Sunday, 30 November 2008

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I was following up Darren’s re-broadcasting of Tinny’s videos of the products from MiniBullDesign when I noticed something.


Is it me, but it seems to be an old backward-looking attitude that just because a man is watching another man baking a cake, that the said viewer would be interested in such relationships?


I thought these assumptions died away with Mr Inman from “Are You Being Served”.

Okay, let’s end the weekend on a high note, and kick Google into touch with a real view of the manly outdoor life.

NCIS Cairngorms

Some geartalk in this video from yesterday morning.

And one of the chaps at work wondered about camera fittings, so here is how I secure my Berghaus hardcase to my Osprey Atmos hip-belt. Means the camera can be taken out quickly.


As the Atmos has a split-belt, I can hook in a d-karabiner, and clip it to the loops of the camera case. when I unclip the belt-buckle, the case (and camera) don’t come flying off.


*Ask Darren about the NCIS reference.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Vaseline, Cookset Condom and Women’s Underwear

In the beginning … too cliqued, but the story has a beginning, not quite of Biblical proportions, but a beginning nonetheless. In the beginning, Big Kev was taking his son, “The Lad”, out for a trip to the Cairngorms. There was an open invitation to join them, so I pencilled it in my diary, and Dawn was going to travel up from London. Except for the plague that was brought upon both their houses. As I work for a far-seeing employer, I had already been inoculated against Cold, Flu, and the vengeful wrath of the Almighty.

And so it came to pass that I had a rapid turn-around after work on Friday night, and I was heading into the Chosen Land National Park. And lo, it was bloody brilliant!

Friday night.

With temperatures down to –4°c, it was going to be a cold one. I had the MWIS forecast and dressed accordingly. Also this month’s skymap was in my map-case. Leaving the car and walking through the woods, the cold mist clung to my face. No sounds except a distant water flow. No breath of wind except that which my lungs exhaled. The mist thickened with each breath and my gloves wiped away melting water droplets that clung to face.




Walking up the glen, I could smell woodsmoke from the bothy about 10 minutes before walking past it. No birds, no deer, no wind, no sounds bar the water in the glen and the occasional burn rushing down to join it. Clouds moved slowly in the sky, and a meteorite flashed by. Despite all the hi-tech modern kit, the inner-child still made a wish. About 90-minutes later, interrupted only by a “good evening” to a gentleman hiker walking his dog, I arrived at an empty ford (maplink). I had already decided to pitch where Mike and I had been earlier in the year. I stuck to that, even though I had the whole area to myself.


I cleared an area of debris, and pitched the tent. Then I cleared the debris from under the groundsheet. And once more before inflating my Insul sleep mat (the insulation will prove its worth tonight), and stripping down to baselayer, and climbing into sleeping bag (Cumulus Ultralight 350), and pulling my down jacket over my torso, and leaving my fleece-lined jacket over my lower body. I pulled on my warn cap and noted that the air inside the tent was much warmer than outside.


There was nothing interesting on the radio, so ate some peppered salami, drank some malt whisky and switched off the light and listened to Nature. I moved the Silva ADC device onto the groundsheet beside me. That would give me a shock in the morning.

I awoke twice in the night with a cold nose, so turned the cap around by 90° so that an earflap covered my nose.


With no fuss, it was morning. It was also –4.9°c and not quite 8am. Opening the zip on my sleeping bag, the cold quickly drove me to suit up – we’d see how good the Furtech trousers would be today!



Yes, there is an Akto in this photo

Filling the Camelbak from the stream, I found that the drink nozzle was frozen. This is the insulated version too. We had had problems with the crew-in gas canisters before, but was pleased to see that the Blackfly 4 worked well. However, I didn’t put it on a stone, and was using the Honey Stove separately, so it fell over as the frost in the ground melted. Twice.






Display reads –4.3°c

Leaving no trace

Any embers were doused with water, and scattered into the stream.


As I knew that there would be soot, I had carried in a ziplock bag to prevent it from making a mess of my kit.


Duly wrapped inside the pot-cozy, whilst the Honey Stove was back in its pouch.


I’ll do something about the fire starting kit, cutting the Maya sticks into shorter lengths, taking the small blue container of vaseline, pack enough cotton wool balls, and store it all in a lightweight, waterproof container, along with a knife that will fit there.


Everything was packed away and the ground checked for any tell-tale signs of my passing.


Hiking out




Low cloud gave glimpses of the mountains beyond. About 6 people had ventured past, and I would see two more before reaching the car.


