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Thread: Winter outing with the little fella

  1. #1
    Natural Born Bushcrafter Woody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Between Savernake forest and Avebury stone circle

    Winter outing with the little fella

    So as my boy turned 9 now , and he's been itching to get out with me to the woods in the winter, I looked at the weather reports and found that the 27th of December would be -4 C but sunny and dry! Perfect I thought...

    So a buddy of mine who was planning to build a semi permanent shelter in our local forest agreed that we would do it then.
    With permission from the custodian of this lumber commercial section of the Savernake we were very pleased we could do this... No pheasants , just lumber.

    It turned out great. So I thought I'd post a little trip report...

    So here goes and apologies for picture heavy post and poor quality of the camera phone pix.

    Into the woods....

    The little man, super excited, carrying his own kit + supplies as well as his trusted (little) Bear Archery bow with arrows in the cylinder casing...

    I know you can't see it there , but that is a ear-to-ear grin he's sporting in that picture... 😁

    The idea was to make a couple of lean to's enclosed at the head end, and have a fire in the middle.
    So , we got there just before lunchtime and started limbing adequate deadfall for all the components whilst my boy would strip all the boughs off the pine to make a comfortable padding for our raised beds.

    As the padding on the raised beds were ready , we added some insulated foil (building trade grade) and wrapped that onto the beds , as shown on the left hand side bed .

    By the time we had the structure and the beds constructed , there was just under 2 hours until darkness would fall , so the little Bushcrafty pyromaniac that is my son took charge and was quick to start the fire .
    Unfortunately I didnt get any pics of his method , ( sorry) but he used kapok seed bundle with a ferro rod , on a bed of fatwood shavings and dead twigs off the trunk of various pines around .
    Didn't take him long at all , I was busy limbing the timbers to ensure no spiky bits would protrude and potentially damage the tarps. And before I knew it , he had it going...

    So then it was time to get the tarps on to enclose the structure , as the temperatures continued to drop and the fire kept roaring.
    Night was drawing nearer ...

    Front pic.

    Back pic (in the morning)

    Before long , the bush TV a mesmerising

    ... tummies rumbling it was time for a well deserved break and some food...

    Veggie burgers ( my son is a vegetarian) and bell peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes on a stick and some halloumi cheese in the frying pan to go with the burgers and the raw spinach leaves.

    After a good chow down it was time for a good session of staring into the fire and having a few drinks.
    For me and my buddy Tom , it was Ale . Good local English Ale as tradition would have ...
    For the little dude a big cup of hot chocolate and a few treats to keep the spirits up and get the giggles on
    Sugar rush

    As the night grew colder and darker , the boy started grumbling and explained he felt a bit sick ...
    Me thinking perhaps he was cold and a bit scared I prepared his British Army surplus Arctic bag and bivvy bag and set him up to get ready to go off into the land of nod ... chatting and having a drink of water he got up suddenly and said he needed to puke...
    So he did , but with quick thinking and thankfully way out of the way towards the open woods...
    It was time to go for him.
    I think I either fed him too much chocolate or he hadn't quite shaken the winter virus that he had all those weeks ago...
    So as a backup plan I had the wife ready to come (just in case) and "rescue" us.

    I got her to come and get him , much to his disappointment , but for my peace of mind as I didn't want him to become as ill as he was at the beginning of December , or carry on being ill all night .

    Freezing cold weather and a sick child in the woods ... I'm not taking any chances.

    So off we went , walk back the 2 mile trekk back to the path where my trusty wife would be coming to the rescue ...
    What and amazing walk that was, the only sounds were our feet in the ground and the occasional Tawny Owl letting out these ominous but wonderful sounds that echoed through the forest.

    Some scurrying and shuffling around us every now and then would also add to the excitement as did the luminous eyes of unidentified beasts reflecting back at us in disbelief and fear as they scurried away from these two strange "animals" wondering through the forest at night.

    After a while we got to the track and the wife ready with a big cuddle and a sigh of relief.
    As we kissed and said goodnight , I could see the little guy really didn't want to go , and it pained me to have to see him off but it's better safe than sorry, so....
    Back to camp again... If I can find it!!!???

    So after overshooting the camp by a few hundred yards and thinking to myself , "why didn't I leave any markers?!"
    I did eventually find it.

    Navigation in the dark (ok a little head torch) , in thick woods , with no visible fire as it was enclosed from 3sides and at temperatures -5 or -6 C is something I don't particularly like doing but have to admit I enjoyed the challenge...

    ...As soon as I spotted the camp that is

    And there was Tom , drinking all the Ale and staring at the bush TV...

