Covehithe the road to nowhere

road to nowhere
Covehithe the road to nowhere
Looking North

I regularly visit Covehithe the road to nowhere and today was a visit back to this windswept part of the Suffolk coastline.

The plan was to walk along the cliff down to Benacre Broad and south a little way to the area I normally setup and have breakfast.

Beautiful morning, clear skies, sun shinning and hardly any wind.

Walking along the ‘road to nowhere’ where nature has taken over the road that used to supply the village before it was lost to sea I notice that that Hawthorns are heavily laden with berries

(a sign of a harsh winter to come so the wifes tale says).

On the way in I stopped at a Sweet Chestnut tree that was also heavily laden but the nuts hadn’t developed into anything (perhaps due to the extreme heat / lack of rain this summer).

The view North.

As I reach the cliff and look North there is a little Northerly ground swell pushing some waves onto the beach.

Looking at the beach the pebbles have all been replaced by golden sand all the way to the cliff.  This shows that a large northerly ground swell has recently being hitting the coast.

Heading North I can see where the trees that lined the cliff have been removed by Natural England as a project to correct the Suffolk Coastal Path along the cliff and down to Southwold.

Currently the path has to meander from the coast at Benacre Broad, missing Covehithe and along the road to get to Southwold.

On reaching the beach at Benacre from Covehithe the road to nowhere I take some time filming this micro adventure.

Heading South to the area where the trees are in the sand to build a fire and have some coffee and breakfast.

breakfast on the beachBreakfast on the beach.

I was having a cook up with a friend here once when another dog walker said “what a great idea and what a lovely place to sit and have breakfast!”

And it is, you can’t beat cooking outside especially in a spot like this, no crowds, sound of the sea, beautiful day and a good hearty breakfast.

Utilising the trees that are on the beach I gather some fire wood, sweep out a hole for the fire (this also helps as a wind break, the sand is swept, building into a mound which blocks the wind).

Eagle Products 70cl KettleBreakfast

Using a foldable metal grill the Kettle goes on, the kettle I use is Norwegian made by a company call Eagle Products they can be brought in the U.K.

Out comes the frying pan, bacon, mushrooms and the egg sits waiting to be cracked when the bacon is done.

covehitheI like to brew as I call it Cowboy Coffee which is literally just Coffee grounds straight into the kettle once its boiled, leave a few minutes to brew and settle then carefully pour.

Whilst all of this is cooking the Dog sits there knowing she gets her bit of bacon and the frying pans pre-wash is done by the dog before cleaning out using the sand.

Once cleared away its time for the Dog to have her swim and head back home.

 

 

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The Beast From The East.

We where told be the media and the met office that we would get snow but no one really believed that we would be hit has hard as what we where.

We just can’t cope with more than a cups worth of snow in the uk. The first day we had a little then second it really came down and on the back of the beast from the East was storm Emma that really helped put East Anglia out of action.

Snow was drifting and blocking roads, cutting off small communities and making hard work for the emergency services.

I finally found a day to head out and enjoy the white stuff covering the ground. I love the snow and the cold weather, I would love to live up North where proper winters stay for the whole winter.

So after offering two of my three days off to help at work as people couldn’t get into work to crew ambulances I decided to head out for the day with the hound.

I’d planned a 8km circular hike where I could stop off in some woods to have lunch.

I have cold weather gear but neve really needed to use it in the UK but today I decided to break out the Swedish Army Surplus cold weather mittens. I’ve had these for a while and I used to have a pair I used for snowboarding years ago so decided to give these ago.

These a not a light weight pair of mittens but they work well to keep the inner mittens dry and warm from the wind. With a good length they go half way up lower arm and have cord on them that goes around your wrists to secure them when you have to take them off to use your hands.

Anyway…

I had my day pack packed with my usual bits and headed off with my sticks through the snow.

Lunch was planned to be the left overs from last nights Barszcz (beetroot soup with wild mushroom ravioli).

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Now I was going to light my stove using a ferro rod but I had misplaced it so had to go old school and use a piece of flint and a steel striker I really was hoping this wouldn’t fail.

I was pretty impressed managed to get a coal in the char cloth first time and managed to get a flame in the Birch bark tinder easily.

Stove is a generic Chinese wood gas stove that I have really come to love as it packs down small and is really efficient but the only downfall is the need to keep topping it up with fuel regularly.

It was so quiet and peaceful no one was about. I collected some more Birch bark to replace the tinder I had used and sat and had my soup.

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Out of the two stoves I’ve been using recently I would say this I prefer as it is so efficient but the little bush box is really compact.

Within a day the snow had gone and I thought I would need to wait until this Christmas before I see it again when I plan to head up to Northern Sweden for a week.

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Simple things become fond memories

Children these days have so much, such a bigger connection worldwide, no need to move from one room, gadgets everywhere, they can become fixated onto what we think is an absolute waste of time like these YouTube channels that they sit and watch/listen to whilst playing games and to what benefit?
My youngest is a nightmare to motivate with all of this mush and fodder available to him at the press of a button but get him outside and he is in a different world, the world I grew up in where the simplest things become an adventure that you will remember and give valuable lessons.
This day we woke up early and like someone addicted to smoking he reaches and grabs one of many gadgets and sits in bed getting his first daily fix.
I shout to him “get dressed we are going out”. He’s up and dressed for some outside action and says “I haven’t had breakfast yet”
“We are going to make it in the forest” I reply.
So a 15 minute journey and we are out in the woods smashing ice on puddles until we get to an area I found the other day where there is a hunting platform and a good view of the marshes.
So it’s time to make breakfast I have brought with me fire kit, wood gas stove, oats, milk and maple syrup. First task I teach him how to prepare a tinder bundle made up of Birch bark we harvested on a previous trip and Bracken. So the next lesson is using a knife on a Gerri Todd teaching him not to push to hard and within 5 attempts the tinder is alight and he uses the saucepans lid to put the tinder into the stove and add the pieces of wood to create a heat to cook his breakfast.

