Thursday 19 October 2017

Monday 31 July 2017

Scottish Crannog Centre

The Celts are Coming!

Plus one.
I'll be up at the wonderfull Scottish Crannog Centre on the weekend of the 5th - 6th August demonstrating spoon and Kuksa carving using three Nordic style tools.

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2017

The Summer event not to be missed is The Celts are Coming! The Centre's first living history extravaganza on 5th and 6th August will be held at the Forestry Commission picnic site at Dalerb, Kenmore and at the Scottish Crannog Centre.

Brimming with fascinating and unique activities for all ages and featuring artisans showcasing prehistoric crafts!

A unique, interactive prehistoric extravaganza!

Discover the Iron Age at our spectacular Celts are Coming! Living History Fair and Iron Age Artisan Village.

With something for all the family, join us to find out how our ancestors made the most of their surroundings in this unique and interactive event.

Taking place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August at the Forestry Commission's lochside picnic site at Dalerb, Kenmore and at The Scottish Crannog Centre, South Loch Tay Road, Kenmore.
The event commences at 10.30 a.m. and runs to 4.30 p.m. both days.

Purchase Tickets in Advance Here
Take the Iron Age Trail between The Scottish Crannog Centre and Dalerb!

With every combi-ticket which provides entry to both venues, collect your free Explorer PastPort.

Fill your 'PastPort' with a sticker from each activity station (you will need a minimum of 4 from each venue). When you collect all 8 stickers, you will be awarded your Celts are Coming! Explorer Certificate.

This award is the first level in Scotland's Heritage Heroes Programme for families and young people.
What's on at Dalerb!

Expert craftsmen and women will be assembling from far and wide to demonstrate dynamic Iron and Bronze Age crafts and skills at the Dalerb site.

Wow-Factor activities include: Bronze-Sword-Making; Smelting Iron in a Clay Furnace; Hide-Scraping and Tanning; Leather-working; Building and Firing Clay-Pots; Textile Crafts rendering rich colours from native plants; Prehistoric Cooking; Celtic Garden Display; Basketry and more!

The Iron Smelting Furnace in action!

* We're waiting for news of more artisan workers who might join us so please check back regularly for updates!
For The Children!
Dress like a Celt and be transported into the Iron Age!

Wee-Enactors Tent!

Full of Iron Age activities and fun for little Loch-Dwellers!

Would you be able to catch your next meal?

Try your hand at archery and spear-throwing!

Fishing or Trading?

Paddle into the Iron Age in our unique dug-out canoes!

Are you the Champion?

We're looking for an Iron Age hero in our IRON AGE GAMES!

See how you fare running in the Loch; test your strength in the Tug-O-WaterWar and reveal your talent for Trout-Tossing!

List of Demonstrators at Dalerb!

Bronze Craft: Master prehistoric sword-maker

Potter and experimental archaeologist

Iron-Worker and bladesmith; Prehistoric furnace and forging

Hide-Tanning specialist

Prehistoric and historic cooking demonstrations

Prehistoric and historic blacksmithing

Celtic and Nordic Leatherwork: demonstrations and sales

Textiles, Dyeing, Weaving and Re-enactment

Pro Natura Breadalbane
Celtic Garden; Horticulturalist; Plants/Herbs for sale

Food and Refreshments!


You will work up an appetite wandering our Artisan Village around the Lochside and a Wild Boar Roll might just do the trick! The delicious, mouth-watering aroma will lead you instinctively to the Hog Roast where we've made it easy for you to purchase your meal rather than having to hunt for it!

Teas, coffees, soft drinks together with sandwiches and snacks will be for sale too if you need an accompaniement or alternative to the Wild Boar Rolls!

Additional Information for Dalerb!

INFORMATION STATION: Find out more about Archaeology, Living History, Ancient Crafts and Opportunities to Volunteer at The Scottish Crannog Centre.

The VisitScotland Coo-Visors together with their Highland Coo-Van will be on site to provide information about the most amazing destination in the world - Scotland!




DOGS: Well-behaved dogs are allowed at the Dalerb site provided they are on leads at all times

DISABLED ACCESS: Dalerb is wheelchair accessible but over grass and soft ground - please check weather conditions

CREDIT CARDS: Credit cards cannot be accepted at the Dalerb site - sorry.

