Thursday 31 May 2012

Do the Lake Districts ultimate ghyll scramble. The Esk Gorge.

The Esk Gorge in The Lake District has to be the best ghyll scrambling or gorge walking trip in The Lake District.

Kendal Mountaineering services offer the Esk Gorge ghyll scrambling day as one of our many ghyll scrambling & canyoning in The Lake District packages.

Most of our ghyll scrambling & canyoning sessions are of half day duration but if you want to spend a full day in the wet stuff then we recommend the Esk Gorge ghyll scrambling trip for you.

This is not for the faint hearted and you need to be fit. The journey into the gorge starts from the foot of Harknott Pass in Eskdale and is a 3km 1 hour journey from the road to the get in point (photo one).

The price per person for this gorge walking bonanza is £75 per person for a minimum of two persons and a maximum group sixe of six per instructor.

As part of the fee we issue you with wetsuits, bouyancy aids, walking boots, cagoules, helmets & harnesses and you will be accompanied by one of our experienced instructors. Bearing in mind the walk in and remoteness of this venue you need to arrive with rucksacks big enough to carry your equipment in plus food, a hot drink, a towel and dry clothing for the end of the session.

The best way to do the Esk Gorge is as a ghyll scrambling or gorge walking trip but you won't just be walking - you'll be doing a lot of swimming too! There are many pools on this 2 kilometre journey in excess of 15 feet deep and there will be many occasions when your feet won't touch bottom - so you need to be a competent swimmer and some of these pools have to be exited by climbing up the next waterfall so this is a strenuous session as well. Any climbs will be protected by a rope where necessary.

Photo two shows the second deep pool to be encountered on the upstream ascent of the Esk Gorge. The chap in the photo is Iain Gallagher who runs Kendal Mountaineering Services - we don't take you anywhere we haven't already been ourselves!

Photo Three shows what is easily the highest jump on the Esk Gorge at approximately  9 metres and here, a local lad is going for it.

There are many waterfalls to climb on this ghyll scrambling trip and many pools to jump into - however, do not expect to do this jump with us - by all means come back and do it on your own on another occasion.

The local lads apparently call this "Lemmings Leap" and Iain can see why. He has also tried it and the impact of hitting the water from such a hieght hurt therefore we deem this unsuitable for use with clients.

It is great fun to watch someone else doing it though!

Photo four shows some of the waterfalls in the Esk Gorge upstream of Lemmings Leap and about half way up the gorge.

It is possible to climb the right hand side of the upper fall roped for safety, it is also possible to get out and walk around any section deemed too difficult for any reason and a very good footpath runs along the eastern edge of the gorge from Lingcove Bridge at the bottom to Upper Eskdale at the top.

The hieght gain on the Esk Gorge ascent is 200 metres or approximately 660 feet - thats a lot of hieght gain and a lot of waterfalls to climb. Thankfully many of them are not very high - the one in this photo is probably about the highest!

The Esk gorge ghyll scrambling trip constantly alternates between shallower easier angled sections of gorge and steep sections with waterfalls and deep pools.

The pool in photo five is just over halfway up the gorge and is entered by a short steep climb up a waterfall from another deep pool. This pool has two jumping in points - one just behind the person who is jumping and another from where this photograph was taken.

The waterfall at the back is too steep to climb so we exit the pool at the left of the photo and get back in upstream of the fall.

Shortly above there is another deep pool with another jumping in point.

Photo six shows the second to last waterfall in the upper section of the Esk Gorge ascent.

This is not climbable but is avoided by going to the right of the big boulder right of the fall. Beyond this, an easy amble takes you to the last deep pool and the last waterfall on the Esk Gorge.

By now you will have been walking, climbing and swimming upstream for around 4 hours although, if the weather is fair and you are well kitted out as you will be with us, then you should still be comfortable.

However, by now, you will probably be getting tired too.

Having been roped up the final waterfall, it is a short walk upstream past a circular pool that looks as if it has been made by a giant rock drill and a final clamber up a very minor cascade sees you at the end of the gorge.

