Monday 28 October 2013

Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. October 26th & 27th 2013.

During the last weekend of October, Iain was to be found out on the Lake District Fells with Gary, Will & Sarah all of whom had booked on to our scheduled Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course.

We have run a number of these courses over 2013 and have mostly been blessed with good weather making the fells an ideal place to be to learn map reading and navigation skills in a pleasant, if not particularly difficult learning environment.

The weather for this weekend however, was not looking great with a heavy band of rain due to cross the area on Saturday afternoon and storm force winds potentially arriving late Sunday.

Saturday proved not to be such a bad day after all with only a light wind and hardly any showers. We headed on to Green Quarter Fell following the usual format of starting out by orientating the map, measuring distance and pacing, then making our way along a linear feature (a bridleway) finding at tick off features along the route.

By the time photo one was taken, we had progressed through grid references and were in the process of walking on our first bearing. Photo two was taken at the end of day one having continued the rest of the afternoon locating grid references (eight figure ones at that!) and walking on bearings to find them. We finished talking about & then practicing Naismiths Rule before heading back to arrive as the car just as the first drops of heavy rain started to fall - excellent timing!

On Saturday evening Iain received a call from Gary informing him that he would be unable to attend on Sunday so we were down to two delegates when we all headed up to Green Quarter  to start the day.

Sundays weather was very windy and we were lashed by heavy showers as we made our way over to the east side of Green Quarter Fell to try and gain some shelter on the slopes above Longsleddale. We continued on our theme from the previous day of locating grid references and using bearing & pacings to find them; and although this was made harder by the weather, Sarah & Will still performed well. Photo three sees the pair heading over towards the lee slopes of Shipman Knotts in an attempt to gain shelter from the strengthening wind where we continued to work with the pair doing well at finding grid references in the conditions.

The final photo from this post about our weekend Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District sees Will & Sarah crouching behind a wall having arrived at an "attack point" - in this case an obvious wall junction which we were using as a means to home in on a nearby stream junction.

By this time, the weather had become truly foul with gale force winds sweeping the ridge of Shipman knotts above us with heavy shower upon shower passing over. Despite continuing to smile throughout the weekend, Sarah was starting to get a bit cold. Because of this and the worsening weather, Iain decided we should call close to the day over two hours early. We had covered the remainder of the course syllabus and Will & Sarah had demonstrated competence throughout.

As we made our way back round the shoulder of Shipman Knotts the skies brightened somewhat; although the wind didn't drop. As we had a relatively bright & shower free drive back to Staveley, Iain wondered if perhaps we should have stuck it out a bit longer, but on the drive back to Kendal, having said goodbye to the pair, he was struck by a torrential squall. Just as well we called it a day really!

Gary, Will & Sarah all enjoyed their Navigation Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District with Iain who hopes that they all go on to enjoy their forays into the mountains even more following successfully completing this course.

Our next Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course takes place during the weekend of November 31st/December 1st 2013 and we are taking bookings now for this. Contact us here if you would like to book a place - supurb value at only £80 per person for the two day course.

Friday 25 October 2013

Technical Advisory Services from Kendal Mountaineering Services. Gordale Scar, Malham. October 24th 2013.

On of the great things about working in the outdoor industry is that every day is different. True - you may often be using the same venues but with a different group or in different weather conditions. Variety is the spice of life although Iain would be happy if every day were a sunny one!

Two days ago, Iain hadn't thought he would be working here. Photo one shows an area known as The Meadows on the approach to Gordale Scar near Malham in The Yorkshire Dales National Park - some distance from The Lake District.
Iain had been contacted by an outdoor provider from Central Lancashire looking for a Technical Expert to endorse some of their instructional staff for gorge walking at Gordale Scar. Having recently undergone an inspection by the Adventurous Activity Licensing Authority, the centre was advised that it needed to receive "Statements of Competence" for members of it's instructional team working at Gordale and that they needed to engage an independent Technical Advisor in order to achieve this requirement.

As a Mountaineering Instructor with vast experience of delivering Gorge Walking, Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions here in The Lake District, Iain is able to work as a Technical Expert in this field and able to endorse other users with Statements of Competence on behalf of the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority. In the middle of photo two can be seen the waterfall for which the centre's instructional staff needed to be endorsed.

