Friday 30 August 2013

Caving Sessions in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. 25th August 2013.

Last Sunday saw Iain doing two half day introductory caving Sessions in The Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Originally, Iain had only one half day caving session in the afternoon but our friends at Live For Today Adventures in Yorkshire had a pair who wanted to go underground and asked Iain if he could provide them with an introductory caving session - which of course he could in the morning!

So, Iain met Christian & Phil at Inglesport at 09:00 and then off we went to Long Churns for our caving session (photo one).

This photo shows Phil (left) & Christian in the main streamway in Middle Long Churns as we made our way down to Lower Long Churns and the famous Cheese Press.
Photo two shows some of the marvellous things to be seen on an Introductory Caving Session. Some very strange things can be seen and we ask on all of our sessions that people don't touch but ask about anything instead.

What you are looking at in photo two are called Speleothems or cave formations. The Limestone rock in which all of the caves are formed is soluble in rainwater which is slightly acidic due to Carbon Dioxide Gas that gets dissolved in the rainwater.

Rain hitting the surface of the ground percolates down through the limestone and picks up a load of dissolved limestone (known as Calcite) which then gets redeposited within the caves leading to flowstone formations where the water runs down the walls of the cave ( the pale brown & cream formation in photo two) and stalactites (top of photo) where the water drips off the ceiling. All of the formations are fragile and certainly stalactites take 50 years to grow a centimeter - they are so easily destroyed by inquisitive fingers and this is why we ask you not to touch!

After Phil & Christians morning Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Iain nipped back to Ingleton to collect Darran Greene who had been underground in Long Churns many years before. Darran wanted to introduce Robbie & Ben to the delights of caving whilst they were on holiday in the area.

Photo three sees (left to right Ben, Darran & Robbie) on our walk in to Long Churns. Behind the three can be seen a small wood which rings the 80 metre deep shaft of Alum Pot which is connected to the Long Churns Cave system. What a lovely afternoon it was!

Photo four sees Ben & Robbie exploring a short Fossil Passageway off the main streamway in Middle Long Churns. Many school children get introduced to the delights of caving if they are fortunate enough to attend a "residential" at one of the Lake District's Outdoor Education Centres, it is an experience that remains in the memory of many people forever.

So what is limestone and where is it formed? Well, the answer is on the bed of a tropical ocean from the remains of marine plants & animals - in effect, this rock is the remains of an ancient coral reef such as the Great Barrier Reef to be found off the east coast of Australia. In the Yorkshire Dales National Park the Limestone layer is up to 200m or 660 feet thick and actually consists of many layers or "beds" stacked one on top of the other each between 1 & 6 - 8 feet thick.

Imagine that each successive layer consists of interlocking pieces like a jigsaw puzzle and you can imagine what the Limestone layers are like! At the end of the last ice age 15'000 years ago glacial melt water flooded down the gaps in the layers and between layers to form the caves seen to day.

Of course many of these caves are now largely dry (the fossil passageways) due to the fact that as the glacier receded water levels dropped - although today some of these passages can still fill up in times of very wet weather and Long Churns is notorious for trapping unwary novices.

The final photo in this blog post sees Robbie & Ben next to the "entrance waterfall" in Middle Long Churns in the main streamway. This fall is only six feet high and here, was not carrying a lot of water, but it's ominous sound rumbles & reverberates throughout the cave system for quite a distance!

Both Christian & Phil and Darran, Ben & Robbie thoroughly enjoyed their Introductory Caving Half Day Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National park with Iain who hopes they all return again to explore and enjoy this great environment. Caving is fun and everyone should try it!

To book your half day (or full day) caving session with Iain - an experienced & knowlegable Caver Leader, contact us here. Prices for a half day (four hour) caving session start at £45 per person with all of the equipment you see people wearing provided as part of the fee.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Half Day Sessions in The Lake District. 23rd August 2013.

Friday last week saw Iain spending the day at Church Beck, Coniston getting wet along with clients who had booked on to our popular Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District.

First thing, Iain was joined by Andy Burrows and his girlfriend Melissa Harbourne who had booked the previous day and had travelled up that morning from Liverpool for the session. Melissa joined the session with some trepidation thinking that she was attending a canoeing session, however, Iain told her that she would enjoy herself and to be fair, he hasn't seen someone laugh so much in quite a while - great stuff!

