Take only photos, leave only footprints.

  • Hey Guest, For sale we have Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteel PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information or use the Pay Now button in the sidebar

Great Pebble

Settler
Jan 10, 2004
775
2
51
Belfast, Northern Ireland
You're all familiar with the term I take it? :)

Looking down through a couple of posts concerning issues related to it and I have to ask... How many here can hand-on-heart say that the phrase is true for them in the "wild"?
 

HuBBa

Forager
May 19, 2005
228
1
49
Borås, Sweden
www.hubbatheman.com
Thats easy. Hand to heart, i never leave anything that isn't bio-degradable in nature. And that includes packaging and such that is bio degradable but not nice to see in nature.

But then i've lived by that mantra when scubadiving for many years though then it's "Leave only bubbles, take only pictures."
 
May 30, 2006
1
0
45
Inverness
In all honesty, for me its completely true. Its always been impressed on to me the importance of leaving no trace, this has been very recently reinforced after attending my 1st bushcraft course at the weekend.
 

Great Pebble

Settler
Jan 10, 2004
775
2
51
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Well, I'd like to think that everybody packs out their rubbish.
There's a bit more too it than that though.

If you light fires for instance, what do you burn? (the take part).
And have you ever scorched a rock?

Question inspired by meeting someone who is currently engaged in such interesting activities as kicking over cairns and turning rocks over so that scorches etc. cannot be seen. Both "evils" he blames on "people like me" who cannot follow the mantra above....
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
48
Edinburgh
I don't think it's a good idea to get too hung up on that particular mantra. I've seen plenty of places ruined by nothing more than too many footprints. It is impossible to live without having some affect on your surroundings. The only way you can really leave the wilderness untouched is to kill yourself now.

Like most things, it's a quesiton of trying to strike a sensible balance. For example, your mate is probably destroying many established moss and lichen colonies by overturning cairns or rocks. As for scorchmarks, many stones have 'em already... For example, the dykes in the Pentlands all contain schorched stones - presumably from when the houses they used to be part of were burned to drive their occupants from the land to be replaced by sheep.

Anyway, there is absolutely no "untouched" landscape anywhere in the UK. It's all the result of human intervention.
 

Great Pebble

Settler
Jan 10, 2004
775
2
51
Belfast, Northern Ireland
I know... And he's not my mate :p

He was actually quite irate, almost spilt his real ale.

It's just that his interpretation of philosophy (and he says that of his fellow rambler types) is rather more literal than I imagine is the norm with bushcrafters.

You know... If you burn that log, or carve a spoon from it. You're denying the next person to come along the right to see that log. You are in fact... A vandal. :rolleyes:

And it's not entirely a case of the man being an isolated loon as I can remember letters similar in tone in a magazine (might have been Trail) directed at the leading light of British Bushcraft.
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
48
Edinburgh
Oh, ramblers... Say no more. ;) ;)

I guess it probably comes down to something approaching a tribal sense of identity, 'cos the "leave no trace" approach really doesn't hold up if you take it to it's logical conclusion. Heck, you can't even avoid all impact by killing yourself - your corpse has to go somewhere. What they really mean is "do as I do - validate my choices".

Personally, the "leave only footprints" thing gets my goat... It gives the impression that as long as you're just walking through the landscape you're not causing any harm, which just isn't true. I once estimated how many tonnes of soil are removed from Glen Coe every year on people's boots - it's a heck of a lot.

'Round here, kicking over cairns certainly is regarded as vandalism though... And potentially dangerous vandalism at that: "No, we can't be there, the map says there's a cairn..."

For many people, there's nothing more valuable than their own sense of self-righteousness.

Not sure how coherent I'm being here though... ;)
 

anthonyyy

Settler
Mar 5, 2005
655
6
ireland
I suppose a part of bushcraft is using the resources of nature – like wild food, firewood etc. Doing so means that you break that rule.

I feel its about an attitude of nature being someplace you go and visit – like going to the opera – when you’ve finished you go back home. In an ideal world I would like the “wilderness” to be my home, but practising bushcraft is my way of making it my home for a short period. For the sake of the planet man and nature have to be able to live together. It is not enough to ring-fence some wilderness areas and I feel that the practice of bushcraft may make us in some way become part of nature again.
 

Lithril

Administrator
Admin
Jan 23, 2004
2,575
49
Southampton, UK
Although I like the philosophy behind the phrase, I think it can be taken too far. For instance, erosion of footpaths is massive so leaving only foot prints, if done by several hundred people, will be much more devestating than a few a scorched rocks by one person.
 

bambodoggy

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 10, 2004
3,062
50
46
Surrey
www.stumpandgrind.co.uk
I have to say I agree fully with Gregorach and as for leaving only footprints maybe if they didn't leave so darn many then the footpaths in various National parks around the country wouldn't be getting wider and wider, with all assocciated errosion caused! :rolleyes:

Ramblers cause damage too....even if they can't see it themselves. :eek:

I would, however, defy anybody to find a wild camp site that I've used more than a day after I leave and the leaf bebris I have scattered has settled. ;)

Cheers,

Bam. :D
 

Snufkin

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 13, 2004
2,091
121
51
Norfolk
Great Pebble said:
I know... And he's not my mate :p

He was actually quite irate, almost spilt his real ale.

