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Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:40

Tracking with the Hobbes

Well I was determined not to leave it so long between blogs, and after a day in the woods with Bideford college students tracking deer and badger. I was inspired to pick up where I had left off after gathering my salad on last weekends dog walk. For those that read it and wanted to know the fresh bread and cheese with a wildish salad was a perfect late lunch for an apres dog walk.

Whilst I was out I had seen the woods were getting plenty of use by man and beast, and conditions had been perfect to keep the tracks fresh. Ageing track is possibly one of the darkest arts of tracking and something that only comes with time and experience (mental note: blog about spoor pits.) but with some decent rain the previous week followed by damp and cloudy conditions the tracks and trails had been kept in great condition for a tracker to spend all afternoon telling stories and piecing together puzzles.

I won't go into any particular tales today but did see a few things that are worth bearing in mind next time you are out in Sherlock mode.........

Published in Tracking
Saturday, 10 September 2011 07:38

Tracking celebrities on Dartmoor

Well it has been a crazy couple of days and well worth a mention here.


Things have been in the pipeline for a few weeks now with possibilities and potentials, but I got a call on Monday to ask if I would like to join the Hunter Force team, to track a few celebrities that would be staging a break out from Dartmoor prison on Thursday. I can't say too much about the who's, what's and why's as it is yet to air. However the request was that I would make myself available on Thursday from dawn In the middle of Dartmoor.


I set out at dark'o'clock to be sure I was early, I had been told filming would start prompt and early, and wanted too hook up with the rest of the tracking team to check comms, call signs and intel. the other 3 guys on this Hunter force had stayed on the moor overnight (That may sound hardcore but the hotel was quite plush actually.)I was there just after 06:30 and as usual we sat drank tea/coffee and talked about kit.


After a bit of to'ing and fro'ing we were told to head to the RV for our brief.

Published in Thoughts and musings
Monday, 22 August 2011 18:17

Wilderness Gathering 2011

Well I am home and unpacked after a great few days at this years Wilderness gathering.


It had been something of a last minute trip after original plans fell through and new opportunities arose. Mainly the offer of free tickets in return for some work with Lone Scout bushcraft. Ian was organising the activities for the younger bushcrafters (the coyote kids.) and never seemed to be still for longer than 5 minutes so I spent a while manning his stand and pointing a lot of very enthusiastic Kids to the right bushcraft courses that had been laid on as part of the weekend.


As it was I barely got chance to do much more than empty my bank account and catch up with some old friends, but did have some insightful chats and listen to some interesting Bushcraft and tracking discussions. There was certainly plenty to keep me occupied and without being too much of a bore Ill recount some of the highlights.

Published in Thoughts and musings
Monday, 25 July 2011 18:55

Shadowhawk Vision Quest

It seems that each time I have to leave the woods for home it becomes that little bit more difficult.
Having been in the woods for the last 5 days returning home was something of a trial, more so as it was one of the few times I spend with the Shadowhawk team. A bunch of Trackers with whom I have been associated for the past 6 years.

I try and get along to help Max with his courses a few times every year, and am always greeted into camp by old friends. All excited about the upcoming course and arrival of new students who are as yet unaware of the wonders that the next few days will bring.

Published in Thoughts and musings
Saturday, 31 October 2009 10:04

Tracking sticks part 2, using the stick

Well you've been out and cut your stick, saved a few lambs from emasculation and you are all set to do some tracking.

For the start we will concentrate on man tracking. Although once you have the concept in your tracking tool box the theory can be applied to most walking animals. Of course this isn't an all seeing eye or magic pointer there is still a great deal of dirt time necessary to learn to interpret the tracks and see the stories they tell.

You will be using the stick to guide your eye to the next probable imprint. Just the same as Quantum mechanics this is about probabilities. so always consider the "what if ?" factor; your subject may speed up, slow down or take more stealthy evasive action. However as you read the spoor you will come to see that all changes will be shown in the track.

Published in Tracking
Sunday, 25 October 2009 08:59

Tracking sticks; part one making your stick

Many a time has my trusty stick got me out of a fix whilst Ive been tracking, and my mentor Max's words still ring in my ears from the day I passed my advanced tracking course and earned my silver feather "trust your stick."

Tracking sticks come in many forms from striped down ski poles and traditional walking staffs to custom made purpose built sticks. However my preference is for a personally made stick. I have found that as years have passed I have developed a bond with my trusty apple wood stick from the day I cut it to the next time I take it tracking. I know I am not alone and every tracker I know will go to great lengths to make sure their stick is close to hand.

The stick is used to estimate the next foot fall in a track whilst also gauging your following the right track, and with a little pimping giving a good idea of direction of travel.

Published in Tracking