We did the usual Ghyll Scrambling ascent of Church Beck (photo one) with it's swims, climbs and jumps. The pair were enthusiastic and were thoroughly soaked in a very short time!
Photo two sees Melissa about to do the slide at the end of the Canyoning descent part of the session. On the ghyll scrambling (also known as Gorge Walking) ascent - this is the point at which we get out of the gorge and head up to the very top to begin our canyoning descent.

Harnesses are donned so that Iain can attach you to the safety rope for the lower down the top and Miners Bridge waterfalls and also the top fall in the section just above where photo two is taken.

Between the top fall and the chockstone slide there is a "middle fall" with a rock in the bottom so one needs to be absolutely confident in their ability to jump out far enough to avoid this and land where Iains finger is pointing. Andy tried this challenge successfully and both enjoyed the exhilaration of the final slide. Iain has suggested that next time both Andy & Melissa try one of our Esk Gorge Trips and looks forward to taking them on this ultimate Lake District Ghyll Scrambling adventure.

After a quick turnaround and some lunch, Iain had an afternoon session in Church Beck with Andrew Dool and three of his long time School mates who were up enjoying what The Lake District has to offer during an extended Bank Holiday break.

The guys were staying locally in some handy family owned accommodation having travelled up from the south East of England the previous day. They were looking forward to doing some Mountain Biking on Saturday as well as other outdoor activities over the weekend. We hope they had a great time and at least the weather was good for getting out of doors on this August Bank Holiday weekend.

Photo three shows the guys next to the first big fall on our Ghyll Scrambling ascent of Church Beck.

The final photo in this blog post sees the guys below the top waterfall in Church Beck that is upstream of Miners Bridge. There is a section here that adds an extra 200m or so to the Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session that we offer - that many of our competitors choose to avoid!

We start off off our Canyoning descent of Church Beck by lowering clients down the waterfall behind the group in the photo and then just below, there is a jump in to a deep pool. Whilst it is not a big jump it is worth doing as is the waterfall in this photo.

In all of our sessions we aim to offer you everything that can be done at any given venue as part of your fee in addition to providing you with the very best level of personal protective equipment to keep you warm & comfortable. We guarantee you a great time so contact us to book your session. Prices for a half day of Ghyll Scrambling & canyoning in The Lake District with us start at £45 per person, less if you bring more people!

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District, August 14th 2013.

Merijn Van Den Berg contacted Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services whilst on holiday in the area with his girlfriend Hester.

The pair were staying near Santon Bridge in West Cumbria and Googled Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District and.....up we came!

The pair travelled over on Wednesday morning and met Iain at Coniston where we got kitted out in wetsuits, walking boots, cagoules, bouyancy aids and helmets before heading off into the start of the gorge where photo one was taken.

Our Lake District ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions consist of walking upstream - swimming through pools or jumping into them and climbing up small waterfalls with maybe the odd little other challenge thrown in such as squeezing under the log & up the small fall as in photo two.

Whatever challenge we choose to offer you - you can be assured that it is something we have already tried ourselves to make sure it is safe and, of course - fun!

Certainly, Merijn & Hester seemed to enjoy their ghyll Scrambling ascent of Church Beck with Iain.
Photo Three shows Hester, about to jump in from the side of the pool at an area known as the "top jumps". To get to this point she had done a short roped traverse out to Iain who was securely anchored before he lowered her down to the point where she is standing in the photo.

From here, Hester was told to unclip from the rope and jump in leftwards to the centre of the pool and then swim out to where Merijn is already waiting. Prior to this, we had already done two roped lowers down waterfalls and one jump into a pool on our Canyoning Descent part of Merijn & Hester's session with Iain.

The alternative to the method we used at this point is to jump in from the top of the waterfall to the very narrow slot which can be seen to the right of Hester, but we don't think this is a safe option. All of our sessions are based on the foundations of safety first, comfort second and enjoyment third!

The final photo from Merijn & Hester's Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session in The Lake District sees the pair at the foot of the final descent challenge - the chockstone pitch or coffin slide as it sometimes gets known.

Between here and the last photo there is one other fall between the top fall and the chockstone pitch - we will allow you to jump, but you must be confident that you can jump far enough out to avoid the rock in the base of the fall; and land where Iain is pointing!!

Merijn did the jump and Hester climbed down before they both swam the pool below. We did the slide down the chockstone pitch and that was the end of their session.

Merijn & Hester paid only £45 each for this half day (4 hour) Lake District Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session with us. In truth it didn't take the three of us four hours to do it it, but they did get to do everything there was to be done at the venue and Iain was happy to work with two of them. One of our competitors had apparently quoted them £250 for the session and that is slightly more than what we would charge six persons for the same session! It is certainly worth shopping around we think!

