Monday 22 April 2013

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning courses in The Lake District. 21st April 2013.

After working with Andrew Rotherys Stag Party on Saturday afternoon, Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services was straight back in Church Beck on Sunday Morning with Jill  Weirich and her niece Lauren.

The pair are from the USA. Lauren is currently working in the UK and Jill was visiting for what had been a very active holiday so far with Lauren.

As part of that holiday, the pair had decided to book a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session with us - appreciating the fact that we will work with a minimum of two persons. Obviously the pair made a number of enquiries, but it seemed that other providers were apparently not interested in working with a group size of less than six persons!

Whilst such a session will cost you £45 per person for a half day it is superb value! You get your own experienced instructor and all of the equipment you can see Jill & Lauren wearing is provided as part of the session. The good thing about a small party size on any wet session is that there is less waiting around to be done at the waterfalls or abseils and if it is wet & cold - you need to keep moving!

Wet & cold is exactly what  yesterday was in contrast to Saturday, but the pair found the scenery in the ghyll truly breathtaking - having nothing like this in their native Florida.

We made our way up the ghyll trying not to get too wet and made the decision to avoid the top jumps today. Lauren can be seen in photo two trying the Miners Bridge Fall Abseil and with that, the pair were happy to call it a day.

Both Jill & Lauren enjoyed their Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District with Iain and Lauren hopes to return in the Summer with friends & work colleagues to give the full Church Beck Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning experience a go. We look forward to working with her again.

In the meantime, if you would like to book your Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session in The Lake District then contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. April 19th 2013.

It has been a busy weekend at Kendal Mountaineering Services with Iain being out three days in succession.

Last Friday, Iain was out on the fells with Gill & Mike Cameron who were staying in The Lake District with their friends Rob & Evita Evans who attended one of our bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in May 2012.

Rob & Evita had enjoyed themselves so much that they had booked Gill & Mike on to a one day Mountain Navigation Skills
Training Course so that the pair could learn the basic skills at least!

Photo one sees Gill & Mike working out the route from Hall Lane to take us up on to Green Quarter Fell. At this point, we had already discussed the importance of orientating the map and being able to measure and pace distance.

Photo two was taken quite a while later. By the time we had reached this point we had already travelled several kilometres following linear features such as bridleways during which the pair had been identifying "tick off features" en route as well as doing a lot of measuring of distance and pacing. These are all essential basic skills required to be able to successfully navigate whilst reading a map.

By now Gill & Mike could also locate a feature using a six figure grid reference as well as being able to give a grid reference for a known point. They had also just successfully completed two legs of our route on relatively featureless ground using only a compass bearing  and pacing to help them find the next location.

During Mike & Gills one day Lake District Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course the weather was initially cold but by early afternoon the sun had broken through the cloud and it became much more pleasant.

Today, we didn't cover a lot of distance - never quite making it on to Green Quarter Fell - but we covered a lot of navigation skills. Our final photo is taken at Birk Rigg at the end of the afternoon after practising "boxing" around obstacles and more working out of bearings, measuring of distance and then actually using the information to find the next grid reference.

We finished the session talking about Nainsmiths Rule. Naismith reckoned that most people could cover about 3 kilometres in an hour and needed to add an additional 1 minute for every 10 metre contour crossed during a leg. So, we spent our final 20 minutes on the fell doing some maths before heading down to the Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley for a well earned pint.

Gill & Mike enjoyed their Mountain navigation Skills Training Day in The Lake District with Iain. As well as offering bespoke Navigation Courses during any weekend of your choice we are also running Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in May and throughout the Autumn at only £80 per person for a two day course. Check out the course dates and information here.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Stag Events in The Lake District. April 20th 2013.

On Saturday Kendal Mountaineering Services ran a Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session in Church Beck near the scenic village of Coniston for a group of lads from the Leeds area.

Andrew Rothery had contacted Iain during our South America trip wanting to book a half day of Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning as part of the Stag event in The Lake District he was organising for his brother Luke who is soon to tie the knot.

Andrew has found Kendal Mountaineering Services on the internet and liked what he saw. To use his own words "you guys look like you know what you are doing!" and we would like to think that is true!