South towards the Linn of Dee.


Looking back north up the glen.


Like some gate-keeper, this tree always freaks me.



A final parting shot from a great night out – a small party of deer were lurking near the car park.


Thank you, Nature. Shame out the cap, and the buff cravat.


Standard kitlist: Akto Year 2

Extras: SnowClaw (just in case), Alpkit Filo jacket, Extremities cap (apparently it is called a “Took” hat). Smartwool liner socks worn under thick Ultimax socks.

Things to do: cut Maya sticks in half. Replace batteries in headtorch. Protect Camelbak from cold overnight (by the way, my Silva measured –24°c in my freezer on Sunday). Water had frozen on the filter of the Aquagear, so that needs watching too. Look into a separate camera for video clips – maybe my old Sony stills camera.

New gear that made the grade and will be with me again: Furtech trousers, Lowe Alpine briefs (xl-w-noir), Honey Stove, Blackfly 4 (using a stable base).

New gear that didn’t make the grade: PossumDown Gloves – toasty, but left tickly fibres on my rough manly face. I also couldn’t operate camera whilst wearing them. My normal Mountain Hardwear “powerstretch” liner gloves will be staying with me.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

CafePress UK

Printing site, is now in the UK. Which means that UK readers can buy themselves an AktoMug for under a tenner, and have lower-postage.


The ideal Christmas present for other people. There’s also a cap. Mine is khaki.


If I ever receive money from sales, it goes into the Mountain Rescue charity collection tin.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Planet X

Mike came round with the Japanese release of Stirton Production’s “The Planet”. It was strange hearing the dubs. It gave the film a different feel for me, as I knew some of the chaps in real life.




There is a trailer on the Japanese site.

Also, the YouTube channel has “The Making of…” parts one and two. As this was filmed at Balmedie beach, it might have a historic context after the Trump development gets underway.

Blackfly4 vs 1 pint of water

Would the MiniBullDesign Blackfly4 stove boil one pint of cold water before it used up its measly one fluid ounce (30ml) of meths fuel? All set up in the Honey Stove as a pot support.

That should be enough for a brew and 300ml left over to rehydrate a main meal. Well, that’s what the Reiter pouch recommends. Will it suffice inside a pot-cosy, I will find out next weekend, as I am not wasting food just to test a pot. It isn’t a field test as this is indoors instead of outdoors.

Of course, knowing it is probably not going to do this means that one can just have a brew first and then pour more meths into the stove (dowsing the flame first), to bring the required 300ml to a boil.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Blackfly4 with Honey Stove

The newly arrived Blackfly4 stove from Mini Bull Design – fresh out of the box. I had left the wicks too long just to burn off the excess. It resulted in a 6-minute boil time (1/2 pint of cold tapwater). I was using the Honey Stove from and the Alpkit Mytimug titanium mug.

I can fit two meths containers inside the Alpkit mug, totalling 160ml of fuel (5 fluid ounces). I reckon 30ml for a hot meal (see previously), so that is 5 hot meals, all stored inside the cookset. I like having the fuel wrapped in titanium. It feels more secure that way.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Honey Stove with Blackfly3, take 2

Using the Honey Stove from with Mini Bull Design’s Blackfly3 meths stove, and the Alpkit Mytimug titanium mug.

Following on from the first mixing of the Honey Stove with the Blackfly3 (link), I thought then that there was some heat absorption/dissipation when I used the ‘top grill’. So, I swapped out the ‘top grill’ with the ‘middle grill’, as this grill does not have the central support. In about the same time it took the first attempt to come to a boil, the water was now at a rolling boil.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Honey Stove Design - Answer

Fair question Duncan and you are not the first to ask it.

I had started on the design some 12 months ago long before I saw the Makaira video. At that stage I had a hexagon shape linked by lugs exactly as they had - pure coincidence. The holes in mine were still being calculated at the time to allow the correct airflow through the pot, so I saw their design as inferior and allowing far too much air flow to be much use, which it still is by the looks of it.

Mine also had versatility with the moving grill arrangement already in place, so the multi use of mine is far superior to their set up. Plus use of different materials and slicker design, different measurements and application.

Ultimately, at first glance I can be accused of copying the design, based purely on the side lugs and a hexagonal shape alone, and that's it! After that there's nothing similar about the two stoves, so I very much doubt I will be getting any calls from the legal people ;-))

Put it this way, if I had designed the stove as a circle, or a square, what other stoves would it be compared to? There are loads around the world if you look hard enough, and I have been looking very hard for the last year to see what home made designs people have tried.