To find out more about our Lake District Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Rock Climbing Courses in The Lake District. Saturday 10th August 2013.

When Adam Mitcheson booked a Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services, he had previously done some rock & slab climbing as well as some mountaineering some years previously in The Alps as part of an Introductory Alpine Skills Training Course.

As he is intending to return to The Alps next year, Adam felt that a decent level of climbing experience was what he was looking for and in discussion with him on our initial meeting, Iain felt that some multi-pitch Rock Climbing Skills Training would help Adam along nicely.

Adam came along on his own to this Lake District based Rock Climbing Session. However, we were able to provide a willing second in the shape of Iain's partner Kirstin. The good thing was that this meant that Adam was able to get on to the "sharp end" of the rope and Iain was able to "coach" him. This was really the ideal scenario if Adam was to gain much from his rock climbing day.

So right from the start, Adam was able to climb, learning about anchor placements and being able to put things into practice under Iain's guidance. In photo one he is about to place his third running belay (runner) on the route we were climbing.

In photo two, Adam has set off up the second pitch of the rock climbing  route we were using. Prior to this, he had climbed, belayed by Kirstin, and had arranged several good runners on his way to the first stance.

At the first stance, Iain had demonstrated how to build a multi-anchor attachment and bring it to a central attachment point. Iain had then explained to Adam how to attach to this central attachment point (made with a sling) and then how to "belay" Kirstin with his belay plate correctly attached to the rope tie in loop and correctly orientated for a downward pull.

On Kirstin's arrival at the stance, Adam was then shown how to immediately attach her to the anchors thus safeguarding her before (as he was continuing to lead throughout) re-flaking the climbing rope so that his end came off the top of the pile. After collecting the "runners" stripped out by Kirstin as she climbed, Adam then set off climbing up pitch two.

Photo three sees Adam at the second stance on the climb. Once again, we had constructed a multi-anchor system and brought the anchors together to a central attachment point with a sling.

Best practice can be seen in action in this photo - Adam's attachment to the anchors can be seen behind his right arm where he is clove hitched in to the central attachment point. He is belaying Kirstin from the bottom of his rope tie in loop and his belay plate is orientated to take a downward pull. With his right hand locking off the dead rope any load from Kirstin below is transferred straight through the locked off belay plate and Adams rope tie in loop - directly to the anchors. Good stuff!

Our final photo of the day shows Kirstin retreating from our second rock climb using a "Stacked Abseil" system. Adam is actually holding the dead rope below Kirstin's right hand just in case she lets go. As well as teaching a person to climb
rock, we also consider it essential to show them what to do if they need to retreat off a climbing route as well!

Prior to abseiling from pitch two of the second climb, Iain had, at the top of the first route, shown Adam the correct procedure for tying into anchors using the rope - the system he ought to use when leading alternate pitches when climbing as part of a competent pair. Adam had asked for a one day Climbing Course in The Lake District, so today was a very steep learning curve for him.

However, Adam thoroughly enjoyed his rock climbing course with Iain & Kirstin and we hope he goes on to achieve success in his Alpine ambitions - and maybe before then, Iain will see him on a Winter Climbing Course in Scotland?

Photographs from this Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District complete with annotations can be viewed here. To book your bespoke Rock Climbing Course contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

Monday 19 August 2013

Introductory half day Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Thursday 8th August 2013.

Having returned to the Lake District from his day at Brimham Rocks and Howstean Gorge, Iain returned to Yorkshire the very next day to run an Introductory Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales National Park  for Duncan Shrimpton and his children Patrick and Alex. (photo one)

Duncan and his family were on holiday for a week from the South East of England. Many years ago, Duncan had been on his first ever caving trip in Long Churns and wanted to revisit the experience with his children. When asked how he had found Kendal Mountaineering Services, Duncan replied that we had come up on a Google search for caving in the area and that he had liked the factual nature of our website and that the fact that the really important bit - the price, was clearly available in the site information - as of course it should be!
Iain met the family at Inglesport as he always does. Inglesport has a fantastic cafe and is a well stocked outdoor shop and is a favourite meeting point for cavers from all around the country.

From there, we drove to Selside in Ribblesdale, got changed into caving oversuits and wellingtons and headed underground in to Long Churns where Iain took this photo of Patrick as he wriggled through The Cheese Press with ease.
We made a point of entering the system via Diccan Entrance as we had Army recruits hot on our heels and we didn't want to be stuck waiting in a queue in the the lower part of Long Churns. It was a good plan, we had gotten The Cheese Press, The Slot and Plank Pool out of the way before we met them again.

As we had entered via Diccan Entrance, Iain took the party upstream to Middle Entrance and then on to the upstream entrance into Cross Passage (Babtistry Crawl) and then downstream in Babtistry to emerge again in Lower Long Churns.

This time on our return upstream, we climbed the Entrance Waterfall  before continuing upstream  on our Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Photo three shows Patrick & Alex who by this time were becoming proper little cavers "bridging" the main streamway to avoid getting a soaking as we headed in to Upper Long Churns in the direction of Doctor Bannisters Washbasin.

On arriving at Doctor Bannister Washbasin, the children did a quick lap of the very large pool there before climbing the waterfall with assistance from Iain & their Dad.

We emerged at the upstream entrance in Long Churns with Iain offering to guide the trio around part of the Borrins Moor System. However, Alex had decided that she had had enough of caving for one day and quite fancied the idea of returning to Inglesport for further sustainance. Good choice!

Our final photo from this Introductory Half Day Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park shows the family on the limestone pavement, Penyghent in the background. After that we packed up and all returned to Inglesport - another great caving session done & dusted!

To book your Introductory Caving Session with us contact us here. Half day sessions start at £45 per person for a four hour caving session with caving oversuit, wellington boots, a caving belt and helmet with light all supplied as part of the fee. Caving is great fun and we look forward to showing you & your family the delights of what is to be seen underground.

Introductory Rock climbing and Gorge Walking Sessions in Yorkshire. 7th August 2013.

After Iains  session in The Esk Gorge with Richard Farmer & Kirsty, he was straight off to Yorkshire to prepare for the next day which consisted of an Introductory Rock Climbing and Bouldering Session at Brimham Rocks followed by and abseiling & Gorge Walking Session at Howstean Gorge in Nidderdale.

Photo one shows Iains group on this occasion during our Bouldering Session at Brimham. The children were on vacation with Village Camps and came from a diverse mix of countries including France, Spain, Lebanon and Ukraine.

During our Bouldering Session at Brimham Rocks (photo one) we climbed up, over, around and down some of the many gritstone outcrops to be found at this site for over an hour before it was time to swap with some of the other groups and have a go at an Introductory Rock Climbing Session.

In an Introductory Rock Climbing Session, we generally employ a rope system in which the climbing rope is anchored at the top of the climb at the mid point and either end hangs down to the bottom of the climb.

The climber will be attached to one end whilst several other group members will be responsible for pulling in the rope at the other end - keeping it tight to prevent the the climber falling if they slip.

As well as being an easy and safe way to climb, top rope/bottom belaying as it is known is a great way to get people working together and focusing on the skills of communication and teamwork. This was particularly important for this group of young people who didn't know each other that well and amongst other things - they were expected to converse in English throughout their time in the UK.

In photo two, the young person seen in the white tee shirt has climbed the rock face and is now being lowered down by his peers. This involves considerable trust on the part of the climbing person.

After our morning session at Brimham Rocks, the whole group plus instructional staff moved the six or so miles to Howstean Gorge in Nidderdale where tents were set up so that the group could camp overnight. Then, everyone was kitted out in wetsuits, cagoules, bouyancy aids,wellington boots and helmets so that they could go Gorge Walking (photo three).

At Howstean this involves abseiling off the bridge across the gorge 50 feet down into a deep narrow Limestone gorge where harnesses are removed before setting off upstream swimming and wading through pools and climbing up small waterfalls.

Along the way there is the possibility of visiting a limestone cave where a tributary to Howstean Beck joins the main flow.
Beyond Howstean Cave, the gorge gets narrower and deeper, the pools get deeper and the waterfalls bigger.

The edge of the gorge is surrounded by woodland and with dense foliage and an overcast sky overhead it can seem quite dark down below.

Certainly in photo four, it looks more like Iain's group are caving than Gorge Walking!

The children enjoyed their day of Introductory Rock Climbing, Bouldering, Gorge Walking & Caving and we hope they enjoyed the rest of their 3 week stay in the UK. Families wishing to try any of the activities mentioned in this post can do so with us here in The Lake District. Prices start at £45 per person for a half day (four hour) session or £70 per person for a full 8 hour day out encompassing at least two activities. Contact us to book your session here. We look forward to working with you.

The Esk Gorge. The Lake Districts ultimate Ghyll Scrambling Session. August 6th 2013.

Richard Farmer & his girlfriend Kirsty booked on to one of our all day Esk Gorge trips whilst having a weeks adventure holiday in the area.

The Esk Gorge is the best Ghyll Scrambling trip of it's type anywhere in The Lake District and is longer and more challenging than anything else in the area being some 3km long and having over 200m of height gain over it's length - meaning a lot of waterfalls and some very deep pools indeed.

Photo one shows the pair kitted up and ready to go and they were certainly up for anything Iain was to throw at them!

The Esk Gorge trip is a real adventure involving a 3km/1 hour walk in from the foot of Hardknott Pass at the head of Eskdale.

As well as the usual provision of wetsuits, cagoules, bouyancy aids, helmets & harnesses, we also provide you with rucksacs for the walk in and bin bags to keep your dry stuff dry - this is essential as unless the weather is warm you will be ready to get changed back into dry clothing after four hours of immersion in the River Esk. We recommend that you bring a flask of hot drink for that very reason!

On arrival at the foot of the gorge, we have some food & drink and then get changed at the sheepfold before getting in to the gorge. Straightaway- you'll be swimming and then climbing up the first waterfall before arriving at the first really big deep pool where there are two jumps. Following that, we climb up the fall at the back of this pool and, if as in this case there was too much water to climb the next bit you'll be roped out on to the side as is happening to Kirsty in photo two. However, we can pretty much get straight back in again!

After another 150m of swimming and picking the best route up the next cataracts we arrive at the next deep pool where there is a jump off the right hand bank (photo three) as well as one off the left as well.

Upstream of this there is a rather unexciting and slippery walk up a relatively level section of the river that we avoid by walking up the bank before jumping in at the next pool set in a tree lined ampitheatre below the highest jump at over 30 feet high.

We tend to avoid this jump (known as Lemmings Leap) the reason being that Iain tried it once and despite not hitting the bed of the pool ( you do land in a very deep pool) hitting the water from such a height hurt like hell! and there are many other less painful jumps that can be done.

Above Lemmings Leap we get to the highest falls in the gorge which we first swim under before roping up the rock to their right. Then, we are straight back in to another deep pool with a roped climb up a chimney followed by a big jump off the top of the rock back into the pool below - pure adrenalin!

Now we are at a point pretty much half way up the gorge. After briefly opening out, the gorge closes in again with more pools to swim and more falls to climb.

Further on we find ourselves in a narrow slot with a waterfall to climb after a swim. On this occasion, we couldn't get near the foot of the fall due to the volume of water ( you have to swim to the foot of the fall) so, Iain roped the pair up the side and then we immediately jumped into the next deep pool upstream - trying it from both banks!

The next section was unclimbable again due to the volume of water, so we walked up to the next jump where Richard & Kirsty jumped together (photo four) before we called time on the session.

Above here the gorge levels off after a small canyon and a walk eventually finishes at another waterfall and climb. A further 500m brings you to another deep pool and waterfall above which one arrives at the final deep pool and the point where the river meanders in from Upper Eskdale.

The Esk Gorge trip is a sustained adventure and a fantastic day out in good weather. It has to be highly recommended to adrenalin seekers looking for a real "out there" adventure. Kendal Mountaineering Services charge £75 per person for a minimum of two persons to experience this full day out with an experienced ghyll Scrambling guide. Contact us to book your session. To get a real flavour of what the Esk Gorge is all about view the  photos from this latest session here.

Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District, Saturday August 3rd 2013.

After Brian Young's Stag Event morning session in Church Beck Iain was straight back into another Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning session in the afternoon with Tony Forrester & his girlfriend Annie who were in the area on holiday and fancied trying an adrenalin filled activity.

Our Lake District Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions have to be one of the best ways of getting a buzz and their popularity seems to suggest this. Plus we are one of the few Lake District Outdoor Activity Companies that will work with only two persons.

Being part of a small group is good for you in so much as there is no hanging around standing still which is when you will get cold - despite wearing a wetsuit. When searching around to book your Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning session in The Lake District be wary of providers who ask you to join a bigger activity group for sessions like this - there is no good reason why you should other than to save money!

Ghyll Scrambling -also known as Gorge Walking describes
ascending a mountain stream climbing up waterfalls and swimming through pools. However, there are usually other things to be done in addition at most venues.

In Church Beck you have the option of a squeeze under a log climbing up through a small waterfall (photo three) and further on - try a climbing traverse around the back of a deep pool - the penalty for slipping off being a thorough soaking. You'll probably already be soaked by this point though!