It's just that his interpretation of philosophy (and he says that of his fellow rambler types) is rather more literal than I imagine is the norm with bushcrafters.

You know... If you burn that log, or carve a spoon from it. You're denying the next person to come along the right to see that log. You are in fact... A vandal. :rolleyes:

And it's not entirely a case of the man being an isolated loon as I can remember letters similar in tone in a magazine (might have been Trail) directed at the leading light of British Bushcraft.
And these are the folks with goretex jackets, nylon backpacks plastic map covers and high tec synthetic tents who pack in foil wrapped foods they heat up with gas stoves. All those resources came from somewhere but as long as it's not from their backyard it doesn't count as environmental vandalism.
 

bambodoggy

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 10, 2004
3,062
50
46
Surrey
www.stumpandgrind.co.uk
Snufkin said:
And these are the folks with goretex jackets, nylon backpacks plastic map covers and high tec synthetic tents who pack in foil wrapped foods they heat up with gas stoves. All those resources came from somewhere but as long as it's not from their backyard it doesn't count as environmental vandalism.

Not to mention visual polution.....nothing worse than looking out over a beautiful view only to see a sea of bright orange and purple tents down in the vally with little brightly coloured insects trudging up and down the hills!!!! :eek:
 

Snufkin

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 13, 2004
2,091
121
51
Norfolk
bambodoggy said:
Not to mention visual polution.....nothing worse than looking out over a beautiful view only to see a sea of bright orange and purple tents down in the vally with little brightly coloured insects trudging up and down the hills!!!! :eek:
I know exactly how you feel.
 

Pablo

Settler
Oct 10, 2005
647
5
62
Essex, UK
www.woodlife.co.uk
I can't subscribe to this philosophy. I know it's a matter of symantics, but I do take. I take wood and edible plants for example (only if I need them and I will actually use them). Basically, I'll take what I need...but only what I need.

But I like to think I leave more than I take. If I take a branch (I rarely do this) I will attempt to replant any off cuts I don't use. I like to think that I am entitled to do this (I can see eyebrows raising now) as I am actually part of nature as much as any animal who frequent the woods. But I make sure I reciprocate in my own way by trying to replace what I use and not letting the resources in one area to be depleted. If I frequent a certain area regularly, I won't use anything from that area.

If everybody did this (I hear you say) there would be nothing left. But not everybody does. There's good and bad in all groups (ramblers; bushcrafters, campers, mountaineers.) We all have one thing in common and that's the enjoyment of the outdoors and there's nothing wrong with this as long as we follow our own codes (I suppose loosely based on the countryside code).

Do I leave rubbish? The answer is no. Do I leave footprints? Of course I do, but I won't stomp over a bunch of wildflowers. Do I take pictures? Yup. Do I take anything else? Yes I do...but I'll do my best to replace in some way what I use.

Pablo.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Toddy

redcollective

Settler
Dec 31, 2004
632
16
West Yorkshire
bambodoggy said:
Not to mention visual polution.....nothing worse than looking out over a beautiful view only to see a sea of bright orange and purple tents down in the vally with little brightly coloured insects trudging up and down the hills!!!! :eek:

Yes damn those campers and walkers spending hundreds of millions of tourist pounds in rural areas, if only the countryside could be reserved for the few, preferably wearing tweed and mutton chops and calling each other 'old boy'. :D

Back on topic - I agree with the minimal impact ethos - nothing worse than a bag of dog-mess bundled up and then thoughtfully hung in a tree for later - much later - how about NEVER! And then there's the time I was coming home from a 26 mile walk only to see a walker relieving herself against the base of an information point (I guess it looked like a big rock to her, and something to prop herself up against) - Really got my goat - I'd spent a good portion of the day picking up dicarded sweet rappers - but mostly because the party she was with had the gall to display their regional rambler's badges and as a card carrying Rambler myself I was insensed! Gosh that turned into a rant didn't it. My apologies. :eek: Don't get me started on 4WDs. ;)

There's one thing I do do, which might not exactly fit the minimal impact ethos. I quite often return home from my daily walks in the woods with a few interesting leaves in my pockets (to identify when I get home to my books). Hmmm.
 

stovie

Need to contact Admin...
Oct 12, 2005
1,658
20
57
Balcombes Copse
I take firewood, but return the ash to the earth...Below is a before and after...It was a fairly large fire, but I feel the impact is minimal on leaving...

bushcraftscouts6.jpg


bushcraftscouts20.jpg
 

Wayland

Hárbarðr
Great Pebble said:
Question inspired by meeting someone who is currently engaged in such interesting activities as kicking over cairns and turning rocks over so that scorches etc. cannot be seen. Both "evils" he blames on "people like me" who cannot follow the mantra above....

I hope you pointed out that some of those cairns he likes kicking over could be prehistoric in origin.

As has been pointed out we live in a man made landscape and without human intervention it would not be what we all love and enjoy today.

The most usual trace I leave is the removal of rubbish left by other visitors. :censored:
 

Klenchblaize

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 25, 2005
2,591
127
63
Greensand Ridge
Respectfuly clean indeed but woudn't it be nice to have been able to "take" something away with that fine bow of yours Stovie?

Cheers!
 

Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels for sale.

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES The price is £27 posted to the UK. Pay via the paypal button below.