ponds I found - the south east of England is in drought and its only march!

Not to clear in the picture above but the sign in the picture says no fishing .......... no fishing?? theres no water!

Fortunately in my Snugpak daysack I did have water - infact I had a thermos flask of hot water and a waterbottle as well as the obligatory CHEESE AND PICKLE sandwiches for my lunch which I took beside one of the other ponds and chilled out in the shade!

As well as enjoying the hike I was also there to recce the area for potential wild camp sites of which I found many but discovery of a fresh series of deer tracks soon turned my head from camp sites and had me off in tracking mode - I tracked this little herd for a hour or so, manouvering the deer into a situation where I could (imagine) taking a shot to harvest one (although the only shooting I did was with my pocket camera)

Another interesting event of my hike was the discovery of three birds of Prey circling above the trees, I heard them before I saw them and when I saw them if was so breif I couldnt ID them but they were there - on line research hasnt brought up any info on BofP being spotted in the forest so thats a bit of a mystery ............

Oh well it was a good end to a cracking day where I revisited a beloved woodland and my childhood - such days are rare for their simplicity and gifts and I treasure them one and all.


Dogsledge adventure in Estonia at

Dogsledge adventure in Estonia at

A good friend of mine, Peter, whose not only a former WEISS student but also a excellent bushcrafter has been working in Estonia with Karulas wolftrails ....... heres a little snippet of info he sent me ..........enjoy

Last winter I have been working as a dog handler at karulas-wolftrail
and I want to give you all a impression of the awesome experience you'll get there on a three day expedition

Unlike many dogsled adventures in Scandenavia this is a real intense experience.
You'll mush your own team of dogs in front of your sled through rough terrain. Most dogs are malamutes and some are greenland dogs.
The program depends on the weather and snow conditions and longer trips are also possible.

The week starts on monday when you'll be picked up from the airport in Riga, Letland. After a 2/3 hour drive you arrive at karulas-wolftrail basecamp, where your logcabin awaits you. In the evening you'll be asked to help with feeding the dogs so you'll get to know them a little bit better and get used to their high level of energy. Then you'll get fed yourself.

Next morning starts at 08:00 with giving the dogs their water. After this you have breakfast. At 10:00 there is given a explanation of the sledges, outdoor equipment and the expedition
followed by a testdrive of 45 minutes. Then you have lunch.

At 15:00 you'll leave for the first day and the first 20 km, arriving at approximately 17:00 at an overnight location. This can be a logcabin or an open shelter.

After breackfast the next morning and some ice-fishing you leave for the second part of the trip. Approximately 40 km going through rough woodland, over fields and frozen lakes, to arrive at the second overnight site, a logcabin hidden deep in the natural park of Karulas.

The next mornig you'll leave for the last and longest part of the trip approximately 45km, again going over frozen lakes, hilly fields and through stunning forest. You'll arrive back at the basecamp in the afternoon where the dogs are taken to their pastures. The sauna is waiting for you, as is a good last meal.

On day 5 you'll be driven back to the Riga airport, leaving you with an unforgettible experience.

For more info visit the website.


Winter WEISS 2012

Winter training is always hard, especially when the weather isnt quite what you expect and that is exactly what the students on this years Winter WEISS had to contend with.

Sub-zero tempertures to plus 10 .......... frozen lakes and sunny glades where all features of this years course as Varmland experienced the warmest temperatures in 118 years.

That said the course was still one of the best I have ever lead - our students where spot on and the program we ran still covered all the skills and subject matter that we usually run (it just required a little imagination on the part of the training team to make things run smoothly)

Well done to all involved both staff and students, thank you all for a excellent and successful course.