Get 2017 off to a slow (and adventurous) start

Introducing the Ernest Journal 2017 Slow Adventure Calendar

Plan a whole year of adventure with this A5 clipboard calendar, featuring 12 remarkable images taken for Ernest Journal over the past six issues. 

Each image captures what slow adventure means to us: bedding down in Highland bothies, seeking traces of ancient Norse settlements in South Greenland, re-imagining sunken landscapes on the Isles of Scilly, tracing the origins of Iceland’s Huldufolk and searching for the aurora borealis in North Wales.

The calendar comprises of a clipboard and hook for hanging on the wall, plus 12 sheets of recycled, uncoated paper. At the end of each month, you can cut out the A6 picture postcard and write home to share your adventures. 

2017 Slow Adventure Calendar, £10. Until the end of January 2017, we are also offering a limited edition gift bundle comprising an issue of your choice plus the calendar, for £20.

The (Bristol) Three Peaks Challenge

KEEN’s new Feldberg boot is named after two German peaks: the highest mountain in the Black Forest and a popular urban climb on the outskirts of Frankfurt. This creation of hybrid footwear for outdoor play and urban exploration inspired us to embark on our own urban hiking odyssey. We tasked Ernest designer Monty to take on The (Bristol) Three Peaks Challenge – a made-up urban version of the infamous National Three Peaks Challenge, in which hikers summit Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike and Snowdon within 24 hours. How would Feldberg fare on Bristol’s city heights?  

Words: Johnathan Montelongo
Photos: Alex Jefferis

Like Lisbon and Rome, Bristol is rumoured to be built on seven hills. Discuss this with any of the city’s innumerable cyclists and you could easily double or treble that number. Personally, I’ve always believed that the centre of Bristol is a basin and that all departure routes lead uphill. So this urban landscape, my home city, was the ideal place to road test KEEN’s robust and water resistant new hiking boots, the Feldberg.

The Feldberg Mid WP (£140) is essentially a hybrid hiker – a versatile, European-made boot that is said to perform just as well in the asphalt jungle as on wilderness hill treks. There’s a choice of two colours/materials – a handsome earthy brown nubuck leather or an anthracite grey suede with dashing red laces. Both styles are made with a breathable KEEN.Dry® waterproof membrane, providing reliable protection against the elements, and are identical in terms of fit and comfort.

For this challenge, I laced up the slate grey pair, with an intense pop of postbox red laces, and plotted my route up three of Bristol’s peaks. First, I would scale Park Street (the city’s iconic terraced shopping thoroughfare) to Brandon Hill with its Victorian Cabot Tower. Next, I would ramble across town, dipping under the Bear Pit and striding across Stokes Croft to tackle the short but impossibly steep Nine Tree Hill. Finally, I would test the boots tread on the hidden hillock that rises above St Werburghs in the north east of the city, known locally as the ‘tump’. By the end of the day, I was hoping to capture three unique portraits of a city I love.

Peak 1: Brandon Hill

After a particularly busy week I was excited to don the Feldbergs, with a thick pair of hiking socks, and put some miles under my feet with our photographer Alex. Having only just recovered from a ruptured ligament in my left ankle, I appreciated the unyielding support these boots provided and the wet cobble-stones leading up to Park Street were no match for the deep tread of the rubber outsole.

Once at the top, we befriended a loft of curious pigeons who, I’m convinced, approved of the high-contrast boot and lace combo. Cabot Tower stands at 105ft (32 m) and was built in the 1890s to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the journey of John Cabot from Bristol to Newfoundland. The narrow, spiral staircase up the middle of Cabot Tower was a doddle thanks to KEEN’s metatomical footbed, which gave sturdy support from toe to heel, and the damp, painted concrete underfoot bore no slip hazard for these feet!

Peak 2: Nine Tree Hill

Nine Tree Hill, which looms above Stokes Croft, has been testing walkers’ lung capacity for the past 2,000 years. The route is believed to date back to Roman times, heading on to Fremantle Road and then on to the port at Sea Mills. At the top you’ll find a hidden piece of Bristol’s history – Prior’s Hill Fort, built to defend the north side of Bristol during the English Civil War (1642-1646). Industrious Edwardians and Victorians built houses along its contours, before the tarmac road and high-rise flats joined the landscape in the last century.

