Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Fox and chicken just don't go!

A little while ago one of our chickens went missing. She was getting old and was nearly totally blind and had often disappeared before only to turn up again. This time she didn't come back, so off I went for a little walk to try and find her hiding under a hedge or in an outbuilding.

I did find her, after a fashion, or at least the remains of her. She had been taken by a fox. This, and a few other piles of feathers were all that was left. Since she was blind she probably didn't know that a fox was about to get her and hopefully it was quick. She was a big girl so would have made an excellent meal!

One of the characteristics of a fox kill, apart from the pile of feathers, is the damage done to the feathers themselves. Foxes just rip out feathers in mouthfuls so the ends of feather always show the same kind of damage - ragged, torn ends to the feather shafts.

I also tracked the culprit for a short distance until it had gone through the hedge onto other land.

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Saturday, 10 November 2007

Moving mountains

This last week really feels like I have moved mountains - literally! The work on the house is nearly complete but we have started a bunch of work on the garden areas. We have had the bottom, unused part of the garden dug out. We have dug out the space between the stables with a view to concreting it and had a wall built.

We have shifted about 15 tons of soil, 15 tons of hardcore, 8 tonnes of concrete and god knows what else. We are absolutely knackered. But the result is that we have a proper concreted area between the stables which is better for access and easier to keep clean from the chickens. It gives a better base for when we livery a horse here later on. We also have a fantastic stone retaining wall where we are going to have a fire pit, a new water feature and a bunch of new planting beds. Oh, and we have a new soil bank just inside our boundary.

So despite having spent the last week or so outside I haven't managed to do anything bushcrafty or wildlife-related. Oh well, that's the way it goes sometime!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Jetboil PCS review continued

A few blogs ago I wrote a quick review of the Jetboil Personal Cooking System. Well, I have used it a bit more and now have more to say about it!

I used it a couple of weekends ago whilst camping out in the woods - the weather was essentially dry but cold so first thing in the morning it was a bit damp. On the first morning I had left the Jetboil in the tent's porch overnight and the electronic ignition would not work! It lit with a match and then sparked OK after that. OK, thought I, must be the damp so I'll leave it in the tent with me overnight.

This I duly did. Next morning, tried the ignition and same thing happened. Once it had been used it would spark like a good 'un. So my conclusion is that it is susceptible to the damp. This in it's own right is not a problem as long as you are aware of it so you can keep another ignition source with you. Otherwise relying on its own ignitiion could make for some tealess times!

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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Stormlite Ultralight mat review

First of all I would like to say that not all self-inflating airmats are made equal! I have had the Stormlite for about a year now and it is now not doing the job I bought it for. Let me explain.

This was the first self-inflating mat I had ever used. As a consequence I hadn't really noticed how well (or not) it worked because it was way better than my previous solutions! To cut a long story short, the last few times I have used it I have been cold. Now, some of this I put down to trying out a new sleeping bag (which I will review on another occassion) which was getting the blame for my cold, sleepless nights. Luckiliy someone suggested that it might be the sllep mat - so I put a blanket underneath the mat and ended up having a much better night's sleep.

Fantastic! Now this mat, in my opinion, is not up to scratch when used in late autumn. It seemed to be reasonably OK during the hottest months but even then I got chilly on some nights. I do run 'cold' most of the time. I have bought myself a Thermarest and will report on how it fairs when I get the chance to use it next.

So there you go - cheaper is not always better. The Stormlite was less than half price compared to the cheapest Thermarest and I now regret having been influenced by price rather than functionality. Lesson learnt!

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Sunday, 28 October 2007

Soooo busy!

Hi everyone! I have been so busy these last 4 or 5 weeks that I have had very little time for anything blog-wise. We have been doing a lot more work on the house and garden which has been very tiring.

I have also spent about 9 days out of 10 out teaching tracking to different groups of people. Needless to say I got a bit tracked out. Having said that I have trialled a bit more kit (and used some of my newish kit a bit more) and will be writing about that in the near future.

So, I'm still here and will be back with a vengeance in the near future.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Polish Bushcraft

A big thank you to Sam for linking back to my blog from his site - Woodcraft in Poland.

