And these skills are normally great fun to hone so that they become second nature, falling naturally to hand when you need them. Ropework is one such skill and John Traynor starts you off with some easy, but useful, knots to master.
Most people know two knots – the basic thumb knot and the bow used for shoe laces and gift wrapping. Many will even know the left-over-right-and-under, right-over-left-and-under of the reef knot. But there is a wealth of knots that will help and entertain a camper. Ropework has its own language and this gets quite involved as you start to categorise knots and delve further into subjects like splicing, lashing and whipping.
But here we’re only going to mention two terms as we look at four useful knots and these refer to the rope. The standing end is the part of the rope at rest and working end is the end of the rope that is on the move. Have short length of rope, cord or string in hand and tie it as you follow the instructions. Something fairly thick and colourful will help a beginner and a second length with a smaller diameter will help you learn useful ways to connect two different sizes. There are even knots for tape so you might eventually want a length of that to play with. Keep the rope handy and practice whenever you can – while you’re watching television is a good time. Your aim is to tie the knot without thought or look so the process is fast and natural. You may need this skill to quickly deal with a problem in the dark!
An experienced camper will learn skills like knot work and whipping to make camp life easier and to help deal with emergencies, like broken poles or quickly adding and adjusting additional guylines.