Upstream from here is the hanging valley of Upper Eskdale (photo seven) bounded on the west by Scafell & Scafell Pike - Englands two highest peaks and Esk Pike & Bowfell to the east.

Scafell Pike (3210 feet) is the peak visible in the distance (centre of photo). Upper Eskdale is the most remote place in The Lake District and a favourite haunt of wild campers and groups undertaking Mountainwalking Leader (Summer) Training & Assessment Course expeditions. It is a beautiful place.
Photo eight shows a satisfied ghyll scrambler heading back down the previously mentioned footpath on the east side of the Esk Gorge (photo right).

Having exited at the head of the gorge we walk back down to the get in point in our wetsuits to get changed back in to dry kit and finish off our lunch and have a drink before packing up and making the return 3km journey to the vehicles. Walking back from the top to the bottom of the Esk Gorge only takes about 20 minutes along this path.

Before starting the session, it is a wise idea to get food & drink as once we get going we do not stop until we get to the top unless for reasons of safety or wellbeing - so you can be expect to be in the gorge for up to four hours.

At the end, you will hopefully feel exhilarated by what you have just done. Wet, but still comfortable, tired -very likely! but hopefully also very satisfied indeed at having experienced the best ghyll scrambling & canyoning venue The Lake District has to offer.

No doubt the full impact of what you have undertaken will hit you later on in the evening when most people feel absolutely whacked and this will probably go on into the next day.

Is it worth it? Undoubtedly! To book your Esk Gorge all day ghyll scrambling & canyoning session with Kendal Mountaineering Services contact us here. Further photos from a recent session in the Esk Gorge can be viewed here. We look forward to sharing this adventure with you.

Multi-activity weeks in The Lake District. May 21st - 24th 2012.

As well as providing outdoor activities and skills training courses to the general public through Kendal Mountaineering Services, Iain does, on occasion, get asked to work for other organisations to provide his expertise in delivering quality outdoor sessions for their clients.

On this particular occasion, Iain was asked by The Lakeland Adventure Centre to provide outdoor activities for one of their clients - Worden Sports College from Preston who had brought 27 young people away from school for a week - lucky devils!

Iain didn't take on photos on day one when we all went into Church Beck at Coniston to enjoy a ghyll scrambling session. The kids absolutely loved it though. Church Beck is undoubtedly one of the Lake Districts best venues for gorge walking, ghyll scrambling and canyoning - currently one of our most popular activities.

On day two, Iain spent the day rock climbing at the crag in photo one. This picture was taken with his group in the morning. The venue is known as the Hoad Slabs and is on the hillside just above the A590 as it comes into the town of Ulverston and is also directly below the Hoad Monument which looks like a lighthouse from a distance.

These young people had little experience of belaying or climbing and this was an introductory half day rock climbing session. In the photo, a girl can be seen being lowered and she is being belayed by the young man at the bottom of the crag who has an Italian Hitch attached to his harness. The two people in the foreground are also holding the rope and this is a simpler method of belaying when there is little time to get ones head around the concept of using a belay plate for climbing.

The next day was journey day for the group. We took a van from the centre and drove into Coniston village where we parked up and set off walking via Coniston Hall along the west shore of Coniston Water.

Coniston Water is a popular venue with people enjoying watersports from canoeing & kayaking throught to sailing. Kendal Mountaineering Services offers canoeing & kayaking to people wanting to try it out for either half or full day sessions. With the weather finally getting warmer - becoming wet is less of a problem. Iain did wonder if his young team were going to get wet in photo two as between them, they worked to get the steamer pontoon swaying from side to side. As you can see, the weather was great.
Having walked along about half of our return journey to the centre, we had stopped to have lunch at the pontoon and a bit of wet fun before continuing along the west shore of Coniston Water. (photo three)

The plan was that sooner or later, we would meet another group coming the other way and give them our van keys in exchange for some Canadian canoes, paddles and bouyancy aids, we did eventually meet them. Today it was absolutely baking hot in fact the hottest day of the year to date - maybe a bit too warm for a journey day. Iain would have quite happily gone back into Church Beck!
After having walked around 3 miles along the western shore of Coniston Water, we arrived at 7 canadian canoes neatly tied up and ready for us to use on the water based part of our journey day.