Saturday afternoon was sunny and strangely quiet as we worked our way up the bed of the ghyll although the water was pretty cold still. The lads were keen to get wet though in an effort to shake of any vestiges of the hangover from the previous nights session in Bowness on Windermere - so it was straight in at the first plunge pool. Some of the expressions on peoples faces are a picture! You can view the rest of the photos from Andrews Stag session here.

Photo two sees the lads tackling what Iain describes as "the tricky traverse". The chap nearest our assisting instructor - Scott, is basically climbing across the back of the pool hanging on by his hands & toes (with a bit of assistance from us). As you can probably guess, the penality for failure is - another complete ducking!
As previously mentioned, the water was chilly, so we headed on up to the top jumps before exiting the ghyll and splitting in to two teams in an effort to keep warm.

Rather than keeping the whole party together it was decided that one group would go and do the top jumps whilst the other would do the Miners Bridge Fall abseil - and then follow on with the top jumps. This way we could keep the team moving.

Photo three sees Andrew having completed the jumps and swimming out to Iain.

The top jumps as they are known consist of three waterfalls with deep plunge pools underneath. The first jump is into a narrow & potentially hazardous slot where injuries can occur but we remove that risk by lowering you on a  rope to a lower ledge where the jump can be undertaken without hitting anything. The next fall is only short and a climb down and further swim leads you to the head of the fall in this photo. To do the final fall one sits ontop of the flat chockstone and simply slides down the middle - all great fun and all part of our Canyoning descent of Church Beck.

Photo four sees all of Iains group at the foot of the top jumps and that was the end of getting thoroughly soaked for the day.

After this we went and did the Miners Bridge waterfall abseil although not everyone wanted to have a go. Our Canyoning sessions normally involve getting out of the ghyll just below where this photo is taken and walking to the top of the gorge to begin heading downstream. Above Miners Bridge there is another abseil down a fall and two opportunities for further duckings before one arrives at Miners Bridge for the abseil there and then the top jumps.

Our Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District are exhilarating & fun sessions and the most popular activity we offer. These sessions are ideal as part of a stag or Hen Event or Corporate Team Build and great family fun too.

For anyone really wanting to go for it - why not try one of our Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling trips - a full day out in the best gorge in The Lake District. You can read about these here.

To book your ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services contact us here. All of the equipment you see the people in this photo wearing is provided as part of your fee and depending on your group size can cost as little as £30 per person for a half day (four hour) session. We look forward to working with you.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Beginners Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District. April 11th 2013.

Last Thursday Kendal Mountaineering services were back in action again with one of our corporate clients - Nucleargraduates.

Nucleargraduates are responsible for recruiting graduate apprentices to a two year scheme which will see them work within and ultimately find employment with a variety of organisations including the Nuclear Decommisioning Authority, Rolls Royce, Sellafield Ltd and Magnox to name a few.

Nucleargraduates first approached Kendal Mountaineering Services two years ago looking for an activity with a purpose and that purpose is as follows.

Initially, all apprentices joining Nucleargraduates attend a two day welcome workshop. Based in Kendal, this involves various tasks and gives the successful graduate apprentices a chance to get to know each other.

As part of these welcome workshops, Nucleargraduates decided to introduce an activity where the participants will be faced with a challenge where they will need to work together to achieve success; and this is where our services come in. In most cases we use our Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions to facilitate this requirement.

All graduate groups such as the ones in the photos here will be working together for the next two years of their apprentice-ships so, the intention of  the Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions with Kendal Mountaineering Services is intended to encourage participants to work together closely and this allows individuals within the group to bond with one another.

Any of our activity sessions can be used in this way - allowing development of individual & group support allowing trust to develop as well as improving communication, decision making and leadership skills In effect the sessions are designed to work as an "icebreaker" session and we have a proven track record of achieving good results in this field.

All of these photos were taken during a Beginners Rock Climbing session, albeit designed to have the same effect of bringing together this group of individuals to form bonds & work together as a team.