Cheers mate!

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Monday, 8 October 2007

Fallow deer on Exmoor

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a neighbour about local deer. It transpired that some people in the area thought that Fallow deer were not resident in the area. This upset me a little because I was certain I had Fallow tracks in the private woodland that I have access to. I started to chalk it up to experience as I'm not infallable when my nieghbour said he had seen them about 5 miles away.

To cut a long story short, I was with a client out in the woods recently and at one of our stops we saw, in the distance, 3 Fallow deer! They were about 350 yards away but we had great views of a male and two does. He had a lovely rack and they all looked very relaxed, having a lie down and chewing the cud. Unfortunately, they were on land that I don't have access to so I couldn't nip over there to track or stalk them. Never mind, eh. It was still very nice to get confirmation that they are in the area and that I was (probably) right about the tracks.

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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Tracking v Bushcraft

Take a look at Pablo's view of the difference between trackers and bushcrafters. It's pretty much on the money!

Tracking v Bushcraft

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Monday, 17 September 2007

Jetboil PCS

As you know from my previous post, I have just got back from Alaska. Well, a day and half later I was out in the woods helping out on another weekend tracking course! This was still for Shadowhawk but this time facilitated through Jonny Crockett and Survival School. It was a very good course and all the participants were very switched on.

This time I'm not going to go on about the course but a bit of kit I bought a few weeks ago - the Jetboil PCS (Personal Cooking System). A lot of people I know seem to dislike this pice of wizardry for some reason but I took a chance and got one from Strikeforce Army supplies.

This little beastie is essentially a big cup with a heat sink attached to its bottom and a gas burner. The burner snaps onto the base and uses a standard camping gas cylinder which screws into its base forming quite a tall tower. It has an electric spark push button for ignition (just like your gas cooker at home). It seems to be very efficient at heating the contents of the main cup. It will boil 2 cups of water (maximum fill) in under 2 minutes if you have it on full blast. I used the Jetboil over the weekend quite extensively and I have to say that I like it - it is fast, efficient and quite convenient to use.

It boiled water quickly for cups of tea, it cooked/heated up some packet rice without any problems and it can cook a standard British Army ration pack in a few minutes. It could probably be safely used in a car for a quick brew but I haven't tried that yet! The burner is stowed in the cup but you have to detach the gas cylinder to do this. The downsides? It does form quite a high tower when everything is attached and so could be a bit unstable on rough ground and it can also be a bit awkward separating the cup from the burner, potentially resulting in spillage or worse, scalds. You also cannot really use it with other pots or fry pans so it does limit you to what you can cook in the cup.

Overall I am glad I spent the money on it. It's not cheap but it did everything I wanted and needed over the weekend. If you plan your food to suit the jetboil then it is a very convenient and easy to use bit of kit. You don't need matches as the ignitor is build into the burner which is a bit of a plus too! However, I will use other forms of stove if I want more flexibility with my cooking.

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Thursday, 13 September 2007

Alaskan adventures

Now I know what you are thinking - what has Alaska got to do with bushcraft on Exmoor? Actually, nothing at all really except for the fact that I did some tracking whilst I was out there.

It was one of those mad trips because my sister decided to get married on Kodiak Island which is off the coast of Alaska. I flew out on the Friday and had to overnight in Anchorage, then fly to Kodiak on Saturday, wedding on Sunday, fly back to Anchorage on Monday and then leave for home on Tuesday morning. I think I travelled something like 16000 miles in 5 days! Needless to say I'm a bit tired.

The wedding was to be performed by the harbourmaster, of all people, on his boat. So, part of the deal was a boat trip to one of the smaller islands, a walk around for an hour or so, back to the boat for the ceremony, dinner, then a leisurely cruise back to base.

Our first visit was to see some of the local sealions, who were all terribly stressed (NOT!).

These guys make some very interesting noises and smells. If you get downwind of them then you know it! Very fishy. They also like to do a lot of snorting which carries a surprisingly long way over open water.

