I haven’t had much time to get out recently with work and other things going on so I decided to go on a little micro adventure stalking for pike with the Dog and convert a dog walk into stalking for pike along the river.
It’s very difficult to balance everything sometimes and sometimes something has to give and it is important to keep that balance in our day to day lives.
I head out along the river after a real heavy night of wind and rain and I am very thankful that we cancelled the previous nights camp out as the weather really did turn for the worst.
My stalking equipment basically consist of a small spinning rod, telescopic net and a ruck sack with a few lures in it.
The lure I was using this day was a small (6cm) rubber shad with a single hook. These are very productive along this stretch of the river and the previous week I had a good catch so I thought i’d give this a go again.
The tide was really low and I don’t think i’ve seen it this low before. My thought where that the fish would be very concentrated in the main channel but this wasn’t the case.
The method I use is casting out, allowing the lure to hit the bottom, the retrieve a little jigging the lure then allowing it to drop to the bottom. I find that a lot of the time the fish are taking the lure on the drop.
Not very productive fishing session only had one but it got me out for a while.
Due to to limited time I head to head back home after one fish but managed to head out the next day for a little down time. Post to follow.
I try to keep up with my distance walking and regularly go hiking along the Suffolk Coastal path. I had planned to arrive at the beach before sunrise and setup the cameras to get some time-lapse of the sunrise but there was too much cloud cover.
Hiking along the Suffolk Coastal Path.
I arrived at Walberswick just before dawn to a windy and cloudy beach with no chance of a good sunrise, so started walking South towards Dunwich.
I was following part of the Suffolk Coastal Path which starts at Lowestoft the most Easterly point of the British Isles and ends at the ferry port town of Felixstowe. So with Boots and Armaskin on my feet, day pack, water and Dog I headed along the shingle beach.
There was a strong westerly wind and luckily no rain, so I headed towards the marshes and reed beds south of Walberswick planning to cut west through the reedbeds towards the Sandlings Way and into Dunwich forest. We came across no one else hiking the suffolk coastal path the beach was empty.
My trusty sidekick and me walked the well made path through the reeds and passed an old wind pump. It is here that the path splits to follow west through the marshes and into Dunwich Forest or South along the Suffolk Coastal path.
Normally I would head West but today chose a different route after checking out my map on view ranger where I have marked areas of the forest I regularly use for meal stops. So after hiking along the Suffolk Coastal path further than normal I followed South a little more and cut through the trees I could get to my usual stop and miss out all of the muddy path leading through the reedbeds.
After following the path along a dirt road for a bit I headed through the trees and reached my meal stop.
Today I had brought my JetBoil with me to cook breakfast and brew a coffee. Breakfast consisted of square sausage, bacon, black pudding and mushrooms.
I have a pan adapter for the jetboil so I can take of the water pot and use any pan with it.
I don’t normally use gas for cooking a fresh meal on, I prefer to use a bush box or a wood gas stove but as I was packing light and also as I have a cafeteria plunger for the jetboil I could brew some fresh coffee and cook a fry up.
So once I had cleared up and packed away it looked like the weather was going to change so pulled out my rain jacket I did have my waterproof trousers in my bag but I had received a pair of Revolution RaceZip Up Pants and wanted to see how waterproof these where.
By the time we returned back the beach the rain was quite hard and these trousers held up really well ( I will review them soon).
If you fancy hiking along the Suffolk coastal path there is a book available
Growing up on the Suffolk coast I have always been interested in beach fishing, there has been many years of biking home and not being able to feel my fingers due to the cold.
I always remember going to the bait shop on a Saturday and buying scrap lugworm as I couldn’t afford fresh bait, waiting for it to start getting dark and head down to the North Beach and try my hardest to catch something.
Learning to fish
I had to teach myself how to fish from the beach. From an early age I started to enjoy fishing and with no one in my family that had this past time it was a case of reading books, watching John Wilson every Thursday night on ITV (God rest his sole, Flags at half mast) and learning by my mistakes.
Nowadays its a lot easier with all of the content on YouTube
As a teenager earning £4.50 per week on a paper round it was really quite expensive to go beach fishing due to the price of the bait and having to keep buying weight due to the hefts in the area I used to fish.