Photo four shows the group prepared and ready to set off on the last mile and a half of our journey back to the centre.

Some members struggled at first with the concept of working as a team in a Canadian Canoe - you have to unless you are paddling solo. Most of the group had improved markedly after a mile or so.

At Kendal Mountaineering Services we can teach you all of the skills you need to be able to handle one of these craft on rivers as well as lakes, contact us for details.

The final photo from this post shows Iains group the next morning during their introductory kayaking half day session.

There is so much fun you can have in a kayak other than just paddling them around. Here, half the group are stood up whilst the others in the team have to keep the boats tightly pulled together to make a stable rafted platform for them. Other kayak games we did included individuals doing a complete traverse right around the raft, a game of British Bulldogs (tig or tag) and something called "Octopus eat fish" which the group loved.

Iain wasn't required to work with the group the next day but apparently they were going raft building - something again that we provide. Raft building is very popular with stag & hen events and in fact, we will be doing exactly that on June 16th with a stag group on Coniston Water.

If you would like to try any of the activities that you've seen here then you can with Kendal Mountaineering Services. Contact us to arrange your multi-activity session. The rest of the photos from this multi-activity course can be viewed here.

Monday 28 May 2012

Improvised Rescue skills for climbers. Lake District based courses. Sunday May 20th, 2012.

Alastair Dunbar contacted Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services at short notice whilst visiting the Lake District on a UK road trip.

Alastair has recently returned to the UK after having spent a number of years working abroad. During his time abroad he had done a considerable amount of climbing with locals but had no experience of learning techniques from a qualified climbing instructor. Alastair came to Iain specifically interested in learning improvised  rescue techniques ie what to do when things go wrong whilst rock climbing.

The programme for the day changed somewhat upon Iains inital meeting with Alastair. It turned out that he also wanted to revisit the selection of good anchor placements and equalising anchors at climbing stances. Photo one shows Alastair attached to three independent anchors using the rope to tie in with. You can bring anchors to a central attachment point using either rope  (if you are alternately sharing the leads on a multi-pitch climb) or slings if you are going to be the one leading all of the pitches. Reading the captions on the photographs associated with this improvised rescue skills training session will give you a clearer idea of what Iain is talking about.

After looking at anchor selection and attaching to anchors we discussed belaying techniques.

In photo two, Iain is demonstrating correct practice for belaying at a stance whilst climbing. Firstly, the belay plate should always be attached to the belayers rope tie in loop and not (as people often seem to think) to the harness abseil loop. There are a number of reasons for this, firstly, by attaching the belay plate to the rope tie in loop - any load taken on the live rope (in Iains left hand) is transmitted directly to the anchors via the rope attachment and secondly, should it all have gone wrong for the climber, the belayer can easily escape the system to investigate and offer assistance; or go and get help.

We also discussed belay plate orientation. In photo two the belay plate is set up for a downward pull. The live rope to the second is in Iains left hand and the dead rope is locked off in his right hand. Note also how the plate is correctly orientated so that the locking grooves on the belay plate are on the dead rope side  of the plate.

Finally - which side of the rope tie in loop should be used and when? Basically - if the belayer is expecting a downward pull then the karabiner attaching the belay plate to the rope tie in loop should be attached to the lower side of the tie in loop (as in photo two). If the belayer was expecting an upward pull  ie lead climber has fallen off above their last runner, then the belay plate would be attached into the upward side of the tie in loop and orientated so that the live rope side of the belay plate was uppermost and that the dead rope and locking grooves on the plate were facing downwards.

Looking at anchor selection, tying into anchors and belaying techniques took us through half of the day, but already, Alastair had learned a lot of new stuff. During the afternoon, we discussed escaping the system and then went on to practise abseiling past a knot (photo three) and converting from an abseil descent to ascending the rope (photo four).