WEATHER: We are in Scotland so let's face it, we can have all weather-fronts in just one day! Please ensure you have waterproofs and sturdy footwear with you - layers are always recommended.

FORWARD PLAN - BRING EXTRA CLOTHING: If you are coming along to take part in some of the activities you will get wet! It's essential therefore to bring some additional clothing and footwear to change into.

Buy your Tickets On-Line!

Purchase your tickets on-line in advance to avoid queuing! Please note that we are unable to process credit/debit card payments at Dalerb.

Why not make a day of it and save by buying combination tickets for both Dalerb and The Scottish Crannog Centre representing a great discount!
Purchase Tickets in Advance Here

What's on at The Scottish Crannog Centre!

Ever seen 2,500 year-old cut marks in wood?

Visit our exhibition to see some of the original 2,500 year-old artefacts recovered from Oakbank Crannog in Loch Tay.

Take a moment in the atmospheric Crannog and imagine life in the Iron Age

Sit beside a cozy log-fire and drift back 2,500 years in time.

Watch our expert guides, then have a go yourself!

Demonstrations of ancient crafts and technologies followed by hands-on interaction: Wood-turning; Stone-Drilling and Pecking; Drop-Spinning; Grain-Grinding and the Magical Fire-making by friction!

Dress like a Celt and really get into the spirit of life on the Loch!

We have Iron Age style cloaks, tunics and hats to help you step back 2,500 years.

Our ancestors also knew that there was nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread!

Clay oven bread-baking demonstrations and tasters.

Hands-on Tin-Casting and Jewellery-making!

Watch our guide melt tin over an open-fire and pour it into a mould you have made.

Wood-working demonstrations using replica Iron Age tools!

The Loch-dwellers had to make their own tools to build their homes - watch how it's done!

Spin a yarn or weave a tangled web! Try our giant Knitting Nancy; Rope-Plait toss and more in our textiles shelter!

Life on the Crannog meant you had to make everything yourself - including rope, mesh and clothing.

Additional Information for The Scottish Crannog Centre Site!

DOGS: We're really sorry but dogs are not permitted into the Scottish Crannog Centre site but we do have a lovely Doggy-Creche just outside our entrance where your four-legged pal can sit and wait for you. Water, shade and lots of photo opportunities guaranteed!

KIOSK-CAFE: - Serving coffee, teas, nibbles and 'themed' soft drinks. Enjoy your drink sitting on tree trunks crafted into chairs and tables in our outdoor cafe shelter - completely different from the modern coffee experience!

PARKING: Parking for visitors is available opposite the Centre in Taymouth Marina car park.

GIFTSHOP: Stocked with fantastic gifts for everyone. Plus, for those of you who made fire, dont forget your 'I Made Fire at the Scottish Crannog Centre' mug as a permanent reminder!

DISABILITIES: We welcome all visitors to the Centre, however, we are unable to get mobility scooters out onto the Crannog Roundhouse due to the nature of its construction - sorry. Push-along wheelchairs can be taken out to the house providing they are pulled backwards. We do not recommend those with spinal injuries attempt to go out to the Roundhouse. Our staff are very happy to help when possible so please ask when arriving at the Centre. The on-shore site is a combination of gravel, decking and wood-chip.

We've tried hard to think of everything you might need to know about the event but if you have a question we haven't covered here, please email at or call +44(0)1887 830583.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Devon Dragon Kuksa (And an update)

I thought it was about time I put down the Axe and camera and sat in front of the keyboard to give you a brief update on what is going on in the world of Mac.
It's been a long and sometimes difficult year with plenty of ups and downs.
This time last year, I was preparing to teach classes at various places in the North of these fair Isles, after cancelling my annual appearance at the Wilderness Gathering.
On my return, I had a chat with Roger Harrington, and he has popped me back on the list.  I'll be demonstrating spoon carving techniques along with my great chum Terry Longhurst, at the Bush Farm Bison Centre, West Knoyle, Wiltshire, in August.
We also came home to discover the folk we were renting from had been far from truthful in some matters, and we had to find a new home.
We have moved into a splendid little cottage in the Shire, for the first time in many years we no longer live on Dartmoor, but have instead become close neighbours to the big old granite lump.