For anyone wishing to indulge in a longer Gorge Walking Session in The Lake District then you should really consider one of our all day Esk Gorge adventures.

As per usual, we continued our Ghyll Scrambling ascent of Church Beck until we got to the Chockstone Pitch (photo three) before exiting the gorge and stopping at Miners Bridge to get harnesses on.

We then went to the very head of the gorge and commenced our Canyoning Descent with the pair  being lowered down three waterfalls and having done three jumps into pools before arriving back at the top of the Chockstone Pitch where we slid down into the deep pool below.

Photo four shows Tony & Annie, thoroughly soaked yet thoroughly exhilarated - having enjoyed their half day Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session with Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services.

This half day (four hour) session didn't take four hours to complete, yet the pair got the opportunity to do everything there was to be done at the venue.

For £45 per person they received a great session and were guided by an experienced & qualified guide and you can be too!

To try out this fantastic sport give us a call and let us arrange this session for you. Ideal for families, Stag & Hen Parties and Corporate groups alike - Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning in The Lake District is definitely something you should try at least once in your life!

Stag Events in The Lake District. Saturday 3rd August 2013.

Brian Young booked one of our Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions for his mate's Stag Weekend in The Lake District. The guys had travelled all the way from Aberdeen to attend this weekend away with a difference.

Our Ghyll Scrambling & canyoning Sessions in The Lake District have proven to be very popular with both Stag parties & Hen Parties visiting The Lake District over the last four years.

Photo one shows the group as they made their way up the lower part of Church Beck in what we call the Ghyll Scrambling Ascent part of the session

Photo two shows the Stag Group on Miners Bridge following the initial Ghyll Scrambling ascent of Church Beck prior to commencing the Canyoning Descent part of the session.

Many of our competitors do not offer their clients the opportunity to experience the 200m section above Miners Bridge which contains a lower down a 15 foot waterfall and a small jump into a deep pool below. However, we will always attempt to do everything that can be done at any given venue allowing you to make the most of this exciting & exhilarating experience.

On all of our Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District you will receive the equipment you can see everyone here wearing and this is all provided for your comfort & safety as part of the fee. The only thing the clients had to provide themselves was a fleece type top to wear over the wetsuit/under the cagoule, swimming shorts and socks for the walking boots. We believe our equipment provision sets the benchmark for all Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions anywhere and if you get anything less then you should be asking why!

Photo three shows the Stag having a go at the Miners Bridge Waterfall below the bridge in photo two. As with the section above the bridge, this is often missed out by our competitors offering "comparable" sessions for less money.

This challenge involves crawling backwards over the edge of the waterfall and then climbing down through the water or abseiling down to the foot of this 30 foot high fall.

In order to do this waterfall and the one above (and below) we provide you with climbing harnesses as there is no other way the two top falls could be descended safely without attachment to a rope.

At the next fall down, many businesses allow their clients to take a 15 foot jump into a very narrow slot which has resulted in a number of injuries over the years. Here, once again, we rope you past the hazardous bit and allow you to jump into the pool from a safer location.

Photo four shows Brian Young's Stag Party at the foot of the area known as The Top Jumps. Found below the Miners Bridge Waterfall, this is the narrowest part of the gorge with the deepest pools.

As previously outlined - we rope clients past the most hazardous section of the top waterfall and people can choose to jump the middle fall into the deep pool below - but only if they are confident they can jump out far enough!

The final challenge is a slide straight down the slab behind the Stag Party straight in to the pool below.

Brian's Stag Part thoroughly enjoyed their Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session in The Lake District with us. If you would like us to help make your stag or Hen Party an event with a difference then contact us here. Prices start at £45 per person with discounts applied for bigger groups. We look forward to helping you make your event one to remember. Photographs are also included free as part of the fee.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Introductory half day Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Thursday 1st August 2013.

After what had been an exceptionally busy week for Kendal Mountaineering Services, Iain had a few days off before returning to the fray with a group or young people from several  families staying near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales who wanted to try out an Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

For an Introductory Caving Session we usually head to Long Churns near Ribblehead, but in all cases arrange to meet anyone wishing to go caving at the well known premises of Inglesport in Ingleton with it's great shop and renowned cafe.

Photo one shows the team (left to right Nick, Alex, Dave, Clare & Steve) in Middle Entrance at Long Churns.

Owing to the exceptionally wet weather the day before which had persisted throughout the night, Iain had a concern about the water level in Long Churns.