For Iain, the endorsement involved meeting with the centre's instructors at the venue and gaining a detailed insight into their knowledge of the site specific risk assessments, group management issues and the technical requirements that the site presented.

Due to the amount of water coming down Gordale Beck, the two instructors (nearest Iain in photo three) had already decided that it was too wet to allow the visiting group to attempt climbing the waterfall, but there was no reason why they could not demonstrate to Iain the techniques they would use to manage their clients and explain to Iain how they would manage client groups and the risk situation. Fortunately a trainee instructor was on hand to act as a "client" so that the pair could demonstrate their rope work skills to Iain.

After a few hours with Pete & Mike (the instructors), it was clear to Iain that they both had a good understanding of the venue and risk assessments and knew how to manage different client groups here. As such, he was happy to write them both Statements of Competence to meet the AALA requirements.

It was a most pleasant day working in a different capacity in one of The Yorkshire Dales most beautiful areas and the sun shone throughout!

If you find yourself requiring Statements of Competence for any of your staff following an AALA Inspection then give contact us for a quote for a professional & friendly endorsement of your centre staffs capabilities at any gorge walking venue. We will be happy to help.

Half Day Kayaking Session in The Lake District. Sunday 20th October 2013.

After running a Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District on Saturday, Iain was back out the next day running a Introductory Kayaking Course for Stephen & Emily Scott and Claire and Wayne Meehan who had travelled over from West Yorkshire for the session. (Photo one)

The weather on Sunday afternoon was not ideal for a first introduction to kayaking with rain showers sweeping across Windermere accompanied by a fairly strong south westerly breeze blowing on to the beach at Waterhead.
The four were keen to give it a try though and Iain made sure they were well kitted out with wetsuits, cagoules, bouyancy aids and we also provided spraydecks to keep the water out of the kayaks. One good thing about the weather was despite being wet & windy - at least it was reasonably warm.

Due to the breeze, Iain was keen that the group reach the river mouth as he suspected that some shelter could be found there in order to learn basic kayaking skills and we found a small sheltered bay a few hundred metres up river. Here, we looked at honing the groups forward, backward, stopping and turning skills and also moving the kayak sideways (photo two). Of the group, Stephen & Wayne had some previous water experience having recently undertaken the Great Glen trip in Scotland from Fort William to Inverness in Canadian Canoes, Emily appeared to paddle from the outset as if she had done so all her life (even though that apparently wasn't the case!) and Claire who also hadn't paddled a kayak before struggled to go in a straight line initially, but improved greatly throughout the afternoon.

After our basic skills session on the river, we headed upstream towards where the flows from the Rivers Brathay & Rothay combine - hard work against the strong flow! We ventured up the Brathay a little way and tried the advanced skill of forward & reverse ferry gliding across the flow and all four were able to do this.

Time moved on fairly quickly and as we returned to the lake we had little over an hour left to undertake a short journey to Pull Wyke Bay. On entering the lake from the river there was quite a swell and waves were breaking over the kayaks - just as well Iain had issued spraydecks!. Iain was quite concerned about the conditions but the group were relaxed and happy and Claire was suddenly paddling in a straight line without difficulty (funny how this often happens!) On reaching the small  island near to Pull Wyke Bay, the wind and swell dropped so we made our way straight across the lake to the old stone boathouse a few hundred metres south of Waterhead with the skill level of this group having come along greatly during the afternoon. Well done!

After that it was back to Waterhead to pack up. Stephen, Emily, Wayne & Claire enjoyed their Introductory Kayaking Session in The Lake District with Iain and will now be looking to take it further by joining a local Kayaking club near to where they all live. We wish them the best of luck with this. To find out further details about our Kayaking & Canoeing sessions in The Lake District contact us here.

Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Saturday, October 19th 2013.

A couple of days after enjoying a glorious day of Climbing with Matthew Carroll and Marissa, Iain was back out again with another couple - Ioan and Charlotte who had travelled over from Yorkshire for a few days.

As the pair enjoy hill walking and are planning to attend an introductory Alpine Course next Summer they decided to look into the possibility of getting some scrambling skills training in The Lake District and found the Kendal Mountaineering Services website. Photo one shows the pair at our venue for the day (Tarn Crag, Langdale) during the initial stages of their one day Lake District Scrambling Course when we were practising the skills of "spotting" which is generally all that confident scramblers will need to use on grade 1 scrambling terrain.