We chose to use a beginners Rock Climbing Session in The lake district (Langdale to be precise) to facilitate team development on this occasion as the client had previously expressed a concern about the negative effect that a cold Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session would be likely to have on the developmental purpose of the session - quite rightly so.

As can be seen in all of the photos the clients are enjoying themselves. We split them into three teams and each person in the team rotated between actually climbing, belaying and tailing - that is to say - holding the rope behind the belayer - just in case they let go!

The challenge of course was climbing and overcoming that fear of hieghts which many people have and during this session many participants improved their climbing ability a great deal through the support & encouragement of their peers. Trust and communication skills would also improve along the way and new skills & techniques would be learnt by most; although we did have a few keen climbers arrive with this group.

In the final photo, we offered an abseil to those who wanted to try a different challenge. Different in the respect that rather than being belayed (ie kept safe) by one of their peers, in this instance it was Iain who was holding the safety rope and providing the encouragement instead.

However, being asked to lean over a cliif and descend a rope when that rope has not been tight on you all the time (as in the top rope/bottom belay system employed for all of the climbing during the session) can be quite a different thing and initially a new & harder challenge for many people.

Iain has many years of experience in encouraging & supporting nervous people attempting to abseil and it is a very rare occasion he does not succeed. This time the success rate was 100%.

Today saw the return of rain to the area after a long dry spell. However, whilst it didn't rain hard it was cold, but everyone worked with great enthusiasm and the objectives of the session were undoubtedly met. We helped facilitate this further by providing hats & gloves for the group as many individuals didn't have them. Halfway through the session we also provided a hot drink for everyone - much appreciated by all!

As well as being a great session for team development work and Corporate Events our beginners rock climbing & abseiling sessions in The Lake District are ideal a part of a Stag or Hen Event and just great fun if you want to push yourself a little bit and learn some new skills.

As the weather warms up climbing becomes more enjoyable so contact us to book your climbing & Abseiling session in The Lake District. We look forward to working with you.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Scrambling in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services.

After spending last Saturday Abseiling and Ghyll Scrambling with Phil Brookers Stag party Iain was out the next day scrambling with a mate - Neil Mackay.

Neil is currently training to be a UIAGM Mountain Guide and wanted to get some practice scrambling before he returns to Plas y Brenin for a partial reassessment of his Summer Guides Test next September.

The weather recently has been cold & dry, but out of the wind - warm if one has been in the sun - ideal weather for Rock climbing & scrambling.

Neil had just returned from Chamonix and was itching to get out on some grade III scrambling ground so Iain suggested tackling Low Water Beck (III) linking it with Brimfell Rib (II) .

In photo one, Neil is setting off up the initial pitch of Low Water Beck - on this occasion pretty dry. Low Water Beck is also a great little Grade III winter climb when it comes into condition. You can read a previous climbing report about it here.

The scramble of Low Water Beck starts up the bed of the stream leaving after about 30m up a groove to the right. Above this the ground is mixed vegetation & rock and the belays are rather poor -only improving just below where one crosses the stream leftwards above the waterfall & gully below.

Above there, one again climbs rightwards of a v groove down which the stream is cascading and as it is not such serious ground, Neil employed a direct belay (photo two) to protect Iain as he climbed towards Neils stance.

A direct belay involves using the rope in direct contact with the rock, so any piece of rock must be absolutely sound with no obvious cracks. Such anchors such be given a good kick and tug to ensure that they are solid and if they sound hollow or move - do not use them. Failure to identify what is and is not a solid anchor suitable for a direct belay can lead to death if they fail whilst loaded and is often the cause for deferral during climbing assessments such as those encountered in the Mountaineering Instructors Award/Certificate and various Guides Tests.

Scrambling is the link between walking & climbing and takes you into some fantastic locations where you will find breathtaking exposure and fantastic views such as the one in photo three.

Here, Iain is pictured on Brimfell Rib with a view towards the NE face of Coniston Old Man with a frozen Low Water nestling at it's foot. Coniston Water can be seen in the distance.

Despite looking freezing it was actually a pleasant day with only a light breeze at the summit of the Old Man. You can view other photos of the day here.

