With the first cold winds of winter whistling down from the Arctic I decided to take a trip out to thue woods for a little fix of green and some well earned R+R.
So imagine my surprize when I found a old 432 in the woods ............. yep haven't seen on of these since the early 90's when I was out in Bosnia as a UN PEACEKEEPER with UNPROFOR.

Anyway that small excitement aside I soon settled down to enjoying my hike and the frosty forest floor.

It was early in the morning and after a cold night one thing I did find was the large amount of fallow deer crowding around the forest edge sun worshipping!

Another reason for my trip was to "trial" my new Grohmanns #3 and my very sexy new little hatchet.

Those of you who read the previous review will remember the Horn model had a belt sheath I turned into a necker - well for the rosewood scales I decided i'd opt for the flat sheath - making the Jump knife just like the one I remember from way back when!!

One interesting feature of the jump knife is the fact that every Canadian I ever knew who had one had wrapped sniper tape around the sheath - so true to the spirit of the knife I did like wise although I also wrapped the sheath with paracord first ..................

Another new tool to trial is my hatchet, this was sent to me by a good friend in Finland and is excellent - its a hand made tool (I cant remember the makers name) and is very "finnish" with some unique features for example the shape of the handle, the plate steel guard which extends from the bit down the handle and the holes cut into the bit to reduce weight and add a little "style" to the tool.

The only two negatives I can find with the hatchet at present are the lay is off to the left but a little more dirt time and I'll have grown used to it and the almost flat profile of the cutting edge, I'd have preferred a more crescent shaped bit but so far I haven't found the almost flat edge a problem either so maybe Im just griping for the sake of it?

I'll do a more in depth review of the hatchet once I have had more hands on time but suffice to say its a beauty and very light with a cracking little sheath.

Another newbie is my possibles bag.

This is a Yugoslavian gas mask bag (according to the sales pitch) and it comes in a waterproof cordura with a Velcro closing flap and a inner divider int he main compartment.

For those not familiar with the concept of a possibles bag the idea in the most basic terms is that the bag replaces your pockets - and contains the items you deem to be those that make life possible.

For me the idea was part grab bag part possibles bag and the Yugo bag has proven to be excellent - big enough for my needs and yet not as big or bulky as the Finnish bag which is now popular - and its water proof as a bonus!


Grohmann Canadian Force or Boat knife.

Back in the day when I were a strapping young lad in a baggy green skin, running around 't world with a gun I fell in love ...............with a another mans knife (yes I said knife not wife - that's a different story")

Said knife was a Canadian army jump knife which, on a tour of Wainwright Canada, my mate Mick swapped with a Canadian soldier for the princely sum of a 24hr ration pack.

What was so special?? Well for starters was the pistol holster style sheath and then the quite unique design of the knife - I at the time was using a Gerber LMF (I think) but this small hardy little tool really impressed me.

Anyway long story short, back then in the 80's or pre-internet days it wasn't possible for me to get one, but later, circa 2000 when I had started with Woodlore as a assistant instructor I bought one - antler handled, flap sheath the works and I was made up with it when it arrived ................ sadly a certain gentleman was not, whether it was because he wanted his instructors to use his knife or not I'll never know but he pooh poohed the knife. He claimed it was no good for bushcraft mostly based on the secondary bevel crushed I put the knife aside and later sold it on ebay.

But my love for it never diminished, and as a besides, soon after I left Woodlore I also sold my Woodlore knife to one of Ben McNutts team as I didn't rate that too much either.

Anyway time went by, I bought various knives, designed my own knife the BFK (which Mors Kochanski's new knife looks remarkably like - funny that) but could never find a tool that seemed to fit what I had in my heart and minds eye.

Then by pure luck I came across Colonial knives website and "ding" there she was, my heart beat faster and I had to order one .................

So I ORDERED THE BOAT KNIFE - not the forces knife because I wanted the sheath so I could wear it as a necker.

Now I wont bore you with details - google the website or grohmanns to find  out the gumpf, but suffice to say my knife (UNFORTUNATELY Jeff at Colonial had run out of rosewoods so he kindly offer a free up grade to a buffalo scaled model) arrived and I couldn't wait to get to the woods and "test her out".

Now maybe its experience, maybe its true that the best survival knife is the one you have on you, or maybe its just that the grohmann is a excellent all round utility knife - I don't know, but I reckon its the later.

Anyway forgetting what I was told many moons ago I have to say I found the Boat knife to be excellent - one thing I really like it the knifes unimposing size yet ability to handle big tasks.

Well I took my knife out and used it ........................

Yes people it carves, feathers, batons and does all the things a bushcraft knife is supposed to ..............I even used it as a can opener with no damage to the cutting edge! So is it a bushcraft knife - YES IT IS - its also a excellent all rounder and would make the perfect EDC for hikers and such.

Oh and it makes a dandy necker too

Fancy a Grohmanns? give Jeff of Colonial knives a shout and tell him I sent you ...............


Dave took Andy up the visitors centre

And things were never the same again!!

Yes folks after what feels like a long absence we finally managed to organise a weekend in the woods - it was great to spend time with some of my oldest friends!!

The weather wasn't great, a lot of rain and subzero nights but that didn't bother us. Indeed the autumnal weather painted the forest with a glorious pallet of colour that took the breath away.

The deer were rutting and the morning mists where lifting, like ethereal spirits off the streams at the forest edge.

Our camp was basic but comfortable and gave Dave a chance to dirty up his shiny new kettle. Which proved its worth many times over as we enjoyed a brew while practicing our spoon craft and bow drill.

The nights dropped down to sub-zero which was fun especially as a couple of us had one seasons bags which we wanted to try out in somewhat cold conditions than they were designed for........and I have to say I actually slept warm even when the hoar frost was thick in the fields at the forests edge! Impressive!

And impressive thing I took along was my new Grohmann boat knife - now there is a long story about this knife and me and that will have to wait for a review but for now let me just say - it was as good a tool as I remember it being!

Suffice to say for now - it batons, it carves and it feathers ................

Last new tool - finnish Laavu - this I only set up to see how it was rigged, its a winter or preferably a snow shelter so a more details review of this will need to wait until the winter training in Sweden next Feb!

Now much of a review I am afraid but it was a great weekend - watch this space for something a little more "in depth" ..........