There were plenty of seabirds such as 2 species of Puffin, cormorants, kittiwakes, shearwaters, murrelets and quite a few Bald Eagles. Very good to see those in such numbers and also with youngsters.

We also saw a Sea Otter going about his business. I wasn't close enough to get a decent picture of the beastie but I did find feeding sign on the island.

These were the remains of various shellfish eg crabs, mussels etc. Unfortunately, as this was literally on the edge of a rocky beach, there were no easy spoor to see. There were a large number of compression shapes in the pebbles which could well have been otter but I'm certain some of them were deer - which are well known to roam that beach.

There were other sign of deer such as compression shapes in the soft moss that carpetted the island as well as some evidence of feeding. We headed back to the boat for the wedding ceremony and on our cruise back we were shadowed by a humpback whale! Absolutely fantastic. I don't suppose that many people can say they had a whale as a guest (without being rude to someone of course).

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Monday, 3 September 2007

The Wilderness Gathering

I have just come back from 3 days at the Wilderness Gathering. For those of you who don't know what the Gathering is, it is a 'festival' of bushcraft. It is very family orientated and has lots of stalls and a fair bit for the kids to do as well. The overall theme of the show is bushcraft and has lots of people wandering around with knives and axes but it is all very good natured. For more information on the venue and the show in general follow this link The Wilderness Gathering.

Anyway, I was there mainly to work on the Shadowhawk stand but also to promote myself and Tracks4life. On both counts we did well. I sold a bit of kit, Max (Ian 'Max' Maxwell who owns Shadowhawk) sold a fair bit of kit and generated a good interest in his courses. We also promoted some joint ventures such as Family Tracking courses next year hear on Exmoor.

Ros spent a fair bit of time tweaking Max's literature aiming for consistency throughout his promotional material as well as planning out the stall and its general look. Max was well chiuffed with the results and he is now more than happy for us and the other instructors (Nick, Duncan, Jamie and Rod) to take more responsibility in helping Max run courses. This is an important step as Max is doing more television work and is not always available.

We had great fun setting a competition based on scenarios we created in a spoor pit and the Junior tracker competition went down well also. Nick and I ran the tracking masterclass in the same way we did last year and that seemd to go down well too. Max was happy. The weather was very kind to us and stayed dry for the whole time we were there.

All in all a good few days and great for the family too!

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Sunday, 26 August 2007

Kids and Bushcraft

It takes a lot to scare me but what I had agreed to do quite terrified me! Could this be bungee jumping over a crocodile infested river with only a single thread of elastic? No. Could it be stalking a lion and slapping it on the rump, blowing a raspberry before running away? No. Or could it be teaching kids some bushcraft skills. Ooh yes!

I was persuaded by a local play group (CLOWNS)to run some bushcraft things for some of their summer activities. Naturally I agreed. As it got closer I got more worried. What a wimp, eh! Anyway, I was nervous on my first day but luckily only had about 20 kids to teach. I basically showed them how to use a firesteel to light a piece of cotton wool. Well, kids and fire do mix.

I'm not sure how many kids I taught over the 5 days but I think it was a little over 150. They aged between 5 and 13 and every single one managed to light the cotton wool at least once. I had very positive feedback from all the sessions (including the day I had over 60 kids to teach) which has pleased me greatly.

Now that I have done this and survived I can look back on it and safely say that I would do it again. I enjoyed it, even though it was hard work, and it was fantastic to see some of the reactions when they achieved fire for the first time. Bless 'em!

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Thursday, 16 August 2007

Summer Bushmoot and other stuff

Well it has been a while since I have posted anything which is mainly due to be being very busy this last month or so.

In the middle of July I helped out for a week at Canonteign for Shadowhawk Tracking School. We started off with an advanced course followed by a basic and intermediate. It was a bit difficult to swap your thinking around from running and advanced course to then running a basic but we managed. All the students did a fantastic job and everyone came away having had a great experience (life changing for some)! If you want to see a students eye view of the courses then take a look at Pablo's blog Woodlife: Nature, Wildlife and Bushcraft.

I then had a few days at home and then headed off with the family to the Summer Bushmoot for 5 days. This is an event organised by BushcraftUK. A big thanks must go to Tony and his crew for organising such a great event.

