27 July 2020

Mountain Skills 3 Syllabus

Mountain Skills 3 Syllabus
This is a non-official training course, only approved and certified by Outdoors Ireland and not Mountaineering Ireland. Course Directed By Nathan Kingerlee. This can follow on from Mountain Skills 1 and Mountain Skills 2; or can be completed as a stand alone course.

The two-day course covers the skills and techniques for scrambling ropework in the Irish and UK mountains.


Harness & Helmet
Rope Carrying
Rope Flaking
Rope Coiling
Tying In
Body Belaying From Above
Body Belaying From Below
Leading A Step
Seconding A Step
Placing Runners
Removing Runners

Safe Start
Safe Wrap
Safe Communication

Sling Anchor
Hex Anchor
Wire Anchor
Moving Together
Emergency Lower
Emergency Abseil

Gear
Efficiency
Route Card - Escape Route


Click Here To See Course Dates
Click Here To Book A Course

12 July 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (12)

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (12)
 

Tip 1. Plan For The Future

While coronavirus was not the pure apocalyptic scenario - it did give a valuable insight into a potential complete emergency survival situation. It made us very aware of how reliant we can be on things like going to the supermarket for our food.

Some people laugh at the thought of a large scale emergency survival situation; others believe it very much to be on the cards. Now is the time, with the benefit of real experience and hindsight, to assess and re-plan for the future.

Plan, stock-up, build, train, practice for when something far more serious hits.


Even if it never hits - for some people - it can be such a great feeling, and such a great lifestyle, to be partially or fully self-sufficient, out of the matrix and off the grid. Or as much as you realistically can while holding down a full time job, supporting a family, paying a mortgage.

I hope these posts have been of interest. I am finished with them for now. In fact there has been a big gap recently as I took my own advice and started spending much more time gardening, training, fishing and foraging.

I run Bushcraft Survival Training Courses in Glengarriff/Cork if you are interested in upskilling; and if you are interested in survival gear I can recommend Prepper & Bushcraft Store in Macroom/Cork.

Homework:
Asses and re-plan

12 April 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (11)

Tip 1. Kindling
 

Use dry days and dry weeks to stockpile kindling into boxes or bags. 2/3 pieces of proper newspaper, plus a large double handful of kindling will get your fire started; instead of being dependent on fire lighters.

Fire is really important for sterilizing water, cooking, heat, cleaning and morale. If fire lighters become scarce, or you decide you have more important things to spend your money on, then having dry kindling stockpiled makes lighting your fire/stove painless.

If missing newspaper then a handful of dead dry grass or reeds will take a flame from a match.

Kindling needs to be dead, lying on the ground, and dry; so pick your dry days.


Homework:
Find some boxes or bags and get collecting kindling

3 April 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (10)

Tip 1. Gardening
Do you have a vegetable garden to supply some, or most, of your food? If things were far worse than where we currently find ourselves, with food becoming scarce, imagine the peace of mind if you could simply walk into your back garden and harvest your own vegetables...

Apart from the practical element of providing food, veg gardening can be great exercise, very therapeutic, incredibly satisfying, and keeps you right in touch with nature.

1. You probably do not have an acre of land to garden, but you probably have a back garden, a front lawn, a flower bed, window boxes, a flat roof, a balcony, an indoor sunroom, or something! Dig it up and plant it up!

2. Do you need the pavement or driveway that wraps around your house? Do you need the tarmac driveway that leads up to your house? Can you build veg boxes or throw down some topsoil on the tarmac and create a garden? Park the car at the bottom of your driveway.

3. People; sometimes individually, sometimes collectively; plant up areas of waste ground/common ground/park land. This is grey area - as you do not own the land - but it is being done. You become veg squatters.

4. Make a deal with someone nearby who owns land that is not being used. Perhaps you garden their field and in return you give them a percentage of your crops.

Good veg gardening is an awesome skill and a real art form. However in it's basic form it can also be pretty simple - just do it, make mistakes, learn, grow and harvest. Be organized, plan ahead, save seeds for the following year, and most of all wage war on slugs!

Getting started - advice from an experienced gardener is best of all, or a good book, or a good website.

You can dig a bed (photo 1). You can mulch the lawn with rotten hay/silage, seaweed, grass cuttings, old carpet, plastic sheeting; and plant down through the mulch (photo 2). You can build a raised bed (photo 3). You can build a veg box (photo 4).



Scrape back a circle in the mulch for each plant. Avoid seaweed touching the plant as the salt will burn. Make an x cut in the carpet or plastic sheeting and plant through the cut. The benefit of mulching is very little digging and prevents weeds. Beware of plastic sheeting flapping in the wind and uprooting your plants.

Potatoes are a nice crop to begin with and this is the time for planting.

Although you do not want to be dependent on a single crop, apparently in the 1800s one acre of potatoes could feed a large Irish family for a year.

I strongly recommend to buy organic seeds/plants, be organic, don't use pesticides, look after the soil and the earth - which is nurturing you.

I have always found the main pest to be slugs. They can be devastating. The only cure I have found personally for slugs is to hit the garden at night, pick them off, drop them into a container of boiling water to kill them, then into the compost heap where they can do some good, or feed them (dead) to the hens/ducks.


Homework:
Convert your space for veg gardening
Get composting, digging, planting
Start small, keep it simple
Think ahead to winter and spring crops

Be vigilant for slugs

30 March 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (9)

Tip 1. Partial & Simple Foraging
This link is a previous blog I did on eleven foods to forage: https://outdoorsireland.blogspot.com/…/11-simple-edible-foo… You may have access to all of them or a couple of them.


