Bushcraft & Survival

As we had to cancel the session planned for Monday at Forest Hills we re-scheduled for today, thankfully it stayed dry!  We were joined by a lovely family, Dave, Jane 'Issac' (a popular author), daughter Ella (Goldfish amongst other entertaining nicknames) and friend 'hairy' Mike :-).

 Ella was flora mad, especially anything medicinal and everyone loved digging for pignut - well except for Mike as her said it was best to just go to Sainsbury's.

Will lights his favourite bit of kit at the moment - a fire tin made from recycled card and old ends of candles. It burns for ages and it's free!

Litter can be good if it's up-cycled! A shower and a hobo stove made from tin cans and an old lager tin.

Look at all that pignut - get digging (with the landowners permission of course)!

Dave the pignut digger, it was worth all of the effort!

Kids Bushcraft at Tigh Mor

Brilliant bushcraft session today. Young Alice, Sophie, Neil, Thomas and Emily all enjoyed the activity (especially the pig nut digging, wood sorrel lemonade and marsh mallows). Mum's and Dad's had Douglas Fir tea as their refreshment. Despite the wind we managed a group shelter/tarp too.
Wood Sorrel with heart shaped leaves and droopy white flower in the Spring. Don't eat/drink too much due to the oxalic acid in it and always check further if you have any medical conditions.

Sorrel Lemonade

  • Gather about a handful of sorrel, add it to about 2 pints of boiling water and let it infuse.
  • Leave to cool
  • 'Sodastream it' optional!

Cobleland Activities

Well, it's tipping down right now but the sun did come out for a lot of the weekend, just to prove it here's another nice picture of the bluebells near the Douglas Fir trees.

The weekend started off with the Chocolate Quest, Jasmine and Darah (aka Chaos & Mayhem) are getting a dab hand at this.  This week's quest involved answering questions about bats.  If you get a question wrong after hunting for the chocolate ticket in Teapot Wood you have to do a forfeit - they are not all bad though!

Teapot Lodge is nearly finished, just the roof to thatch and a door.

Jasmine's forfeit was to hug a tree, not really a forfeit as it's always a good thing to do :-). This Willow tree will be more than happy to get a hug!


Bushcraft & Survival

Here's Will explaining the edibility test for plants to the group - just for survival situations and never for mushrooms! Also, as a young lad, I think James, stood on a young Rowan tree Will had to explain about the dangers of uprooting or cutting down this superstitious, magical tree.

We managed to avoid the rain on the Dusk Walk and saw lots of bats amongst the trees.  We had to go out quite late though, it wasn't even dark at 10:30 when we finished, so well done kids for staying awake!

Magick Wands

Lovely wands made in the tent this week, we need to work on a spell to keep the midges out of the tent though!
Wands from left: Abby's Hawthorn, Andi's Rowan, Isla's Hawthorn, Angus's Hazel and Leah's Hazel.

Cobleland Activities

Despite the rain, we still managed to have fun in nature - in fact it made the bluebells smell even more amazing!

Will keeping himself busy making 'Teapot Lodge' in Teapot wood - I can fit in it haha!

I wish I caught Will's face when he first pulled this out of the ground on the Bushcraft session! It's the biggest pignut we've ever found and tasted yummy :-).

Fraser's lovely Hazel wand, complete with gems and a spiralling snake.
We got some bats on the Dusk Walk, unfortunately the midges too but the bats love 'em. This means we will be starting the bat walks next week.

Bushcraft at Forest Hills and Tigh Mor

We have started to do Bushcraft & Survival walks at both Forest Hills and Tigh Mor.  At Forest Hills we offer session for all ages on a Monday, Tigh Mor is just for the adults and older kids on a Thursday outside of school holidays (Arthur will continue to offer kids bushcraft during the holidays at Tigh Mor) . 

