Wednesday, 30 September 2009

An Aluminium-free summer !

Very sorry to report but this has been an aluminium-free summer ! We'd made great progress on the Flying Cloud in the spring with the chassis and fixing the new floor BUT my work piled in at the wrong time.

So the trusty yurt came out for the Larmer Tree music festival and for two weeks camping in deepest Cornwall in August.

Great time, great food (shore crabs, samphire & kofte kebabs...), sailing, canoeing and, of course, good old English summer weather - torrential rain.

With the odd sunny day...

I'm sure its of little interest to you alumanuts but our (homemade) yurt has done great service for the past 5 years. Its based on the traditional Mongolian yurt with a few helpful twists:

The door is much the same but has a tough, unstretchable rope of fixed (15ft) diameter attatched to it.

This rope sits on top of the lattice walls (khanas - which concertina down to 3, 2ft wide sections) and the roof poles have a slot cut in them which hooks over the rope, making it very fast to erect (20mins - yes really!). Everything is tied together with nylon cord and webbing - in Mongolia they use rawhide - which means everything is fixable with a knife, drill & more cord.

The whole structure is incredibly lightweight and strong. We then have canvas walls and roof. And over the hexagonal hole in the centre some clear, plastic stitched into canvas for those inclement summer days ! And it all fits in and on our trusty Volvo.

Hopefully the next post will be some much-needed progress on the Flying Cloud.


  1. I personally love the Yurt, and would love to see plans or a kit for them. I saw some while attending an event at "The wilds". What about rain through the roof hole?

    Can't wait to see more work on the Flying Cloud.


  2. Sorry to hear that aluminum was not part of your "diet".

    But everything else on your plate this summer was certainly on the "approved list". Great pix.

    I would love to hear more about yurt.


  3. I love the yurt too.

    Turns out those Mongolians weren't just good at making war... ;-)

    So, camping in aluminum by Christmas then?


  4. Hi Guys... Glad you like the yurt (thought I'd be shot down for lack of Airstream progress). The truth behind it is I'd loved them for years & had a book (beside the toilet for 5 years, of course) called 'Build Your Own Yurt and Teepee'. Teepees are stunning but I was drawn to the Mongolian Steppe. The book was from the Stateside of the pond & had some great ideas; the rope around the walls, though they suggested wire rope. They also wanted me to use bolts for the khana wall joints. That may be fine for the dry heat of Utah & Arizona but in the UK its spells rust. So I adapted it to nylon cord - I'll try & find the exact name of the book, Steve. Can't supply plans, just plumped for a diameter & did it by eye. I'd love to say it was crafted from hand-split hardwood but I was after something lightweight and easily fixable, so its bog-standard 2-by-1 softwood & it was made in 5 days, in time for a music festival). Traditional yurts have a 'wheel' at the apex but I didn't have time to steam the wood, so went for a jointed hexagon, and its worked pretty well. The rain is kept out with a clear plastic cover (stitched into a canvas star which can easily be thrown on or off. Not quite the hunting world you have in the US Tom, but we do love to eat off the land if we can, so I'm glad you liked our culinary spreads. And YES, Marcus I hope to be in Aloooominum by Cristmas - at least a solid empty trailer, fitting her our, Thanks for all your support & I hope you've all had a good summer.

  5. The yurt ROCKS! Love it. There is an elegance to such an ancient design. I can't believe you just fabricated that out of your head. A true craftsman can do things like that.