You may have noticed that new articles have been a little thin on the ground lately. Please accept my apologies. I must also apologize to all those who have tried to contact me recently via email and received no reply.
Due to personal problems, injury and a house move I find myself with limited time and resources, added to which intermittent & limited internet access. This will probably be the case for the next few weeks up until Christmas for sure. Hopefully though, things will be back to normal in the New Year. I should be settled in my new home and well on the road to recovery.
Please keep comments and emails coming in and I will endeavor to answer them as soon as I possibly can.
The Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917
In Shackleton’s own words, “After the conquest of the South Pole by Amundsen who, by a narrow margin of days only, was in advance of the British Expedition under Scott, there remained but one great main object of Antarctic journeyings–the crossing of the South Polar continent from sea to sea”.
When Shackleton returned from the Nimrod Expedition, on which an attempt was made to plant the British flag on the South Pole, attention was turned towards the crossing of the continent as Shackleton felt certain that either Amundsen or Scott would succeed where he had failed, just 97 miles from his goal.
Shackleton felt that the first crossing of the Antarctic Continent, from sea to sea via the Pole, apart from its historic value, would be a journey of great scientific importance. The distance would be roughly 1800 miles, and the first half of this, from the Weddell Sea to the Pole, would be over unexplored territory. Shackleton intended on taking continuous magnetic observations as the glaciologist and geologist studied ice formations and the mountains of Victoria Land. While the Trans-continental party worked its way across the continent, other scientific parties would operate from the base on the Weddell Sea. One sledging party would travel towards Graham Land, making observations and collecting geological specimens while another party would travel eastward toward Enderby Land conducting the same types of studies. A third party would remain at the base to study the fauna of the land and sea and the meteorological conditions. From the Ross Sea base in McMurdo Sound, another party would push southward to await the arrival of the Trans-continental party at the top of the Beardmore Glacier. Two ships were required for the expedition. The Endurance would be used to transport the Trans-continental party to the Weddell Sea and would afterwards explore the shores of the coastline. She was constructed at Sandefjord by the famous Norwegian builder, Christensen. She was barquentine rigged and had triple-expansion engines which gave her a speed under steam of 9 to 10 knots. Some 350 tons, she was built of selected pine, oak and greenheart. Fully equipped, she cost the Expedition £14,000. Aurora, the ship used to take out the Ross Sea Party, was purchased from Douglas Mawson. She was very similar to theTerra Nova of Scott’s expedition.
A very useful item is a leather belt. Other than helping to keep your trousers up or providing something to hang your knife off. You can also use a leather belt in many other ways. As a lashing, perhaps an aid to carrying a bundle of firewood or even as a tornique.
I also use my leather belt as a strop to help me keep my knife as sharp as possible while away from home, spending precious time in the woods. Before I leave home I rub some polishing compound onto the inside of my belt. Not all belts are ideal for this task. You are best to use a strong, one piece leather belt which does not have a liner stitched into it, as when you strop your knife you will eventually wear the stitching away.
There seems to be a huge interest in the subject of Every Day Carry or EDC. Youtube is full to the brim of videos of people showing off their EDC equipment. All manner of different bags, packs and pouches crammed with diverse equipment ranging from cotton balls soaked in vaseline to the latest technological breakthrough in GPS systems.
People seem to love discussing the contents of their Bug Out Bags, Woods Bag, Survival Kit, Car/Boat Kit and all manner of other types of kit in-between. I’ve seen fanny packs/bum bags, rucksacks, gearslingers and all sorts described as EDC kit. There of course is a place and a time for these kits. However, I personally don’t think you could class them as EDC.
I’ve decided to add a new section to the BushcraftStuff Blog site. So, welcome to the first post in the Hints & Tips section. Here you will, over time find… well, hints and tips some of which you may hopefully find useful.
This one is very simple but I personally think quite effective. Especially when you’re going on a trip which is going to last a few days.
Simply look at the number of needles that come out of the same spot on a twig. If a twig has needles in groups of two, three, or five, you can safely say it’s a pine. If the twig carries its needles singly, it’s a good bet you’ve got a fir or a spruce. Now pull off a needle, and roll it between your fingers. If it feels flat and doesn’t roll easily, it’s a fir. If the needle has four sides and, rolls easily between your fingers, it’s a spruce.
Acorn coffee is a very old traditional recipe for a coffee like drink. Acorns contain a lot of tannin, Although the tannin in the acorns gives them their coffee like taste you do need to process the acorns to remove quite a large amount of tannin. If you don’t do this your acorn coffee will taste very bitter and if you drink too much will make you ill.
So, first things first. What is a Bushkey Tool? Well, it’s a little multipurpose tool about an inch and a half long when folded and two inches long when opened. It looks like a small key fob when it’s closed. It has several applications built into it, which include
1. can opener.
2. flat head screwdriver.
3. ferro rod scraper.
4. bottle opener.
5. posi and cross head drive.
6. flint striker.
It is believed that Kendal mint cake was first developed in 1869 by Joseph Wiper, who began producing it in his small factory based in Kendal, Cumbria. England. It is thought that the discovery was a mistake, and that Wiper was in fact attempting to make clear ‘glacier’ mints. Wiper founded Wipers Mint Cake. Kendal Mint Cake has become well known to mountaineers and explorers for its high energy content although its one downfall is its weight which can limit how much Kendal Mint Cake can be carried. There are currently three companies that still produce Kendal Mint Cake in Kendal. Romney’s, Wilson’s and Quiggin’s.
The actual recipe for Kendal Mint Cake is a closely guarded secret but below is a recipe which will allow you to try for yourself.
Kephart was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Iowa. He was the director of the St. Louis Mercantile Library in St. Louis Misouri from 1890 to 1903. In these years Kephart also wrote about camping and hunting trips.1 Earlier, Kephart had also worked as a librarian atYale University and spent significant time in Italy as an employee of a wealthy American book collector.
In 1904, Kephart’s family (wife Laura and their six children) moved to Ithaca, New York, but Laura and Horace never divorced or legally separated. Horace Kephart found his way to western North Carolina, where he lived in the Hazel Creek section of what would later become the Great Smoky Mountain National Park: