Entries tagged "south downs"
One of the natural navigation techniques that ocean sailors have used for centuries is noticing that the incidence of flotsam and jetsam increases, on average, as you get closer to land.
A similar principle can be used on land to find towns or villages. The number of roads, paths, power lines and communication cables increases as you get nearer a town; of course light and noise pollution also increase. There are some more 'lateral' clues too.
On the weekend I was walking with friends in the South Downs. My friend had the map and so I…
After many woeful noises in the news about snow in the north, it finally hit us properly in the South Downs last night. More of a faint thud than a bang, as cakes of snow slid off the roof and hit the ground. Most of the snow in this picture fell last night.We live off a road that becomes totally impassable very quickly: no ploughing, salt or grit has been seen in these parts! All journeys will be on foot for a couple of days I suspect.Fortunately I managed to get out to my Contessa 32 yesterday and turn a…
My sources tell me that the first is a Magpie Inkcap (Coprinopsis picaceus) and the second is Green Elf Cup/Wood cup/Stain (Chlorociboria aeruginascens).
My thanks, in no particular order, to:Nick Weston, Brian and Ross Gardner.
A thousand apologies for that title.
Seriously now, are there any fungi experts out there?
Yesterday I came across these two rather fun specimens during a family walk in our local woods. Thought one was a Panther cap, but looks a bit too 'pointy'…
For the past few evenings I have been heading out into the Downs to find a good spot to keep watch out to the west. A sunset is always worth a walk, but there is rarer game worth hunting for in the skies at the moment. Unfortunately the clouds came in at the last minute last night and obscured Venus and Mercury again.Such a shame, it would have been an unusually good opportunity to catch them going to bed together. Fear not, I have a near foolproof plan for spotting them and shall report back with my results. If, over…
I went for a walk in the South Downs yesterday afternoon. The air was cold, there were still chunks of ice lining the north-facing side of chalk ruts in the path. The sun was up for the first part of the walk and made direction-finding easy. When it fell below the hills to my southwest it gave different opportunities. One of my favourite dusk techniques is to use the light reflections of cloud edges to gauge where the sun must be behind higher ground. This photograph from 4.30pm yesterday shows this effect quite clearly. The sun is reaching the far…
This is not the glorious image of the winter solstice sunrise that I had been planning for you. Events conspired against that.
The original plan had been to drive up to a semi-secret location in the South Downs and take a picture of the sun rising in what were originally forecast to be clear cold skies.
Yesterday morning I was driving the four miles from home to the gym but all four wheels of the Land Rover Defender lost traction on black ice and I slid headfirst into a substantial tree at about 25 miles-per-hour. I walked…
I had hoped to sail to the Isle of Wight on Saturday with some old friends. We slipped Chichester marina at eight in the morning in my Contessa 32, fully aware that the forecast was a bit spicy. The sense of foreboding increased slightly when the Chichester marina lock-keeper called down to me, 'Have you seen the forecast?' I said 'Yes. Force 6 gusting 9.' He replied, 'OK, well when the lock gates open you will need to gun the engine full throttle and hold your line otherwise you will be blown straight onto the piles.' I thanked…
I have just been sent some photos from a private course I ran in the South Downs on Friday afternoon. The three navigators were Dom, Rog and Hamish, all of South African heritage. Hamish can be seen here, fighting his way through the best that the South Downs can offer in the way of 'bush'. We discussed many things during the course, some of them wonderfully off-topic, including Zulus and radioactive aliens.Someone mentioned that tennis courts have to be aligned a certain way to be LTA approved and so I thought I'd try to investigate this interesting notion.
I ran a private course in the South Downs on Saturday for a group of four friends. One of them gave me a great example of using our senses and a little lateral thought to better connect with nature. Rachel lives southwest of Medway power station and said that she could tell when it was going to snow in winter because these were the only times she could smell the power station itself. The colder northeasterly winds bringing snowy weather and local smells with them.
Recovering from a full and fun day filming with Jules Hudson and the team from the BBC's Countryfile program. We were out on the South Downs and I spent the first two-thirds of the day teaching Jules some of the methods for navigating using nature and then 'released him into the wild' with a tricky challenge. If you'd like to know whether Jules managed to find his way using nature then it is being shown on BBC1 this Sunday evening (03 May) at 7.30pm.I learnt plenty on the day too, Jules was an archaeologist by trade and a passionate…
I ran a small private course yesterday and enjoyed a wonderfully ironic moment. It was almost embarrassing.The first half of the day was spent indoors studying the theory, looking at photographs and playing with celestial models. One of the points I am always keen to make is about the relationship between the uses of our senses and wayfinding. Sight is so often under-rated because its use is so immediately obvious, but we rarely acknowledge how much detail is allowed to escape. For example, we have evolved to identify things by shape much more readily than by colour or…