Living in Cyprus
Whilst living in Cyprus I worked as a Scuba Diving instructor and spent a lot of my spare time spearfishing for Octopi and boat fish for Tuna.
So when I relocated back to the UK in 2007 the first thing was to get myself some sea fishing gear and start fishing the winter of the Suffolk and Norfolk beaches.
The first year was brilliant loads of Cod. I was regularly filling the freezer with fish and then it started to dwindle to the point when I didn’t fish last year at all.
First Day this year on the beach fishing.
So last Saturday I was free from work my eldest has been nagging me to take him out beach fishing.
We finally got out onto the beach.
Fishing is a great way to participate in a micro adventure whether its all day, all weekend or just a few hours out walking the dog.
The weather was forecast sunny with a 10mph Easterly wind which was ok for the beach we where to fish from. We where heading to Kessingland beach.
After collecting bait, servicing gear and making a few traces up we headed to the beach around 15:00 for a 17:30 High tide. I always like to fish the tide up and down.
We arrived at the beach to find the wind slightly stronger than 10mph and looking at the sea it looked really rough.
I thought “Well we are here, we’ve got bait so lets drown some worms”. There was no chance to delay it a day as the weather was changing for the worse so we got on with it and headed North along the beach.
There was a few people beach fishing and looking at the state of the sea I didn’t think the gear would hold bottom.
Talking to someone fishing already he said he was catching Whitting and Bass so at least they where catching.
Setting was quite difficult as the wind was onshore but we got the shelter up, rods setup and started to fish.
We where getting a fish every cast mostly Pin Whitting. We managed to take home about 12 decent sized Whitting.
Jan caught a small Bass and before we knew it it was time to light the lamp and start fishing in the dark.
This fishing is my favourite. I love fishing of the beach in winter, yes its cold but as long as you have the right clothes there is something magical about winter night fishing.
Dutch oven recipe Pork & Porter Stew served with potato pancakes.
Finally had a day to myself so headed down to the marsh to do some open fire cooking using my Dutch Oven.
Since my Frontier Stove is being serviced it was time to do some open fire cooking. I had also a new video camera to try so thought i’d make a day by filming some cooking, review some new trouser I had delivered from Revolution Race, show how I look after my boots and make some more char cloth.
There was a draw back, I took all the footage but there was an issue whilst editing the footage as iMovie didn’t like the 4k 60FPS footage and it was flickering a lot. I had used my iPhone so had some footage left but only enough to show how I cooked the stew.
So this recipe is my own recipe loosely based on a Polish Dish.
2 x Pork steaks
1 x large potato
2 x carrots
1 x bottle of porter or stout
A little water
Chop the pork steaks into cubes, put back into bag and add 2 spoons of flour and shake the bag.
Cut onion and carrots
Place dutch oven onto coals and allow to heat (gentle heat).
Add meat and onions and allow to brown.
Once meat is brown add in the bottle of porter, paprika and carrots.
Stir regularly over allow heat for about 20 mins (add a little water if beer reduces too much.
Pancake: Open your bag of potato and onion and add 3 large spoons of plain flour, salt and pepper and a little water.
Hold top of bag and knead mix together (it should be the consistency of porridge).
Invert the Dutch Oven lid onto coals, add a little lard, allow to heat the squeeze out mixture and pat flat using spoon onto the lid of the oven.
Allow to cook for about 10 – 15 mins until golden brown turning often.
Show us your steak During the week I saw a post from a colleague which pretty much sums up Mens Mental Health. Men aren’t very good about speaking out about their problems and tend to keep it all within their heads. I see a lot of people at work whether colleagues or patients that struggle with dealing with mental health problems.
I wrote on a previous post how I believe that getting outdoors is a great way to deal with mental health problems. Mental health issues aren’t a physical injury although they can have physical signs and keeping these problems in a box will only make them worse.
As mentioned in the previous post so many people that suffer with mental health problems end up lethargic and staying within four walls (in a box).
So again the word box comes up problems are boxed up in our heads and we are boxed up within four walls.
Its time to open up the box.