Since the move, I have had various meetings with various companies, who are interested in producing my MiniMac carving knife design, with some success.
I'm hoping to move production soon, as problems developed with our supply line, and I am looking forward to the New Year, when hopefully they will be made available on a large scale, manufactured from 52100 and at a reasonable, affordable price point. The New Year is a way off, and I'm determined to make it happen.

I have finally convinced WorkshopHeaven to produce and stock my Bushcraft Auger set and I will post a tutorial on it, when I've finished a large batch of Kuksa I'm working on.


I have also procured a plot of land in the village, where I can teach a spot of carving, although I've recently been busy carving and have yet to put aside time for any teaching.

I have spent the last year working on my spoons on the whole, I put down Kuksa carving to give myself time to think about what direction I wanted to head with it.
I have had folk ask for Kuksa in some of my old styles, but somehow I felt uncomfortable in doing this, as I needed to step forward in my personal process.
So once I'd thought enough about it, a year, I headed off into the woods with my wife Sarah to collect some suitable green Birch.
Our little car wouldn't make it into the middle of the wood, so it was on with the Bergan and off we went with Axe and saw, to attend to a recent wind blown Birch.
You'll see a photo of me below snedding a branch from the crown. 
I'm Axing on the opposite side of the trunk, I'm always aware of where the Axe head is heading.

glut.wood-splittingjon mac.small-forest-axe

spoon-carving. sawing-wood

I have made myself a comfortable place to carve in one of the old pig sheds near our home.
Clearing it out and installing a wood-burning stove was good fun. And so it was to the new Pig Sty Workshop, that I headed with my haul of green birch.



The process of carving my next evolution is similar to the actions I went through with my older pieces, only this time I managed to compress the form into an altogether smaller piece of timber,
both in length and height.


Yes, it looks a mess, but I have been away, and lots of thoughts where flowing through my mind. After making ten of these, I now know where to go.
I usually get the Axe work done and dusted as quickly as possible, as I just can't wait to get the knife out and find the eventual form of the piece; the curves and straights that form my folk art.
This time I actually sketched out part of the design.
Most unusual on my part.


With obligatory changes along the way...


I like to bring the carving indoors for the final finishing.
It can of course be accomplished in the forest, however, these days I need a bright light.
A good head torch is the way forward for a fireside carve, along with good spectacles.


As you may know, I limit myself to carving folk art with three tools usually found at camp.
Axe, knife and hook.
Well, on this project I had to include a tiny 3mm gauge which I used to let the Dragon mouth in.
The timber is still too green to drill, the resultant hole will simply fur up.
I could have used a hot nail applied carefully, but decided against that course of action.
The 3mm gauge was cheap as chips to buy.


So, over the course of a couple of days, I arrive at a place where the big carving stops and the detail begins.


 I find the next step nerve-wracking as a mistake here can lead to swearing and a vow to never again pick up an Axe....
The mouth is finished and the gauge is put away.
So it's out with the pencil and a good strop on the point of the pointy knife.
Shallow 'V' cuts are needed, gently applied.


A bit of colour and some Tung oil to finish and here we have the first of many Devon Dragons.






I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my customers, both knife and carving.
If you like what you see, and want to purchase a Dragon Kuksa, drop me an email.



Thursday 27 April 2017

Mac Bushcraft auger set.


For those of you waiting patiently for news I can reveal that we have now stocked up and we're ready to post direct to your door.

Head on over to 

Workshop Heaven

And place your order now.....


Wednesday 8 February 2017

Spooncarving at The Wilderness Gathering.

I've just received my invitation to 


I'll be there with everything needed to carve spoons in the wild.
This year the show will run for five days and I will be demonstrating and taking questions throughout the event, barring the odd coffee break.


If you've never been to the Gathering before and you love nature and the outdoors, then we have the family show for you - Wilderness Gathering, a unique Bushcraft event, is the longest running and still the original festival of bushcraft, survival and primitive living skills.
The Gathering has become a social event and brings together families and friends, all those interested in Bushcraft and Wilderness living skills to enjoy a weekend of knowledge sharing in a relaxed and family friendly atmosphere.

