Monday 10 September 2012

Four days in Church Beck. September 6th - 9th 2012.

It has been a wet week for the team at Kendal Mountaineering services. The previous post - also about a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning session in Church Beck, was dated Wednesday September 5th 2012. So, Iain has been here every day for the last five days and thats a record!

Not everyone comes with the objective of purely having fun. Photo one shows Thursdays corporate group from Nucleargraduates who were attending as part of their welcome workshop. These young people have been successful in securing apprenticeships with Nucleargraduates partner businesses and the Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session undertaken with us is intended to further enhance & develop relationships being built between these graduates who will often be working together for the next two years whilst on apprenticeship.

Photo two shows Jon Chetwoods Stag Party as we were all about to head off up Church Beck last Saturday morning.

These lads had come together from all over the country to celebrate Jons brother - Tims engagement with a weekend away in The Lake District. Jon, whilst searching the internet had come across the Kendal Mountaineering Services Website and liking what he saw, booked a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session as part of the stag event.

We all headed off up the ghyll together before splitting our party down into three subgroups so that rather than hanging around getting cold, each group could go off to enjoy the three different upper parts of the Church Beck Canyoning descent.

The Church Beck Canyoning descent has three distinct parts, the Upper Gorge, the Miners Bridge Fall and the Top Jumps. We offer all of these as part of our Church Beck Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions

It is amazing how many providers don't seem to take their clients to the upper gorge in Church Beck. Certainly, none of the other parties we saw being guided on Saturday ever went upstream of Miners Bridge and we didn't see any other groups doing the Miners Bridge Fall lower either.

We like to offer our clients a little extra and as such we think  the upper gorge is certainly well worth a visit. In photo three, one of Jons Stag party gets lowered down the top waterfall in the upper gorge. Everyone in the group thoroughly enjoyed this and the plunge into a deep pool just below.
Photo four is also taken from the same Stag session and shows the plunge below the top fall in the upper gorge of Church Beck.

Below this is an easy walk to Miners Bridge and the lower down the Miners Bridge Waterfall. Recently we have been getting out on to dry rock to finish the walk down to Miners Bridge as the slabs in the stream have been really slippery all Summer.

The day before these three photos were taken, Iain was in Church Beck - not with clients but with another instructor whom he wanted to endorse to be able to work on Church Beck Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions for our business. As recently stated, our sessions are run with the following principles in mind "safety first, comfort second & enjoyment third". Any instructors working for us have to be inducted into our operational procedures for any venue. So, Iain went and "did" Church Beck with Ken Applegate who got to try out the whole experience and was made aware of the haxards in the ghyll and how to deal with them before working for us the very next day on Jon Chetwoods Stag session.

Whilst packing up all of the equipment in Coppermines Lane after Jon Chetwoods Stag session, Iain was approached by a couple enquiring as to how they could book on to a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session. As they were leaving the Lake District at the end of the very next day, Iain arranged to give them their very own session starting at 1 oclock on Sunday afternoon (photo five).

Kira & Danny are both in the military and wanted to try out Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning whilst in the area before they both head abroad for a tour of duty. They fairly raced up the ghyll and because there were only two of them, it didn't take long to do the Canyoning Descent either.

After doing the Miners Bridge Fall, we were joined by a large group at the top Jump and, as is oft the case - this group were intending to jump off the boulder above the top jump into the narrow slot below. Danny was keen to do the jump by this method but Iain refused to allow it. Moments later both Danny & Kira saw why as the first person down struck the rock with her left foot and apparently Kira saw another person strike their hand on the rock. After that, both were very keen to tackle this section the way that we do it - for your safety!

This may well be the last post before Iain heads off to the Isle of Skye to run our Cuillin Ridge Traverse trip although we have room this week for anyone fancying an action packed activity session or skills training course. Iain does fancy a break from Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning though - why not give us a shout if you would like to go Caving, Canoeing or Kayaking instead? We will be happy to provide you with an outdoor activity session of your choice here in The Lake District, as always.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Half day Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions in The Lake District. 5th September 2012.

After a few days off, Iain from Kendal Mountaineering services was back in action today at Church Beck running a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session for Sarah Flint & Will Uttley.

The couple are staying in South Lakes on a break from Southport for the week and the weather couldn't be better for them.

Sarah browsed the internet looking for Lake district based providers of Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions and contacted a few providers as well as us. Sarah chose Kendal Mountaineering services because we were prompt & helpful with our reply and also due to the fact that we were willing to work with just two people whereas other providers were unwilling to commit to running a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session for the pair - unless they were part of a much larger group - most odd!

