Monday, 10 July 2017

Knots in the Woods With the Cubs

This evening was to try and make a 'boring' Cub evening of knotting a little bit more interesting. The last major evening was several years ago when we did two consecutive knotting nights which included emails from two prominent outdoor folk plus some knotting features from Bushcraft and Survival Skills magazine. I decided to put in a session to freshen our pack's forthcoming knot evening up instead of sitting them on a chair with a piece of rope.

We are fortunate to have a wood right behind our HQ and whilst I could have fashioned the evening in and around the HQ getting out and about wood set the tone. The tone was to be a faux campsite with my  3 m x 3 m tarp forming the centre with various props fashioned around it. I actually incorporated several knots into my tarp set up when we ran a knot base at a district skills camp in 2016. 


I drew up a rough plan of how I envisaged it and what knots where. I intend to use the props again so I had to invest an evening and half a day getting them made and latterly pulled together to take. I have the tarp on my washing line to check the guy line knots, and underneath there is most of the other stuff including the afore mentioned two bound wooden structures, a laminated A4 sheet featuring knots in everyday us, a pot hanger which will be suspended by a thief knot, a bow drill set which will feature an archery knot, Bongo our group mascot suspended above a tub of sweets, fit for purpose paracord knotting lengths and a wooden tripod.

There is also a corrugated plastic sheet on which there are 10 knots which all stem from the humble overhand knot and the Cubs will be asked if they can spot the link. I can't believe nobody has ever spotted the knot double meaning before as featured above! Only kidding...

So the Cubs made their way up, there was an unexpected badge presentation which rather ate into the available time so I did a quick intro and read from a Paul Kirtley email that he sent to me for a Cub supplement article from a few years back, mentioned in the first paragraph.

I then set them off hunting down the knots which were on the props, structures, tarp and me. The idea was for them to find as many different knots as possible, and to name as many as they could too. I also brought some knotting books for them to use with some success.

I also put in some similar knots to catch them out such as correctly and incorrectly tied shoelaces, a reef knot and a thief knot, a round-turn-and-two-half-hitches, clove hitch and boa knot and an anchor knot.

The faux campsite was the centre of the evening with the props spaced around the neighbouring trees to get them looking and avoid bunching.

I made a laminated A4 to show knots being used in 'real life'.

All the sticks I used have names, meet Bertrum and his timber hitch. The bowdrill has an archer's knot on which is essentially a cross between a clove hitch and a round-turn-and-two-half-hitches.

Due to time constraints I didn't get to do any knotting practice with the cubs but I'd sealed two lengths of  contrasting paracord together for them to use.

This was the first run out with this knotting model so there were things that I can change, simplify and improve but even thought it was a little rushed it got them out in the woods thinking knots. I then got the scores from the teams and then announced that I got 100% and the sweets were mine! I got our Akela to hand them out whilst I struck my camp and I was sorted in good time. Funny how confectionery focuses their minds...

The knots for them to find were:-

Double Overhand
Overhand Loop
Double Overhand Loop
Threaded Overhand Loop
Threaded Double Overhand Loop
Bowline on the Bight
Water Knot
Fisherman's Bend
Double Fisherman's Bend

Reef Knot
Thief Knot
Turks Head
Double Bowline
Triple Bowline
Running Bowline
Portuguese Bowline
Bowline in a Hank

Evenk Hitch
Taut Tarp Hitch
Waggoner's Hitch
Larks Head
Sheet Bend
Double sheet Bend
Highwayman's Hitch
Clove Hitch
Boa Knot
Constrictor Knot

Windsor knot (in a tie)
Double Slipped Granny Knot
Double Slipped Reef Knot
Cobra Weave
Chinese Button Knot
Alpine Butterfly
Sheer Lashing
Square Lashing
Heaving Line Knot
Jack Ketch Knot

Figure-of_Eight Loop
Stevedore Knot
Prusic Knot
Hank of Rope
Round Turn and Two Half Hitches
Hybrid Archer's Knot
Killick Hitch
Slip Knot
Timber Hitch

50 knots in all.

Two of knots listed that I tied in the woods were the double slipped reef and double slipped granny knot of which the former is what you should be tying your shoes with.

Tie one bow as you would, and then do the next one but cross them over differently at the start, so if you go left over right first do the second one right over left. Once the bows are tied pull the bunny ears until they come through as a single length on both shoes.

One will give you a reef knot...

And one will give you an unstable granny knot. You're welcome...

Suggested further reading:-

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