26 September 2016

Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Well, the adventure to the UK is now behind us, but the work is just beginning.......time to post some of the sights we have seen during August 2016.

First of the castles will be: Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. We were on a rail and coach tour from Dublin, Ireland to The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland. Our first stop after departing Belfast, Northern Ireland was Carrickfergus to see the castle.
Carrickfergus Main Gate

Carrickfergus, Port Side
I did enjoy this rail & coach tour as I did not have to do the driving, what a relaxing change. (Do not worry, when we arrived in Scotland I would get plenty of practice driving.) The train system in the UK is a pleasant experience. Not the crammed sardine can of rush hour C-Train trips in Calgary. Alas, I am getting off-topic......

I like castles and I enjoy taking their photographs. Castles and churches make excellent photo subjects, they hold their smiles so long & they do not move or blink.
Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland

I must be becoming a photo-snob....I really do prefer to photograph castles with as few people in the frame as possible. Thus, a challenge when 48 persons exit a coach/bus and all rush to take pictures before the coach must depart for the next point of call.

For the record, we were not late returning to the coach after this photo-shoot......we still had 4 minutes before the agreed upon departure time.

Until next time,
Go see the world and take some pictures!!


10 September 2016

Old Pine Yurt, near Tomintoul, Scotland

Old Pine Yurt - Sign at Parking Area
The Old Pine Yurt, located near Tomintoul, Scotland. On the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains. This truly is Heaven on Earth.

Visit: http://www.oldpineyurt.co.uk to learn how to book your stay in Heaven.

This outstanding facility is owned & operated by Donald & Fenella. Great hosts. They label their operation as a "Glamping" facility, which if you are unfamiliar with the term glamping, is simply glamour camping. In the woods, but not roughing it.

To that end, this facility excels. The Yurt is more than enough room for a couple. Complete with a full size bed, sofa, chair, woodstove and bistro table & chairs. Romantic candlelight adds mood lighting and the skylight allows you to keep an eye on the stars on a clear night.

In addition, there is also the "Wood Shed" Cabin, which has enough room on its own to comfortably sleep 3 - 4. This was once the woodshed on the property, but I believe it was Donald's father who converted it to a cabin.

Old Pine Yurt - Cooking Area in Foreground

Cooking Fire

 Close by the Yurt is the cooking fire area. Complete, with its own cooking grill, pans, tongs and wood pile. Enhanced with slab benches and a large block of wood covered with a thick Slate top cut and shaped by Donald. This Donald fellow is a very handy guy indeed. He has built many of the fixtures and designed many of the creature comforts. More about that later.

We found an ad for this location on: http://www.visitscotland.com
"The Wood Shed" Cabin

And, yes, we have stayed here. 

Now, hopefully the text stay aligned with the pictures. To the left is the image "The Wood Shed Cabin" and this shows the covered entrance, as well as, the kitchenette area. This veranda allows the enjoyment of the outdoors even when it rains.

At the back of the kitchenette area is the washroom and the shower. Now, the wonderful part of the Old Pine Yurt is the perfect blending of comfort and being in touch with reality. Hot water is very comforting, but learning just how much effort is required to make water hot is priceless.

Shower, Washroom & Kitchenette Area

Hot Water Tank Access
Cauldron "Hot Water Heater"
You have to make your own hot water here at the Old Pine Yurt, and this is a valuable lesson in life. So, if there is ever a day when the convenience of gas or electric water heating become interrupted, it is good to know who to make water hot for cleaning your body or your clothes. So, in the luxury of comfy beds, decadent chocolates in the welcome basket and beautiful landscapes you can practice the simple things in life. And fire made it good.......

The cauldron is used to make the water hot, but first you must fill the cauldron with cold water from the tap. Then build a proper sized fire under the cauldron. Once the water is hot enough, 25 - 40 minutes later, you must move the hot water, one pail at a time to the hot water tank located above the shower. There is a step ladder and rest platform to assist this task. Donald has fashioned a filter screen unit from a stainless steel kitchen strainer, I hope Fenella doesn't notice it missing.

