Preparing for my next trip

I am just in the process of preparing for my next trip to Lapland for two and a half weeks.

Temperatures could range from +10 – -10, though there is unlikely to be any snow.

Here is my clothing;

Craghopper shirt, Dockers wool shirt, two t-shirts, fleece, boxers and three grades of merino wool socks, thin set of merino wool thermals, a pair of craghopper trousers and my zoot suit.

other kit;

Dry bags, bergan liners, possibles pouch, wash kit, head torch and batteries, camera, mobile phone, spare phone and camera batteries + solar charger, Opinal knife with firesteel, tinder pouch (including matches in waterproof container), GPS & compass, sharpening kit and notebook. I also have my US military poncho, a sleeping bag and first aid kit.


Sun dried tomatoes dried peas and beans for soups, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, soya mince and preserved sausage.

I have a Bergaus Vulcan backpack which with everything inside weighs 16kgs.

I will be wearing my Swanndri hooded bushshirt and carrying my binoculars and personal medication.

Shaggy Polypore

This is Shaggy Polypore (Inonotus hispidus)

It is quite common on the reserve at this time of year

I have only ever found it on Ash trees but it can also be found on Beech.

The top has a very velvety feel to it.

Eventually it turns black and after several months will fall from the tree.

It can be dried and used to take a spark but it is by no means one of the easiest fungi to ignite.

Cattail Ducks and swans

I am now starting to harvest Bulrush/Reed Mace/cattail leaves to dry and make into dolls, but one of the things you can make with the fresh leaves are ducks and swans.

You will need to leaves for this project;

First tie an overhand knot at the pointed end of the leaf and flatten it to form the head and beak.

Trim the beak to shape and then put a 90 degree fold lower down to form the neck (the length of neck dictates whether you make a swan or duck).

Decide how long you would like the body and then make another fold.

Continue wrapping the leaf around to form the body (adding in the second leaf when necessary).

Finally use the outer edge of a leaf the tie around the body to keep the leaves in place.

Due to the large cellular structure of the leaves they trap a lot of air which allows them to float. Primitive boats have been made by lashing bundles of leaves together.

Felt making

Inspired by this video on YouTube
I decided to have a go at making a felt bag.

A friend supplied me with some sheep’s fleece and I began by beating it with a stick to break up the wool, add air and make it more fibres.

I then pulled the fibres between my thumb and forefinger to break it further and remove and crap.

The wool on the left has been processed and the the wool on the right hasn’t.

Between each layer of wool (to which I applied soapy water) I put a layer of leaves to prevent the two layers combining together (next time I will remove the thick central rib before using them).

I covered the top layer with my insect net and then rolled the whole thing up.

I rolled it for about 30 minutes and manipulated it with my feet.

I removed the netting and leaves and left the wool to dry.

Here is the end result.

I did not use a sufficient thickness of wool so it is very thin in places and the edges of the two pieces did not combine well but the end result is better than I was expecting and I’m sure my felting skills will get better with practice.