    We tried to split some birch logs to make a couple of spoon blanks but the damn logs were rock hard ! Frozen solid!! 😱
    We split them alright, but there was no way the crook knives would have made any significant carving so we let that be and had a few more beers and caught up with the good old days and times had...

    After putting the world to right it was time to stick the biggest longest log on the fire and hope it would burn all night...

    Well it kind of didnt ... I got up once at around 3am to stoke the fire back up and add more brush and kindling to sustain burning the big log.

    Then the fire did last all night and we slept like logs right up till morning came...

    Time for bacon sandwiches and coffee...
    (I'm not vegetarian!!!&#128520
    Lots of coffee and a chance to listen to my favourite song of all...

    The choir of morning birds in a woodland ...
    There is nothing quite like that. It's a great way to wake up and just listen to all the birds calling to each other ...
    Almost as mesmerising as the fire .
    I love it, I can identify a few birds by their calls and song and take great pleasure in doing just that.
    Love to just sit and listen , observe and try and become one with the forest itself...
    Dream time over , it was time to start packing up and making sure there was no rubbish left and the fire was well and truly out.

    The packing away didn't take long at all and as we looked around for remnants we could see why the birch that we attempted to work on was so hard...

    A beautiful icy and cold morning blessed our way back to the track , and reminded us of how much more fun it is to camp out in this sort of weather ...
    Summer is great but I love the winter and if it was up to me I'd move to Alaska tomorrow...
    Or Canada, or Scotland, or maybe the Taiga ... Or Mongolia ...
    OK I'll stop 😁

    Until next time , when the little pyro feels better and the ice hopefully turns to snow...

    Thanks for looking !
    Last edited by Woody; 03-01-2017 at 12:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Ent FishyFolk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Harstad, Norway
    Brilliant, and memories fro life created :-)
    Victory awaits the one, that has everything in order - luck we call it
    Defeat is an absolute consequense for the one that have neglected to do the necessary preparations - bad luck we call it
    (Roald Amundsen)

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  3. #3
    Woodsman Pootle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Excellent stuff. The woods are so magical for the young'uns, I miss the days when my daughter would come camping with us.
    I hope the little fella felt better.

  4. #4
    Tribal Elder Tigger004's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Raunds, Northamptonshire, NN9 6TW
    Great post, a nice balance of photos, commentary and humour, thx

    Sent by Tigger from my Tablet
    Campfires are best shared with friends.

  5. #5
    Ranger OakAshandThorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Connecticut ~ New England
    Great shelter . Sometime, I have to get around to building my own, which I haven't done in nearly a decade. I bet the lad was disappointed, but better safe than sorry.
    My blog, New England Bushcraft

    "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
    ~ Abraham Lincoln

    "Be prepared, not scared."
    ~ Cody Lundin

  6. #6
    Ranger Ehecatl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Hinckley, Leicestershire
    "If you were to ask me what I consider to be my finest achievement, I could answer the question without hesitation: teaching." ~ Raymond Blanc.

  7. #7
    Natural Born Bushcrafter Woody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Between Savernake forest and Avebury stone circle
    Thanks for the comments peeps!

    I'll have to arrange another soon, I promised little dude we would try again , before winter is finished...

    On that note, geez ...Where is the time going ?
    I can't believe its still 7 weeks to pancake day and the supermarket's are already selling eggs and flour!!!😵

    Time is flying past these days...

  8. #8
    Native rosseveritt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Cornwall, UK.
    Thx for sharing that. Looks like you had a great time.

    "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." - Confucius.

  9. #9
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Devon, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    Thanks for the comments peeps!

    I'll have to arrange another soon, I promised little dude we would try again , before winter is finished...

    On that note, geez ...Where is the time going ?
    I can't believe its still 7 weeks to pancake day and the supermarket's are already selling eggs and flour!!!

    Time is flying past these days...
    That gave me a giggle

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Natural Born Bushcrafter Woody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Between Savernake forest and Avebury stone circle
    Thanks Jus👍

    Quick update...
    Stayed there again last night and my buddies did so all weekend and did some improvements on the shelter...
    Some walls to the front to reflect some of the heat back and 2 bigger better tarps to go on the lean to's ..
    Good job.

    Also we tried the Finnish gap fire with great success other than it was just too hot for this weather...😱 But at least we know it works...
    Also just trying to stabilise the load towards the end was a bit fiddly.
    But it lasted well into the night , so that's got to be a 5 or 6 hour burn ...
    Not bad for pine...

    Thought I'd share 😊

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