Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Woollen Capote, traditional bushcrafting wear

Woollen Capote
Something’s just sing of the fur trade era, they typify the Mountain man and his hardy, free life style. Things like the Hawken Rifle, the butcher or camp knife and the Woollen Capote.

While I now have the perfect butcher/camp knife I still aspire to own a 50 calibre Hawken rifle and am now the very pleased owner of a Woollen Capote.

Traditionally made from one blanket the Capote (a corruption of a French word meaning coat or cape) was torn or cut with a knife (Indians didn’t have scissors) and then stitched in one of many various style.

Cut and sewn for warmth and ease of motivation these fantastically warm coats look a little bulky when new but are actually very unrestrictive making them as Ideal now for the bushcrafter as they were 200 years ago.

Being made from almost one entire blanket they are a little bulky to roll and carry when new but they have many pro’s to out weigh this slight negative point – of course they can be worn for warmth, around the campfire they are safe and will not melt if accidentally burnt. Being wool they remain warm even if soaked for up to 6 days!! But they are also the ideal overnighting blanket being big enough to roll yourself in for a warm cosy nights sleep!!

Originally Capotes were made from Hudson Bay blankets and the blankets had a point system. So highly prized where they that a 4 point blanket (with 4 small black lines on one edge denoting its points) was equal to or traded for 4 beaver pelts.

Available in various colours I opted for a nice red one and looking like Father Christmas aside love the rich scarlet colour. Hand made but machine sewn my Capote is a quality item cheaper in price and more traditional to the 'shrafting' ethos than later items such as Swannis.

Now available from the Good old US of A see the links column of the bearclaw website for the maker’s details.


Sunday, 22 July 2007

Stop that roaring its getting boring!!

As I sat there in the morning,
Beneath the lone oak tree,
I wondered at the world around,
And what bushcraft meant to me.

Bushcraft is a treasure chest,
Of skills and Lores of old,
Its freedom from the mundane world,
It’s JUST living for the bold.

It’s not some silly romantic dream,
Or having the most expensive knife,
It’s not chatting on some forum,
Causing trouble, wrecking lives.

The petty politics we find in life,
In the bush should have no place,
It’s for the love of nature,
If you’ve got a problem say it to their face.

Bushcraft is for the gentle soul,
It’s for the hardest man,
It’s seeing the world with a child’s sweet eyes,
And being the best you can.

It’s wonder and it’s beauty,
It’s a zone that’s lie and EGO free,
It’s the silent woods with dew wet leaves,
Not sitting by some PC.

As I sat beneath my Oak and watched the slow sun rise,
I saw another truth and watched world unfold before my very eyes.
And as I sat in quiet reflection part of natures scheme,
I knew within my heart of hearts it wasn’t just a dream.

And that is what Bushcraft is to me its escaping from the world,
It’s escaping the petty politics, escaping jealous words,
It’s understanding our place within natures rich tapestry,
And I hope one day you’ll taste the truth and sit ‘neath mine Oak with me.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Kodi the bearclaw totem

Kodi - our logo
“We learn the ways of life from the Bear; it revealed the potato to us when we watched it dig it up from the ground and eat it. If you watch and follow the bear, you can gain much knowledge. “
Native American shaman describing mans relationship with the bear.

Throughout history the Bear has been a significant creature, a symbol of raw courage and power both admired and feared by man. It is not without good reason that the heavenly guardian of the wandering traveller, Ursa Major – the great Bear, points to the North Star as an ever watchful sentinel boldly guiding our way through even in the darkest night .

The wise men of America’s first nation knew full well that whatever Bear will eat is good for humans too. It may not be socially acceptable to eat the insects that Bear finds under trees, but they would not do us any harm it we did and like us when Bear goes looking for fish, he doesn’t look for the perch, he looks for the salmon and the trout - the best! When he goes looking for the berries, the ones he chooses to eat are all the ones that are good for us humans too. When Bear has a head ache he sits and rubs a willow tree, scratching off its bark and eating it. The wise old men saw this and when they had a head ache they copied Bear and their head aches disappeared for willow bark contains the active ingredients of aspirin.

