Thursday, December 10, 2009
It's amazing to see Richard craft the cabin with only a few hand tools. He sounds like a fascinating character, not many individuals can thrive in the solitude of such a harsh but beautiful environment. This documentary is a study in bushcraft in action, surviving and thriving!!!
Supposedly his journals have also been published. I think I might track them down.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Richard Graves led an adventurous life. Born in Ireland in 1889 he latter moved to Australia where he died in 1971. During World War II he was commander of the Australian Jungle Survival and Rescue Detachment. The unit was credited with successfully rescuing over 300 soldiers After the war he ran a bushcraft school for over twenty years.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
This trip was undertaken on a motorbike with 3 friends and was a brilliant way to travel, if not somewhat challenging. Some days we covered big distances across wind sweept dunes. At night we would sit around a campsite and talk about the days adventure and life in general. Is there anything that is comparable to being out in the wilderness with good friends?
Here's a few pics.
At the campsite at Hillston
Old gold mining site near Yunta South Australia
Not much grows out here
Ivanho Menindee road 200km outback road
Menindee Lakes was a highlight of the trip. Beautiful red sand and plentiful wildlife. The lake was empty due to the tributary water being diverted to agricultural land and drinking water for near by towns. Also the drought has had an impact. When ever it fills up with water I will be heading back as supposedly millions of birds flock to the area.
The circuit road around Menindee lakes, in search of a campsite.
Ruins near Yunta
Dust storm in the Flinders
Taking a break
Time for a brew
Bola Bolana Springs Arkaroola
Water is a scarce resource out here.
kangaroo at water hole
The Pinnacles Arkaroola
Bola Bolana Springs Arkaroola
Old Cooper mine ruins Arkaroola
GS near Chambers Gorge
Arid is an understatement
Aboriginal Art work, each circle represents an individual ceremony
Friday, July 31, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
I stumbled across the Bushcraft book in my local library, at first I dismissed it as I was after a more hands on approach to describing techniques. Whilst the book has ample photos it is not a manual rather a travel book describing a diverse range of cultures still practicing traditional bushcraft. After randomly selecting a page (best way to gauge a books readability) I decided to devote some time to reading this work.
Ray Mears writes in a down to earth informative style. He has a knack for creating a vivid image of the characters encountered and an empathy for their world. Each chapter is devoted to a specific culture ranging from the Amazon Yekuana; African Masai, "Mountain Men of Wyoming and the Artic Sami people.
If you are interested in Bushcraft and traditional/indigenous culture I can highly recommend this book. I have since ordered the TV series by the same name on the basis of this book.
Monday, June 15, 2009
My new Ka-Bar Becker BK2 knife arrived today and all I can say is WOW what a beast of a blade. I thought it might be a good utility/camp knife; and straight out of the box I'm a bit blown away even though I was aware of the basic stats for the knife before purchase.
The Becker series of knives are designed by Ethan Becker who appears to be a jack of many trades. A little research indicates that he is an author of cook books, a mountaineer/outdoors-man and knife designer. Initially Becker's range of knives were manufactured by the Camillus knife company which went out of business a few years ago (now appears to have been revived). Ka-bar is now the licenced manufacturer of the Becker series.
First impressions, it's heavy weighing in at around 0.45 kilograms and the blade thickness is a staggering 6.5 millimeters. Despite the weight it is well balanced and the handle is a nice fit in the hand. I suspect it will be a great camping knife?
I will write a more informed review of the BK-2 once I have had the opportunity to use it on my next expedition. Stay tuned.
Weight: 0.453 kilograms
Length: Blade length 14cm
Overall length 26.5cm
Shape: Drop Point
Edge Angle:20 Degrees
Handle Material: Grivory
Steel: 1095 cro-van
Friday, June 5, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Winter has the opposite effect for me, it beckons me to leave my abode and head into the wilderness. I was fortunate enough to grow up on a farm. We lived a fare way out of town so for entertainment on the weekend I used to go for a walk up to the back bush paddock. My favourite time of year was winter, I would dress for the occasion wearing my flannel shirt footy jumper and my grandfathers old world war one trench coat. The coat would skim along the ground as i was only around 13 years old. Those old trench coats were as rough as guts and felt very abrasive around your neck, but they were bloody warm (wish I still had it). Initially I would take along a BSA air rifle and latter I was given an old single shot .22 rifle. The skill of hunting rabbits was honed to a fine art over time and I could often get to within meters of my prey. I still have the old hunting knife which must be over 30 years old (a made in japan bowie).
Truth be told I enjoyed just being out in the mist, rain and the bitter cold afternoons. The solitude of walking through the forest, the smell of the rain on the eucalyptus trees and the sound of the bird life are all etched into my mind.
Nowadays I'm a long way away from that top bush paddock, but every year as winter approaches memories of my childhood beckon me to head outdoors and seek the solitude of a winter forest.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Bushcraft what is it. The Oxford dictionary says a skill for living in the bush!
Not that descriptive really however; it is a tough question and there are a few different schools of thoughts on the practice of bushcraft and often survival skills are thrown into the mix. In the UK it appears to be a very popular pursuit all thanks to Ray Mears. There is a great site Bushcraftuk which suggests a sizable community of enthusiasts. The UK adherents are into basic outdoor skills such as making traditional shelters out of the resources at hand, fire lighting techniques, and woodworking skills using small 4inch blade scandi ground knives.
In the US it appears to be more about survival skills, big knifes, hunting and hiking. Although I confess that I have not really explored the US philosophy in the same depth as the UK counterparts.
In Australia, well there really isn't a movement as such. The Bush Tucker man (Les Hiddins) popularised many of the skills necessary to survive in the outback in his show but since then there has been no well known exponent. I suspect that there are many people in the Australian wilderness using bushcraft skills with out labeling them as such.
I guess from my perspective I define bushcraft in a very general manner. It's about outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, exploration and traditional yet proven skills used to thrive in nature; finding water, fire craft and techniques for setting up camp. A minimalist approach using a small kit of tools as opposed to carrying every gadget under the sun would be how I classify my style.
I guess I shall flesh out my idea of buschcraft over the proceeding posts. What to expect, well lots of reviews on equipment, exploration of techniques and discussions on life in the wilderness.
And yes the above insights are horrible generalisations......but I had to start somewhere.