For the last 3 and a half years I have worn them for every shift and they have seen everything I have seen and worse…
They’ve trod in vomit and urine, dog poo, horse poo, cow poo and human poo…
Trod in the blood of the dead, the dying and the seriously injured….
Protected me from the broken glass, oil and jagged metal of shattered vehicles…
They’ve been with me when I’ve saved lives and when I’ve had to let people go…sometimes for the greater good of others that needed saving…
Seen the very best of humanity, but they’ve also seen the very worst…
They’ve seen the moments of life-changing sadness of those left behind; wives & husbands, sons & daughters, mothers & fathers….some of them to children…
If my boots could talk, they could tell stories that would make your toes curl…
If they had a conscience, you would sometimes hear them cry at night trying to outrun the sadness they have seen…
Boots don’t talk…..but sometimes those who wear them should.
Following on from a post from a very entertaining youtuber that I follow (Haze Outdoors). He posted a video that was such a great idea to raise awareness that I jumped on the band wagon and created a video to show us your steak
In his video he is hoping to start a viral trend of men posting videos online of them cooking steak which will help raise awareness of Mens mental health.
So to all that read get making you videos post to youtube / instagram and tag with #showusyoursteak then tag three people to do the same.
Today was time to head out hiking the Birch Forest. The weather has been perfect recently for foraging for fungi so I headed out into the woods to see if I could spot any.
As we started to walk into the birch forest i could see there where many slippery jacks but not fresh that morning.
We had a good walk around saw some birch polypores these are inedible but have some use in bushcraft and emergency situations:
Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) is also called Razor Fungus and can be used as a strop to give a blade a Razor sharp edge.
As well as giving your blade a super sharp edge it can also be turned in to a plaster. By slicing out a piece of the underside of the fungus and peeling it off you can make yourself a bushcraft plaster!
Funny how nature works the same thing that keeps your knife sharp also keeps your blood in when you cut yourself!!
I enjoy hiking the birch forest we had a look around but no fresh fungi so decided to stop and make some breakfast and coffee.
I was using a small bush box for the fire and was using a flint, steel and birch bark to start my fire. Camera messed up so missed filming starting the the fire.
The area I stopped for food was full of slippery jacks so I marked the area on my view ranger app for a time when conditions would be better for fungi.
I had recently been playing and designing a foraging pouch which can be clipped onto a belt and is rolled up in a leather holder (below).
First attempt was ok but I need to remove some of the clasps and turn them around so the bag could be removed from leather holder. Also so that the top of the leather holder could be clipped to inside of bag.
Suffolk’s untouched coastline Covehithe. Many of my pictures on Instagram are taken at this spot so I thought I’d introduce you to the area.
I spend a lot of time here, I was training for the Fjallraven Classic along this route from Kessingland to Dunwich.
The area is called Covehithe which is located between Kessingland and Southwold.
I have always had a fascination with this part of the Suffolk coastline it’s the ruggedness and wild wind swept cliffs that I find appealing. It’s also down to the fact that this area of the UK is so full of candy floss and static caravans that when you find an area that is completely wild it sticks out.
I spent a lot of my childhood exploring and fishing on this beach and can remember the road to the cliff being much longer. Coastal erosion is a massive issue here where up to 4.5m of cliff is lost to the sea every year.
So saying that since I’ve been visiting around 130 metres have gone into the sea.
In the Doomsday survey the hamlet was known as Nordhalla and was recorded with 13 settlers. It takes its modern name from the de Cove family who held land there during the Middle Ages and hithe from old English meaning quay for loading small vessels. Like it’s nearby neighbour Dunwich it had fallen to the wrath of the North Sea and started to be devoured by coastal erosion and the town declined.
The Church of St Andrew
The church of St Andrew fell into ruin and locals where using its walls as building materials.
Currently a small Church is within the Church ruins.
What I love about this coastline is it is always changing unveiling things hidden from time for a few years or for along time.
Regularly wrecks are uncovered for a while and then covered back up, foundations from houses appear out of the cliff then end up on the beach to be covered up later on. It’s a wild coastline we don’t have that much wild coast so this is a haven.
