How to choose the right map scale – 25k, 40k or 50k?

How to choose the right map scale – 25k, 40k or 50k?

There are two mapping scales that tend to be used for walking, mountaineering and other human-powered travels across the landscape in the UK – 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales. The main producer of topographical maps for outdoor activities (and everything else) is the Ordnance Survey (OS), and the 1:25,000 (Explorer) and 1:50,000 (Landranger) scales are readily available at outdoor shops, online and local retailers. They also produce various digital mapping products, as well as an online mapping service and smartphone app. Continue reading

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Pacing, timing or ticking off – measuring distance when navigating on foot

Pacing, timing or ticking off – measuring distance when navigating on foot

On our navigation courses we always end up coming around to the subject of distance. Indeed, it’s one of the ‘D’s of navigation and unless you intend to just stand still and survey the surrounding countryside you’ll need to deal with the problem of measuring distance both on the map and on foot at some point or another.

There are three ways that we cover in depth on the EST Framework navigation courses – ‘pacing‘, ‘timing‘ and the enigmatically named ‘ticking off‘. They each have their merits, but also a few drawbacks. Like pretty much every other navigational technique – they are just a tool in the toolkit, and it is up to you to select the right one for the right task Continue reading

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The Six-Bundle Fire Lay

The Six-Bundle Fire Lay

This fire lay requires six bundles of dry, straight dead wood and a good ignition source. It relies on good airflow at the beginning, and the fire lay ‘collapsing’ in on itself in the later stages to ensure a good bed of coals and ash to cook over.

It is also a good option for making a ‘One Match Fire’. Continue reading

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Extreme Low Tide Foraging – How to find the lowest tides

Extreme Low Tide Foraging – How to find the lowest tides

Extreme Low Tide foraging is becoming popular and one of the increasingly common requests we get for a private coastal foraging course over here in North Wales. It’s easy to understand why – when all of the most interesting and edible parts of the beach are under the water for part of every day then there’s a lot more to see when the water has retreated to its lowest point.
The UK is home to one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world – the Severn Estuary can have a difference of as much as 15m (49ft). The tidal range of one particular spot can be dependent on several factors, ranging from the shape of the bay, inlet or estuary where the range is being measured to the underwater geology and topography, and even the direction it is facing relative to the prevailing winds. Continue reading

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Can you eat mussels straight from the beach?

Can you eat mussels straight from the beach?

When you teach people about foraging and ‘wild food’ you often run the risk of sounding negative or over-cautious about the potential hazards that come from eating shellfish, or fungi,or whatever else it is that you are solemnly warning people about. I do this with good reason – people are paying to attend on of our North Wales foraging courses to learn more about the subject, and I have a duty of care towards them as an instructor, and just as a (mostly?) decent human being. That said – there IS a difference between laying out the potential risks and telling somebody that they shouldn’t/can’t do something. Continue reading

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Why is foraging still so popular in the U.K?

Why is foraging still so popular in the U.K?

For a decade our foraging and wild foods courses are filled – but why?
My name is Richard Prideaux, and I am a forager.

It’s not much of a confession really – through Original Outdoors I have been leading foraging courses and walks for a decade or more, as well as working as a supplier of foraged plants from a local organic estate and working with chefs and restaurants to find new ways to use wild plants, fungi and lichens in dishes served to the most discerning of clients. It is safe to say that a large part of my working life outdoors has been linked to foraging and wild food, even if peripherally on our bushcraft courses. But none of that would have been possible if there hadn’t been such a demand for information and training in this ancient activity – so with shops and food suppliers all around us, why is there such a cultural draw towards edible plants and fungi?

I have two theories on this, and they require a little unpacking. They may also be complete cobblers, but allow me to explain… Continue reading

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Foraging and Camp Cooking with 16 Hospitality

Foraging and Camp Cooking with 16 Hospitality

Foraging and Wild Food with 16 Hospitality Last year we teamed up with 16 Hospitality for their first external training course – a day of foraging and wild food cooking in the woods. For 2017 they wanted to push things forward a little and really challenge their

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VIDEO: Choosing an Air Rifle Scope

VIDEO: Choosing an Air Rifle Scope

Choosing an Air Rifle Scope Over the last 12 months or so we have made a couple of visits to Tonys Camo in Saltney to take advantage of his generosity and create some short videos on buying an air rifle, choosing an airgun caliber and how to

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Do I need to bother with bow drill?

