If you have visited the mountains of Snowdonia, in particular the area around Snowdon itself, you will probably have come across one of these small, blue circular plaques pinned to a gatepost or stile. Their purpose is fairly self-explanatory, with “CYFEIRNOD GRID/GRID REFERENCE” printed around the edge. Continue readingRead more... →
Here we go… this post will attract a minimum of two types of response:
1. “you don’t know what you’re talking about, if your skills were as good as mine you could follow a flea across a glacier”
2. “tracking is too slow/doesn’t work/is overrated”
Both views have some validity, and that’s the point of this post.
Tracking, within the context of SAR/non-combat scenarios, is often represented by evangelists who want to present tracking as a panacea to locating any human OR by those who have sworn off it having tried the techniques (sold to them on a course) on a live operation and found that it just slows everything down and eats up resources. Each side will defend their own hilltop to the last man – neither attitude being actually that helpful to achieving the end goa Continue readingRead more... →
The trip to the summit and back was uneventful (apart from my stirring rendition of Auld Lang Syne on the South summit), but as we descended the path out of Cwm Tryfan alongside the stream leading to Gwern Gof Uchaf something strange occurred… Continue readingRead more... →
It seems like 2017 was the summer of location work for Original Outdoors. We have been putting our experience of working in the world of outdoor adventure in North Wales to use as consultants and location scouts for several years, but this was a busy summer for us.
We were contacted by Claudia from German production company Natural Born Explorers for a project they were working on for a European outdoor clothing and equipment retailer. They had already chosen Snowdonia as a general area for their shoot but wanted some help finding locations, gaining permissions and just the logistics of shooting in a different country. After several Skype conversations and emails we narrowed it down to some key areas in the mountains and forests of Northern Snowdonia.
Then it was down to the usual pre-shoot planning – working with landowners to gain permissions for commercial photography on their land, timelines to make sure we had enough time on location to get what the client needed and be in the right place for the ‘golden hour’ at sunset. We also needed to keep an eye on the weather and make sure that the entire crew were equipped for several days in the mountains. Continue readingRead more... →
We want your outdoor questions!
Pretty much every week we receive an email, Facebook message, Twitter DM or comment somewhere that is asking for advice, information or just somebody asking for help with their own adventure.
Of course we try to help as much as we can, and it’s not unusual to find ourselves on the phone for quite a while talking through one subject or another.
This has given me an idea – why not make this more of a public process? The questions we get are often very similar to each other and I know that more people would possibly benefit from those answers.
So this is the idea – you can submit your questions to us via one of the following sources, and we will do our best to answer them in our upcoming videos: Continue readingRead more... →
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 aidRead more... →
Visiting Fortis Clothing Last month I was down in Cornwall and Devon doing some promotional work and foraging around on the beaches of the south coast – and I couldn’t resist diverting to Axminster on the way home to drop in on Fortis Clothing, a family-owned andRead more... →
VIDEO: Keela – new bushcraft clothing range from a British brand We caught up with Tony from Keela to talk about their new bushcraft and country range of outdoor clothing I have used Keela clothing both in my time in a mountain rescue team and more recentlyRead more... →
VIDEO: Paramo and the new Alta III Waterproof Jacket Richard managed to grab a short interview with Helen Howard from Paramo Ltd at the Outdoor Trade Show 2015 to ask her about the Paramo Directional Clothing System, how Paramo works and the new Paramo Alta III jacketRead more... →
Episode 10 A roadtrip podcast with Paul “Pouch” Smethurst, talking about Search and Rescue, Mountain Rescue and Remote Area Medical jobs Our roadtrip podcasts are proving very popular, so whilst making the journey to Pembrokeshire from North Wales Paul “Pouch” Smethurst and I went through how SearchRead more... →
The Importance of being a Navigator A few years ago in an interview I was asked by the keen young journalist what my ‘Top 3 Survival Skills’ are. I paused for a moment to consider which I would choose, the immediate needs of water and shelter followedRead more... →
Episode 6 A walk in the mountains of Snowdonia with Jason Rawles from JR Mountaineering For the sixth episode of the podcast we were joined by Jason Rawles, founder of JR Mountaineering for a winter walk and climb on Moel Siabod, one of the mountains of SnowdoniaRead more... →
Episode 5 Clips from our recent Tracking Course and an interview with Andy from Seren Ventures In the fifth episode of the podcast we have some clips from our recent Basic Tracking Course and an interview with our friend Andy Jones from Seren Ventures In this episode…Read more... →
GPS Training Course Report A damp Sunday morning saw me walking the last few hundred metres up to Bwlch Pen Barras, the ‘top car park’ as it often known. This is a great meeting point for Moel Famau, and we often meet clients here for our navigationRead more... →
How to join a Mountain Rescue team… Whilst doing that awful but necessary thing of trawling through a long list of social media feeds earlier this week I came across this blog post from the Ordnance Survey – ‘Become a Search and Rescue Volunteer’. At first glance,Read more... →
#NAVEMBER No, that’s not a typo! November is now officially the Original Outdoors Navigation month. We are running courses throughout the month, as well as offering discounts on our Advanced Navigation coaching days. The ability to navigate safely and confidently in all terrain is one of theRead more... →
Real UK Survival Skills? There is a problem in the UK outdoor skills training world. For most of the last three decades the majority of outdoor skills training came through the mountain or river environment – navigation courses, Mountain Leader courses, instructor courses, kayaking/paddling and so on.Read more... →
International Inland Distress Signals In European and North American countries there are commonly recognised distress signals for use by persons in distress to communicate with the outside world: Europe In the mountains and remote areas of Europe a signal (a noise such as a whistle blast, orRead more... →
10 things you didn’t know about Mountain Rescue This blog post is mainly about volunteer Mountain Rescue teams in England and Wales, because that is the area I have direct experience of. But after talking to some international SAR team members I have had the pleasure ofRead more... →
“Whats in your first aid kit?” ….This is a question likely to almost cause mass hysteria on some internet fora, bringing with it quotes about the Health and Safety at Work Act, Misuse of Drugs, Competencies, Approved Codes of Practice… I originally posted this article on anotherRead more... →
Unless you live in a cave it cannot have escaped you that for most of the new century we have been in armed conflict with someone, somewhere in the world – the one that always hits the headlines is Operation Herrick – The war in Afghanistan. WhilstRead more... →
First aid for the outdoors… Obviously, you won’t know this from reading it but I’m typing with one-and-a-half-hands. This is following a slightly unfortunate incident this afternoon whilst out foraging for seaweed as part of our commercial wild food project with Rhug Estate. To ensure we onlyRead more... →
A report from one of our recent North Wales Outdoor First Aid Courses Something we wanted to offer from the very beginning were outdoor first aid courses. I have done many hours of first aid training in a variety of different fields – but to run theRead more... →
Who needs first aid? This evening I’m revising for an exam (well, right now I’m writing a blog post but you get my meaning). I’m a member of the local mountain rescue team and every three years the in-house first aid qualification (Casualty Care Certificate) is dueRead more... →
What’s it like to winched into a helicopter? Mountain Rescue teams work closely alongside the RAF SAR helicopters, and get the opportunity to regularly train with them both at their bases and on the hills. This video is from a headcam on the side of my helmet,Read more... →
Have you ever had an experience where you felt too old and too stupid at the same time? I had mine this weekend when I was one of the instructors helping NEWSAR with a course they were running for the Wilderness Medicine Society students from Manchester School ofRead more... →