Spotting involves moving together, unroped, with the most confident person bringing up the rear and holding the feet of the person in front on poor foot placements or pressing into their back etc. The idea is to stop the front person from slipping off or falling off backwards and is an efficient & fast way of moving toegther on easy scrambles.

However, in wet conditions such as those we experienced today, the rain can make even a grade 1 scramble a tricky & questionable proposition and the rule of thumb is that if it is likely that a slip could turn into something more serious such as a fall. If this is deemed possible, then the rope most be employed so that safety can be maintained when moving together on more serious ground.

Photo two  shows the pair who are being "short roped" by Iain so that they can experience what is required when executing this scrambling skill. The idea is that the lead scrambler keeps any "second/s" as close to them as possible on a tight rope to prevent any slips. On easy terrain two or three people can "move together" without too much stopping, however, as soon as the leader is unable to maintain their own personal safety whilst doing this then a different approach must be adopted.

This different approach will see the leader "pitch" more difficult sections to get to a safe stance before "bringing up" the seconds. The "pitching" may be short steep steeps of no more than a metre or two in which case the leader will employ the use of a reservoir or hand coils to allow them to shorten or lengthen the distance between themselves and their seconds; or it may well be that some of the "chest coils" will be dropped in order to allow a long pitch to be ascended. If there is an risk of the leader falling - then techniques applicable to climbing must be used instead!

In the time that we had during this one day Scrambling Skills Training course in The Lake District, there was no way that Iain intended to allow the pair to get on to grade three terrain where climbing techniques might be needed.

After demonstrating "short roping" Iain coached Ioan and Charlotte in the techniques they would need to be able to effectively employ short roping themselves. We also looked at the various belaying techniques that would be used on steeper ground up to grade 2 in standard and these included indirect or body belays such as Ioan is using here in photo three to protect Charlotte during their ascent of East Rib on Tarn Crag in Langdale.

An indirect belay should be used where a braced "standing"stance would not provide suitable protection for either the leader or second in event of the second slipping; or in a situation where the leader is unable to arrange a more secure belay.

Where possible, scramblers should use the most secure belay possible in any situation and also one that can be arranged quickly. In photo four, Ioan uses such a belay to protect Charlotte on a short steep step toward the top of East Rib and this consisted of arranging the rope to run behind an upward projecting rock spike in a situation known as a direct belay.

Direct belays should be used on sound, solid rock; and therefore need a thorough inspection before being used - by means of kicking, pushing and pulling! If they make a noise or move - don't use them! Also, there most be no possibility of the rope coming off whilst loaded or being cut by the rock when in use.

Having topped out on Tarn Crag in a brief spell of clearer, sunnier weather, we spent some time practising the knots the pair will be likely to use when scrambling,also - how to arrange a counterbalanced abseil for retreat and how to properly coil a climbing rope before heading back down to the cars at the Sticklebarn Tavern - just as the heavens opened once again.

Both Ioan & Charlotte enjoyed their Scrambling Course in The Lake District with Iain and go away with some new skills to use in the mountains. They hope to return at some point to gain some experience of grade 3 ground with Iain who looks forward to seeing them again.

Autumn is a time of year when you can still enjoy scrambling as a great way to get to the top of a mountain so if you would like to book a day of guided scrambling with Iain or would like to learn the skills to go and scramble yourself then contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

Guided Rock Climbing days in The Lake District. October 17th 2013

Matthew Carroll and his girlfriend Marissa were indeed fortunate that the day which had been chosen for their Lake District Rock Climbing Course was one of only two perfect days we have had in the last fortnight.

As you can see in photo one, the weather was spot on - wall to wall blue sky & sunshine and as can happen in October, still warm enough to have a pleasant day out without needing to wrap up. Most important of all, the rock was dry!

Matthew had booked this rock climbing day with us as a birthday present for Marissa who didn't know what to expect when the couple met Iain at the Sticklebarn Car Park in Langdale.

Having discussed the pairs aspirations for the day and that they would like to be "guided" on a climb, Iain decided that Middlefell Buttress  (Diff) behind the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel would be a good place to start. Photo one is taken at the top of the first pitch of the route which has several start points and for a "Diff" climb - none of them are easy! You can read all about this route on Page 45 of the  FRCC Guide -  Lake District Rock.

