Spoon 9 of 52 – The Three Way Spice Holder in Curly Birch

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Can’t beat a three way when spices are involved. Salt, pepper and a spice of your choice…

This one was tricky to make at times because of all the changes in grain direction, nearly split it several times. Ended up looking a bit like the grand canyon or similar desert environment by complete accident. Could also be a three way egg cup, or golf ball holder. Whatever floats your boat…

February Microadventure – Building and Sleeping in a Quinzhee

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During a recent skiing trip to Kylmäluoma we made and slept in a quinzhee. A quinzhee or quinzee is a shelter made by hollowing out a pile of settled snow.

To make one, you first make a big pile of snow. This one slept 2 comfortably and was 5m or so in diameter. Don’t worry about compacting the snow as you go, just make a large heap. Compacting the snow would not only takes ages, but it also ruins the insulating properties of the snow. Once you have a large enough dome you can mildly compact the outside with shovels or skis. After this, slide in 30cm sticks, roughly 50cm apart all over the structure. These sticks are not added for structural reasons as you might think but actually act as guides when hollowing out the chamber. Once the sticks are in place leave for around an hour to harden. 

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IWG Exped 02: 5 Day Skiing Trip – Kylmäluoma, Eastern Finland

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This was the second expedition undertaken as part of our wilderness guide training. A 5 day skiing trip through Eastern Finland, in an area known as Kylmäluoma. This trip allowed us to practice our guiding and leadership skills, our cooking skills, our organisation skills, our personal camp skills and our kit. It also served as direct practice for the Bear Ski – A 9 day solo skiing trip undertaken in the far North of Finland in April.

After a 690km drive from Kuru to Kylmäluoma we arrived later than planned. The final stretch of single track road had been specially ploughed for us. As the road unfurled before us, the 1m high walls of snow to our sides made it feel more like we were navigating a river – meandering its course into the snowy depths of an unknown forest. The vans’ headlights were the only light around, offering enchanting glimpses into the pallid monochrome landscapes that enveloped us. Tree branches hung low from the weight of snow and it felt like we had stepped into a magical wilderness.

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Spoon 8 of 52 – The Little Love Ladel in Juniper

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My roommate was given a lovely bit of juniper from Turkka Aaltonen (the Finnish equivalent of Ray Mears) after a week learning bushcraft skills with him. He told us that if you want to make a woman fall in love with you, simply put a branch of juniper on the fire when she is with you. And the beautiful aromas released from the wood will make her fall for you. I used some of this magic wood for this little spoon.

So maybe, if you use this spoon for making a cup of tea, it might just have the same effect on the drinker. Just be careful who you make the tea for!

Spoon 7 of 52 – The Long Wavy Tea Spoon in Silver Birch.

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Usually I am obsessed with drawing out the spoon and making it as symmetrical as possible.  I tried a different approach on this one.

Whilst splitting some fire wood the other night I noticed a split with a lovely curve and bulbous knot, looked like perfect spoon material.

So for this one I didn’t draw anything. I just got my knife and went with the flow of the grain and knots in the wood – not letting myself to get obsessed with the symmetry or the small details.

The head nearly cracked off because there’s and knot running right through it. Instead, there’s a little hole in the bottom, good for draining tea bags maybe.

Think I’ll stick to my usual approach for most of my future spoons but pretty happy with the result.

Spoon 6 of 52 – The Weird Pointy Yogurt Spoon in Spruce

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Just realised I didn’t post my spoon from last week. I did make it last week, honest.

I wasn’t intending on this being the 6th spoon. I started it about 5 months ago, not finishing it and leaving it on my windowsill. I thought I would finish it this week and keep it as a ‘backup spoon’ in case I was too busy. Turns out I wont have time to make another one this week, so this one slyly crept in there.

It looked nothing like this at the start of the week because I snapped most of the head off by accident. The spoon head was originally made using an ember from the fire. To do this you simply put the ember where you want the depression to be and blow on it till the concave spoon shape forms. You can still see some discoloration in the base of the spoon head from this. Not sure how I feel about this spoon, but here it is.

January Microadventure – 24 Hour Ski Race

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This is my first of twelve microadventures. If you don’t know what a microadventure is or why I am doing one every month this year, head to my previous blog post explaining the whole idea. Which hopefully might persuade you to join in too..? Basically it boils down to this: committing to getting outdoors either alone or with friends for a small overnight adventure and trying something new, once a month for 2015.

As the title of this post appropriately suggests, the first adventure is a fable of a 24 hour skiing trip shared by an Englishman, two Deutschlanders and an Irish lass – Sinead and the Wild Boyz to you.

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12 Months 12 Microadventures

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You may have heard the term Microadventure before, you may have not. The term was coined by the British adventurer Alastair Humphreys and it aims at getting people out of the house into the local nature to try something new, like sleeping on a hill under the stars for a night. With an emphasis on keeping the trips small, easy to plan and local so anyone of any fitness and skill level can do them. Quoting Al, these types of adventures are a chance to:

  • To experience the wild and escape from the rushed, mundane real world.
  • To do something new, fun and different.
  • To spend memorable time with your friends, family or by yourself.
  • To challenge yourself, surprise yourself, and achieve something to be proud of.

Sounds like fun right? This year, he has taken the idea one step further, encouraging people to commit to one microadventure for each month of 2015. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so, for one year, I pledge to do just that and head out on at least one microadventure each month, wherever I might be. There, I have officially said it, so now I have to do it. I’m not necessarily going to stick to the dates or activities suggested in the photo above, just stick to the getting outside and trying something new bit. But that is the spirit of these trips, there are no hard and fast rules, they can be big, they can be small, they can be tiny. For you it could mean paddling that river you’ve been meaning to for the last few years or exploring that abandoned ruin in the woods or making a fire and toasting marshmallows or running a 10k or cycling to your aunties house… The possibilities are endless.

So why not join me and hundreds of others for a memorable year of micro adventures. Grab your sleeping bag, some food and some friends and head out to the woods. If you’re still a bit unsure about sleeping on a hill or have any other questions, check out Al’s detailed blog post – Your Year of Microadventure, which has lots of advice on planning your trips. Good luck!