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Bushcraft techniques, kit reviews, fire-lighting, motorcycle camping, knife making

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Across the Sea to Skye

Looking for adventure, myself and a friend decided to head up to Skye, choosing the excellent campsite in Dunvegan in the far west of Skye as a our destination. The campsite is surrounded by magnificent mountains and sits right on the waters edge giving a very dramatic backdrop for our overnight stay. The roads in Skye as you can see by the photographs are pretty stunning and full of wildlife of the larger variety. Feeling a little uncertain if it was the right way to approach these things, a little cattle herding was required to clear the road but you do find yourself thinking "what if that big beast turns round and starts chasing me"!

It was a great opportunity for the excellent Tentipi, this one my friends Varrie 5 which has developed a tendency to leak in heavy rain (going to be sorted of course by the supplier), but luckily the weather stayed dry for us despite the forecasts. The campsite provide a very simple and elegant solution to the problem of stoves or fires leaving charred grass behind, something I always try to avoid. Rather than campers making their own makeshift platform from beach pebbles, the site provides a steel plate bolted to two wooden blocks, keeping the fire off the ground and allowing you to position it wherever you desire. As you can see, the excellent Honey Stove sits well on this fire stand and as usual performed admirably. One thing I will need to remember for next time is to bring some gloves for assembling and dismantling the stove as it can be quite sooty which is fine if you're close to some water and soap but not so good if in the middle of nowhere. I've also been moving away from Light My Fire Maya Dust as the resin saturated sawdust does light with the firesteel but it takes a good few attempts. I much prefer "Hamaro Lighting Paper", a Sweedish product which can be found at http://www.lightingpaper.com and is basically a light-able, world friendly paper pulp that works well in the cold and wet. It's very cheap, takes a spark first time found at local army surplus stores and one packet should last a year or more.

I also find myself, despite having many similar alternatives, leaning towards the Spyderco Bushcrafter. This I believe is because its larger, wider handle shape fits my hand perfectly and it keeps a very "shaving sharp" edge. The blade I notice does have a very fine tendency to chip while battening, but that can be expected I suppose with all knives of this kind under heavy use and nothing a session on the whetstones can't remedy. However, after a good several months deliberation, I've now picked up a Rat Cutlery/ESEE RC-3 compact knife from www.eseeknives.co.uk and first impressions are that it will make an excellent campcraft tool. I'll be reviewing the RC-3 next month.

Overall then a great trip and another opportunity to try out some new bushcraft kit and enjoy the stunning Scottish scenery.


  1. I never leave home without this, Swedish Firesteel Army model. It's a must-have on a camping trip :)

  2. I watched the Charlie Boardman and Ewan Mcgregor series and dreamed of doing it. It's good to see someone who is doing it! I now sell roof tents at http://www.rooftentreview.com get in touch if you have the time!

  3. where did you go bro'??
    it's been two years ... did you decide to ride around the world with a credit card and an 8-inch blade? HAHAHA! Try writin' some more man :-)

    distantThunder, L.A.