Breakfast flatbread: Quick little recipe this is a variation to Bannock.
Bannock has been cooked over flames for many generations and still today. Breakfast Flatbreads are easy to make and really filling.
The original bannocks were heavy, flat cakes of unleavened barley or oatmeal dough formed into a round or oval shape, then cooked on a griddle (or girdle in Scots). In Scotland, before the 19th century, bannocks were cooked on a bannock stane (Scots for stone), a large, flat, rounded piece of sandstone, placed directly onto a fire, used as a cooking surface. Most modern bannocks are made with baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent, giving them a light and airy texture.
1 cup of self raising flour and a pinch of salt.
2 rashers of bacon
Beef dripping or oil.
Add salt to flour I do this previously to heading out, scrape about a spoonful of dripping into mix.
Pour in a little water and knead in the bag.
Remove from bag and flatten out in hands and place rashers of bacon on the middle and fold edges over to envelope the bacon.
Place in hot pan or skillet and cook on a medium heat until well done.
Quick morning out along the river with the chance to hang some bacon and have a brew after clearing a load of brambles on the land.
Lovely spring morning was warm enough to see a grass snake bathing in the sun.
Cleared a good section of brambles to clear the 3rd marsh then time to use the primitive fire kit, make a fire, release the bacon and have a brew.
My fire lighting kit consists of a steel striker, flint, Birch bark, char cloth and a piece of fat wood.
Cooking like this is fairly simple just a stick above the fire and slowly allow bacon to cook over fire whilst heating water in the fire.
Whittling. Had a chance to find a piece of green willow to have a go a whittling a coffee measuring spoon for my next project which will be a leather ground coffee bag. I’m just waiting for items to be delivered before I start this project.
The whittling knife and spoon knives are hand made from a guy I found on Facebook and I’ve been trying to find his details but I can’t find them to tag him but the are wonderful items.
During the warmer months of the year, it is particularly important that you air your feet and change your socks often during your trek. Blisters are not only caused by hard boots or a wrinkle in your sock. The closed environment in your boots is the perfect breeding ground for micro-organisms that decrease the resistance of your skin. Washing your feet regularly helps prevent blisters and there is also a lot more you can do to take care of your feet – even before you leave on your trek.
Before your trek
Break in your boots well and learn how they work on your feet. In particular, take note of where you usually get blisters, which is often visible as a small red area. Remember this so you will be able to prevent future blisters.
Purchase Anti-Blister Socks.
I came across Armaskin online, this is an Australian company that deliver worldwide, i decided to give a pair of the socks a go and these are probably one of the best investments I have made for hiking and walking. The are 100% guaranteed or money back.
ArmaSkin anti-blister second skin socks ( liner socks) address all these conditions that cause blisters:
The inner surface of the sock has a silicon polymer friction coating which gently adheres to the skin and PREVENTS any FRICTION that can occur naturally between socks and skin. Any friction generated in the boot/shoe is absorbed by the outer fabric.
The polymer coating is macro porous and hydrophobic (water hating) therefore REPELS MOISTURE away from the skin keeping it drier.
Better HEAT dissipation is achieved thanks to the hydrophobic/ hydrophilic moisture management. i.e one side of the fabric is water hating the other side is water loving.
The Si fusion polymer coating gently adheres to the skin and importantly shares skin shear forces across wider surface areas of skin thus reducing damage.
In addition the Silicon fusion polymer is bacteria static so the socks can be worn for prolonged periods of time.
Wash them with your normal clothes but avoid using bleach, fabric softener or sending them to the dry cleaners.
A few weeks before you leave, make sure that you do not have athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is characterised by flaking skin, often between the toes but also elsewhere on the foot. It can be easily treated with cream from the pharmacist.
Wash your feet and sand down calluses. Clip your toenails, but make sure that the toenail on your big toes is straight to avoid ingrown toenails. Massage your feet with cream to soften the skin.
When leaving for your trek
If you know that you usually get blisters, tape any sensitive areas before leaving on your trek. Elastoplast is flexible and fits comfortably. Stretch the tape slightly before you apply it and tape diagonally under the foot and a bit up on the sides, but leave around 2 cm between the ends. If needed, heat the tape with your hands so it will stick better.
Sports tape and other types of non-elastic tape are not as practical since they can often wrinkle, which contributes to the problem.