I hope that answers your question. Not offended by you asking it, as far as I'm concerned 20% coincidence and 80% brilliance!



Honey Stove Design - Question

Hi Bob,

How can I broach this ...

It started with a comment on my blog:
and then I saw what Roman had written
and followed the links to the Makaira site, where I saw the photos and video of the stove.

I saw the comments that you had given Roman there, the Honey being lighter and bigger with more flexibility. But I watched the Makaira video and noticed the lugs and notches, and assembly. And the nagging voice started.

You're a smart cookie, and I'm sure that you have looked into this issue, worked with designs that are in the public domain, etc etc. But, the voice is nagging at me to ask you about this issue - will the Makaira designers come knocking?

Monday, 17 November 2008

Honey Stove with Fuel Tablet

Using the Honey Stove from with HiGear fuel tablet. I had used one in the past – if you wondered where some of the scorch-marks on the mdf board came from, this link will provide the answer.

Remembering the problem last year, I slotted the ashtray under the Honey Stove. George/LBP had got me thinking more about alternative arrangements of the grills, and sitting the mug inside the Honey Stove.

The movie is in realtime except for a section in the middle, where the camera locked out due to memory card reaching capacity. It took under a minute to get rolling again. And later, I repositioned the tripod, which sounded horrible, so cut that out.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Relax – It’s a Honey Stove

As a treat for those who just want to watch the stove in action; less talk, less coffee, more fire. Kick back and press “play”.

Honey Stove with Driftwood

Using the Honey Stove from with driftwood provided by Aberdeen beach.

I didn’t have a spare hand to take a video of the assembly process, but I’m definitely getting quicker. Being 11 days after Guy Fawkes night, there were still enough rocket stems to burn without starting on the ‘real’ driftwood. Timber is a limited resource too, so I wasn’t keen to waste it.

Being a cautious soul, I lightly kicked over any material that I was going to pick up. Just in case of ‘sharps’.

I decided not to edit out the trouble that I had with the fire-starting matches at the beginning of the clip. I feel that these things need saying too. It took around 10 minutes to get brew made. I hadn’t finished drinking it when the unit was cool enough to enable me to rake the ashes out and dismantle it.

Unused wood was left on the beach and I used the plastic bag to store the soot-coated Alpkit Mytimug titanium mug. The makings was held in the GSI nesting cup/bowl that I got from Sarah/”Freezer-Bag Cooking”, and I used the outer bowl as a cup. Fresh water was held in my oval Sigg bottle. Lighter was a 3-jet gas lighter that I got from my youngest brother earlier in the year.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Honey Stove with Primus Micron

Using the Honey Stove from with Primus Micron gas stove.

I have had the Micron for two years now, and I’d just use a thin foil windshield instead of the Honey Stove. So don’t take the above video seriously.

I am more interested in being able to eke out a gas canister by using alternative fuel (mainly woody material). To sit outside, by the light of a safe open fire, leaving no trace, harming no living creatures (excluding ticks and midges and the occasional moth that gets eaten by accident). It goes beyond convenience cooking, where some of the superfast stoves just miss a ‘ping’ sound effect when the food is ready or water boiled.

If the outdoors is only about being fast paced, then why not just take the car and be done with it? We all hike our own hikes. Not like the song.

Honey Stove with Trangia Burner

Using the Honey Stove from with the Trangia spirit burner, and the Alpkit Mytimug titanium mug.

I only used the Trangia a few times years ago, but it is in my small stove collection, so I thought I’d give it a go. As Bob demonstrated in the official video, it sits nicely in the circle cut in the middle grill. At room temperature, a 1/2 pint of cold tap water came to a rolling boil in 5 minutes, using 1 fluid ounce (20 ml) of methylated spirits.

Honey Stove with Blackfly3

Using the Honey Stove from with Mini Bull Design’s Blackfly3 meths stove, and the Alpkit Mytimug titanium mug.

In summary. Maybe if I lift the stove up towards the base of the mug, then it will heat up quicker? Also, if I can use the “middle grill”, then heat will pass through the empty central space directly to the underside of the pan. Some heat must be getting lost from the pan by sitting on these ‘spokes’ of the “top grill”.

Only three grills, and yet lots of possibilities.

Honey Stove Arrives

My Honey Stove arrived from

Video shot in real-time, so you can see the time counting by. No point in rushing this, as it could fall apart if you fail to hold it correctly. To be honest, this was my 4th time assembling the stove, and I think I am developing the knack for it already.

