Tuesday 2 August 2011

Giggleswick Summer school. Outdoor Adventure Programme. July 25th - 28th 2011

Last week, Iain from Kendal Mountaineering services ran a programme of adventurous activities for the Giggleswick School Summer school programme.

Giggleswick School is an independent boarding school based in the Yorkshire Dales National Park near settle and the Summer School programme is run for potential pupils and existing boarders, but is primarily designed to give a taste of what the school has to offer potential clients.

For the Outdoor Adventure programme, Iain and his assistant - Richard, had two groups each day, a morning group consisting of 12 pupils and and afternoon group consisting of ten young people. The first photo shows the morning group on day one whilst on our way up Penyghent - one of the famous Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks, during our hillwalking day.

On the second day, Iain & Richard ran a beginners rock climbing and abseiling session for each group at "Hostel Rocks" a gritstone climbing venue - actually within the school grounds at Giggleswick.

The venue is a single pitch crag no more than 8m high along its 150m length and has many trees growing along the top making it ideal for a simple top rope/bottom belay session. Iain was able to set up four top ropes for the group and everyone had a go at climbing and towards the end, abseiling.

Photo two shows one pupil enjoying a climb whilst another group work together in the background - whilst one pupil climbs, another three belay using the "bellringing" technique involving only an HMS karabiner, an Italian Hitch; and lots of hands on the rope.

This simple technique is ideal for young people trying an introductory rock climbing session and is good for getting everyone working together.

Day three saw us gorge walking at South Barkin Gill at Barbondale near Kirkby Lonsdale. Gorge walking, also known as ghyll scrambling or gorge scrambling is an outdoor activity generally involving walking, climbing and swimming up a wet stream bed. However, at Barkin Gill, the stream bed is limestone and all of the water sinks away making it a generally dry ghyll scrambling trip.

In photo three, Iain's assistant - Richard "spots" one of our party as he climbs up one of the easier pitches in South Barkin Gill. Above this point, the pitches get bigger and steeper necessitating the use of a rope to protect climbers.

There are few venues in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for good ghyll scrambling so, if you really want to do this come to The Lake District where the streams are bigger and the pools are deeper! Check out our blog and website for details of the best venues and our recent ghyll scrambling trips.

Finally, on Iain's last day with the Giggleswick Summer School adventurous activities programe, he & Richard took both groups to the great introductory caving venues of Runscar & Thistle caves at Ribblehead in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. Photo four is taken in Runscar Cave.

These two cave systems are ideal for introductory caving trips and are good even in wet weather. Both caves have larger main passages with a number of entrance & exit points and Thistle Cave has a number of smaller fossil oxbow passages that provide a real caving experience for anyone wishing to take up the challenge of crawling through them.

We had time during each session to take the pupils through both caves and gained the impression that out of the four activities offered over the four days, caving was the one that they enjoyed the most.

To book your outdoor activity session for your family over the Summer holidays here in The Lake District or in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, contact Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services here.

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