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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Kelly Kettle

My latest acquisition, after the palmtop computer (+ accessories), digital voice recorder, Ryanair credit card, and so on, is a Kelly Kettle. This is described fully on the website of the Kelly Kettle Company in Ireland. According to their literature, the kettle was originally made by Irish travellers and it is said to be the Irish ghillies who made it popular and was their favourite method of 'brewing up' for visiting fishermen who preferred freshly brewed tea rather than stewed tea from a Thermos flask. It is claimed to be completely reliable in the worst of weathers and can safely be used on any outdoor site as the fire is contained in the kettle's base.

It is also known as the Volcano kettle. This is presumably because the heat of the fire rises through a central chimney, heating the water contained in the surrounding double-skin container. It is supposed that flames and sparks emanate from the chimney as if from a volcano. So it was with considerable excitement that I went to try mine out. Hmmmm. No sparks or flames. A puff of smoke reluctantly rose to the top of the chimney, had a look round and then sank back inside. I soon ran out of matches. There was clearly a technique to be mastered. I wondered if firelighters might be the answer?

Kelly Kettle: erupting volcano or damp squib?

Next time out, I took my kettle to St Bees Head - armed with firelighters and a full box of matches. I also took an egg and some bread and butter and, as a back-up, made a Thermos flask of coffee. On arriving at the car park I discovered I had forgotten to pack the flask, so it was to be the kettle or nothing. Finding a sheltered bay, with unlimited drift wood ranging from match sticks to tree trunks, I felt confident. Within a minute or two (and only two matches and a couple of slivers of firelighter) sparks and flames were indeed rising through the chimney and a pint of water boiled in a couple of minutes. Hot tea anyway.

Now for the egg. I had brought the non-stick frying pan section of my trangia kit and placed it over the smouldering embers of the base of the kettle and broke the egg into it. Indeed, the clear egg-white started to turn white, and cooking was under way. But I had fogotten to bring a spatula to turn it over, so I fashioned one out of a bit of drift wood. The egg cooked through and shoved between two slices of bread and butter, I had a hot lunch!

The verdict: Takes some getting used to. For a day out it will never replace a Thermos flask (except for fun). But on a camping trip it could really come into its own, especially as you don't have to take fuel with you - that's on site and free!


Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Glad you got the kettle to work second time out! Those rocks look wonderful in that photo. Great contrast with the kettle too!

5:43 pm  
Blogger simon said...

I have a Sigg fuel stove which uses metho, it took a couple of goes to "get it right" but I do not go walking overnight without it.

10:31 pm  
Blogger simon said...

ps.. in fact i love this sort of "techno" type camping gear!

6:28 am  

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