Once filled with four pails of hot water, you can now enjoy one 10 minute shower or two 5 minute showers. A little longer if you use the navy shower method, rinse - lather - rinse, next!!

The Showerhead
The Shower

Of course, this combo of luxury and basics, may not appeal to all. I will assume, if you are still reading you are interested to know more.

Some of the roofing panels have been replaced over the years, with translucent panels that provide plenty of light while the sun is up. This makes everything bright and reduces the need for artificial lighting and thus reduced need for the consumption of electricity. 

We did not make full use of this facility in the context it was intended. We will next time. This is a special place to go, relax, recharge, and regain that which is lost in the daily activities of the rat-race of normal life.

We used the Old Pine Yurt to stage a number of day long adventures to see the sites in Aberdeenshire, Invernessshire and Speyside. Those were long days with many miles traveled. Many meals were eaten on the run or in pubs along the way. Speaking of pubs....The Glen Avon and The Gordon Public House in Tomintoul, both served excellent food. 

The last two pictures are the woodstoves. The first is in the cabin, 
while the second one is in the Yurt.
Both were easy to heat the spaces that surrounded them.

I will post more in the coming days.

Until next time, get out and see the World!!


Woodstove in the Yurt

20 July 2016

Stay or Go - Go Flow Chart from 2016 BOV Show & Shine Presentation

Flow Chart for Slides #1 to #15
The 2016 Bring Out Your BOV Show & Shine was a success, even though we had less vehicles to demo at our host Briden's Solutions.

We had outstanding success in being part of the presentation team to help those planning for their own or their family's evacuation. With not less than 70 persons in attendance, the bay was packed with eager learners.

As promised to those in attendance, here are the slides from the Stay or Go - Go presentation, presented by Justin (aka Dangphool) and myself - Mountainman. Yes, if you were paying attention you will have noticed I did not have to do very much of the actual talking to that huge crowd. And for that I am thankful, I am not comfortable with public speaking in groups larger than say 20 - 24 persons. Even then, I have to really know my material before, that can be a comfortable time. I did have a hand in preparing the information that was presented so professionally by Justin. THANKS Justin!!

Now, on with the slideshow:

(Quick thank you and shoutout to: SmallPDF https://smallpdf.com/pdf-to-jpg   &  FreePDFConvert https://www.freepdfconvert.com/ Their free conversion software allowed me to quickly convert our PDF slides to JPG for posting on my Blog. Thank you!!)



24 June 2016

The KIDS of Five 56 Concepts Canada Release New Videos!!!

Evenin' All,

The Kids of Five 56 Concepts Canada have published two more videos on YouTube. Both are worth watching and I will post the links to both videos.

The video on shelter building is very helpful and useful, especially for anyone who will have to live at their Safe Zone / Bugout Location for a prolonger period of time. What I like the most, is these shelters are made with mostly natural resources, a couple of poly tarps and basic gear you would carry in a bugout bag or in your vehicle.

Here is the link:

The second video I will link to is actually their first video in this series, and it is a show & tell video about the gear they carry in their rucksacks. The more bugout bags and kit lists you get to review the better you can make your own bugout bag. In case anyone forgot, fitness is a G.O.O.D. skill. You have to be fit to carry a 60lbs ruck cross-country for prolonged periods of time......just saying.

Here is the link:

These videos are great learning tools for all in the emergency preparedness community. Kids teaching kids, is an awesome idea. Kids teaching adults, is even better.

There may be stormy weather ahead, for all of us on planet Earth. Take this time to learn new skills and practice old ones. The time may not be too far off when those with the skills and the knowledge will be needed, again.

Take care of each other, help your neighbours,
Learn somethin' new!!


PS - Yes, I "borrowed" some of this text from my post on The GOOD Plan Blog.

19 June 2016

2016 BOV Show & Shine

Official 2016 Poster
Howdy All,

Well, it is that time of year again ................ BRING OUT YOUR BOV SHOW & SHINE!!