It was a fantastic few days. It was amazing how many people gave up their time to teach others their skills - all for the pleasure of it. I helped and ran a number of tracking seminars and was pleased with the responses I got. Again, thanks to everyone who attended. All in all I had a great time and so did the family and I'm looking forward to going again next year.

A few days after getting back from that I started my stint of teaching kids bushcraft but I shall leave that for another post.

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Friday, 6 July 2007

Man survives 54 hours out at sea

Michael Graham, 49, left Fort de Soto, Florida, for what he thought would be an overnight fishing trip. Unfortunately his canoe capsized and he spent the next 54 hours at sea until a casino ship, 11 miles off-shore, spotted him.

At the time of his rescue his joints were very stiff, with cuts and bruises to his legs, arms and feet. He also had a number of splinters in his hands even though his canoe was made of fibreglass and he had no wooden objects with him. Go figure!

He got caught in a storm about 2 hours into his trip. As he capsized, Graham managed to grab a lifevest, a bait bucket and his knife. He always knew where north was from landmarks on the coast.

He used his upturned canoe to provide protection from the blazing sun but also noticed that he had company in the form of a couple of sharks. Graham said that all that he did to survive came from instinct and what he learned from the "Worst Case Scenario" survival game he used to play with his daughter. The thirst was worse than the hunger - "The tip of my tongue actually feels like it shrunk a little or something because I was so parched. If somebody offered me a million dollars, I would have slapped it out of the way, just to get a bottle of fresh water."

During his ordeal he saw many cruise ships, tugs and small planes but none saw him until a casino ship nearly ran him down. He realised it would come within 200 yards of his position so he mustered all his strength for a final sprint swim and was finally rescued.

The next time he leaves on a fishing trip, Graham says he will give someone his float plan and take a whistle!

And the moral of this tale - even a little knowledge and minimal equipment can save your life. The simple expedient of carrying a whistle may have effected his rescue sooner.

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Thursday, 5 July 2007

The Ultimate bushcraft house?

This cave house, at Wolverley near Kidderminster, could be the ultimate bushcraft/primitive living house.

The one-bedroomed house hasn’t been lived in since the late 1940’s. However, there is a front lawn and woodland above and to the rear of the caves, but the house doesn't have any amenities such as electricity or running water.

Also included in the sale are three other adjoining caves and nearly five acres of mixed woodland and associated garden land. The auctioneers admit that their suitablility for human habitation is "open to question".

The house ultimately sold for £100,000; 4 times the auction reserve!

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Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Place to play

This morning I was lucky enough to be shown around a woodland by its owner, a very nice lady called Sarah. She has given me permission to roam around as much as I like and do my bushcrafty things. It is a private wood and in some ways I shall be keeping an eye on it for her - she travels a lot, you see.

We spent a very pleasant couple of hours wandering around and looking at all sorts of nooks and crannies. Obviously I couldn't help noticing LOTS of deer tracks - plenty of Reds (poo and all), good number of Fallow and some Roe deer. I know there is fox there and a good chance of badger too. There may even be Dormouse! I've taken it upon myself to find them if tey are there.

Anyway, I am dead chuffed to have been given permission to access the land whenever I like especially as it is increasingly difficult to find sympathetic land owners and even harder to find ones that will let you have a fire and wild camp! Fantastic!

Monday, 18 June 2007

Child's survival story

This is a great story about a little girl who survived out in the woods http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070615kankakeejun15,1,1984554.story?coll=chi-news-hed

It just goes to show that a child, with no preconceptions of danger, fear etc can survive in a situation like that, when an adult may well perish due to their attitude. It's all in the mind!

Thursday, 14 June 2007


Well, we're not talking football here but a slightly more traditional 'craft' of firelighting from sparks. In the previous post I showed off my first forged knife - well whilst I was there and waiting for stuff to cool I also made a steel flint striker.

