Tuesday 30 March 2010

Kayaking & Canyoning,Monday 29th March 2010

Monday was action packed for Iain when he organised two half day activity sessions - firstly for Rae & Ed who wanted to try out kayaking as part of their honeymoon.

The weather was not fantastic on this day, but Iain managed to find enough to keep the couple occupied for their four hour session which began with a flatwater skills session followed by some fun on moving water. Here, Rae shows that she is mastering the kayaking stroke known as the draw stroke - useful if you want to move your kayak sideways!

This kayaking introductory session was run from Waterhead on Windermere and Iain, Rae & Ed visited the rapids at Brathey to look at ferry gliding skills and breaking into & out of eddies as well as running the rapids there - making it an interesting & varied beginners kayaking session.

We had a brief spell journeying around the head of Windermere before heading back and packing up. It had been a cold session with light winds and we were all very glad of the hot drink (always provided by Kendal Mountaineering Services) at the end of the session.

Iain then had but a short time for lunch before meeting Andy & Natalie for a half day canyoning session. This was not an ideal day for this with the temperature hovering around the 4 degree mark but anyway, we wrapped up well and went for it!

Church Beck near Coniston was the selected venue and here Andy & Natalie can be seen at the get in - just below the water take off point for the recently installed hydro-electric scheme.

Andy had contacted Kendal Mountaineering Services at short notice to book this half day activity session and was impressed by our flexibility, our website and our prices. Apparently, the other similar businesses he had contacted about doing this session had appeared unwilling or uninterested in organising such a session for them at short notice.

Here at Kendal Mountaineering Services, we will always do our best to accommodate you if we can, so it is always worth giving us a call.

A canyoning descent of Church Beck involves a short descent to an abseil down a waterfall and then a continued descent to the second abseil just below Miners Bridge. In this shot, Natalie is about to descend this 2nd abseil whilst Andy looks on from below.

Beyond this point, the sides of the gorge close in and you are committed to a descent of three waterfalls before one can escape the gorge again.

The first fall can be negotiated by two means - simply jumping off the chockstone at the top into the narrow pool below or having a roped traverse to the left and lower to a point 8 feet above the pool to jump in from there.

It's Iain's belief that the second method is safer as he has seen many "close shaves" with people jumping in from the chockstone and narrowly missing hitting the narrow rocky sides, often these have been commercial clients and its quite incredible to think that some businesses will put their clients in such a risky situation.

Following the first drop, there is a second one that hides a nasty boulder in the white water at its foot. It can be downclimbed on the left and today, we chose to do that as the safer option.

Another swim brings you to the chockstone fall in this picture where people slide down the middle of the chockstone into the pool below and this point marks the upstream limit for non roped ghyll scrambling.

Here, Natalie is about to "go for it" closely followed by Andy. Below this point it is possible to descend the ghyll for some 6ooM to the get in just above the Hydro plant but, having spent the last couple of hours immersed in cold water Andy & Natalie were happy to call it a day and return to the car via Miners Bridge for several hot brews and some dry clothes.

Andy & Natalie were very happy with their half day canyoning session and Iain hopes that they will return to work with Kendal Mountaineering Services in the future.

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