Thanks to the fine folks at Briden Solutions for again hosting this awesome event. I hope to see you there.

The poster to the left has all the details. 

There will even be copies of The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge, to be won. (Haven't heard of The G.O.O.D. Plan check out the blog:  thegoodplanblog

 See you there!!


27 March 2016

Passport Neck Pouch with LOKSAK Insert

Finished Passport Neck Pouches
This has been a good month for Blogging and gear designing. This makes 7 posts this month.

I have recently discovered that The Shooting Edge in Calgary, AB (www.theshootingedge.com ) has a supply of LOKSAK products. These are the guys who build waterproof pouches to protect your gear - from cellphones to rifles. Learn more at: (www.loksak.com). 

Today I am interested in the LOKSAK model# aLOKD2-4x7. This the size to protect cellphones
The Plans

LOKSAK Passport Pouch
and passports. Which is the project we want to complete.....a passport neck pouch. Now, that LOKSAK is handling the waterproofing, this opens up the fabric choices. To be lightweight and tough I am opting for Commander DWR type fabric. This has a light water repellent finish but still tough enough for day-to-day use.

There is nothing fancy about this pouch, just finish the top edges (front & rear), add Velcro hook & loop, a belt loop and sew up the side seams. 

The fabric wants to be: 6" x 22". Any smaller and things get a bit tight. Remember to test the rolltop before deciding where to place the Velcro hook and loop. Chalk the locations.

Placement of Velcro & Belt Loop


Centre the belt loop and have the top of the loop about 6" up from the bottom of the finished pouch. Sew the belt loop so there is enough space at the top for the neck cord to pass through.

Once everything has been added, lay the pouch - goodside-to-goodside and sew the edge seams. 1/4" side seams should be the maximum size. Sew another set closer to the cut edge. Invert the pouch and topstitch down both side seams, using very close seam allowance - 1/16th of an inch.

Last step, cut and melt the ends of your cord. Feed through the top of the belt loop. Tie into a loop using a double fisherman's/double blood knot. Insert passport into the LOKSAK and insert the LOKSAK into the passport neck pouch. You're done!!

Until next time.......go traveling!!! Don't forget your passport.

Test Fit

Right Size

24 March 2016

Cubist Escape Sling Pack - Part Five

The Plans
Installment #5, designing & building gear tacos to hold beverage bottles. I guess we will call these, Beverage Taco's.

I have come to enjoy building anything that uses a taco design. What's not to like, They are big long strips, that lace together after everything is sewn in place. No tight corners, no curved radi, no cursing.

I tried to keep weight down on these tacos, so I have used 3/4" webbing on the front & bottom, while reserving 1" webbing for the back where the taco has to mesh with the MOLLE style webbing on the pack. I, also opted to use MOLLE straps that were sewn to the taco.

These tacos were built from Cordura cloth that is heavy-duty. I also made the choice early on to just cut a 6" wide

 fabric piece to fold in half, instead of cutting two 3" wide pieces & then sewwing them together. In the end, the fold & sew method seems to be easier and faster, with less chance of piece shifting out of place.

I spaced the webbing strips starting on the back. Centred the bottom strip and spaced the front strip accordingly.

I used a 3/4" web strap with another 3/4' webbing to make the water bottle holder. The top piece was 5" long, sewn 2.5" from the end. 
Although, I used 13" long straps;
Centre Seams
next time I will use 15" long straps to add options when mounting the tacos to the pack or gear vest.

The short strips were sewn to the taco along the centre seam first. Then the rest of the taco was built and finished with seam tape. Lastly, the ends of the short strips were folded under & sewn, ensuring to leave enough loop on the ends for the cord or para-cord.
Close-up Folding for  Webbing Tail

Almost Done
 The MOLLE anchor straps were the very last items attached to the tacos. After a trial fit on the pack, the location of the snap studs were chalked, punched and then snap studs were fitted.

These gear tacos seem to work well. I will add more photos.

Till next time......keep trying new ideas!!

Snaps Added