We were joined by a lovely couple at Forest Hills braving the rain (which died off thankfully) on Monday who seemed quite impressed at all the wild foods that are out already. Lots even on the roadside and along country lanes. I think they are looking forward to showing their nephew what they had learned as he is bushcraft mad apparently!
Thursday we were joined by five lovely eager to learn adults and young Brendan with his Batman figure for added enjoyment at Tigh Mor.

Will over ran a bit again, sorry, I can't stop his passion for this session whilst he is in full flow!

Daisy, or the Day's Eye. Edible and good used as an astringent.

Pignut, not Daisy the dog (although she is a bit like a hairy piglet), but something to look out for as it is just starting to come out up here in the Trossachs.  Dig down following the stem and at a 90 degree angle you will find a nut, edible and really scrummy.  Nothing to bark at really so get grubbing for nuts!!

Bushcraft at Tigh Mor

Great to see all the lovely free foods starting to come out at Tigh Mor.  Just as things were starting to get chilly, out came the space blankets to see what these lovely families could come up with. Good effort we say, especially on their scavenger techniques!

Slight rip for Thomas and his Dad, but duck tap to the rescue!

Bushcraft at Tigh Mor

The sun had finally put his hat on and shined down on Tigh Mor - a beautiful day for our first bushcraft session of the year.  We even saw some lovely young common sorrel, a bit 'green' rather than refreshingly lemony, but lovely to see signs of the promise of Spring :-).

Thankyou Neil from NSQ Photography (also the maintenance chap at Tigh Mor) for the first three photo's more can also be seen at the Facebook page Nix in Nature.

Mmmm, common sorrel

I'm a fire starter!

Discussing the flavour and the many uses of soft rush or rush light.

Will showing the guys some natural navigation techniques

Woodland Survival

Will was back out today with his favourite session being all bushcrafty again!

So much to eat just on the campsite; stinging nettles, rosebay willow herb, rasberries, blaeberries, bilberries, hawthorn, common sorrel....

Hazel nuts are nearly ready - 50% more protein than eggs! No wonder the RED squirrels love them :-)

Bracken or fern? Thomas loved the soft rush Chinese chewing gum - very odd lad! 

How to avoid the bugs when drinking that all important water in the woods! 

Toadstools everywhere in the Douglas Fir wood (a notable set of trees recorded by me as featured on The Woodland Trust's Ancient Tree Trail). Fungi - if in doubt, leave it out. This one is Panther Cap and poisonous!

 Survival kit list check at Lemahamish Pool

My girly pink survival kit is developing nicely, see it's not just for boys :-) Yes that is a nail file!

The trusty fire steel when you haven't time to rub wood together! 

Safety first - Will shows how to safely get a fire using cotton wool with something that's more familiar at the dentist, plus some other magic liquid.....


And what on earth is this - it's tiny and cauliflower-like growing on moss on a hazel tree?

Face Painting

Faeries and butterflies seemed the most popular painted faces this week at Cobleland, (with dolphin cheeks being the most popular overall this season so far).  Then, Craig came in just before closing and mixed it all up and went for a bespoke bat face.  Craig managed to keep his bat face on all day without even a smudge - very impressive, so that we could use him as a bat diagram for the bat walk that night :-)

Craig's Bat Face

Oaken Faery
Less of a queue this week so it meant I could mess about painting an oaken wood faery on my arm. I'm looking forward to seeing all the fly agaric toadstools around on the campsite which will be out soon. Those who have joined us on our evening walks over the years will know all about this toadstool involving not just faeries but the Vikings too and even the big man himself - Father Chrsitmas! Autumn is already on its way here as the hawthorn and rowan berries are beginning to ripen and I have seen a few boletus mushrooms too if any of you are into your wild foods!

Fire Starters

Thanks to Angela, Harry and their Dad for braving the rain during our Woodland Survival session at Cobleland - true survivors!
Loads of tasty things to eat along the way, including bilberries, mmmm,  but we had to do the fire lighting inside the ranger tent this week. Harry was a natural fire lighter and Angela did it for the girls with my pink firelighter :-)