While on your trek
Air your feet when you take a break. Change your socks at least once a day and if they get wet. If you feel that a blister is starting to form, stop immediately and tape the area that hurts or where the skin is red. Apply a double layer of Elastoplast, following the instructions above. Tape the heel first in the back and then horizontally out to the side of the foot with one or a few pieces of tape. Then attach a piece of tape from underneath upwards, overlapping the first pieces of tape.
If you get a blister
There are different theories about how to handle a blister, but there is one proven method:
• Puncture the blister as close to the healthy skin as possible, preferably in two places.Use a small pair of sharp scissors and cut a small V in the blister.
• Rinse and wash with drinking water or cleaning solution for sores (you can buy handy disposable cleaning pads for sores at the pharmacist). Dry your foot thoroughly.
• Large blisters filled with fluid can be covered with a Compeed bandage. Make sure that the Compeed is secure and clip away any wrinkles (for example if you wrap one around a toe) with scissors.
• Cover with one-two layers of Elastoplast as described above. Carefully put your socks on so you do not pull up the edges of the tape.
• Avoid removing the tape or attempting to change the bandage. Trim away loosened tape edges with a pair of scissors and reinforce with an additional layer of tape.
The other method which is my preferred method involves a needle, thread, small pair of scissors and some betadine or something to sterilize your items.
Thread the needle with about 30cm of plain white cotton thread
Cover the needle and thread in betadine / sterlizing fluid so that the needle is covered and the cotton thread has soaked up the fluid.
Wipe the blister and surrounding area with antiseptic.
Pass the needle through the skin of the blister and pull needle out of other side.
Gently pull and push the thread through the blister (this allows the antiseptic solution to be drawn in to the blister off the thread.
Drain the fluid by gently pressing on the blister.
Cut the thread leaving about 3cm each side
Dress blister and crack on!
Here’s the best video I could find online to show how to drain a blister.
Massage at night
Wash your feet every night before climbing into your sleeping bag (at the same time as you take care of other personal hygiene needs). Add skin cream as well and rub it in using small circular motions for approximately five minutes. In addition to softening up the skin and tired muscles, this massage also improves circulation and makes it easier for your feet to withstand another day on the trail.
Children these days have so much, such a bigger connection worldwide, no need to move from one room, gadgets everywhere, they can become fixated onto what we think is an absolute waste of time like these YouTube channels that they sit and watch/listen to whilst playing games and to what benefit?
My youngest is a nightmare to motivate with all of this mush and fodder available to him at the press of a button but get him outside and he is in a different world, the world I grew up in where the simplest things become an adventure that you will remember and give valuable lessons.
This day we woke up early and like someone addicted to smoking he reaches and grabs one of many gadgets and sits in bed getting his first daily fix.
I shout to him “get dressed we are going out”. He’s up and dressed for some outside action and says “I haven’t had breakfast yet”
“We are going to make it in the forest” I reply.
So a 15 minute journey and we are out in the woods smashing ice on puddles until we get to an area I found the other day where there is a hunting platform and a good view of the marshes.
So it’s time to make breakfast I have brought with me fire kit, wood gas stove, oats, milk and maple syrup. First task I teach him how to prepare a tinder bundle made up of Birch bark we harvested on a previous trip and Bracken. So the next lesson is using a knife on a Gerri Todd teaching him not to push to hard and within 5 attempts the tinder is alight and he uses the saucepans lid to put the tinder into the stove and add the pieces of wood to create a heat to cook his breakfast.
Such a simple little micro adventure but has taught him a lot.
We played in the forest for a while, had soup and coffee together, made sure we cleaned up and headed back.
Excursions like this cost next to nothing, the adventure can be extended to spend some time on animal tracks, whittling, knife use and anything else that will help our children grow up similar to us.
Where we had no connection to the world apart from an AM radio, 4 channels on the tv and weekly magazines.
We spent our time covered in dirt, fish slime, grazes on knees, up trees, wet shoes after falling in dykes and went home having fantastic adventures.
Find time to give our children the chance to benefit from the outdoors it doesn’t cost much.
I’ve had a Dutch oven in my kit room for about 10 years now and dabbled in cooking with it quite a few times.
What a versatile piece of kit the only issue with it is the weight. It’s not the sort of thing you throw in your backpack and carry on a thruhike, it’s the sort of kit that you take with you in a car where you don’t have to worry about walking with it and can take out of the car to your camp.
There’s many Different types but the one most versatile for camp cooking is the three legged Dutch oven.