Other great Lake District Scrambles include Jacks Rake in Langdale, Pinnacle Ridge in the Ullswater Valley, Sharp Edge on Blencathra, Slab & Notch Route on Pillar Rock in Ennerdale and Arrowhead Ridge on Great Gable in Wasdale - to name a few. Many scramblers ultimately aspire to complete The Cuillin Ridge on The Isle of Skye  - a 13 km sustained and committing traverse along an alpine-like ridge with scrambling, climbing and abseiling to be carried out to achieve success. Kendal Mountaineering Services offer two trips for aspiring scramblers to this ridge one in May & one in September each year!

As well as offering guided Scrambling in The Lake District, Kendal Mountaineering services also offer scrambling skills training Courses for members of the general public wishing to learn the techniques required to be able to go off and scramble for yourself.

Martin Richards & James Rocks travelled from Buckinghamshire on two occasions to learn and practise their scrambling skills with us. In photo four James belays Martin using a solid rock spike as an anchor. You can read about Martin & James's Scrambling Skills Training course in The Lake District here.

The prices for our scrambling Skills Training Courses start at £150 per day for two persons and this price includes the provision of helmets, harnesses, rope & rack.

Without exception, you will be coached in the skills by a qualified  Instructor holding, at the very least, the Mountaineering Instructors Award - this is the basic minimum qualification for teaching skills of this kind..

We aim to be flexible and are also prepared to work with individuals wishing to learn scrambling skills. In photo five, Chris Owen joined Iain for a very enjoyable two day Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District and was very satisfied with the outcome.

Here, you can read a report from Chris's Scrambling Skills Training Course here which contains feedback direct from the client.

To book your guided Scrambling day in The Lake District, a Scrambling Skills Training Course or a Cuillin Ridge traverse trip contact Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services here. Our Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trips are particularly good value costing only £425 for seven nights self catering accommodation including four days guiding on the Cuillin Ridge. The next one runs between September 7th & 14th 2013. We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Stag & Hen Events in The Lake District. Saturday April 6th 2013.

Lake District Ghyll Scrambling Sessions with Kendal Mountaineering Services.
Kendal Mountaineering Services ran their first Stag Event of the year last Saturday. Phil Brooker had booked this session as part of a stag weekend for his brother Chris who gets married in a months time.

A whole bunch of mates had got together for this weekend event based in Kendal with participants coming from as far away as Dresden in Germany!

Initially, phil's enquiry centred around booking one of our popular Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District but he also asked if it would be possible to have a later start - and could we tack another activity on to a longish half day? Iain suggested abseiling - another activity popular with Stag & Hen Events. Phil liked the sound of this for an additional £15 per person and so this was added to the itinerary. The abseiling session was run at Hodge Close near Tilberthwaite (photo One).

Stag Events North West England with Kendal Mountaineering Services.
After abseiling, we relocated to Coniston so that the lads could get lunch whilst we organised the equipment for the  Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning session in Church Beck.

As can be seen in photo two, the weather was good (cold, but warm in the abundant sunshine) and Church Beck was low. Our biggest concern was the temperature as the UK has been subject to a long cold spell and the water was clearly going to be chilly.

Our clients comfort & enjoyment are our top priority at all times and to make sure you enjoy your session we provide a high standard of equipment provision as part of your fee per person.

Gorge Walking Sessions in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services.

For our Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions this includes a full body wetsuit, a cagoule (the red jacket worn by the chap in photo three) a bouyancy aid, a helmet & walking boots for your feet and on this occasion we even provided neoprene wetsocks in the walking boots.

All of this equipment is intended to keep you warm whilst wet and during this session we managed to achieve that aim despite the water being pretty chilly.

All we ask you to bring for our Ghyll Scrambling & canyoning Sessions are swimwear, towels, a long sleeved fleece type top, some thick socks - and plenty of enthusiasm!
Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services.
Photo four sees the Stag - Chris, having just been sent down the Chockstone slide first by his mates.

Enthusiasm was certainly needed today in the ghyll and we had a shorter than ususal session here not only because we were late starting in the ghyll but because of the temperature.

