Archive for July, 2009

Jul 31 2009

Veidemann Course 2009

Published by under General

Last year Patrick McGlinchey (Backwoods Survival School) and I ran a survival course in my home valley in Telemark, Norway. We arrange one this year too in the end of September.

A list of some of what was covered last year:

  • Bowdrill fire with natural cordage
  • Trout fishing with bare hands
  • Skinning and butchering, small game and moose
  • Fish spears and spearing
  • Making nets
  • Moose ear pouches
  • Basic flintknapping
  • Shelter
  • Skin boat (coracle)
  • Seine netting

I can not guarantee that the exact same subjects will be taught this year. BUT I would go as far as saying that I guarantee that we catch trout and if it turns out like last year, we’ll catch loads of them! I think we caught about 500 brown trout then.

Photos by a participant last year can be found here.

If you think this sounds exciting, feel free to contact Patrick through this link.

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Jul 24 2009

Late summer update

This summer has been hard for me. After a year of almost total freedom, I have been back doing a job in construction to get sufficient cash for some investments that will last me a long time. This WAS my last full time job I’ll ever do. It is just not worth wasting your life on.

It has been great at times too though, but rather dispite of the work than because of it. For the first time I have had the opportunity to really get into sea fishing and foraging. Thomas (German friend and primitivist) and I were on a location close to Hitra. I will not tell exactly where it is, because it is such an unspoiled location, with old pine forest going all the way down to the coast. There are no houses to be seen there and the whole bay is an excellent fishing area we found.

Small portion of the bay (view from the camp):

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Thomas was out scouting the location upfront and stayed there for something like two weeks in total. I was only in for 3 days, but it was still an experience like few others I have had. The bay is big and consists out of several parts of various depth. Limpets, 2 kinds of snails, clams, mussels and seaweed abound in the shoreline. Some of the shells are of very big size, showing that there hasn’t really been many people around (people tend to pick the nice shells). The inlet leading into the bay is a violent salt water stream and during some times of the ebb and flow cycle it was an excellent fishing ground.

We caught about 22 (approx. 1 kg each) mackarel and some 30 small cod and polluck. Thomas had also caught a few small flatfish and salmon before I arrived. Mackarel is very oily and spoils easily, so we had to eat as many of them as possible and dry the lean cod and polluck for later consumption. In order to make the mackarel keep better we built a smoker and smoked about ten of them. There is no way one can consume more than 2 kg mackarel per day. In addition we caught a huge number of crabs. The whole thing was really a big eating feast. Most of the mackarel was caught with a modern rod and everything was caught with modern equipment. Using traditional equipment for fishing was largely left for another occation.

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Above: A tired me with freshly caught mackarel.

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Above: Thomas cleaning fish and preparing for drying. Btw, Thomas is not drunk on the last photo, it is just his way of saying hello to the internet in his beaver fur cap.

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On a personal level this trip was very challenging for me. There was a lot of walking on road back and forth (about 25 km). This kind of walking I am not used to. Additionally I didn’t have any proper shoes (sandals) and no sleeping bag. The first night I slept underneath a pine, not waterproof at all. Rain and moskitoes tormented me alternately so I wasn’t able to sleep more than maybe an hour.

Next day I was determined to build a good lean-to to stay dry. With a very simple stone axe I chopped the poles and used some dead pine bark for the lower shingling. For the upper shingling I used a dense layer of heather. The construction was made steep and stayed completely waterproof in the rain the next nights. Thomas taught me a trick with putting something over my face (something breathable) to breathe through in order to keep the mossies out. It worked pretty well and it helped me sleep for at least 5 hours the two last nights.

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Because of the extremely high red deer population in the area, there are ticks all over the place. I picked off two, but they don’t seem to like me as much as they like Thomas…

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