Speaking to someone from natural England earlier today as they where clearing trees on the headland the plan is to develop a path way from Benacre to extend the Suffolk coastal path to Southwold as at present it meanders around Covehithe to Southwold.
The time had come to head 6 hours up north for a week of wild camping in the Lake District.
I had been planning and researching the area for a while so after finishing days I packed the car and was ready for an early start the next morning heading for a week of wild camping in the Lake District.
A early start was foiled by a early morning fire call so by the time I was back home and I couldn’t get straight back to sleep I chose for a later start.
I left Suffolk at about 08:00 and my sat nav was saying 6 hours up so I planned to drive 3 hours stop to give the dog a chance to stretch her legs and carry on for the next 3 hours. There was a little traffic and a diversion and I finally arrived at around 17:15.
Starting point was Bowness Knot car park. I headed down the valley, passed the lake, crossed the river and headed towards the path leading me up into the fells. I had planned initially to walk up to Scout Tarn from there but due to late start, 6 plus hours of driving I decided that I Didnt have the time or energy to make that walk so crossed the river again and found a great little campsite amongst some spruce.
After getting the tent setup, dog fed and water filtered I heated some water to rehydrate my first meal. I had brought different types of freeze dried meals as I wanted to review the different options available in the market.
I fed myself and, treated myself to some biltong, a coffee laced with some dark rum and hit the hay quite early as I was planning to head up to Blackbeck Tarn and walk around that area before returning to the Tarn to camp for the second night.
Heading up to Inominate Tarn & Haystacks
Up early coffee and freeze dried rice pudding for breakfast I packed up and headed down the valley. Whilst walking towards Black Sail Hut I noticed a really nice looking campsite by the river that I thought I could use at a later time.
Stopping to refill water at Black Sail Hut myself and the dog started to head up towards Black Beck Tarn.
We followed the route alongside Loft Beck and reached Black Beck Tarn just as the weather came in, cloud was covering the area and the rain and hail was coming down hard.
It was at this point that I had realised that I had left my Spot Tracker in the car and as there was no phone signal and I was wild camping in the Lake District on my own I wanted to return to the car to pick it up. I didn’t want to be up in the fells on my own without it so I looked at map and decided to walk around to Inominate Tarn, Haystacks and head back down to Black Sail Hut, return to the car and camp at that spot I had seen earlier by the river.
Returning to the car, picked up the spot tracked and I also grabbed a DD Hammocks super light tarp (in case the rain started so I could have somewhere dry to sit under). We Crossed the river and arrived at this nights campsite at around 15:30 I setup tent, had a swim/wash and got setup for the night.
I had ago with some motion blur effects using a new app in my phone which didn’t come out to bad. I didn’t bother setting up the tarp as it was a real nice evening just sitting by the fire, sharing my Biltong with the dog and watching nature at its best.
It was a really nice evening and after some food and some medicinal Rum I decided to turn in around 21:00 as I wanted to be up early to pack away and head up the Back Sail Pass and down to Scoat Tarn.
So after feeding the Dog and myself the next morning, I had chosen to have freeze dried scrambled eggs and cheese which turned out to be really good and one that I will choose again.
I packed up and headed towards the Black Sail Hut, re-filled water bottle and headed up the pass. To reach the top it was 2.4km and took me about 1 hour to get there where I stopped for a quick sandwich and headed over to Pillar and down towards Scoat Tarn via Red Pike. Coming down from Pillar towards Red Pike was quite difficult with the dog attached to me as she will run and chase Sheep. Luckily there wasn’t any about so I could descend safely.
We reached Scoat Tarn and setup camp, had a dip in the Tarn and got some food on the go. I had a go at some time-lapse photography and called it a night.
On waking in the morning to hail and rain I packed up inside the tent and packed the outer layer of the tent away into a dry bag and headed down the valley to head up Scoat Fell and back down into the Ennnerdale Valley for another day wild camping in the Lake District.
By this time the cloud had come in and the rain/hail was quite heavy. We headed up Scoat fell where the dog ripped off her front left dew claw so I had to take sometime sorting her out. I cant emphasize enough the need to be self sufficient when wild camping in the Lake District
I took a break after reaching the top of Scoat Fell and looking down onto Ennerdale Water I could see the rain was really heavy there.