You’re rewarded at the top with a view of Bristol at its edgy, independent best: street art, coffee shops, the painted arches of the Carriageworks, rows of colourful townhouses and wraparound green hills in the distance (all departure routes lead uphill!). I chose this hill partly for the view, but also because it’s a short but straight-up schlep, which forces the body and feet to be at awkward angles for a prolonged period. Other than the deep traction on wet concrete and drainage covers, I felt my ankles (the good one and the recovering one) benefitted from the solid yet flexible, multi-material construction of the boot.

Peak 3: The St Werburghs ‘tump’

As the temperature dropped and the winter light began to fade, we made for our final destination. The official name of this hill is Narroways – site of many a rave, an Ernest team favourite for meteor watching and now a much-loved nature reserve, saved from development in the late 90s. On warm days, you can apparently see slow worms basking on the railway banks and marbled white butterflies flitting amongst the knapweed.

I’d never ventured up the mound (or the ‘tump’, depending on which side of the tracks you’re from) before, so I had no idea of the terrain, gradient or view – a wrap-around 270˚ vista of East Bristol locked in between railway tracks. The short climb involved a handful of surfaces – path, loose gravel, crude steps cut into the hill and squidgy grass – all easy work for the boots, of course, but where they came into their own was once the sun started to set. The temperature continued to drop and the air soon became damp. While the rest of me started to notice, my feet remained toasty and dry. It made me think of all the sludgy hills and mountain streams I’d crossed on country walks, and how I’d really needed a pair of these back then.

I stood on the final peak and surveyed the city I’d just climbed, breathing in the sodium orange glow of the street lights. It had been a long day and I was certainly ready for a pint. Most importantly though, after a good six hours of city walking, my feet and legs still felt ship-shape and Bristol fashion. No mean feat in the city of seven hills.

Feldberg Mid WP, £140

  • A waterproof, breathable membrane

  • Direct inject PU midsole for long-lasting comfort

  • Robust, strong metal eyelets and classic lacing

  • An integrated heel cushion to maximise step-in comfort and shock absorption

  • Optimum grip and durability in the rubber outsole

keenfootwear.com



This is a sponsored blog post, created in collaboration with KEEN. Read more stories from the Ernest x KEEN partnership in our directory.

Look out for our feature on the two styles of Feldberg, coming up in print issue six in January 2017.

Follow KEEN's Feldberg adventures on Instagram using hashtag #feldbergiswhereyoustand

 

field notes Has Landed

Ernest steps up to explore the limited edition Field Notes Lunacy, a series of note books paying homage to that most mysterious orb in the sky

Traditionally, the moon is a symbol of mystery and the esoteric, affecting all those who bask in its ephemeral radiance. Whether you’re a humble scribe pondering amorous dreams by moonlight, a concerned member of the werewolf community, or a covert midnight oil-burning fan of stenography, the great white orb is an integral part of humanity’s cultural consciousness. Now, with the recent release of the Lunacy memo book, the 32nd Quarterly Edition from Field Notes, reflecting under the lunar deity has never been more engaging or stylish. 


Inspired by the long forgotten sub-genre of American agricultural pocket ledgers and "the simple, unassuming beauty of a well-crafted grocery list", the Chicago-based company offers an exquisite range of bespoke notepads, stationary and memo books.

Field Notes was originally conceived by designer Aaron Draplin, whose love for American ephemera and the ‘feed-seeds’ of the 1950’s triggered the creation of the first 100 or so pocketbooks. He sent all of his copies to friends. Jim Coudal, a lucky recipient of one of Draplin’s books, asked to be a part of the project. In less than a week, Field Notes was born through the collaboration of the Draplin Design Company of Portland and Coudal Partners of Chicago. Beginning with packages of three graph-ruled booklets, Field Notes has gone on to print many variations of their original work, including the wildly popular Quarterly Edition pocketbooks. 

The Lunacy Edition for Fall of 2016 is, in their own words, a perfect example "of an idea that started simply and then got a bit out of hand…maybe more than a bit". Originally beginning life as a set of memo books celebrating the Harvest Moon, their office exploded into a cacophony of lunate ideas. The result is a set of three gorgeous booklets representing each lunar phase, complete with embossed covers, facts, folklore and a haunting shot of the dark side of the moon in the back of each. 