Make sure that you know where you want to place the grills, and keep an eye on the tabless (front) sides of the grills.

Honey Stove – Retailer’s Video

The Honey Stove flexible cooking system. Video from Bob Cartwright at and

Excellent starting point for the FCS. I really can’t just call it as stove, as it is much more than that. A windshield, a support, a stove, a chimney.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

I am become D…

I am become D…arren.

Finally treated myself to the new Blackfly stove from Tinny at MiniBullDesign. Smaller than the aus3, it should mean a lower centre of gravity. I normally only use an ounce of fuel to boil enough water for a brew and/or enough water to rehydrate a meal, so the smaller capacity won’t be an issue.

Hopefully it won’t “disappear” en route across the Atlantic like the last one did. Or the two orders of wargames figures from separate suppliers that went missing in the last year.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Breakfast with SnowPeak 900

Question was:

Just wondered if the SnowPeak 900 set was any good - interested in fact it has small frying pan, and lightweight - does pan burn and could you use pan as mug.

My answer is:

Although there was some sticking of the potato scone to the frying pan (lid), the lid cleaned up fine for me afterwards.

As to using the pan as a drinking mug – yes, but it isn’t as good as drinking from a separate mug (eg a plastic one).

Although I have used the SnowPeak 900 as my cookset of choice for a couple of years now, this is the first time I used it in this way. I never have anything along to fry, and I always carry a separate mug. As with any hollow solid object in my pack, things can get packed inside.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Dawn of a new era

Dawn of a new era, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

I awoke at 6am on my morning off. I chucked on the radio. I texted darren a cheeky message. Inspired by the news, i grabbed warm socks, old trail shoes, filo jacket and new possum fur gloves to accompany my dSLR rig. With fully-charged car battery in arm, i head out. Once car is working again, i'm off down to the beach.


IMG_7187f IMG_7191f IMG_7192f IMG_7204f

The website I was checking is a useful listing of sunrise/sunset times.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

History is Made: Barack Obama Wins

In the early hours of Wednesday morning (UK time), Senator Barack Obama won the election to become the 44th President of the USA, as Senator John McCain admitted defeat in an honourable and dignified manner.

Inaccurate at time of posting. Accurate news on the BBC website. I’m off to bed. If it doesn’t happen, I can always re-write this. Just like the online newspapers do. Good night and good luck.

Pizza and Other Strangeness

Tonight I watched these couple of videos. I’ll need to try it in the lid of my SnowPeak 900. I suppose I should be interested in world politics, but this is much more fun. Well done to GrinchMT, I’ll need to watch some more. I’m already thinking of how I can make a lid (as I’d be using the cookset’s lid as a frying pan) – maybe use metal foil.

Part 1

Part 2

I found them off the ‘related’ list from Tinny’s new design. I have been mentioning him as an example of Web2.0 at its finest. Just watch his view numbers.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Triple S – Aye? Nae

It has been a funny old day.

The US presidential race ends at Manassas, where the British journalist noted that there was an American Civil War battle – actually, there was two battles fought on the site, which is sometimes referred to as Bull Run. Both pre-dated the emancipation proclamation made after Antietam/Sharpsburg later in 1862.

Speaking of American conflicts, Donald Trump got handed the keys to a nearby site of special scientific interest so that he can build homes and a golf course. There seems to be a very slight chance (i.e. one politician interviewed) that he will not destroy the dunes and the wildlife. BBC news link. Photos.

No doubt a certain zoo … oops, heelan’ safari … is planning to unleash the hounds sooner.

Mick and Gayle posted a video clip of the bad weather at The Kingshouse, and Glen Nevis campsite.

I collected my goodie box from the local corner shop – good for Parcel Force to save me a cross-town journey (especially as the car battery is dead).


That book “Fixing your feet” by John Vonhof is massive! Sections on feet, footwear (hmm, why is it not feetwear?), prevention and treatment. Two wee tubs of BodyGlide, and a pair of possum fur gloves. I tried the gloves on and they were toasty. But I was in the house at the time, as I didn’t want to get them manky as I worked on the car.

And there was an email at work, asking if anyone wanted to visit the local landfill site. Like I said, it has been a funny old day.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


Kirriemuir, originally uploaded by dimacleod.

I'm at a wargames show in Kirriemuir. Targe it's called. Should be a fun day. I might even last the whole day and not give up and go home.

Holiday Snaps

47 miles of holiday walking, and some after words and clips of the weather.

And the promised photo of Mr McNeish from a 1995 TGO magazine.