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Nostalgic Themed Week at Cobleland Campsite

After a busy week, we found ourselves having an even busier and fun weekend at Cobleland Campsite!  The Camping and Caravanning Club have been running a nostalgic themed week, so we added to our usual ranger activities programme 'Games & Traditions of Yesteryear.'
This included face painting, party games including: pass the parcel, musical statues/bumbs, Simon says, sports day races, willow weaving crafts with Tricia from Dragonfly Willow, who's session helped to raise money for the Bat Conservation Trust & Glendrick Roost, 'end of May'-pole dancing and tug of war - Team Pineapple beat team Strawberry!
The day ended with a Dusk Walk (where we saw loads of bats munching on midges) which finished at 10:30pm so it was a long fun filled day :-).

Jasmine & Darah show off their vampires and bunny faces




 
Lesley the Site Manager, me and ten other happy campers helped to plait the maypole. We didn't quite get as far as dancing around it, it was a massive achievement remembering to go the right way!

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!

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!!

Bank Holiday Weekend at Cobleland

The weather wasn't too bad for a bank holiday thank goodness! Not as busy as Easter, but lots of fun and a couple of new sessions launched.

First up, Anna chose a bright pink cat for me to paint on her face, matching her top of course.

Three lovely wands, Cameron chose Silver Birch, Grace and Cara Hazel. Then the next day young Rhona was bored so she popped over to the tent to see if we could help.  She ended up making this lovely Hazel wand complete with gems and a gorgeous pendant.

Rhona's hazel wand - her birthday tree is Hazel and her sister is called Hazel too!


We launched the Chocolate Quest this week, attracting eleven hungry chocolate hunters. Sixteen tickets were hidden around the site, when one was found you had to come back to the Ranger's Tent to pick a task from the pot.  My favourites were; 'Do ten press ups' (impressed with Harris's one legged version!) and 'Hug a Tree'.  No-one found all the tickets by the end of the hour, but bonus prizes were given for a task completed successfully. Of course they had earnt their big choccy bars after all that exercise!
This game will change periodically with updated tasks all the time.  We should have made it a Star Wars themed game - May the 4th be with you and all, snort!!


Our first Dusk Walk of the year was fun having not done that version there for a few years.  Just a bit of rain, but lots of folklore to talk about with all the lovely plants coming up and we saw bats towards the end! Bat walks will be making a return soon now that they are starting to wake from their long winter sleep.

 
Primrose; said to be used to see into the faery realms, traditionally used on the graves of children in Victorian times :-(, and thirteen flowers were brought into the house at Easter to ensure a good clutch of eggs on the farm. 
 
OK, the Wacky Forth Races made a nail biting return this year- literally as Darah (the winner in pink) watches the close finish of the rafts nails in mouth!  We very nearly lost the rafts over the rope at the end as the river is still a bit high, but after getting a wet bum myself, we saved them all.  I need some waders this year! Apparently Orla's Mum has a picture of this ;-z.
 
 From bottom: Stringy thing by Lewis, Rhona snd Steele, Darah's winning raft Ninkinpoop (with the willow pentagram star), Jasmine's Rossetta, Emma's Flower, James and Evan's Diet Coke, Daniel's Dday Yday Raft, Kiana's Daisy Chain, Orla's Tansylee and Anny and Niamh's Vintage.

 Rafts pictured bottom to top
 

It's a close one - well done Darah!




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

All Hallows Eve at Tigh Mor

Unbelievably the rain held off for the two hours so that we could all enjoy our Batty Halloween Walk at Tigh Mor, our last bat walk for the season. We had earlier been making magic wands and Charlotte kindly did a rain spell for us so thanks Charlotte :-)

Thank you to all those that joined us today to help raise money for the Bat Conservation Trust. We will update everyone on the final count next week.  There were 16 magic wand makers, 9 getting their faces painted and a whopping 39 on the walk.


 Charlotte and Olivia show off their painted faces, a self designed pink cat and Olivia went for a tiger (again).  Other faces were a vampire and his wife, Frankenstein, butterflies and cats.
 

 
Charlotte's wand was made from Rowan, the best for protection so great for Halloween. All were amazingly creative and individual :-)

To celebrate the Celtic New Year we had a few tricks and treats up our sleeve for this bat walk, the bats by the way were staying in if not already in their bat caves for a snooze though. Some excellent costumes and stories by those attending. Some had to earn their treats as they used to do traditionally, so there were a few jokes kicking around too, mostly from Sam, one of which was, "how do you get a tissue to dance? Put a bit of boogie in it!"

 Death.......... just there to accompany you to the other realm!
 
 Having to resort to wellies instead of my fluffy boots! I'm trying to represent where this custom originated, with the Celts on Samhain or Summer's end. They were said to wear masks, especially animal masks to confuse mischievous spirits and faery folk who could easily slip into our realm when the veil between worlds is at their thinnest on this day.
 
 
'Death' helps Stephen the bat find lots of moths the size of children to eat for his dinner!

There were hand made pendants with protective rowan berries and elder beads for the best dressed and best spooky tales, a few apple and divining games and everyone celebrated the Celtic New Year by placing a piece of ash while releasing something unwanted in their lives in order to start afresh. We had to remind the little ones that it didn't mean getting rid of your annoying brother or sister!

 Batty Pumpkin
 
 Thanks Lesley from Cobleland Campsite for the brilliant cat and owl pumpkin.

 
Pumpkins were an extension of the mask, to scare off unwanted spirits. They would have been carved from neeps or spuds though before the Irish travelled to America taking their customs with them. Pumpkins are easier to carve though :-)

Batty Halloween Walk at Forest Hills

Well it was still raining, but we went ahead with the last bat walk of the season at Forest Hills. This one had a spooky twist as Hallowe'en is coming up giving people ideas and traditions to do on Thursday. We played traditional games and divination with apples with a few tricks and treats along the way. Thanks to all those that came along to help raise money for the Bat Conservation Trust :-)

Ken the bat perfectly demonstrates how to eat Peter the moth using echo location. 'Death' or the Grim Reaper is a constant distractor for young Peter though :-)