Saturday 17 September 2011

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning courses in The Lake District, half day session. 17th September 2011.

Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services was at work yesterday with returning clients Chris Senior and Oliver Bush who had used us last year for a ghyll scrambling & canyoning half day session at Church Beck, near Coniston, in The Lake District.

The lads had enjoyed the session they had done with us during April 2010 so much that they booked another one and brought along four other mates. They had travelled over from Leeds for a weekend of fun but with low pressure swirling across the country bringing with it almost continuous rain, it wasn't great weather - unless of course you like getting wet!

Photo one shows the lads at the get in at the start of the Church Beck ghyll scramble (also known as gorge walking) trip and by this time (10:30am) it was massive! Overnight in the Lake District, we had a fair amount of rain, but on Iain's drive to the ghyll scrambling & canyoning venue, all indications were that whilst the beck would be "up", it would still be ok to use. Iain has arrived here in the past at this time of year and had to use an alternative venue because the ghyll has been too full to run a safe session.

Straightaway, we realised that it was going to be a full on session but it was still fun.

We had to skirt around certain sections of the ghyll such as the bit just upstream of photo two. It would have been impossible for anyone to keep their footing with the sheer volume of water now surging down Church Beck.

Many of the pools were so aerated that it was just like being in a giant jacuzzi!

The only problem with very aerated water is that is does not support much as weight as non aerated water - ie things will sink further into it.

This can pose a problem when ghyll scrambling in high water levels and because of this; and the volume of water now surging down the ghyll, Iain decided it would be totally unsafe to do the lower 3 jumps that generally make up a great finale to the canyoning descent of Church Beck as well as the upper section that we generally descend above Miner's Bridge.

Photo three shows the lads at the waterfall just below where we normally get out to commence the canyoning descent. They each had two jumps in to the pool from the ledge just above pool level at the lower l/h side of the fall and they loved it!

Doing the top lower was out of the question but we had fun heading upstream from Miner's Bridge until the falls ahead barred our way.

Back at the Miners Bridge Fall (normally the scene of our second lower on the canyoning descent) Iain rigged a lower down the r/h side of the fall and here, Oli gets lowered.

Despite the high water levels and the fact that there was much in Church Beck that we were unable to attempt safely on this occasion, the lads thoroughly enjoyed themselves and are, apparently, still talking about it! Other photos taken during this ghyll scrambling & canyoning session in The Lake District can be viewed here.

September, here in the region, has not got off to a good start weather-wise with it being more like the end of October and not the end of Summer.

However, there are still a lot of options for booking outdoor activity full & half day sessions in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services. What do we do? Just wrap up more warmly. The weather is still fine for wet stuff such as ghyll scrambling or canyoning sessions and don't forget canoeing & kayaking both of which can be a little more exciting if you fancy booking a river trip with us. Caving also deserves a mention as this is great fun and Iain can provide you with an appropriate or advanced level caving session in The Yorkshire Dales National Park - again, with all necessary personal protective equipment included in the price. All our half day sessions start at £45 per person and full outdoor activity days from £60 each. Contact us to book your session.

Also, check out our upcoming courses page to find details of our fantastic navigation skills training weekends based here in The Lake District. These start at £80 per person for a two day navigation skills training course and there are four separate weekend courses advertised for October and November 2011. We look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning courses in The Lake District. Church Beck, Coniston. September 5th 2011

Laura Fogarty booked a half day of ghyll scrambling & canyoning with Iain from Kendal Mountaineering services for herself and her friend Isabelle whilst on a short break to The Lake District.

The pair had travelled some distance to visit the Lake District in what was unfortunately rather inclement weather conditions. Indeed the conditions here in the Lakes have been constantly wet for some weeks now!

Autumn is definitely well and truly upon us now or so it seems. There is still plenty of outdoor activity sessions that we can still do however. Rock Climbing & scrambling courses are out of the picture until things dry up a bit but ghyll scrambling & canyoning sessions can still be done or howabout going underground for a caving trip with us?

Anyway, the first photo of this post shows Isabelle (front) and Laura as we entered Church beck last Monday afternoon. The building behind houses the hydro-electric turbine which was working and indeed - had the hydro plant not been drawing a third of the flow from the Church Beck gorge then things might have been borderline!

So, there was more than enough water for the pairs Ghyll Scrambling & canyoning session and in photo two the pair enjoyed a natural jacuzzi in the second deep pool to be encountered on our upward ghyll scrambling ascent of Church Beck.

The volume of water coming down the ghyll posed quite a challenge for the pair and progress up the stream was quite slow but what could one expect in anything up to 15 inches of fast flowing water!

Eventually, we reached the get out just below the bottom jump and made our way up to Miners Bridge. Iains decision was to avoid the upper section of the ghyll as the volume of water would have made the top waterfall a trickly proposition for a lower. So we got in below the bridge and did the lower down the right hand side of the big waterfall.

Wherever possible we use the left hand part of the fall which takes most of the flow but today there was too much water. The right hand side of the fall was just right for the pair and in photo three Laura is lowered whilst Isabelle looks on from below.

The final shot was taken by Iain looking down on Isabelle and Laura from the top of the final jump just before he slid down the rock in the foreground in to the pool below to join them.

As can be seen, there was a lot of water about and really, the ghyll was at the limit of what should be attempted with novice ghyll scramblers.

You will note the colour of the water - ie white! This is due to the air bubbles in the water and the more water going down an waterfall - the higher the air content of the water in the pool below. What this means for us non aquatic humans is that the water will support less wieght ie you will sink further in to it and take longer to come up! Challenging stuff indeed!

However, we all survived the final drop unscathed and Iain had to admit that both Laura and Isabelle did extremely well today. As they are both nurses - had Iain injured himself, he would have been in good hands. Well done both!

To see further photos from this session click here. To book your autumn outdoor activity session with kendal Mountaineering services contact us here. We'll make sure you are wrapped up warmly so you can still enjoy yourselves. Check out our up and coming Autumn outdoor activity and skills training courses courses here. We look forward to working with you.