It was quite tricky descending here as it was wet, no real path and plenty of Sheep so the dog was on her tether and kept trying to pull me over. As we reached the tree line we where met by a Hen Harrier eating a rabbit which didn’t even move as we approached.
Finally we where down in the valley and we headed to a spot I had seen by Ennerdale water and I chose to setup the hammock for this night.
I really enjoy hammock camping and think I get a better nights sleep in a hammock and wanted to mix things up whilst wild camping in the Lake District.
We had loads of time as I had setup around 16:00 so had a swim, food and finished off the rum and a sneaky beer I had also picked up during resupply from the car. Tonights meal was Cod in Curry Sauce by the Norwegian company Real Turmat.
I love these meals but at £9.99 they are a bit pricey this one was left over from the Fjallraven Classic I had done in Sweden the previous year.
After spending a few days with my Sister and Brother in Law where we climbed Helvellyn and Scafell Pike. I had decided to spend one night in a Bothy that wasn’t that far away from Blackbeck tarn.
Overnight in a Bothy
I chose to park at the Honister Slate Mine and walk up from there it costs £10.00 to leave the care there overnight. Dubs hut is the first and easiest to get, very popular, sleeps 6, multi fuel stove (although fuel will need to be carried in).
Half an hour from Dubs Hut it Warnscale Hut hidden from view it isn’t the easiest to find and by judging by comments in visitors book many people have had to make more than one attempt to find it.
It was built in 1750 for slate miners and was left in ruin until 1985 when the MBA completely renovated it to be used as a bothy. As mentioned it is small and able to sleep 4 with a multi fuel stove to keep warm as previous bothy fuel will need to be carried in.
Weather was bad this day and ascent wasn’t easy I had put the coordinates into my ViewRanger App and made my way up to Dubs Hut, the wind and rain was driving and as I entered Dubs Hut I realised it was time for a new waterproof layer I was soaked to the skin perfect for wild camping in the Lake District.
On entering the hut there was 4 lads brewing up who offered me hot water, they had overnighted at Warnscale hut and recommended that I ahead there. Few people came and went after eating soggy sandwiches and I found the power to put on my WET! wet gear and looked at the map to find where I would be heading. I needed to go down the valley a little way and cross a river.
As I reached the brow of a hill I could see to my left a scree of slate on the mountain side and looking at ViewRanger I could see I was near and then due to the bad visibility I noticed a metal flue as the whole side of the Bothy was camouflaged into the scree of slate.
Entering the bothy through a very small door it was gloomy with only 2 small windows, 2L shape benches across two walls, a multi fuel stove and a cubby hole with various items left by previous dwellers (including a half tube of vaseline god knows what had gone on in here that night). I setup my bed and wished I had fuel although it wasn’t cold it would have been nice. I hung up my wet clothes and got some water on the boil for some soup.
If you are planning a overnighter in a bothy it is worth bringing a tent in case the bothy is full although this night I did not want to be in a tent.
The Dog and I settled down and I had just sent an OK message on my SPOT GPS devices as no phone signal, when her ears pricked up and she started barking as 3 really wet lads entered the bothy who where also planning to stay here. My thoughts of a peaceful night where gone but when one said “we’ve brought coal” I thought brilliant.
They sorted themselves out and got there food on the go which was duck stew which they shared with me and a very happy dog! They had to leave early due to commitments so it was about 22:30 for lights out. Now I am a cold weather person and not that keen on boiling hot rooms, it was so hot in here this night I was in my boxers on top of my sleeping bag.
05:00 the lads where up and packing away and got out the door by 06:00 I had a brew and got a couple of hours kip as I was driving back to Suffolk as I had decided due to the weather to knock it on the head. I packed up, had a tidy and prepared myself for the onslaught of gales and torrential rain outside.
It took me under an hour to reach the car and with a quick change of clothes I was heading home with another micro adventure ticked off. What a great experience wild camping in the Lake District.
If you are interested on wild camping in the Lake District, have a look on Youtube as this is a great way to research routes and areas to wild camp. Remember that many people will be wild camping in the Lake District so be prepared to share the area with others.