Field Notes’ back catalogue boasts a range of other charming pocket accoutrements, such as the ‘Byline Edition’, perfect for the budding reporter trying to find the next big scoop, or the retro-futuristic ‘Black Ice Edition’, an ideal stocking filler for the fledgling ‘bureauphile’. All of Field Notes’ products are imbued with a sense of gentle pondering, innocence and unparalleled Americana. They are an appreciation of a slower pace of life, at a time when all you really wanted was the latest news on corn.

Words: Matt Iredale

Field Notes 32nd Quarterly Edition Lunacy can be found here. For more of their inspiring range of products visit their website.

 

 

Lest We Forget

Writer, historian and self-confessed dystopian fiction enthusiast, Lela Tredwell explores her grief for the fallen on Remembrance Day for Lost Species

2016 was the year of the Bramble Cay melomys – a small rat-like creature that once lived on a low-lying coral cay on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Officially extinct as of May 2016, it is the first recorded mammal to have been wiped out by the effects of anthropogenic climate change (caused by humans).

The idea of humans outranking other creatures is not a new one. It pre-dates the Chain of Being of the Middle Ages (a visual metaphor for a divinely-inspired hierarchy of all forms of higher and lower life), and can be tracked back to ancient civilisations, including the Greeks. By the 21st Century, however, we seem to have well and truly asserted ourselves as the super-police of the natural world.  

Are we competing with the earthworm, wanting to get top spot for the species impacting most on the world? If so, we’re still way off worm status. The Chain of Being put earthworms at the very bottom of the pyramid, ironic then that the humble creatures should have such an essential role to play on earth. Much more so, it now turns out, than humans. 

As vultures decline in India, in part due to a man-made drug, carcasses litter the land and stray dogs move in; cases of rabies have spiked. In upsetting the balance of nature we will only come to hurt ourselves. David Attenborough famously said that if we don’t do something about our population growth, nature will. It calls to mind the plight of the bumble and the honey bee, which tirelessly pollinate over a third of our own food source yet we allow them to be poisoned by agricultural chemicals. My grandfather was a beekeeper; it breaks my heart. 

 A memorial made by Eri Meacock

 A memorial made by Eri Meacock

My own grieving for extinct species started at a young age, when I discovered the oozlum bird was really dead for good, if it ever even existed, from a Carry On film. Up the Jungle suggests the oozlum bird might have got away but a shaking of the head from my mum confirmed the worst. So I’ve been carrying that weight of guilt and disappointment – along with the other disturbing elements of early exposure to Carry On films – around with me for a long time. At primary school I sponsored animals, supported Greenpeace and wrote letters to newspapers, which I would sometimes send but often stick them proudly in my project book. I used to fantasise about standing aboard Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior ship screaming sense through a megaphone.

But despite valiant efforts, in the last 40 years our planet has lost half its wildlife (WWF). Three species become extinct every hour and many more stalk the endangered list.

Perhaps grieving the loss of fellow species is a strange concept. But why not when everything is connected? Species extinctions are invariably linked to the loss of cultures and places, and we haven’t had the rituals to adequately grieve – until now.

Remembrance Day for Lost Species has been held in Brighton on 30 November for the past six years and its impact is spreading. Previous events saw a Viking burial at sea for the Great Auk, 'flying' the last passenger pigeon to the Life Cairn on Mount Caburn and the Thylacine Tribute Cabaret – a theatrical homage to the Tasmanian tiger. It is a chance to share the stories of those lost in the sixth mass extinction, and to renew commitments to those remaining. 

The impetus for the event started when Persephone Pearl came ‘face-to-face’ with a taxidermy thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) in Bristol Museum. She felt a deep sense of grief for the marsupial carnivore, which was shot to extinction in 1936 by European settlers. She wanted to break it out from its glass case and give it a proper burial. 

Caspian Tiger Shrine, September 2013

Caspian Tiger Shrine, September 2013

In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece Oryx and Crake, characters adopt the code names of extinct species. Which would you choose? The West African black rhinoceros, the quagga, the Caribbean monk seal? For me it's Steller's sea cow.