The way we look sat it - something is better than nothing - so whilst we won't provide any session for less than the two person rate ( yes we will work with one person but at the two person rate!) if we are doing nothing - then we are be happy to assist - the Lake District is a beautiful place and we want you to enjoy your stay here!

So, on that note Sarah booked her Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session with us for herself and husband Will. Iain met the couple in Coniston and we went to our favourite venue - Church Beck.

Photo one shows Will & Sarah shortly after setting off up the ghyll at the first waterfall, photo two shows Sarah being lowered down the first waterfall on the canyoning descent part of the Church Beck trip.

Any session undertaken with Kendal Mountaineering Services is founded on the following principles. First it has to be safe, secondly, it has to be comfortable and only when these two criteria have been met do people start to enjoy themselves.

A session for two starting at £45 per person for a half day or £70 for a full (8 hour) day of activities really is tremendous value when you consider that you you will be under the care & guidance of experienced & qualified instructional staff and provided with everything to make your session safe & comfortable.

Photo three shows the pair at the foot of Miners Bridge Fall in Church Beck. As part of our canyoning descent we always include the top part of the gorge -starting right at the Hydro Electric Scheme dam and doing one lower down a waterfall and one jump before arriving here.

Many other session providers miss out the upper section and start the canyoning descent at Miners Bridge Fall before heading down to the "Top Jumps".

Kendal Mountaineering services are not the cheapest provider of Outdoor Activity sessions in The Lake District but we like to give you a good session for your money and we think it important to provide exactly what you will need for each session to keep you safe & comfortable - as part of your fee and there are no hidden extras or additional charges.

Our final photo from this session sees Sarah & Will at the end of the canyoning descent of Church Beck with the "Top Jumps" behind them.

Will made some comment about saving the best til last. Well, no doubt the Top Jumps are the highlight of any Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session in Church Beck and we do believe that this is the best Canyoning venue in The Lake District.

We can go one better though; and for anyone wanting more of the same there is our all day Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling trip in Eskdale - two kilometres in a fab gorge with 200metres of height gain making for some great waterfalls and massive, really deep pools to jump into. Whilst this is not a canyoning descent, it really is a great trip to do and our last visit to The Esk Gorge was Saturday September 1st - you can read about it here.

The next three days will see Iain & the Kendal Mountaineering services Team at Church Beck every day, Tomorrow, we have a group of 15 corporate clients followed by an endorsement session run by Iain for a new instructor to our staff team on Friday. Saturday will see this instructor plus one other join Iain to help facilitate a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session for 19 lads on a stag event.

It really is all go for us at the moment but do contact us to book your session. We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

And so into Autumn 2012. The Esk Gorge.

After a few days off, Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services found himself back at work, this time in Eskdale in West Cumbria.

Bob Bettinson & his son Paul had arranged some time previously to attend an Esk Gorge Day with Iain. The pair were up from Essex and visiting Bobs other son in Lancaster. Todays ghyll scrambling session was in fact, meant to be Pauls Christmas present from last year!

Photo One shows Bob (left) & Paul (right) on the walk in to The Esk Gorge. Iain had met the pair in Ambleside and they had transferred to Iains car for the journey to Eskdale.

The Esk Gorge Trip is not something to be taken lightly. It is a full day session due to the fact that it is an hours drive to the venue over Lakelands two most exacting mountain passess - Wrynose & Hardknott - followed by a 3km/1 hour walk in to the venue. It feels like a real expedition!

The Esk Gorge lies at the head of Eskdale - one of the most beautiful and remote valleys in The Lake District and is, in itself, in a remote location. The nearest habitations are 3 km away and the gorge is surrounded on three sides by high mountains. The River Esk collects its waters from the basin of Upper Eskdale on the slopes of Englands highest mountains - Scafell and Scafell Pike, naturally one of the wettest areas in the UK.

Because of this the Esk is a powerful stream and this can be evidenced by its deep gorge and even deeper pools. Photo two shows Paul going for it into the first really deep pool in the gorge - forty feet long, twenty feet wide and twenty feet deep!

Because of the remote nature of the venue and the importance of remaining warm - much has to be taken into consideration when running these Esk Gorge Sessions. Cold wet weather makes running an Esk Gorge trip inadvisable when people can get chilly or the water level can rise and it can rise rapidly; although escape from all parts of the gorge is relatively easy.

On this particular day it was not cold (neither was it particularly warm) and water levels were at about their maiximum for running such a session safely, but the pair were keen to give it a go. In photo three Paul & Bob can be seen just below the highest fall in the gorge - we actually went right along the foot of it before climbing up the wall to the right!

Photo four sees Paul tackling the wall to the right of the main fall whilst Bob looks on from below.

There is a considerable amount of variation on this Esk Gorge ghyll scrambling trip with the usual walking upstream being interspersed with jumping into pools and some deep water swimming as well as roped climbing.