In photo three, Alastair has abseiled to within a few feet of the knot before tying a backup clove hitch well below the knot - just in case it all goes wrong!

Following this he attached a prussik knot to the rope above everything else and then attached this to himself  - weighting it so that he could release, remove and then replace his abseil rig below the knot. Once he had acheived this, it was a simple case of pulling down on the prussik until his weight was once more on his abseil rig. He could then remove the prussik & sling and backup clove hitch and then continue his descent.

In photo four Alastair had already completed the changeover  from abseil descent to ascent of the rope. This is done by firstly adding that backup clove hitch to ones harness with the rope - below everything else and then getting a prussik (a klemhiest this time) on the rope above everything else.

A footloop is then attached to the abseil backup prussik allowing one to "stand up" on the rope and attach the klemheist to the abseil loop. Once this is loaded, the belay plate can be unwieghted and removed. Upward ascent of the climbing rope is then carried out by standing in the footloop and sliding the klemheist up the rope and then loading the klemhiest which releases the weight on the footloop which can then be slid further up the rope and reweighted. The process is repeated with the rope being fed through the backup clove hitch every few cycles.

Following practising these techniques, Iain demonstrated both an assisted & unassisted hoist to Alastair before allowing him to hoist Iain. A belayer would use an assisted hoist if a second was unable to climb a pitch without support but able to pull upwards on a rope and an unassisted hoist would be used if a second were unable to offer any assistance to the belayer.

All of the photographs relating to this improvised rescue skills training course in The Lake District can be viewed here. To book your improvised rescue skills training course or rock climbing skills training course with Kendal Mountaineering services contact Iain here. We look forward to working with you.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. May 15th & 16th 2012.

Evita Evans booked a bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District for herself and husband Rob as part of a birthday present for him. Photo one is taken at the top of Green Quarter Fell with the Kentmere Horseshoe behind

Evita had contacted us at Kendal Mountaineering services some time previously to arrange this course for them both whilst they visited the Lake District - taking a break from their busy lives in London running London Hire Ltd - a company that services the vehicle requirements for all of the various London Boroughs.

The pair enjoy getting away from it all to spend holidays walking in Devon, The Yorkshire Dales and The Lake District and are enthusiastically trying to bag the Lake District Wainwrights but they were finding difficulties with navigation whilst out on the hills leading to all sorts of problems.

Iain arranged to run one of our standard two day Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses for the pair and we did this in the Kentmere area of the southern Lake District - not far from where they were staying in Staveley.

We started by going right back to the basics - orientating the map in order to be able to align the map  with the landscape around us. This is enormously helpful when trying to work out where you are and involves the use of the compass in order to do so.

Following this, we looked at the skill of pacing and measuring distance on the map. This was in order that we could start to walk on a route, identify "tick off features" to help us identify where we were at a given point and be able to accurately pace the distances we had measured.

Photo two was taken a little while later after we had practised all of that outlined above plus finding and being able to accurately identify grid references. The next task was to take and walk on a bearing.
Taking a compass bearing is quite a complicated task for someone new to navigation skills training. You need to line the compass up between two grid references as in photo three (in this case two ring contours)  and then rotate the bezel (circular disc) until the orienting lines (black & red lines) are parallel to an easting (or line of longitude) and the red arrow is pointing to grid north.

At the same time, the direction of travel arrow on the compass baseplate must be pointing in the direction you wish to travel. Next, read off the degrees on the index line (black line) on the numbered portion of the outer bezel ring and physically add 3 degrees to that reading. Finally, take the compass off the map and rotate the whole compass until the red magnetic north needle is aligned with the red arrow in the bezel. The direction of travel arrow is now pointing in the direction that you must walk on the ground
The rest of day one was spent on Green Quarter Fell practising taking and walking on a bearing between grid references and measuring & pacing distance. We also spent some time using the compass to work out what we could see from a known vantage point.

Day two of our Mountain  Navigation Skills Training Course found us a little to the north of the previous day on Shipman Knotts and Kentmere Pike doing more of the same, but looking at using attack points to home in on grid references and other navigation techniques as well.