TICKETS: There are just two types of ticket you can buy to attend the Gathering, the Weekend ticket which is all-inclusive unless otherwise stated (e.g. Masterclasses) and the Day ticket which gives you access to the site - individual courses are extra. There are no tickets available for just 1 night or 2 nights camping
DAY TICKETS: 0900 to 1700 on either Thursday 17th, Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August 2017. Day ticket includes entry to the show either on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, participation in events and demonstrations. To attend Bushcraft courses which run on each day is an additional £10 per course per person.
WEEKEND TICKETS: from 1400 Wednesday 18th to 1700 Sunday 20th August 2017. Weekend ticket includes five days of woodland or open field camping with toilet and shower facilities, all the bushcraft courses and activities for all the family throughout the whole of the weekend, including Music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and storytelling around the central camp fire.
LOGS: Ed Knight will be on site touring the camping field and parking up in the farmyard, so if you run out he has a ready supply at a reasonable price.


Where is it?


Nearest train station: Gillingham
The Bison Farm is very accessible from the A303, please look out for our signs to help you find your way to the Gathering entrance.
Please do not arrive prior to the Gathering opening day on the 18th August 2016 to avoid the disappointment of being turned away.
Arrival on the 18th August is restricted to weekend ticket holders only, day visitors can visit the Gathering either on the Friday 19th, Saturday 20th or Sunday 21st August 2016 only.
You can find more details by following the link

So, with any luck I'll see you there..... J

Sunday 5 February 2017

Swedish Snow smock.

The Ventile smock that I bought from Roger Harrington (Bison Bushcraft) ten or so years ago has finally reached it's last adventure. A good innings for a smock used in the heat of summer and the chill wind of winter, it's been on many adventures both down here in the Westcountry and the highlands of Scotland. It repelled wind, mist and gave protection from the midge. It'll be sorely missed.
I would like to buy a replacement from Roger but he no longer produces the garment.
I happened to be in Exeter the other day and popped into visit Mr 'E' at Endicotts.
I asked Kevin if he could supply me with a lightweight smock that I could wear all year round. Perhaps something pollycotton that would be suitable to keep a breeze at bay on a warm summer day over a cotton T shirt, but also something that would repel a cold wind while wearing a fleece or wooly pully in the winter. 
I own a genuine snow smock from the Swedish military which sports a neck opening, a pull over smock, which is absolutely wonderfull for wearing over a down jacket on the coldest day but not very useful on a warm day.
Kevin disappeared for a moment and returned with a bundle of clothing. Some replacement wool socks, I buy two pairs a year, and a new, lightweight, Swedish snow smock!


As I mentioned above, this smock is lighter than the older spec full canvas pullover smock that is known and loved by all. It is a jacket with button closure and overlapping wind break.
The jacket is sold in it's usual colour, slightly off white snow cam.


I bought a Toffee Brown dye from Dylon.
I washed the garment then dyed it whilst it was still damp.
Once it was dyed I replaced the white buttons with something more suitable.
None of these procedures are difficult, it just took a little time.

The smock has two huge pockets, waist draw cord, crotch strap for windy days which will also solve your clothes riding up whilst sleeping problem, a voluminous hood with its own drawcord so you can cinch it down to your favourite fur hat. I replaced the original cord on the hood with a flat ribbon. Also, button down wrist closure.
The pockets are large enough to take a O.S laminated map folded ready for use, and the pockets sit below your hip belt, this is a dream come true for those of you who navigate in a proper fashion with map and compass.


You can see in the above photograph the overlapping front closure.
And the wrist closure detail in the photo below.


I must admit I've only had this jacket a week or so,  I've used it for local walks and a wintry walk on Dartmoor. The snow smock did in-fact work in so far as it induced a huge drop in temperature followed by a sharp, windy blizzard.


It's also very quiet.
I will buy a wash in water repellant which, even if it doesn't make the coat waterproof, it will improve drying time. Not forgetting, I bought this as a windproof breathable garment, not a raincoat.
I'm looking forward to the summer now and I'm sure I will be comfortable on my new adventures.

You'll find more information

Thanks to Endicotts for supplying the jacket and Sarah, my lovely wife, for taking the photos.

Thank you.

Carving a Dragon Kuksa.

Carving a Dragon Kuksa.  I have been carving Kuksa from green Birch for 15 years or so, I’m self taught. From the beginning, I limited mysel...