Do I need to bother with bow drill?

Bow Drill Skills: Are they worth learning? One of the skills most associated with the world of ‘bushcraft’ is that of making fire by friction. The image that normally accompanies that description is somebody crouching over a contraption that looks like a fiddle crossed with a rolling

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Tracking Training and Awareness with North Wales Police

Tracking Training and Awareness with North Wales Police

Track and Sign Awareness with North Wales Police A training and skill-sharing session with the NWP Rural Crime Team A few months ago I was joined by police officers from the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team for a session on track and sign awareness and to

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How to save yourself – a tale of survival from a friend

How to save yourself – a tale of survival from a friend

How to save your own life A tale of everyday survival from a friend If you have attended one of our courses or engaged me in conversation about the idea of survival training or prepping for potential survival situations then you will probably remember my having some

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How to put together a first aid kit for the outdoors

How to put together a first aid kit for the outdoors

How to put together a first aid kit outdoors Wilderness personal medical kits How do you put a first aid kit together for the outdoors? Or a bushcraft first aid kit? Are first aid kits for mountain biking different to ones for kayaking? Carrying a first aid

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How to camp in the woods – a time lapse tale!

How to camp in the woods – a time lapse tale!

How to camp in the woods Setting up tarps and living by firelight with Kevin Field In this short time lapse bushcraft instructor Kevin and I set up two DD Hammocks 3mx3m tarps, light a fire between and settle down for the night in a simple woodland

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Doug’s Green Woodworking Books

Doug’s Green Woodworking Books

Doug’s 5 Favourite Green Woodworking Books As part of my work with Original Outdoors, Richard asked me about the Green Woodwork books that I thought were worth recommending to everyone and which ones were my favourites. This lead me down a road of looking out many of

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VIDEO: How to zero an airgun scope

VIDEO: How to zero an airgun scope

How to zero an airgun scope Setting the sights on your target Tony from Tony’s Camo and Airgun Centre in Saltney comes back for this second video on the use of airguns. In the shooting range adjacent to his shop he shows me how he teaches people

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VIDEO: How to choose an airgun

VIDEO: How to choose an airgun

How to choose an air rifle Buying your first airgun Tony Dobson from Tonys Camo and Airgun Centre in Saltney kindly gave us some time to explain the basics of buying an air rifle in the UK. The video details the different types of air rifle commonly

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How to sharpen an axe!

How to sharpen an axe!

How to sharpen an axe! In another of our series of tutorial videos with green woodworker (and axe hoarder) Doug Don we look at his technique for sharpening axes, using inexpensive materials and a technique that can learned easily and done safely. It’s a longer video, but

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How to make a spatula (flat spoon)

How to make a spatula (flat spoon)

How to make a spatula (flat spoon) In this video I spend some time in the woods with Doug Don learning how to split down and process a log into a useful kitchen implement. Even if you aren’t interested in making a spatula there is a lot

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Moments – Bow Drill Demonstration

Moments – Bow Drill Demonstration

A Bow Drill Demonstration Instructor Kevin goes through an honest demonstration of lighting a fire with a bow drill set (note the thick smoke and flames just visible in the last few frames) towards the end of a Woodcrafter course. Getting a valid ember (and eventually flame)

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VIDEO: How to rig a tarp

VIDEO: How to rig a tarp

VIDEO: How to set up a tarp in the woods Simple rigging for a DD Hammocks tarp In a two part video I share how I set up my DD Hammocks 3m x 3m tarpaulin for wild camping and general camp use. It’s a quick, simple and

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Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016

Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016

Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016 we’ve been working witht he team of volunteers at the Brymbo Heritage Project near Wrexham for over 6 months on a few projects, but the one that has really inspired us has been the pilot of a new outdoor qualification

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Beware the GWR… The rise of the Facebook guides

Beware the GWR… The rise of the Facebook guides

Beware the Guy With Rucksack (GWR) We’ve seen a troubling rise in online groups taking people into the mountains without training, experience or any of the necessary skills over the last couple of years. There is a term in commercial photography, particularly the type involving models –

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VIDEO: See How quickly a flash flood can happen

VIDEO: See How quickly a flash flood can happen

VIDEO: See how quickly a flash flood can rise This 2013 video from Utah Moto Trails shows firsthand how quickly a flash flood in a Utah canyon can rise: From their blog description: Normally the canyon is dry as there are very few areas for water to

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