Remember these?



We found these resources on the Internet to teach you how to tie knots. Google is your friend – don’t stop with what we have found if you can’t make sense of these videos!

How to tie a:

Reef knot, a simple knot to tie two ropes of the same diameter together. It is not secure and can undo itself if it is caught while being pulled (hold onto one of the ropes so that the knot dangles below your hand, then grab the standing part of the knot pointing up and sharply pull it down. You  will soon see what we mean).

Figure-of-eight knot is secure, safe and forgiving for tying yourself to a rope and you ought to learn it.

The Clove hitch is technically not a knot (use Google to find out why, but the word “hitch” in the name is a giveaway). It is great to tie tent guys to tree branches with because you can tension it up and it comes undone easily, but only if you want it to. It is used in climbing when setting up belays. Climbers have a few tricks when using this ‘knot’, such as setting it up but only cinching it when they are in position some distance away.

Bowline, a simple secure knot for tying yourself onto a climbing rope, or tying a rope to trees and branches. It reduces the strength of the rope by about 40% (which is not too bad).

The Capstan Rule

But, why do knots work? And why do climbing ropes get hard to drag up after you have put a few zigs and zags into the rope as you clip in some protection? The answer lies in the fact that friction doesn’t add, but multiplies. The Capstan (yes, that winch-thingy that yachties use to pull in ‘sheets’ – they have fancy names for different ropes- to tighten sails or pull up anchors) Rule provides the answer. Nah, you don’t need to know this to have fun in the Hills, but if you like maths and have a bit of spare time, why not find out?…