Above the first pitch of Middlefell Buttress, the rock climbing feels easier; although as the climbing route is very popular with beginners wishing to make those steps from indoor climbing on a wall to learning traditional techniques (trad climbing) out of doors - parts of it are quite polished through a lot of use!

Photo two sees Matthew & Marissa approaching Iains stance on pitch three of the climb which is where the "crux" can be found. The crux refers to the hardest part of a climbing route - in this case an exposed move up a polished slab on to a ledge before moving left in to an easier and well protected chimney.

In photo two, Matthew is climbing the Chimney as Marissa makes the moves over the crux below. The rope work employed on this occasion was two climbers climbing in parallel - each on a separate rope thus allowing freedom of movement for each. Whilst Iain "took in" on both ropes as the pair climbed - Marissa had been asked to stay well back from Matthew to avoid injury if he slipped and landed on her. This was the pairs first day climbing outdoors and Iain didn't want to put them off!

Photo three is taken at the stance above pitch three. Both Marissa and Matthew found the position exhilarating to say the least - as they put it - hanging on a steep cliff!

The stance atop pitch three is good though - a big block to sit on, somewhere to put your feet and the ropes and a couple of good anchors with which to protect everyone so the couple were perfectly safe; and were so at all times.

As Iain was leading all pitches, it was essential that each climbers rope was reflaked so that the rope attached to Iain was coming off the top of the piles of rope between him and Matthew & Marissa. Having coached the pair in how to do this from the outset. Iain was about to head off up the next pitch.

That next pitch on Middlefell Buttess is more of a scramble than a climb so Iain had the pair up reasonably quickly; although having gotten them both to the broad grassy ledge at the top he had to return to the previous stance to extricate an anchor that had been a little two well placed for Marissa to remove. We could have done one final pitch but it was already approaching 2pm and the pair wanted to get some lunch.

There is a scrambling descent from the grassy ledge in to the gully that bounds the western side of Middlefell Buttress leading to the descent path. A convenient Rowan Tree around which is attached a large loop of abseil tat and a Maillon (karabiner) makes an ideal abseil descent which Iain considered a much safer option for the pair rather than back climbing, unprotected, down the steepest section.

In photo four, Marissa abseils towards Iains stance at the foot of the steepest section. After Matthew had abseiled down to join us, we scrambled down to the foot of the route for a late lunch and then called it a day.

Matthew & Marissa enjoyed their Introductory Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District and are keen to try a harder route next time. So we look forward to seeing them again in 2014.

If you would like to find out more information about the range of Lake District Rock Climbing Courses on offer to you by Kendal Mountaineering Services then contact us here, we look forward to working with you.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Corporate Team Building Day, Borrowdale, October 9th 2013.

On October 9th, Kendal Mountaineering Services once again ran a corporate team building event for the 2013 cohort of Nucleargraduate apprentices. These successful young people are about to start their apprentice careers working within the Nucleargraduate Sponsor Organisations.

All of these young people - some 40 in total have already spent time with Iain and his staff team when they attended the various Welcome Workshops organised by Nucleargraduates and were all subsequently engaged in our Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions. These sessions were designed to encourage these young people to engage with; and get to know better, others in their group with whom they will be working during the next two years of their Nucleargraduate Apprentice-ships.

The last time we were asked to organise the Autumn Team Building Event was in 2011. You can read a report about that event here.

The objectives for this corporate Team Building Event in The Lake District were that as the apprentices were starting working together for the first time - along with their team bosses, they should focus on teamworking, being task leaders or being led. It was also expected that the event would facilitate further development of relationships and that people would also focus on the issues of trust, support and communication during the day.

We were asked to arrange an appropriate itinerary of outdoor tasks to allow these objectives to be met. The graduates were split down into four groups each with a team boss and the idea was that there would be inter-team competition throughout the day. Although, at the end of the day - it was not all about the team who earned the most points but more about the interaction that took place and what was learned about task planning, approach and execution as well as the objectives already outlined.

The groups spent several hours during the morning undertaking a "Strategy" style Orienteering Event. Each team had to attempt to find a total of 35 orienteering markers set out in the vicinity of the venue. Each marker was worth a certain number of points, some more than others. Each team had to plan how they intended to collect markers and gain points (photo one) There were constraints which had to be adhered to and failure to do so or find the intended markers incurred  penalties.