The idea behind this is that you strike the edge of the flattened portion (on the right of the image) on a sharp edge of a bit of flint to generate sparks. These sparks are showered into a suitable tinder which then ultimately becomes a fire. There are modern equivelants that produce, more and hotter, sparks but it is still nice to use and make more traditional processes. another homemade bushcraft product!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Hand forging a knife

A couple of weeks ago I went on a course to learn how to forge knives and other tools. It was a brilliant day out and the chap who had the patience to teach me was Dave Budd (www.davebuddknives.homestead.com). He did a good job. Here is the (almost finished) article.

I still have the handle to finish - it is made of oak and it needs to have a bit more sanding, then Danish oil, then more sanding, more oil etc etc.

The blade also needs to be sharpened but that won't happen until I have made the sheath. That will be another day with Dave and another learning curve!

Here is a closeup of the handle and blade.

I did get a bit fancy and added some file work on the spine to make it look a bit flash!

Monday, 11 June 2007

Knife safety

Safe use of the Knife - a by no means comprehensive safety list for using a knife!

Before use, make sure the knife is fit for the purpose. Check for any damage and repair, if necessary, or just go out and buy a new one.

Alcohol and knives don’t mix! Ice and alcohol do, though.

Look after your knife – keep it clean and sharp. Just like yourself on a Saturday night.

A sharp knife is an efficient knife and a bit more useful than a blunt one.

Resheath the knife when not in use – don’t leave it lying around. Like a lot of things in life, it is safer when it’s wearing protection.

If you need to ‘safe’ your knife for a few moments then it can be stowed under the armpit, edge facing down. Take care when withdrawing the knife though. There are better ways to shave your ‘pits.

Never lend your knife to anyone. It can be a sure-fired recipe to see a grown man cry.

Before using your knife have your First Aid kit to hand as accidents do happen. Have a practice opening it one handed just to see how awkward it is.

Plan ahead. Work out where all the bits are going to go like the blade, cut bits of wood, fingers…

Make sure your ‘blood zone’ is clear of obstructions and other people. Using your sheathed knife describe an arc all around you with your arm fully extended. This is to ensure any ‘travel through’ from a slipped blade will not hit anything or anyone causing an unexpected trip to the nice doctors and nurses at the local A&E.

Always cut away from yourself. Avoid working between your legs as a slip could result in cutting the femoral artery which can really ruin your day. Also make sure no other bits of your body are in the path of the blade should it do something unexpected.

Passing a knife safely – hold the knife in a forehand grip, allow it to rotate between thumb and forefinger until the spine of the blade is resting on the web of skin between thumb and fingers, thus offering the handle to the lucky person who is going to look at your knife (see above) but not use it.

Stop using the knife if the light is really poor or it is dark – it’s pretty important to see what you are doing clearly.

Never attempt to catch a falling blade (unless you are a ninja) because if you have kept it sharp then your fingers may have extra ventilation.

Don’t throw your knife at anything or at/to anyone! Bad karma, dudes!

Stabbing your knife into the ground or into wood is a great way to damage the knife, yourself or someone else. All of which are considered bad form.

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Monday, 4 June 2007

Exmoor geocaching

What the heck is geocaching. Well obviously it is squirreling away geos :). It is a sport where people hide caches of stuff around the world and then post the coordinates up on a web page (www.geocaching.com) for other people to use GPS or other means to try and find the cache.

When a cache is found the person leaves a note in the box and perhaps adds something new and may take something away or may do nothing at all! Generally they will post comments back on the website about their find.

Anyway, I decided to go have a look for one that is only a couple of miles from here. I took my boy and that turned out to be a bit of mistake for this site. Since the site was in some woods, the GPS became unreliable for the last few metres and we had to search by the good old fashioned way. The area is quite steep and slippery in places and I was distracted looking for this cache and I assumed my boy wouldn't do anything silly. Well I was pretty wrong about that one. I turned round just in time to see him fall about 10 feet off a small cliff into stream bed eroded from solid rock. Luckily, he only had some minor cuts, bruises and grazes. Needless to say we gave up at that point.