Such a simple little micro adventure but has taught him a lot.
We played in the forest for a while, had soup and coffee together, made sure we cleaned up and headed back.
Excursions like this cost next to nothing, the adventure can be extended to spend some time on animal tracks, whittling, knife use and anything else that will help our children grow up similar to us.
Where we had no connection to the world apart from an AM radio, 4 channels on the tv and weekly magazines.
We spent our time covered in dirt, fish slime, grazes on knees, up trees, wet shoes after falling in dykes and went home having fantastic adventures.
Find time to give our children the chance to benefit from the outdoors it doesn’t cost much.

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Forest therapy for the soul.


I mentioned in previous post the need to balance out life for the sake of everything (your family, work and yourself). It is very important to give yourself the time to reflect on things going on and take some time to wind down and relax to keep that balance in equilibrium.
I work full time as an EMT for the ambulance service where I work varied shift pattern of nights and days sometimes in a fast moving environment and sometimes quite traumatic mentally.
I also work as an on-call firefighter where we are only called to duty through a paging system this means that for 90 hrs in a week I need to be available for fire calls.
Along with everything else: running a house etc I still find the time to unwind and process some of the jobs that I have attended.
For me, getting outside with my Day pack full of my items that I can use to make camp, build a fire, brew a coffee and whittle a spoon is the way I unwind.

Throwing up the hammock amongst the trees and laying back and processing some of the incidents I have recently attended allows me to better myself next, look at my mistakes and stops me from dwelling on traumatic jobs.
There is definitely something about being outdoors assisting with depression (not that I suffer with depression) but is this due to me balancing out life and giving myself ample time outdoor?
Just the other day I was refuelling the car before heading out for the morning and the sudden whiff of the diesel took me back to a life changing event in my life where myself and my wife where nearly killed in the Asian Tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004 so most of that morning was used contemplating that traumatic event, how we were so lucky and how that event has lead to me doing what I do and being who I am.
Ever had that experience when sounds and smells take you back to a place or event in your life? Well, this ‘trigger’ is a in built animal instinct which can trigger that fight or flight instinct. The smell trigger warns a animal of a danger perhaps scent of a predator or scent of rancid or poisonous food where sound warns the animal of a possible danger. The sound of screaming takes me back to that event standing on the beach in Sri Lanka.
How do we deal with these triggers? Well through my own experience they will always be with you it’s about processing those warning signs and realising that they are now a inbuilt warning system. Due to work, I go through traumatic events on a weekly basis and it’s learning how to process them and use them to your advantage.
Black humour is a way of emergency service staff processing the events we deal with if you where to walk into any crew room and hear the black humour you would think what a messed up load of people we are but this is a coping mechanism.

I generally spend my ‘me time’ during the week when the wife is at work and the kids are at school. This allows me to balance time with family and giving some time to myself which I feel is needed for everyone.
I’ll go out with the dog, walk along the river stalking some pike, spend some time contemplating whatever has been happening or what I’m planning. Creating little adventures / goals is a great way of giving you some downtime from day to day chores that will assist in you reaching your goals.
Plan what you want to do. Micro adventuring doesn’t needs to be expensive but set aside a un-used bank account and setup a standing order and put what ever you can afford into it weekly and soon funds will be to help you reach your goals.

Enjoy the planning, follow this site for further posts on micro adventure ideas.

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Micro Adventures

We are all limited with time due to work, family and other time consuming things, so utilising what precious time we all have to spending it with our families which then gives great memories and also teaches the little ones a thing or two.
I have recently been spending more of the little spare time I have more effectively by creating little micro adventures for us all to enjoy.
Micro adventures are a great way at utilising time for yourself giving you more time to really relax and unwind by doing things instead of wasting that precious time.
So I plan micro adventures for myself and also for the family. Not every member of the family will enjoy the same adventure. So as I work shifts I plan ‘me time’ when the wife is at work and the kids are at school.
Turn a dog walk into a lunch and a coffee in the woods or on the beach.
Even if you haven’t got a dog a walk out will do great for your mentally. I have a Day bag I use which houses everything I need for a micro adventure. I carry a tarp, fire lighting kit, wood gas stove, pot, water bottle, coffee making kit, snacks, length of paracord, knife and my wood carving tools.

I’ll then walk the dog and spend some time just relaxing between the trees making a brew and pretending that I’m good at carving.
Even throw up a tarp and practice fire lighting skills, the last dog walk out I took my youngest and we lit a fire using Birch bark and a fire steel so he learnt how to use natural tinder to light a fire.

Micro adventure can be anything really: geocaching, foraging, animal tracks, wood carving, paddling down the river, outdoor cooking etc.
We regularly go to the beach after school and will cook our meal on the beach just to be outside.

Fishing is a great way to get out and spend sometime outside. I will carry a fishing bag and walk the dog along the river and spin for pine whilst walking along. It’s not always productive but get to see loads just standing there and walking along the river

A jetboil in my bag and some coffee adds a little more to the adventure.

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