Skills practice in Cavan

Hi Guys,

Well we just had a great weekend in Cavan. We headed up on the Friday afternoon to get set up early to have all Saturday to play around. We made good use of the time. We got lots done including a ground oven, chair making, glue making, knife making, tracking and some edible food identification. All together it was a hugely constructive weekend and personally I learned loads.

My first task was to construct a chair, with having back trouble at present I needed it. It held up very well and last all weekend. In fact I stashed it for next time we went out there, it worked that well.

A simple leaning seat

Our mission this weekend was to successfully cook a lamb joint in a ground over without getting food poisoning. We built the ground oven and prepared the fire for the stones. The stones had to be white hot and quite large to retain the heat for any length of time. (Avoid shale porous stones that contain natural fissures. These tend to crack and spit)

Next we set about making some pine resin glue. This worked quite well, we extracted the resin and added to fat and used charcoal as a temper.

The end result wasnt bad but might have done with a little less fat as it took a while to set.

I wanted to make a knife out of natural material this weekend. My initial experiment was with antler. I heard antler was tough to break. Guess what, it was and it made it difficult to work with. Burning through it would have made more sense but I needed the shards to work with.


Instead I decided to use the bone from the roast as it broke more cleanly and gave me what I wanted, a nice flake. Its tough to sharpen though. The antler can be used for flint napping now anyway


We made the ground oven and the roast was a great success. Im not a big fan of lamb but this was the best lamb I had ever had. The meat was nicely done and very moist. Big hit with everybody


We had the roast with a wild garlic stew and primrose tea (all collected locally)


We got more done than I could put in a post really.Some of the other stuff we did included, collecting birch poly pore, tinder fungus, rabbit tracking and more. It was a fantastic weekend and I hope all our weekends are this educational and worthwhile.