The Finnish Candle

I love making tea outdoors (it always tastes better) and last week in Sweden I got to learn a new method.

Usually we use Adam’s pocket rocket and gas canister or we boil water on a campfire or suspended from a tripod. Adam has shown me a Finnish candle before but I hadn’t tried it myself…. until now.

To get us started he canoed over to the shoreline, leaving me marooned on our little island and felled a dead pine tree, bringing back a seasoned log and some small twigs and birch bark.

He split the wood in quarters lengthways and positioned the four pieces together with a small gap between each.

I placed little amounts of birch bark in the gaps at the base

and fine then slightly thicker twigs towards the top.

The whole point of this Finnish candle was for me to learn and it took me eight matches to light (because of lots of heavy winds and my general bushcraft inadequacies).

Once it was going though, there was no stopping it and we had hot tea in no time.

Sitting there chatting and eating lunch I noticed how long the candle continue to burn and give out heat with just one log.

It lasted long enough for us to enjoy our engagement chocolate which took……well, not very long at all actually!

A 30th birthday gift from the sea

It’s my birthday soon – in a matter of weeks. I mentioned this to Adam yesterday, much to his surprise.

Last year we went to Scotland and with it being such a long drive we broke up the journey by camping halfway up at a quiet little spot. On the morning of my birthday Adam made me a tasty breakfast and even let Tilly have a little bit ❤️

When we finally reached Scotland many hours later we had a few drinks

and stayed at the stunning Glengarry Castle which allowed dogs 🙂 and Tilly slept in a proper hotel room!

The place was beautiful, just on the water and we enjoyed taking Tilly for walks and to drink some proper West Highland water!

It was great except it hammered with rain the entire time! Now I’m ok(ish) about it raining when in a hotel but we’d planned to camp for the rest of our trip. I really didn’t fancy camping in the rain especially with it being my 30th birthday. I was pretty annoyed anyway because we were meant to have spent it in Norway hiking and climbing but my broken arm meant we couldn’t go.

A broken arm won’t stop me camping though and a bit of birthday champagne helps!

That said, showering in campsite facilities with an arm in full plaster and nowhere to hang your clothes or put your toiletries is particularly difficult. Especially when there are no seats to sit on and the lights go out automatically if you take too long. It was an experience!

Anyway, I digress. We checked the weather forecast and headed away from the west coast for a night at Loch Lomond and some afternoon tea overlooking the loch and a beautiful rainbow.

The following day we continued our road trip on to Banburgh Castle in Northumberland where the sun was shining!  We hadn’t booked ahead but we had a tent with us and figured we’d find something – which we did 🙂

A great little campsite had a spare pitch for something ridiculous like £7 per night so we booked straight in. Budle Bay – what a cute name!

When we arrived we got some funny comments from a couple of older guys who were staying there, saying that we obviously wanted the ‘posh’ end. We nearly choked on our laughter and then noticed that we were both wearing Hunter wellies and Rab Jackets and probably looked like city kids camping for the first time. What they didn’t know was that these items had all been gifts from family over the years and neither of us ever buy kit or expensive clothing – in fact most of Adam’s clothes he’s made himself!

Our ‘lack of posh’ soon became obvious once we started unpacking the car and putting up our donkey’s years old tiny little two person tent that has been with us all over the place in the last six years. Adam even had to sew the lining together in Sweden after a hole ripped in the mosquito net and ants started crawling in!

We set off to the beach with a bucket and a spade (but not the kind you might be imagining).

Adam fancied a bit of long line fishing so at around 8pm we walked by moonlight down to the mud flats so he could collect some big fat worms for bait.

Tilly and I sat in our little fisherman’s shelter out of the wind and watched!

That night, after we wandered back to camp, Adam put together a ten metre long fishing line which he could carry in his bucket down to the shore in the morning.

Because he was line fishing it was important that we watched the tide go out and come back in so he could scope out where to lay the line and safely make his way back.

It was a sunny day and I had Pringles so I was happy – Tilly had her biscuits and we sat there for hours watching Adam digging for bait and laying his line.

I had his binoculars and watched the kite surfers with awe while Tilly shuffled about in the sand.

It occurred to me that the tide was suddenly coming in pretty quickly and Adam was still out there. The water started coming in between him and us but it was a very shallow and narrow stream and I could see he had spotted it.

Then the stream of water started getting wider and deeper and I wasn’t sure if Adam had noticed and he didn’t have his phone on him for me to call. Eventually he started making his way back towards us and managed to get across with water up to his thighs!

The really funny thing was that the area where Adam laid his line was the last part of the sea bed to cover with water so we named it ‘no fish island’!!!

Later that evening, after the tide went back out, Adam wandered back out to retrieve his line. We didn’t hold out a lot of hope for ‘no fish island’ so I was pleasantly surprised when he arrived back with two big plaice.

Back at our little campsite Adam set about making the most incredible birthday feast.

Tilly and I were instructed to sit by the campfire on a chair with a cosy throw over it and drink our chilled (in the river) prosecco.

Adam went about prepping chips and filleting the fish. He’d bought all the ingredients with him and made lemonade batter for the fish which I was very impressed by. We sat there in the dark with the light from the stove, lamps and head torches while devouring what I can honestly say was the best fish and chips of my life and the best birthday present I could have ever ask for 🙂

Bushcraft instead of Christmas 

Adam and I have always enjoyed Christmas and really he’s the one that made me love it. He always warms lots of mulled wine, and makes the Christmas cake for me to decorate (here is last year’s)


We take an annual walk to collect foliage for our homemade wreath. Last year we did this as you can see below;


We also choose the tree together and spend an evening decorating.  We tend to do the Christmas shopping together.

This year was a little different….

Adam spent ALL of his time on bushcraft. He warmed mulled wine and lit fires and that’s about it. The rest of his time was spent mostly scraping skins (including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day). I’m so glad we had our kitchen done so that he could soak eggs in a bucket comfortably… 

I ended up making the wreath and had to buy the loop rather than having a home made willow one.


I think I did alright though?


I also made and iced the cake


We spent a lot of time in our cabin with Adam working on various projects and I got on with wrapping ALL the presents that I shopped for ALONE!

I went and chose the tree and decorated it, then he put his home made snow shoes next to it

Fortunately for Adam we had some trips booked to see family so he had to leave the skins for a day. We took our dog for a walk/basket ride (in a basket Adam had made from bark) because she had a bad leg.

And he saved the day by secretly making me these sheepskin slippers with a fox fur ruff and reindeer antler buttons…


Phew… He ‘scraped’ it by the skin of his teeth (no pun intended!)

Next year it’s Adam’s turn to shop for, prepare, and cook Christmas dinner alone. Who knows what we will end up with. Venison I’d guess from all the skins about the place! 😜

Bushcraft at Xmas 

So far our Christmas has consisted of me doing all the present shopping and wrapping and Adam making things for his upcoming trip to Sweden. Such as;

  • Fox fur hat
  • Snow shoes mark 2
  • A canvas tent
  • Tons of other stuff that gets him out of housework…


We’ve been spending loads of time in our log cabin with the woodburner glowing and cups of tea from the fire.


We love a good Xmas film and have been indulging in The Gruffalo’s Child tonight with Adam’s love of the woods and snow.


Bloody annoying though listening to him pointing out that the fox’s prints had the wrong gait! Just shows that you can’t escape bushcraft! X