The weather throughout the two day Navigation Skills training course was dry but cold. The latter part of day two saw us finish the course by continuing  on to Harter Fell (photo four) before descending via Nan Bield Pass and returning to our vehicle via the upper part of the Kentmere valley.

Evita & Rob thoroughly enjoyed their two day bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills training Course with Iain and had plans to spend the next few days in The Lake District bagging some more Wainwright tops with their new skills and improved confidence. Iain wishes them success with this and being able to enjoy going into the hills more in the future.

If you would like to book your own Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course with Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services then contact us here. More photographs from Evita & Robs course can be viewed here.

Introductory caving sessions in The York shire Dales National Park. May 12th 2012

Paul Ogden booked an introductory caving session for himself and his mate Phil Bartlett with Iain from Kendal Mountaineering services and they drove up from Manchester last Saturday to meet Iain at Inglesport in the village of Ingleton.

Phil (at right in photo one) was particularly nervous about going caving - having heard stories from a mate who had been out with another caver  (not a qualified cave leader like Iain but someone-elses mate) apparently, this chap had not had a good experience at all!

Iain has been caving for over 20 years and has a lot of experience of working with people of all abilities. He also knows how to structure caving sessions to get the best out of people and also make sure that they get the best out of their caving sessions with us!

Because of this, he chose to take the pair to Long Churns in The Yorkshire Dales National Park - an ideal venue for your first introduction to caving.

There are three separate easy ways to get in to the Long Churns cave system but Middle Entrance is by far the biggest & easiest route underground. Iain felt it was best to take the pair  in via this route and then, if they appeared comfortable, gradually introduce them to the smaller sections of the cave system as we went along.

Photo one shows the pair in Long Churns Lane prior to going underground and photo two shows Paul about to be lowered down to Double Shuffle Pool where a tricky move to his right saw him avoid going into water up to his neck. This place is in Lower Long Churns - downstream from Middle Entrance and en route for The Cheese Press and the route into Alum Pot.

It's amazing sometimes how things can develop on a session because photo three shows Phil - who had previously been very concerned about trying caving at all, trying to squeeze through the most challenging and notorious part of the entire Long Churns system - The Cheese Press.

Phil wasn't successful and had to back out, but just having the bottle to try was really quite an achievement! Well done Phil!

Prior to this, we had already been down to the lowest point in this level one introductory caving trip - the head of the Dolly Tubs Pitch, where daylight could be seen coming in from the shaft of Alum Pot.

Something somewhere had obviously made a big difference to both Phil & Paul's confidence as next - we all exited Lower Long Churns via the low crawl through to Diccan Entrance and then followed this by taking the wet upstream route from Diccan Entrance back in to Middle Long Churns at their request - way to go guys!

Following that, we headed up through Babtistry Crawl - a small fossil passageway linking lower Long Churns with Upper Long Churns and then once back at the main streamway, we headed down to come back out to daylight having completed almost everything we could have done at that point on the pairs introductory caving session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Next we climbed the entrance waterfall before heading upstream in Upper Long Churns to arrive at Doctor Bannisters Washbasin.

Daylight is not far beyond here, but one has to climb the waterfall plunging into the pool to get there and in photo four Paul joins the pair of us already up above the fall by way of an assisted handline.

The final photograph shows the pair on the limestone pavement with Penyghent away in the distance. Having successfully completed a traverse of the Long Churns System, both were beaming from ear to ear and can't wait to go underground with Iain again.

On the agenda for next time? The guys fancy trying a level two caving trip ie one with vertical pitches of up to 18metres (60 feet) as opposed to a level one trip generally having vertical pitchs of no more than 2 metres. This will involve a lot more specialist equipment - more ropes and ladders too, but it is a good progression from Level one and Iain is pleased that the pair are so keen to give it a go - so watch out for another blog post about Iains exploits underground in the Yorkshire Dales national Park with Paul & Phil.