I was near the vicinity again today and decided to have a quick look again and I found it really quickly. Just goes to show how distracted you can become when you have an impatient 10 year old trying to help you find it! Still he wants to give it another go sometime.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Knife show revisited

Well as promised I have got round to taking some pictures of the 2 knives that I bought at the Bristol Knife Show. They make an interesting contrast - some might say from the sublime to the ridiculous! See what you think.

The top one is a khukri and the bottom one is a Special Edition Mini North Star made by Bark River Knife and Tool Company.

Both are very nice pieces of equipment and both have come with razor sharp cutting edges. I decided to get the khukri partly out of curiosity and partly to use as a machete-type of tool for some heavy cutting where an axe is not particularly suitable. I have not had chance to use it in anger yet but that will be for another post later on. I already have a North Star so it was hard to resist this little sister. It has a black and green linen micarta handle with some nice mosaic pins. Lovely!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Bushcraft on Exmoor

Yesterday I ran a One Day Bushcraft taster course at my site in the Exmoor National Park. We had a great day and covered an awful lot of material. However, just as we were about to pack up and leave, we had some visitors!
The ponies were not at all concerned by our presence and did not get phased when we were moving around and taking photos. Exmoor ponies are not the tamest of horses so it was a great testament to my students that the ponies were happy to stay with us for almost an hour before moving on.

Bristol Knife Show

Well it's been quite a while since I last posted anything. I have been very busy with work recently doing all my other jobs (media and IT). However I did manage to go to the Bristol Knife show last week!

It was a nice little show - all contained in one room at the Aztec Hotel. There were plenty of sharp and shiny things on display and I nearly managed to get away without spending money but I failed miserably. I ended buying a couple of knives of which I will post pictures later.

Overall, I'm glad I had a look at the show but I did fee that it was a bit expensive for what it was. There were not a huge number of exhibitors there but it was a great atmosphere and it was fantastic to have such a show in this day and age of paranoid press hysteria about knives.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Chop, chop!

Well I have just recently taken posession of a lovely new and shiny axe. It is a custom jobbie made by a guy, using the screen name of Cegga. It is very well made, has a lovely balance and beautifully finished. All in all it is a lovely piece of kit.

This is a picture by itself showing how well it has been polished and finished. The next picture shows the Cegga axe next to my Gransfor Wildlife Hatchet - which is a more mass produced beastie and has a much rougher looking finish to it.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007


A couple of days ago I went for a walk on the beach. This was too good an opportunity to miss when it came to some easy tracking. As always there was lots of dog and human tracks but in amongst them were a few gems like this Crow.

I love it when it is as easy as this - just the lazy side of me talking! Tracking is often very challenging but that really is half the fun.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Action Indicators

I came across this great example of an action indicator the other day. It is one of my cats (and not the Beast of Exmoor). An action indicator is pretty much what it sounds like - it is an indicator of an action. In this case the print on the right shows a turning motion indicating a change in direction.

I think it is clear that the print on the right looks as if it has been twisted in the mud - which is of course exactly what it has done! Any questions just post a comment!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Exmoor badgers

It has been a while since I posted anything so I thought I ought to get something down in writing. I have been quite busy but I did manage to get out a few days ago for a walk around the local patch.

It was very nice to come across new activity at a badger sett entrance. There was fresh earth liberally scattered around as well as some nice compression shapes in the soil.

I walked further down the valley and in amongst the human and dog prints I found a particularly nice badger compression shape. It was great to be able to follow this particular badger for about 40yds before it turned off into private land. You can also see an indirect registration with another foot.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Fenix L0D CE

I recently became the proud owner of a new gadget! They do say that small ones are more juicy and this is definitely the case with the rather diminutive Fenix. Now I have said that this is a review - perhaps a grand term for some ramblings by me, so please bear with me.