After a ghyll scrambling ascent of Church Beck, we climbed the left hand side of the Chockstone and did this followed by a jump into the next pool downstream getting the lads thoroughly soaked in the process before getting out to go and get dry.

Back at the vehicles we provided a choice of tea, coffee & hot chocolate to warm everyone up before they departed for their second night out in town.

Everyone appeared to have enjoyed their Stag Activity Session in The Lake District and we hope they enjoyed the rest of their weekend stay in the area. When booking your Stag or Hen Event in The Lake District with us - feel free to ask our advice about accommodation and eating out in the area as being the Lake Districts leading Outdoor Activity Specialists - we also know where to stay and where to eat. Phils party had stayed at an out of town Travelodge but there is a Premier Inn right in town which might have been more central location for their evening plans.

Stag & Hen Events are one of the most popular things we organise with a number booked to take place in the months ahead. When organising your big day out you can choose from the selection of activities offered on our website and lunch can be provided from £6 per person. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss the options available to make your Stag or Hen Event an exciting & memorable day out.

Other photos from Chris Brookers Stag Event can be viewed here.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course. Lake District based. May 25th & 26th 2013.

Kendal Mountaineering Services are continuing to run their successful Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in the Kentmere area of the southern Lake District National Park.

The next available weekend course is May 25th & 26th 2013 and the cost for the two day Navigation Course is only £80 per person for the weekend. We currently have eight places available.

The price includes the provision of laminated maps for the areas to be covered in both 1:25 and 1:50,000 scales. You will need to provide your own compass for the course and we would recommend the Silva Type 4 Expedition compass for this Navigation Skills training Course.

These Navigation skills training course are ideal for anyone wishing to improve their map reading & navigation skills to allow them to venture into mountainous regions of the UK with confidence.

Some previous experience of map reading & navigation techniques is useful but not essential.

These courses are also ideal if you are preparing for your Summer Mountainwalking Leader Assessment either as preparation for the assessment or as a Mountainwalking Leader Refresher course prior to attending a reassessment for your Summer Mountainwalking Leader Award.

Map reading & navigation skills form the backbone of every Mountainwalking Leader Assessment whether it be summer or winter, so confidence with this skill is essential to pass the award.
The course itinerary 

We will meet on both days at 09:00 at Wilf's Cafe at Staveley Mill Yard in Staveley (LA8 9LR for those of you with Satnav). On day one we will travel to the nearby area of Green Quarter Fell to introduce basic map reading & navigation techniques providing a progression throughout the day for everyone - no matter what level of expertise you have.

Day one is designed to be an informal introduction to the basics skills needed to map read in the mountains - building on the skills you already possess and adding more! The whole course wil take place in a relaxed atmosphere - it is meant to be fun!

On day two, we travel further up the Kentmere Valley to walk part of the Kentmere Horseshoe and here we can consolidate the skills taught on day one as well as adding techniques not already covered.

Here, walking at a higher altitude, we are more likely to encounter the conditions which will test your ability. Low cloud, poor visibility and strongers winds. All these things go together to make a realistic environment in which to test your skills in preparation for going into the mountains on your own or with friends

The following aspects of navigation skills will be covered during the course :-

Orientation of the map,

Grid references,

Measuring distance on the map & on the ground by pacing.

Tick off features,

Naismiths rule (timings c/w distance & contours),

Taking & walking on a bearing using a map, ie grid to mag,

Identifying from ground to map (Mag to grid),

Walking on a bearing/back bearings,

"Handrailing" using Linear features (eg streams/footpaths),

Aiming off,

Attack points,


"Boxing" around an obstacle.

The emphasis throughout the course is to give you as many opportunities as possible to progress to a high standard of mountain navigational capability. We run all of our Navigation Skills Training courses to Mountain Leader Training (MTE) Standard.

We are also running these Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses during Autumn & Winter 2013 during the following dates:-

September 28/29 and October 26/27 (10 places available each course)

November 9/10 and November 30 / December 1 (10 places available each course)

Please get in touch with your queries either by phoning Iain on 07761 483364 or by using the contact us form on the website and we will be happy to answer any questions and to take your booking.