Today, it was a hardcore trip with the power of the water on occasion being quite surprising, but as the weather was improving ( it stayed dry throughout the day) there was no chance of the water level rising any further.

Shortly after this though, at about the half way point in the gorge, both Bob  Paul decided that they were getting a little chilly so we wisely decided to get out  and go and get dry.
The final photo from this Esk Gorge Session shows Paul & Bob back at the bridge at the foot of the gorge getting changed and warmed up with a hot drink and some food.

Despite cutting the session short, both agreed it had been fantastic fun and that they would have to come back next Summer to finish the trip off when the weather was warmer & the water levels a little lower.

Altogther, we covered half of this 2km venue which has a total fall of 200m over the 2km - no wonder there are so many waterfalls & deep pools! Despite the remote nature of the venue we saw many other people - mainly hill walkers passing en route for Scafell Pike but there were also a group of youngsters enjoying a similarly wet session in the gorge.

If you would like to try this - the ultimate Lake District Ghyll Scrambling session then contact us to arrange it for you. We look forward to working with you.

Upcoming work sees us running three ghyll scrambling & canyoning sessions in Church Beck over the next four days - one of these for one of our corporate clients and one for a stag party. Watch out for the reports coming up on the blog.

Counting down to the end of Summer with Kendal Mountaineering services.

People following the Kendal Mountaineering Services Blog might have wondered recently at the apparent lack of posts - this doesn't mean we haven't been active & busy running all manner of outdoor activity & skills training courses in the Lake District - we have been very busy throughout  the whole of August.

Our last post was August 25th detailling the many Canyoning & ghyll Scrambling sessions we have been running. The latter part of August also saw a number of bookings for Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses - the most recent being on Tuesday August 28th.

Photo one shows Ian Paley being belayed by his son Martin on Route one at Upper Scout Crag in Langdale. Martin had spent some considerable time learning rock climbing skills at an ondoor wall near to the family home in South East England but booked a course through Kendal Mountaineering services as he wanted to make the moves on to rock climbing outdoors.

So, during this one day Learning to lead Rock Climbing Course, Iain taught Martin how to place good quality anchors using nuts, Hexcentrics and camming devices. How to place and extend a running belay and how to bring anchors to a central attachment point using slings (useful if you are lead climbing all of the time) and how to tie into anchors using the rope (the most common method if you are leading alternately with your climbing partner).

Martin proved very adept at soaking up all of the information given by Iain and put it into good practise whilst leading Route One - a 3 pitch multi-pitch rock climb given a VDiff+ grading.

Martins Dad Ian had given up a morning of walking to act as belayer for Martin whilst he climbed each pitch. Meanwhile, Iain self lined so that he could be alongside Martin during the whole climb acting as coach and safety person - just in case that was needed.

Martin climbed well in the morning, photo two shows him at stance three on Route One having built a suitable multi-point belay and being about to belay his Dad up the final pitch. Ian disappeared in the afternoon in search of Dungeon Ghyll Force so Martin climbed Route Two with Iain. The weather was good throughout the afternoon and climbing conditions were excellent. Martin thoroughly enjoyed his learning to lead multi-pitch Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District with us.

The next day (Wednesday 29th August) saw Iain take a trip over to The Yorkshire Dales National Park to act as Cave Leader for the Longthorne family who were visiting the area from Bolton and fancied trying an introductory caving session.

Iain arranged to meet the family at Inglesport where we had a quick brew before driving up to Ribblehead and getting underground caving in Long Churns. Photo three shows the family - Sammy, Lindsay and Garry in the passageway leading from Lower Long Churns to Diccan Entrance.

We had entered the cave system via Middle Entrance and made our way downstream marvelling at the Entrance Waterfall and the limestone formations en route to Lower Long Churns where we had to pass obstacles such as Double Shuffle Pool, Plank Pool and The Slot before arriving at the famous Cheese Press where Sammy rose to the challenge and wriggled easily through from one side to the other.

After visiting the Cheese Press, Iain led the party party out via Diccan Entrance just so that Mum & Dad could try something Cheese Press-like - but not as tight! We then went back underground upstream in Middle Entrance and on to Upper Long Churns where Iain merely gave the party the instruction to "follow the stream until you get to a big pool & waterfall" - this of course being  Doctors Bannisters Washbasin.

We climbed the waterfall and exited the Long Churns cave system. Photo four shows the family on the limestone pavement nearby with distant Penyghent beyond. Sammy, Garry & Lindsay were delighted with their Level One introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park - a Level Two Caving Session could well be next on their adgenda.

If you would like to find out more about either our Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses or our Introductory Caving Sessions then contact Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services here. We look forward to working with you.