Like the wisest of our ancestors we would do well to learn from Bear and all our cousin creatures be they great or small - We should learn to look for the Bear necessities.

This is why Bearclaw Bushcraft has adopted the Bear Totem, for we like all our students and friends, would know the wisdom the wise ones who went before us. We would learn to travel by the Great Bear’s ever guiding light and in so doing learn the lessons that he would teach us about nature and the natural world around us.

Friday, 13 July 2007

The shrafters lost love

The ‘shrafter’s’ lost love

She wanted me to wear a suit
With Gucci shoes and tie.
She wanted me to drink red wine,
And live the modern lie.

She wanted more than I could give,
And so she walked away.
She didn’t see the man I am,
My love of soil and sky.

Where mountains kiss the valleys deep,
Where dapple shadows dance.
She’d never know the joy I feel,
She never had a chance.

So her wine bars and flashy clothes,
I told her she could keep.
I’m a simple man with simple dreams,
I bathe in crystal lakes so deep.

The sad and scary cityscape,
Is dark and blots the sky,
Give me the woods in pastel greens,
More pleasing to the eye.

So I lost my love that day,
Yet greater was the prize.
I lost the warmth of her soft breast,
Yet beauty fills my eyes!!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Ode to my knife,

Dull the steel which once shone bright,
The wear of age its shining light.
Companion, comfort, trusted friend,
By my side until the end.

We travelled cross the world so wide,
Cross field and flood, through wood and tide,
Your edge so sure, your grip so right,
Silent friend both day and night.

Worn now your wooden scales,
Dark with use and age,
Yet bright they lay in my minds eye,
Oh, silent companion to me.

To any task without complaint,
To any toil you’d leap,
Craving spoons or trigger traps,
Treasured gifts to keep.

Smile my little metal friend,
Your service I still need,
Hark, the woods they whisper there,
The forests call we’ll heed!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

WEISS (Sub Arctic) Course

This is the Law of the Yukon, that only the Strong shall thrive;
That surely the Weak shall perish, and only the Fit survive.
Dissolute, damned and despairful, crippled and palsied and slain,
This is the Will of the Yukon, -- Lo, how she makes it plain!
Robert Service – Law of the Yukon

The Arctic and sub Arctic climate is one of the worlds most beautiful yet most dangerous however it is also this pristine wilderness which offers the brave bushcrafter a chance to challenge them self as well as to extend their knowledge and abilities whilst studying new skills in a winter wonderland with dream like magnificence.

Phase Two of the Wilderness Experience International Survival School programme is only open to those who have completed the Initial WEISS temperate course or have achieved advanced skills via similar training or experience elsewhere as the course itself, while different from the WEISS temperate in as much as it’s a 100% learning course, is no less testing and is equally as challenging.

Predominantly run upon the Frozen lakes and in Boreal Pines forests which cover the rolling hills around Riksviken Sweden as well as the WEISS classroom this well established courses covers such skills as,

· Snow Shoe travel and Navigation
· Using a Snow mobile (snow go to our Swedish friends)
· Ice Fishing
· Snow shelters
· Fire lighting in extreme conditions – where your life can truly depend on it.
· Clothing
· Survival and general skills for minus temperature living
· Edible/Utility plants and resources common to Arctic/Sub Arctic lands.
· Cross country travel man hauling sleds

Upon completing this course you will have earned the Winter bar, a badge which can be worn above the much coveted WEISS badge, a sign of distinction, a sign that you are now a highly skilled, motivated and knowledgeable outdoors person who stands head and shoulders above their peers – simply put ‘The Best of the Best’

As with WEISS there is no kit list given and students, being at an advance level, are required to bring the appropriate equipment however you should be aware specialist items will be loaned to you.

Course size is limited to a Maximum of 10 Students