After our session, we all returned to Inglesport for a brew and cake in the cafe. Phil & Paul also wanted to buy a copy of the Long Churns Survey so they could show all of their mates where they had been!

So, we all had enjoyed a thoroughly fantastic afternoon underground! To book your introductory caving session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park with Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services contact us here. Half day (four hour) sessions start at £45 per person and these include the provision of caving oversuits, wellington boots, a helmet & light and caving belt. Other photographs from Paul & Phils session underground can be seen here. We look forward to working with you

Ghyll Scrambling & canyoning sessions in The Lake District. May 7th & 9th 2012.

Despite the cool weather recently, work has been coming in fairly steadily for us at Kendal Mountaineering services.

One of our most popular activity sessions so far in May have been our half day ghyll scrambling & canyoning sessions in the Lake District and we have had a number of groups booking these recently for Stag & Hen Events, corporate groups and visitors to the area wanting to try something new & fun.

Photo one shows Charlotte Selvey with her partner, Tyrone and Tyrone's father Rob who booked a ghyll scrambling & canyoning session with us whilst  on holiday in the Lake District
Iain met the trio at Coniston to go and do the Church Beck ghyll scrambling & canyoning session and, as we always do, Iain kitted them all out with wetsuits, cagoules, bouyancy aids, helmets, harnesses and walking boots.

We consider this equipment to be the necessary minimum for your comfort & safety in the ghyll - many session organisers require delegates to bring their own footwear which can lead to confusion about what is (and isn't) appropriate. At least by providing walking boots with good ankle support and a good cleated sole for you, we are making sure you are going to get the best possible support & grip in what can be a slippery & unstable environment!

Iain did our usual trip with the three - a ghyll scrambling (also known as gorge walking) ascent of Church Beck as far as the chockstone pitch (photo two) followed by our canyoning descent back to this point. The three thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Other photos from Charlotte, Tyrone & Rob's session with Iain can be viewed here.
A few days later, Iain was back in Church Beck again - this time with Lydia Clews from Bath and her friend Jade - a mining geologist working for a gold mining company in Indonesia and Australia. Wow! what a job to have.

Anyway the pair were up visiting family in the area and had found the Kendal Mountaineering Services Website when looking for something different to do.

Lydia had liked the sound of our Canyoning courses and had contacted Iain to make a booking

As there was only two in this group we didn't hang around on the ghyll scrambing ascent - making short work of "the tricky traverse" and everything else en route. The tricky traverse as Iain likes to call it, is basically the traverse of a deep pool by way of a climb across a very steep wall (good handholds though) from one end of the pool to the other - penalty for failure, a good ducking!

However the girls were already thoroughly soaked and got even wetter on the canyoning descent - particularly after sliding down
the last drop at the Chockstone Pitch (photo four) They were certainly very happy with what they had done.

To book your ghyll scrambling and canyoning session with Kendal Mountaineering Services contact us here. Both are great fun for all the family and are also both refreshing and exilarating too making them ideal as part of a weekend break or holiday in The Lake District or part of a stag or hen event or corporate team build.

The rest of the photos from Lydia & Jade's fun session in the ghyll with Iain can be viewed here.

Monday 14 May 2012

Stag & Hen Events in The Lake District. May 5th 2012.

On Saturday May 5th, Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services was engaged by another Lake District based outdoor activity session provider to run a stag event on their behalf.

This group of enthusiastic lads had come together to join one of their mates who was getting married soon and they had arranged a two session activity day as part of their stag event in The Lake District.

During the morning session we took the lads for a splash about in Church Beck near Coniston and the lads loved it.
Both photos one & two show the stag group getting stuck into the wet stuff although they had only booked a ghyll scrambling session(otherwise known as gorge scrambling) and not a canyoning descent as well.

In photo two, the lads can be seen taking the plunge under the chockstone fall which is usually the final challenge on one of our canyoning descents. The stag is the chap in the white helmet.

For this group of 18 we would have charged £30 each for a half day session or £55 for a two session stag day as opposed to our starting price of £70 per head - worth remembering when booking your stag or hen event in The Lake District!