Running out of food is unlikely in this situation, but this is really good stuff to know regardless (and just in case). Really satisfying to be able to do, and a lovely exercise for the family.

1. Please note the seed of a yew is FATAL.
2. Please note not to pick living old man's beard moss off a tree; just collect what is blown onto the ground.
3. Please forage responsibly and sparingly, just a little bit here and a little bit there. Picking or cutting cleanly - leaving the root/stem intact for future growth.
4. Be aware of where you are picking, anywhere sprayed with weedkiller/roundup/pest repellent will most likely be highly toxic.

Some of these previously mentioned books have great in-depth forage info: https://outdoorsireland.blogspot.com/…/coronavirus-from-pra…


Homework:
Get into the garden or country lane and get foraging; just a little and responsibly
In terms of survival skills and lowering your food consumption - can you manage a light lunch a couple days each week from foraged items?

29 March 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (8)

Tip 1. Composting
With good composting and recycling you can end up with so little actual proper refuse each week. Reason for composting is (1) you are building up easy access to a worm supply for fishing; and (2) you are creating black gold for your vegetable garden, with zero cost and not a huge effort.


Books and online will give you so much information to composting and the science, but it can also be very simple.

1. Create an area for composting. A heap at the bottom of your garden. The inner corner of a wall or fence. A big dustbin. A proper compost bin from your garden center. A simple structure built from pallets.

2. Ideally your compost is enclosed/walled to minimize it becoming messy, plus dog/cat/vermin.

3. Throw in anything and everything bio-degradable. Tea bags, coffee grinds, newspaper, grass clippings, manure, dead animals, seaweed, cardboard, moldy fruit/veg, kitchen scraps, wood ash (just not coal ash).

4. Good to layer it, rip up the cardboard and newspaper a little. Sprinkle seaweed or wood ash on top in summer months to cut down on fruit flies.

5. You may want to put out some mouse/rat traps under a container. The other way to minimize a mouse/rat issue is never put any cooked food scraps/bread/etc into the compost.

6. Your kitchen waste becomes gold dust for a veg garden or fruit trees. No more money spent on bags of compost from a garden center. Have you a nearby coast where you can responsibly gather dead washed up seaweed? Have you a local farmer or stable where you can get manure to really activate your compost?


Homework:
Make a compost area, ideally enclosed or semi enclosed, and start composting.




28 March 2020

The Wrong Kind Of Bushcraft Knife

When choosing a bushcraft knife or hunting knife - this is why it's so important to have a long length, or ideally full length, 'tang'. The tang is the part of your blade which extends right into your handle.

Parts Of A Knife Diagram: https://www.foodfirefriends.com/parts-of-a-knife/

This break happens easier than you may think. In fact this break here happened to a kitchen knife as I was slicing celery.


25 March 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (7)

Tip 1. Torch & Radio:
Both super useful bits of kit and you probably have them already. But if not consider getting a decent head torch and a decent, yet simple, fm radio - ideally needing only two aa batteries to run.

Stock up on batteries for several months, to run both your torch and your radio. Google the best way to store batteries long term.


Homework:
Get yourself a radio and a torch
Get yourself several months supply of batteries for both

23 March 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (6)

Tip 1. Resources Water:
Water - far more important then food. You can survive about three weeks without food. You can survive about three days without water.

In order of priority you need water for drinking, cleaning wounds, cooking, washing, cleaning general.

Dirty water can be SIVED through a bottle/container of moss, wood charcoal and sand. Dirty water can then be STERILIZED by boiling for three mins. A one min boil will do at our altitudes, but I always say on training courses - boil for three mins to be safe.

Info on different methods of sterilizing water here; however boiling is simplest and best: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/pdf/drinking/Backcountry_Water_Treatment.pdf


Do you rely on mains water; therefore relying on someone else for your life-source? Do you rely on an electric pump to pump water up from your well in the back garden; therefore relying on electricity for your life-source? What happens if the mains fails, the electricity fails, or contamination happens?

Neither of these above options are good. Ideally you have your own gravity fed well; which is simply a big and dependable hole in the ground, water running in a pipe downhill from it and into your house and a big tank.

We have two gravity fed wells, a primary well and a backup well. Our water from the kitchen sink and our water from the roof gutters is collected and used for the vegetable garden and fruit trees; especially useful in heatwaves and big freezes. Our ducks have access to a swampy bog cutting out some of their water quota. However for a lot of people this is not possible, especially if you live in a town or estate.


So what can you do if the above paragraph is not possible for you?


1. Once things are back to normal look into getting off-grid and self-sufficient with all your water needs.


2. Right now find a river/stream/bog that can give you a dependable water supply - should you need it. It should be within walking distance ideally, cutting out dependence on a vehicle. Worst case you should be able to cycle to it with improvised water panniers on your bike.

Practice using it for a week, or one day each week.

Get your water from as high an altitude as possible. It should be clean and fast flowing (unless in a bog). Above a factory/farm/main road/housing estate, not below. Check for pollutants, mouse/rat evidence, dead animals.

SIVING is not essential and in fact just leaving water to sit in a bucket/jug for a couple of hours will allow most sediment to settle or be scooped out.

STERILIZING is essential, no matter how clean you feel the water is. Cleaning wounds, washing dishes, brushing teeth all happens with sterilized water.


Homework:
Think about a long-term water plan
Find a self-sufficient water point, as close as possible
Practice self-sufficient water, with everything that entails
Organise the various water containers you would need