However, he found himself with a strong young group of people who had caved before and whilst water levels in "The Churns" were sporting, they were within acceptable limits and, as it was not raining, not likely to rise further.

Photo two shows Dave as he squeezes through the bedding plane crawl that is "The Cheese Press" much talked about by visitors to Long Churns and often known about by people who have never done it. Today, everyone on our group managed this - the most challenging part of their introductory caving session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Following our time in Lower Long Churns and The Cheese Press, Iain took the group back out to daylight via Diccan Entrance (photo three) where one can see how much water there was in Alum Pot Beck.

Several of our party attempted the very wet bedding plane crawl (where the water issues from behind Nick & Dave) which was safe but challenging particularly as you have to exit up through a waterfall at the far end to get out. You can see more photos from this exciting wet caving trip here.
Having returned overland to Middle Entrance once again, we walked back downstream to where Cross Passage (also known as Babtistry Crawl) enters Lower Long Churns and crawled the several hundred metres through this stalagtite and flowstone decorated fossil passage back to the main Stream way where we turned down stream to visit Middle Entrance a third & final time.

We then about turned and headed upstream past Cross Passage and on into the upper reaches of Upper Long Churns finally arriving at Doctor Bannisters Washbasin (photo four).

Here, Alum Pot Beck crashes into the cave system from the surface landing in a very large & deep pool (the washbasin). Getting up the waterslide involves firstly stepping astride the jet descending in to the pool before climbing up (or in Nicks Case in photo four sideways shuffling up it - anything will do!) to the top of the waterslide. Once again, everyone made it without incident, well done!

Our final shot from this party's Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park sees everyone drying out in the sunlight on the limestone pavement not far from the upstream entrance to Long Churns.

The party had enjoyed a wet, challenging & exciting session with Iain underground on their introductory caving session and all agreed that despite having been caving before in France that this had been different; and more exciting - particularly due to the water level.

If you would like to try out a caving session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park with one of our qualified cave leaders then contact us here. Prices start at £45 per person for a half day (four hour) session or £70 for a full eight hour day of caving. You will be provided with all of the equipment you see these people wearing as part of your fee. Give caving a go, it's fun and you won't be disappointed!

Map reading & Navigation Courses in The Lake District. 27th & 28th July 2013.

Following successfully running the Seco Tools Corporate Team Building Event, Iain was straight back out the next day, this time with Stephanie Hill and her friend Christine (photo one) who had arranged one of our bespoke Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District as preparation for a forthcoming attempt on the Coast To Coast Walking Route across England.

Iain met the pair in Staveley and on day one took them to Green Quarter Fell where we got stuck into the basics of map reading and navigation.

Going back to basics means firstly using the compass to orientate the map thus aligning it up with the landscape around you. Following on from that we talked about maps scales and measuring distance on the map before measuring out distance on the ground by pacing.
The day progressed with us following a linear feature on to Green Quarter Fell ( the track next to the pair in photo one) measuring & pacing distance and identifying tickoff features along the way before breaking off onto open ground to use a compass to walk on a bearing. Over lunch, Iain introduced the idea of grid squares and grid references in order to be able to locate a particular point on the map. Christine & Stephanie quickly absorbed the theory and were soon able to give Iain 8 figure grid references for map locations - this is very good going indeed!

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting higher on Green Quarter Fell using Grid References to pinpoint places on the map and then walking point to point on a bearing whilst pacing the distance. The pair did extremely well.

We finished off the afternoon discussing Naithsmiths Rule so adding a timing dimension into the skills set. Naismith reckoned that most people were capable of walking around 3km per hour and he also stated it was necessary to add 1 minute to the time for every 10 meter contour crossed - going up or down. Iain reckons that even in the mountains - most people walk at at least 5 km per hour so it takes 15 minutes to walk 1 kilometer!

Saturday had been a fine warm day but Sunday dawned a little fresher and initially a little wetter. In fact, looking at the many streams running down the mountainsides, it was clear to see that there had been much rain overnight and the tops were cloud covered.

Day two of our Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District are always spent a little further up the Kentmere Valley and today we started from near to Green Quarter with the intention of heading up over Shipman Knotts on to Kentmere Pike consolidating skills learnt the previous day and adding new ones along the way.