This event lasted around two hours and some of the groups completed the task very quickly indeed. Following all teams completion, each team had to prepare and then present to the other teams; a five minute presentation outlining the strategy they had adopted for success outlining what had worked well and what hadn't; and how they adapted their strategy to achieve success. We then followed with lunch.

After lunch we continued the day with a "round robin" of four different challenges. Photo two shows a team on the field across the road from the venue around a pile of equipment which was required to successfully complete a task presented in a brief. Each team was required to complete three of the "Team Tasks" at this location and of course there were penalities for failure to complete the task properly or to time etc!

Whilst this was going on, each of the other teams were at different "task locations. Photo three shows a Graduate Apprentice hauling himself across above Lodore Beck on a Tyrolean Traverse. On arrival at this site the group were given instructions on how to rig a tensioning system which would allow them to tighten the ropes enough to be able to travel, suspended over the stream and points were earned by touching the tree on the opposite bank before returning to the start point - challenging stuff indeed!

Another challenge was to attempt an abseil as in photo four above where we see a Graduate Apprentice as she heads off down the full extent of Brown Slabs. This task relied little on teamwork but was more about pushing ones limits of belief and finding that with a little support & encouragement - you really can launch yourself down a 100 foot drop!

Another of our four afternoon challenges involved Rock Climbing - again at Brown Slabs at Shepherds Crag in Borrowdale. Here, we employed the system of "top rope - bottom belaying"  as we would normally during one of our introductory Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District.

In a top rope - bottom belay system, the climbing ropes are anchored at the top of the climb and as one person climbs another belays - ie takes in the rope and keeps it tight to protect the climber again falling. Working in teams of three or four this system is a great way for a group to build rapport, trust and support as it involves communication to make it work. Everyone has a job to do - as a person climbs another belays and another acts as a tail person - holding the "dead" rope behind the belayer to act as a safety backup against falling. A fourth person might provide encouragement to the climber and hold on to the back of the belayers harness whilst they lower the climber - just in case there is a weight imbalance between the two!

Photo five is a view from our "office". On this occasion the venue was Borrowdale and the area around the Lodore Falls Hotel.

The view is from the top of Brown Slabs looking North across Derwentwater towards Skiddaw - at 3058, the lowest of the Lake Districts 3000 foot peaks. The day had started off cloudy and with rain, but progressively improved. We were fortunate that by the time we started climbing & abseiling in the afternoon a breeze as well as the sun were drying out the rock. We were also extremely lucky that there were no other users at Brown Slabs as it is a very popular venue for introductory Climbing Sessions in The Lake District.

The final photo from this post about Corporate Training Events in The Lake District is taken at our venue for the day - The Lodore Falls Hotel. Here, one group is conducting a presentation to the other groups at the end of the afternoon and the theme was centred around what had been learnt about the benefits of

  • Working as a team
  • leadership
  • Trust
  • Support
  • and efficient communication
throughout the day.

Having completed all afternoon challenges by 5pm, we finished off back at the venue where presentations were conducted and it was clear that not only had everyone enjoyed this full on day, but each person had learnt something about their abilities, the abilities of other and the benefits of working together effectively to achieve an end result.

Job well done? We think so!

Our thanks go out to the staff team  at the Lodore Falls Hotel who kept us topped up with tea & coffee and provided us with a good packed lunch. We thank them also for the use of their high quality function room for the day which was an ideal base from which to host the event. We hope we will get the opportunity to return next year with the next cohort of Nucleargraduates.

To enquire about our high quality bespoke Corporate Team Event packages in The Lake District contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Guided Hill Walking day. Scafell Pike. October 5th 2013.

On occasion, Iain gets asked to assist other businesses who run outdoor events and activities with the smooth running of their courses. Only three days after visiting Wasdale to work with Steve Smith on Pillar Rock, he was back again working as a walking guide for employees from The Co-operative Pharmacy who were taking part in a National 3 Peaks Challenge event to raise money for The Carers Trust.

This event was attended by Co-operative employees from all over North West England. Other teams from The Co-operative society were, at the same time, ascending Ben Nevis and Snowdon in order to raise money for this good cause.

Iain was given a team of eight persons to guide from Wasdale Head. Photo one shows them starting up the steepest section of their ascent of Scafell Pike - Brown Tongue at around an hour after starting at around 10:15.

After another two hours and a break for some food & drink, Iain took this photo of his team on the summit of Scafell Pike.