A camp oven sits on three stubby legs over hot coals or briquettes. It usually comes with a flanged lid (formed with a lip on the outer edge) to keep ash or coals out of the food when the lid is lifted.
Simple as it sounds, a camp oven is a wonderfully versatile piece of equipment. Use it as a pot or sauté pan. Flip the lid over and use it as a griddle.
Or place the food inside the oven and fit the lid tightly over the top controlling the temperature by regulating the amount of embers on the lid.
One of my favourite things to cook in a Dutch oven is a joint of lamb.
There’s many different ways to cook it some people wrap the meat in foil to save the arduous cleaning of the oven but I prefer resting the meat on sliced potatoes and if the oven is really charred inside put it on a high heat to burn any residue of welded to the oven.
Also if the outside of your meat is burning the embers are to hot.
Let’s talk about the lid. The lid is what turns this pot into a oven but also flip the lid over and stick it in your coals and you have a perfect skillet for frying Bannock, cooking breakfast or frying fish.
I recommend adding a Dutch oven to your kit and search some recipes. There’s many books available on Amazon about Dutch oven cooking.
Try a roast chicken then use the Dutch oven to boils down a broth with the carcass and make a great chicken stew with dumplings this is my children’s favourite known as camping stew!
We are all limited with time due to work, family and other time consuming things, so utilising what precious time we all have to spending it with our families which then gives great memories and also teaches the little ones a thing or two.
I have recently been spending more of the little spare time I have more effectively by creating little micro adventures for us all to enjoy.
Micro adventures are a great way at utilising time for yourself giving you more time to really relax and unwind by doing things instead of wasting that precious time.
So I plan micro adventures for myself and also for the family. Not every member of the family will enjoy the same adventure. So as I work shifts I plan ‘me time’ when the wife is at work and the kids are at school. Turn a dog walk into a lunch and a coffee in the woods or on the beach.
Even if you haven’t got a dog a walk out will do great for your mentally. I have a Day bag I use which houses everything I need for a micro adventure. I carry a tarp, fire lighting kit, wood gas stove, pot, water bottle, coffee making kit, snacks, length of paracord, knife and my wood carving tools.
I’ll then walk the dog and spend some time just relaxing between the trees making a brew and pretending that I’m good at carving.
Even throw up a tarp and practice fire lighting skills, the last dog walk out I took my youngest and we lit a fire using Birch bark and a fire steel so he learnt how to use natural tinder to light a fire.
Micro adventure can be anything really: geocaching, foraging, animal tracks, wood carving, paddling down the river, outdoor cooking etc.
We regularly go to the beach after school and will cook our meal on the beach just to be outside.
Fishing is a great way to get out and spend sometime outside. I will carry a fishing bag and walk the dog along the river and spin for pine whilst walking along. It’s not always productive but get to see loads just standing there and walking along the river
A jetboil in my bag and some coffee adds a little more to the adventure.
The Fjallraven Classic Sweden 2017 in aid of SARS999.org.uk
The Fjallraven Classic Sweden | Initially the plan was to fly to Stockholm and spend a week walking through a nearby National Park.
That plan was thwarted once the wife had seen an advert online for the Fjallraven Classic Sweden which follows part of the Kungsleden route.
(King’s Trail) is a hiking trail in northern Sweden, approximately 440 kilometres (270 mi) long, between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south.
It passes through, near the southern end, the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Europe.
The route we took was to start in Nikkalouokta, join the Kungsleden at Singi and finish in Abisko.
So we decided to change plans to participate in the Fjallraven Classic Sweden but we also decided to invite another friend and do the hike in aid of charity.
All three of us work for the East of England Ambulance Service in varying roles, HEMS Critical Care Paramedic, Paramedic, EMT.
We also all do other roles for other emergency services: Lifeboat Coxswain, Fire Fighter and Coastguard.
All for charity mate!
We had decided to raise charity for SARS who are a charity that provides assistance to the ambulance service in the form of Rapid Response Doctors and Critical Care Paramedics.
Suffolk Accident Rescue Service is an emergency medical charity which provide specialist volunteer doctors and paramedics to assist the East of England Ambulance Service at the scenes of serious incidents.
So the Three team members: Myself: Martin Grove (EMT & Firefighter), Adam Wright (Paramedic & Coastguard) and Rod Wells (HEMS Critical Care Paramedic, Lifeboat Coxswain & SARS Responder) started to plan our 110km hike through arctic Sweden.