One such new skill was being able to use the compass to identify unknown objects from a known reference point and also to be able to use the compass to verify things which could be seen. Photo three shows Christine having placed her compass on the map having lined up her compass along the direction of a wall we were trying to identify. This was done by lining up the direction of travel arrow on the compass with the wall and then setting the bezel (dial) to magnetic north before deducting 2 degrees to convert to grid north. The known point of reference was the wall junction and we were trying to verify this by "sighting" of one of the walls. Having done all of the required setup Christine then placed the compass on the map using the know reference point as a "pivot" for the compass and aligned the bezel to grid north. As can be seen, the edge of the compass is running in line with the wall we were trying to verify (in line with the direction of travel arrow). Job done!

The morning would see us progress up on to Shipman Knotts (photo four) heading in the direction of Kentmere Pike (in cloud in the background).

We never quite made it to Kentmere Pike as the pair wanted a 2:30 pm finish, but we did continue walking on  bearings, pacing & timing as we went from point to point until it was time to return to the vehicle. Along the way, we looked at 1:25, 1:50 and the 1:40'000 Harveys Map Scale that Stephanie & Christine will be using on their Coast To Coast Walk.

Both Stephanie & Christine gained a lot of new map reading & navigational skills from their Bespoke Weekend Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District and will, by now, have completed the Coast to Coast Walking Route - successfully we would hope.

As well running Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Courses in the Lake District, Kendal Mountaineering Services have four Autumn dates for set Navigation Skills Training Weekends in The Lake District . These are September 28th & 29th, October 26th & 27th, November 9th & 10th and November 30th/December 1st. These courses represent tremendous value for money at only £80 per person for the two day course and are ideal for the beginner or as a Mountain Walking Leader (ML) Refresher for an ML candidate wishing to prepare for a navigation reassement. Contact us here to make a booking.

Corporate Team Building events in The Lake District. July 25th & 26th 2013.

As well as offering half & full day Outdoor Activity Sessions and Skills Training Courses, Kendal Mountaineering Services also offer Bespoke Corporate Events for commercial businesses.

We were recently happy to be able to provide a bespoke Corporate Event for employees from Seco Tools who were looking for an event with a difference where their sales team would have to work together and be put in challenging and demanding situations. However, the event had to be fun as well.

We commenced the event with a task called "Product Assembly" whereby the team, split into two, had to build a "product" - in this case the planks on the floor (photo one) into a particular shape and in a certain time. Having had time to work out a plan and having had an initial "build run", the team then had two time trials so see how fast each team could assemble the product in a planned and logical format. This exercise took over an hour and engaged all members of each team in order to achieve success.

The group had requested some alternative accommodation to the "usual" hotels used when away on work business. We arranged accommodation in a remote mountain hut and got the group moved in to this before relocating to Coniston for one of our popular Lake District Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in Church Beck.

Time had fairly motored on in the course of the afternoon and so we only had time to do the ghyll scrambling ascent part of this session and the "top jumps" below Miners Bridge as the Canyoning Descent before having to call time (photo two). The group certainly found their experience in Church Beck quite unlike anything they had done before and loved it!

After our Lake District Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Session, everyone in the team returned to the climbing hut to shower and change. We had a brief review in which everyone was invited to disclose something they had learned about themselves and their own ability as well as something they had learned about others in their team. This led to quite a discussion.

Following this, we left the team for the night during which they drank copious amounts of beer and enjoyed an excellent meal at the nearby Wilsons Arms. A great evening was had by all!

Photo three shows the team enjoying our breakfast option the following morning at the climbing hut and this is one of  many options available to you. For £5 per person, we provided tea, coffee, cereals, toast, Jam, Marmalade and a full English Breakfast to fortify the lads for the morning ahead. This is only one of many things we can do to add value to your Bespoke Corporate Team Building Event in The Lake District.

Everyone in the team was going to have to depart at around mid-day on the Friday and we had been asked to provide a Canadian Canoeing Session. We chose to run this on nearby Coniston Water and decided to teach the team some basic canoeing skills before going on a journey that would encompass some challenging aspects and a few games too.

Photo four shows the Seco Tools Team rafted up after some skills training and ready to go on that journey which included a visit to nearby Peel Island to jump off some rocks into the water and a game of canoe football before it was suddenly time to finish and get off the water. Seco Tools were very happy with the team event we provided and hopefully we will see them again soon. You can read about a previous Corporate Team Building Event run in The Lake District here with a much larger group - one of our regular corporate clients, Nucleargraduates.

To enquire about options for your own Corporate Team Building event in the Lake District or North West England please contact us here. We have a range of options available to suit any developmental outcomes you may have in mind and can arrange any special requirements you may have. We look forward to working with you.