Skye, May 11th - 18th 2013. Last chance to book!

Last chance to book a place on our Skye May 2013 Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trip.

There are just seven days to go before we decide whether or not to run this trip due to take place between May 11th & 18th 2013 - so if you are interested contact us now to book your place.

This is an excellent opportunity to experience the Cuillin Ridge of Skye. Participants often have differing objectives for attending, some may wish to bag the 11 munros on the Cuillin Ridge, others may want to complete a traverse of the Cuillin Ridge. Here, both can be done together.

Our package allows for considerable flexibility. We will have six full days of which four will involve being guided by Iain Gallagher, Mountaineering Instructor, with the ultimate aim of a complete traverse. There are also two rest days allowing us to be flexible and make the best of the weather when choosing our four Cuillin Ridge traverse days.
The price is still only £425 per person and is excellent value for what is on offer. This package includes 7 nights self catering accommodation in a comfortable cottage, a guided traverse of the Cuillin Ridge of Skye from end to end done, if possible, over a maximum of 4 days. Please note that we cannot guarantee a complete ridge traverse as it is often weather dependant, but we will do our best!

As the accommodation is not too distant from the Cuillins, we make daily forays into the ridge allowing us to complete the traverse section by section but spending each night in a comfortable bed and getting a good meal at the end of each day - this itinery has been proven to work well. There are a maximum of six places available on these Cuillin Ridge traverse trips and all of these places are allocated on the basis of deposits received. First come, first served!

 To achieve success on this trip, you need to be a fit and active hillgoer, able to carry all of your own personal equipment for each day out on the mountains and you will be expected to carry additional climbing equipment such as ropes as well.

Everyone must be equipped with a helmet & harness which can be provided as part of the course fee. You will need plenty of liquid each day and high energy food is advisable.

Interested people also need to be aware this is a committing and sustained 13km alpine style ridge traverse often on scrambling ground of grade one standard but also frequently with sections of grade two & three ground where roping up is essential. There are also sections of rock climbing such as the Thearlaich Dubh Gap (severe) and the Inaccessible Pinnacle (an optional but polished Diff) and a number of abseils to be made. Therefore previous experience of scrambling is a must and some previous experience of ropework, preferential. Ideally, you should have a good head for heights and be comfortable with a degree of exposure.
 The Cuilllin Ridge is a challenge, but don't be put off; if you have the pre-requisites listed here, then you should be fine.

The Cuillin Ridge Traverse is the best mountaineering expedition of its type in the UK and Kendal Mountaineering Services have a great track record in guiding on this ridge. We cannot guarantee your success in completing the full traverse, only the weather & your ability will allow us to achieve this, but with his help and your commitment to working together as part of a team, success is a real possibility.

With regards personal equipment for the ridge traverse; people must have good quality foul weather kit and bring plenty of warm clothing plus hats & gloves. On Skye, even in May it can still be wet or cold (or both on occasion). On a number of previous occasions - we have even had snow to deal with!
Due to the nature of the terrain, please do not come expecting to traverse the ridge in approach shoes! They are totally inappropriate for this traverse; stout leather or fabric boots with good ankle support, a solid and preferably cleated Vibram sole are the order of the day for this mountaineering journey.

People have ignored this advice in the past and then experienced difficulties on the ridge - slowing down progress for all concerned.

If you would like advice about equipment, additional information about the Cuilllin Ridge or would like to book a place on one of these fantastic opportunities, then please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Photographs from top to bottom are:

Looking South along the Cuillin Ridge From Bruach Na Frithe

The Southernmost part of the Cuillin Ridge from the top of the Great Stone Chute

Reaching the top of the Inaccessible Pinnacle

Loch Coruisk From Sgurr A Ghreadaidh

Sunset over Loch Bracadale and McLeods Tables from our accommodation

Read about our last trip to the Cuillin Ridge of Skye on our blog here.

We are also offering a second Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trip between the 7th & 14th September 2013 so there is a chance to book on this later course. Contact us if you are interested or would like more information and we hope to see you on Skye.

