Monday, 30 January 2012

Frontier Stoves from Cornwall

The Frontier stove is made by Camping Solutions, in Cornwall, initially developed for disaster relief agencies, it incorporates plenty of features that make it a useful bit of kit for the domestic market as well. Long gone are the days of roughing it in drippy nylon tents. The advent of bell tents, safari tents, domes, pods and yurts, shows that we like our camping a little bit more comfortable than previously and if this means taking some of the mod cons camping then so be it. I personally draw the line at the kitchen sink, but a stove, that's a bit different, a stove can make the difference between misery or magic, divorce or devotion. It is easy to dream of sitting around the campfire in the evening with stars overhead, but due to the weather or overzealous regulations it is not always possible to have a campfire outside. So a lightweight stove like this is a perfect solution.

The Frontier stoves are very compact: the three legs fold up under the body of the stove, all the lengths of flue slide inside the fire box and even the small ember tray below the door can be unclipped and put inside to prevent it catching or getting lost. Packed up, it only measures length. 450mm x d.200mm x w.250mm. and assembly takes a matter of minutes. It even has its own carrying handle.

I was concerned that the size of the flue (60mm) would not provide adequate draw but in practice found it was easy to light and no problem to keep in, of course, like all fires and stoves, the drier, more seasoned wood you put in it the better it will burn. There is a baffle on the first section of flue to limit the draw and the door latch has a small catch to allow more draft through the door. The flat top is perfect for boiling a kettle on or frying up some eggs, constructed from mild steel it takes very little time to heat up to a useful cooking temperature.

There is no reason why it should only be used inside a tent or other structure, it is also just as useful outside in the same way that you might use a barbecue. The five lengths of flue are self supporting (although they would be safer supported ) and they do get hot, being uninsulated, so you would need to be mindful when there are children about. The stove itself heats up very quickly, so again you would need to be cautious with children running about, but that applies to all fires. The tripod legs are locked in place and provide a very stable support.

The Frontier Stove is unlikely to replace the wood burners in more permanent settings, but would be ideal for temporary camps especially if you were running some bushcraft or similar outdoor activities and you needed an indoor/undercover source of heat and cooking. The price of £129.99 plus £9.99 p & p from makes it a useful bit of kit that will keep you warm without burning a hole in your pocket.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Low Flying Butterflies at Risk.

Although the rare pearl bordered fritillary butterfly has been here for some time we haven't been able to do as much as we would have liked to encourage it, a little bit of ride clearance here and there, some bracken control etc. However we have recently signed up to a 10 year land stewardship scheme with the aim of doing more to help it survive. This will involve increasing the stocking rate on the farm, making more rides through the bracken and brambles, cutting back some of the scrub growth and some more coppicing of the overstood hazel stands.

There are a number of reasons for the butterflies demise, most linked to the way the land is managed, among them is the decline of violets , the principle food plant; the spread of dense scrub due to an absence of foraging/browsing animals hasn't helped either, and the overgrowth of traditional coppice into small woodlands presents high barriers that the butterfly cannot fly over or around.

The english countryside has been managed by man for so long there are no pockets of wilderness left and while it is often over managed or badly managed, I am broadly speaking in favour of any kind of management that will increase rather than diminish the biodiversity of an area. It is true the pearl bordered fritillary with its reluctance to fly high, requiring low level heathland without too many obstacles like hedges and woodland to hinder it, will not be quite as versatile as its more adaptable cousins like the silver washed fritillary, but it will be a great challenge to see if we can bring a greater variety of life to this hillside and help the butterflies at the same time.
With only 2 months left before the nesting season starts we start work this week. If you live locally and would be interested in helping out for a day or two please get in touch.