Discovered in 1741 by Arctic explorers, who estimated its population to be 2,000, these sirenians were wiped out only 30 years after meeting humanity – killed to provide seal hunters with meat on long journeys. No specimens remain today but we know they measured over 30 ft and weighed 22,000 lbs, much larger than the surviving manatee and dugong. They had small heads, broadly forking tails and no teeth. They used stumpy flippers near the front of their bodies to move themselves over rocks and hold fast to them in rough seas. They had little ability to submerge and so they floated on the surface, eating kelp and seaweed – an easy target for harpooning. So today, on Remembrance Day for Lost Species, I will light a candle for the fallen Steller’s Sea Cow. How long will it be before we are lighting flames for the extinct snow leopard, orangutan and polar bear?

A child visits the ‘grave’ of Bombus Franklini during the Funeral for Lost Species. 

A child visits the ‘grave’ of Bombus Franklini during the Funeral for Lost Species. 

One Native American saying teaches that we are merely borrowing the earth from our children. What then will future generations think when they discover that we have wiped out part of their future world, and they must live on a planet without the biodiversity that kept balance?

In a recent Channel 4 documentary, China: Between Clouds and Dreams, school children have been investigating the decline of the spoon-billed sandpiper, which is on the brink of extinction but has been given a recent reprieve by a breeding program in Russia. The children are asked to keep 'spoonie' safe during its migration to the warmer climate. The children found that chemical factories in their area are having a detrimental effect on both the wildlife and human population. The vast mudflats south of Yangkou on the Jiangsu coast where their beloved ‘spoonie’ birds feed are being contaminated.

On 30 November 2015, Remembrance Day for Lost Species cast a bronze bell which was tolled 108 times to mark the passing of extinct species. This year, they are encouraging people to make their own tributes to lost creatures – whether that be by lighting a candle, hosting an event or simply sharing their thoughts on Twitter. Lest we forget, we are all in this together.

Feral Theatre’s Thylacine Tribute Cabaret, September 2016.

Feral Theatre’s Thylacine Tribute Cabaret, September 2016.

Read more about Remembrance Day for Lost Species at onca.org.uk/ongoingprojects, join in with an event on their Facebook page and share your extinction tributes on Twitter.

 

Obsolete jobs

If you think your current 9-to-5 is a bit of a drag, spare a thought for the poor souls who had to do these foul-smelling, back-breaking and often downright dangerous jobs. Whether through technology, health and safety or social enlightenment, these professions are, thankfully, now a thing of the past.

Image: Mudlarks of Victorian London (The Headington Magazine, 1871)

Image: Mudlarks of Victorian London (The Headington Magazine, 1871)

gong farmer

In Tudor times, gong farmers had the delightful task of emptying cess pits and privies of human excrement – or ‘night soil’ – and transporting it outside the city. They only worked at night and had to live a fair distance away from others so as to minimise the chances of spreading any nasty diseases they may have picked up. And because, frankly, they stank.

herb strewer

Before there were sewers, there were herb strewers. But they only worked for royalty. Dating back to the 17th century, the strewer’s job was to scatter sweet-smelling herbs and plants throughout the royal apartments to disguise the stench emanating from the Thames. When trod underfoot, the herbs would release their aromas to ensure royal noses remained unsullied.

mudlark

A mudlark was someone, usually a child, who scraped a paltry living by scavenging in the mud along the low tide line of the RiverThames. Working among raw sewage, excrement and the occasional corpse, they’d gather up bits of iron, rope, copper and coal that had fallen into the river – although the more daring would also pilfer from passing barges. 

knocker-upper

During the Industrial Revolution, early shifts were the norm at factories and mills, but most people couldn’t afford alarm clocks to get them up in the morning.To ensure the workforce arrived on time for their daily toil, a knocker-up was employed to tap, tap, tap on the bedroom windows of the sleeping workers using a long stick, until they were roused from their slumber.

legger

Early canal tunnels were narrow and didn’t have towpaths.The legger’s job was to walk or ‘leg’ the vessel through the cold, dark tunnels.Working in pairs, lying on planks attached to either side of a boat, they navigated through tunnels up to a mile long. Physically demanding and highly dangerous, it was common for leggers to come to grief and be crushed between the hull and the tunnel wall. 

Words: Brian Chapman. Originally published in issue 5 of Ernest Journal.

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