Monday 1 April 2013

Easter Bank Holiday in The Lake District

Easter weekend has been sunny & cold for us as it will have been for everyone else who visited The Lake District over the holiday period. It is undoubtedly good that the weather is dry but it would be nice if it were a little warmer as it limits the type of outdoor activities people are able to do.

At Kendal Mountaineering Services we had no bookings for the Easter Weekend but we did have friends Charlotte & Stuart visiting from the south East and they were keen to get out and try a few of the outdoor activities that we offer in the area.

Taken on Saturday, photo one Shows Stuart, Charlotte, Kirstin & Iain on top of Helvellyn. At 3118 feet, Helvellyn is the Lake Districts third highest 3000 foot peak (we only have four 3000 footers in The Lake District) and is one of Iain's favourite mountains. We ascended from Greenside Mines via Red Tarn & Swirral Edge and quickly found ourselves in amongst a lot of snow - mainly remnants of last weekends snowy spell which didn't affect us in Kendal but caused a great many problems elsewhere in The Lake District. Some step kicking was required on Swirral Edge in order to keep the rest of our party safe on what was the hardest part of our route up the mountain, but otherwise the climb was pretty easy and very pleasant.

Photo two shows the crest of Helvellyn above Brown Cove and beyond - the ridge of Swirral Edge connecting to the peak of Catstycam. Whilst cornices are undoubtedly things of beauty they are also a dangerous hazard as they often hide cliffs & steep slopes below. Helvellyns cornices have, in the past, resulted in many rescues having to be made  after unwary hillwalkers & mountaineers have fallen through them when trying to view Brown Cove & Red Tarn below resulting in falls and slides of up to 1000 feet.

Fortunately today the weather was so good that you couldn't miss the cornices which were also frozen solid and very stable. People were climbing many of the gully lines on Red Tarn face and also on Browncove Crags. Conditions are currently good in The Lake District for Winter Climbing and learning Winter Skills and we are available to provide you with either of these courses so give us a call to book your day out!

Whilst the weather is currently too cold for Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning courses in The Lake District, caving is something that can be done in relative comfort and Charlotte had never experienced the delights that going underground in The Yorkshire Dales National Park has to offer. So on Sunday, we all went to Long Churns cave system.

As can be seen in photo three - the Yorkshire Dales National Park got it's own share of the snow last weekend and the guys at Inglesport had already warned us to see snow in Middle Entrance at Long Churns. Iain had never seen the entrance looking like this with a cornice drooping down into the cave entrance. People might wonder as to the wisdom of Stuart, Charlotte & Kirstin standing right under half a tonne of hanging snow but it was solid neve and quite safe although a danger to anyone who might stand on it from above.

Iain took the three on his usual underground circuit in Long Churns heading first for the lower part of the cave system via Double Shuffle & Plank Pools to the place where daylight can be seen entering from Alum Pot.

En route, Iain also offered the three the chance to step up to the challenge offered by the bedding plane crawl that is The Cheese Press. In photo four Charlotte appears on the other side of The Cheese Press having found it challenging, but a great experience.
After visiting the lower part of the Long Churns Cave system, we retured to sunlight via Diccan Entrance and then returned via Middle Entrance to visit Cross Passage (or Babtistry Crawl as it also known) before heading upstream in Upper Long Churns to return to daylight via Doctor Bannister's Washbasin (photo five) Kirstin & Stuart had both been caving before but it was a new experience for Charlotte who had been unsure what to expect but thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

If you would like to try out caving for yourself then our introductory caving sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are an ideal way to find out what caving is all about and for as little as £45 per person you get a four hour session with a qualified  Cave Leader and all the equipment that the people in these photos are wearing included in the price. So, give us a call to book your session.

At the moment, it is looking like our next post will be about a Stag Event in The Lake District we will be running for Phil Brooker next weekend. Currently, the party are booked to try out one of our fab Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning sessions followed by some abseiling. However, if the cold snap continues as forecast to then we may have to encourage them to try an alternative that doesn't involve total immersion! Other photographs from our Easter weekend adventures can be viewed here.