For their afternoon session, the lads had booked an abseiling session. Photo three shows them all kitted out and ready to go next to the abseil site at Hodge Close Quarry in The Lake District.

Abseiling is a great challenge an ideal as part of a stag or hen event and just a real buzz at any time for anyone who likes that adrenalin surge.

The hardest thing about abseiling for any newcomer to the sport is going backwards over a cliff - what!

However, the thing to remember is that those ropes you are attached to will hold over 1 metric ton each.

The other thing to remember is that during our abseiling sessions
we have to have adequate safety systems in place that will
protect you.

You will be asked to control your own rate of descent during an abseil by feeding the rope through a figure of 8 descendeur - but of course if you were to let go then you would fall out of control.

So the safety system in place is that you will be attached to a second rope which is paid out by  your instructor as you descend - so if you let go - you'll be fine.

This stag group thoroughly enjoyed their  abseiling session with the staff team from Kendal Mountaineering Services. To book your stag or hen event in The Lake District witha difference - contact us to arrange an awesome activity session as part of your experience - you won't be disappointed.

To see the rest of the photographs from this stag event in The lake District click here.

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions in The Lake District. May 3rd 2012

The first half of May 2012 has been fairly busy for Iain from Kendal Mountaineering services with a number of activity sessions being run in recent weeks.

First on the list was returning client Nucleargraduates with seven new graduate apprentices and Jen the Deputy Programme Manager fron Nucleargraduates all joining Iain in Church Beck as part of the first 2012 welcome workshop.

Photo one shows the group at the foot of the first big waterfall on our ghyll scrambling (or gorge scrambling ascent of Church Beck.
All of the apprentices have been selected by Nucleargraduates to join their graduate apprentice scheme and all are currently in their final year at university. Many of the undergraduates here are reading for degrees such as BA Honours in Mechanical Engineering amongst other subjects and will be sponsored by one of the Stakeholder Companies in partnership with Nucleargraduates such as Rolls Royce or Sellafield Ltd.

In photo two, the group cool off in the big pool at the entrance to the upper gorge.

The welcome workshops allow these successful applicants the opportunity to get to know others with whom they are likely to be working alongside during their two year Nucleargraduate Apprenticeship training.
Nucleargraduates came to Kendal Mountaineering services last year having seen our business online and we were asked if we could run ghyll scrambling sessions for them.

This is now the fourth ghyll scrambling & canyoning session we have run for this organisation and last October we also ran a very successful corporate Team Building Event for them in Borrowdale.

The Nucleargraduates team sees our ghyll scrambling & canyoning sessions as a means for impelling the apprentices into a situation where they have to work together, look after each other and support & encourage each other - in other words an "ice breaker".

However, our ghyll scrambling & canyoning sessions also allow the apprentices the opportunity to assess their reaction to challenge but of course this is done in an environment where safety comes first, comfort second and enjoyment third - only when those three criteria are satisfied can learning and self relection take place.

In photo three, we have already tackled the first lower on the canyoning part of our Church Beck session. Jen, the Nucleargraduates Deputy Programme Manager, is nearest in this photograph.

The final photograph taken during this ghyll scrambling & canyoning session shows the last graduate apprentice about the take the final plunge down the chockstone in to the pool below where the others who have already dealt with this challenge are waiting.  Iain would normally go first on this pitch but we had a few in our party who very were nervous and Iain felt he needed to be there to offer support & assistance.     In the end, everyone in the party managed to complete the whole canyoning descent with the support of others and hopefully everyone in the group will have a better idea of what is really possible for them if they try a little harder.
Lessons applicable to life skills can be learned on any activity session or skills training course provided by us so, if you have a training objective, let us know and we will facilitate the session to match your requirements. We look forward to working with Nucleargraduates a little later in the year when they will hopefully return for another session with us.

To find out more about our ghyll scrambling or gorge walking sessions contact us here. To see the rest of the photographs taken during this ghyll scrambling & canyoning session click here. We look forward to working with you.