First of all I would like to to say that the service from Quality Flashlights (from whom I got the torch) was superb and the price was competitive at £25.95.The tech specs are taken directly from the web site:

Utilizes a Cree 7090 XR-E LED with a life of 50,000 hours

- Five output types: 20 Lumens(3.5hrs)

-> 7.5 Lumens(8.5hrs)

-> 50 Lumens(1hrs)


-> SOS

- Uses one 1.5V AAA battery, inexpensive and widely available

- 7.35cm (L) x 1.4cm (D)

- Input voltage: 0.8V~3.3V

- Made of aircraft grade aluminum

- Durable Type III hard anodized finish

- 14.5-gram weight (excluding batteries)

- Water-resistant (dunkable)

- Toughened ultra clear glass lens with AR coating

The specs don't do it justice - it is just quite awesome for such a small light. I decided to test it against a couple of my other torches, namely a Maglite 2 D cell and a Stormlite pocket torch. As I said, this is not a comprehensive or very technical review, in fact it is quite subjective, so here goes.

Much to the dismay of my family I disapperared off to a darkened room with a handful of torches. I lined up the torches so they were shining on to the same bit of wall giving me my start point:

The Fenix gave the purest whitest light, the Maglite was quite yellow and the Stormlite had a purplish-pink tinge to it.The Fenix had the widest 'spot' (set on max brightness for all tests), the Stormlite second and the Maglite third (set on spot throughout the comparisons).

The Fenix had the most even spill from around the spot and the widest, next was the Maglite with a more uneven spill and the least spill was from the Stormlite.

I staggered out of the dark room into a dark paddock for the next test - the distance test. This is where the Maglite shone (pardon the pun!). It maintained its spot over the longest distance (50m+), next was the Fenix which wasn't exactly a spot but threw a usable (but diffuse) light out to about 40-50m and then the Stormlite only managed about 30m of usable diffuse light.

Pros and Cons:

Pros - very small, lightweight, runs on AAA batteries, excellent light output, robust, cheap for the amount of lumens

Cons - relatively poor runtime (Stormlite claims 80+ hours on 1 AA)

I am mightily impressed with the Fenix. It produces a phenomonal amount of light from a very small package. It makes for an excellent EDC or in survival kit. Batteries are cheap. The different running options are very good - the strobe is very eye catching over distance as is the SOS strobe. I may do a distance experiment if 'er indoors is willing to stand outside, as I drive up the beacon increasing the distance from about 1 mile to 1.5 miles, to see how visible it is.

Having said all that, one of the most impressive features of the Fenix is the lanyard ring . What, I hear you cry! The clever people at Fenix have cut a small section out of the base ring so that the lanyard ring can fit into it making sure that the torch can stand upright and act as a candle!

Well thank you for reading this rambling 'review' and I hope you find it useful. All I have to do now is justify buying the L1D which has almost double the maximum lumens output and about 3 times the runtime (at lowest setting) for only £5 more than the L0D.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Tracks4life is up!

Yesterday, I posted up the majority of my new website (www.tracks4life.com). There are still a few things left to do on it, like fix some dates of courses but it is there for the world to see.

I hope you go have a look and enjoy it.

PS I must start posting some more interesting things :)

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

A walk in the woods

Yesterday we managed to get out for a short walk before it got dark in one of the local woodlands. I hadn't been there before so I had no idea what to expect.

We started off on normal forestry tracks which had lots of the usual tracks - people, dogs and vehicles. Then as we got a bit further in we started finding lots of deer tracks, and I mean lots! We also came across some old washed out fox scat that looked as if it had quite a few bits of pheasant in it.

The bird life was also very good with Buzzard and Bullfinch in prominence. Unfortunately I didn't have the long lens with me for the camera so missed out on some very good opportunities for photos. Lesson learnt.

As we progressed we came across more fox tracks, badger tracks, pheasant and more deer tracks. All in all, for a short inpromptu walk it was brilliant.

Thursday, 11 January 2007


We had the last bit of plastering done last weekend. I would highly recommend the guys who did the work for us. They worked hard and are very competitive on price - they trade under the name 'Atlantic Finishings' (01823 334928) and work out of Taunton. Go on...give them a call!

Friday, 5 January 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my readers.

I have a good feeling about this coming year. I am feeling very positive about my new company Tracks4life and all that it promises. I am looking forward to running some tracking and bushcraft courses in the spring. I have also been approached to run a team building day for a local charity. It's all very positive energy and it makes me see that school will be a success.

I wish you all every success for 2007!