Unfortunately  views on the upper part of the mountain had been completely obscured by cloud but our party made good progress. A real shame they didn't get to see the fantastic views from the summit though!

We were probably surrounded by 100 or so other people many of whom would be undertaking the same challenge. The top of Scafell Pike used to be relatively peaceful, these days it is positively heaving on most occasions!

As we left the summit the temperature dropped and this gave Iain the opportunity to try out a new acquisition - a Mammut Plano Hoody Softshell Jacket currently on test for Myoutdoors.

Mammut describe the Plano Hoody as a cozy winter softshell jacket with a detachable hood. The comfortable material and good heat/weight ratio make it ideal for a wide range of winter sports activities. Features include

  • comfortable elastic softshell fabric
  • ruffled fleece inside
  • Wind & water repellent
  • Pre-shaped sleeves with Velcro cuffs
  • Detachable hood made from warm, brushed SOFtech material
  • 3 Zip pockets
  • Adjustable hem width
  • with membrane
On the descent, this jacket certainly kept Iain warm and repelled the rain well. We look forward to giving you a more in depth report towards the end of the year as to how this jacket performs in Winter conditions.

Our final photo from this guided hill walking day in The Lake District sees Iain's team emerging from the clouds as we return towards Brown Tongue and distant Wasdale. Wastwater could be seen in the distance and as we descended further, the weather improved and we even got some blue sky & sunshine!

We arrived back at Wasdale Head at around 15:15, so, it took Iain's team only 5 hours to do the round trip to the summit of Scafell and back which was good going indeed.

We trust that all of the Co-operative Pharmacy's  teams achieved success on each of the three peaks and that they raised plenty of money for The Carers Trust. Our congratulations go to all concerned.

If you would like to know more about our guided walking days or weekends in The Lake District then contact us here.

Guided Scrambling in The Lake District. Slab & Notch Route, Pillar Rock. 1st October 2013

October got off to a good start for Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services when he joined Steve Smith in Wasdale for a fantastic mountaineering adventure in one of the Lake Districts remotest corners.

Steve is currently bagging the English Nuttall Peaks. These are described as any mountain in England & Wales over 2000 feet high with a drop of at least 50 feet on all sides.

Our objective today was Pillar Rock - an imposing buttress set high above Ennerdale in Western Lake District. Pillar Rock is over 660 feet high from its base to its highest point (High Man) and is home to some classic hard scrambling and some of the longest climbing routes in the area. Getting to the crag is no easy feat with it being at least a four mile walk in from the nearest parking!

Photo one looks back along the route we chose to get there and this was by way of the traverse path coming in from Black Sail Pass where the path leaves the ridge ascending to Pillar just above Green Cove. This view is from near Robinson's Cairn looking across Hind Cove to distant Kirk Fell and Great Gable.

Looking in the opposite direction one is confronted by the enormity of the east face of Pillar Rock rising ahead. The route on takes you across Pillar Cove before ascending on to the Shamrock Traverse which rises to a small buttess overlooking the upper part of Pillar Rock seen here in photo two.

Behind Steve can be seen our objective - the summit of High Man - in fact the cairn at the summit can be seen just right of the top of the deep gap (Jordan Gap). Slab & Notch route crosses behind Steve - in fact the "slab" can be seen behind his right shoulder and the rest of the route goes pretty much above his head!

Slab & Notch Route is described in the Cicerone "Scrambles in The Lake District: North" Guide as a grade 3,3 star scrambling route. The scramble starts from the gully below Jordan gap and ascends 6 feet to the top of "the slab" which would be rather nasty when wet. At the foot of the slab a fault line traverses above a drop across to the foot of the climb to "The Notch".

Photo three sees Steve climbing towards Iain at the Notch with "The Slab" in the background. The usual climbing route to The Notch was very polished and Iain avoided this by climbing the corner to the left and then "bridging" across higher up back on to The Notch.

From here a short traverse around the corner leads to an easy climb on good holds into a welcoming bay behind a big flake and then from there a slightly exposed descent to the right leads in to the gully which is followed to the top of Pillar rock by way of a ramp on its left. On emerging at the summit of High Man, we contemplated the abseil in to Jordan Gap which is perfectly feasible with a doubled 50m climbing rope. However, the wind had risen to such an extent that Iain decided that a retreat by our ascent route was advisable.

Our final photo from this post about Guided Scrambling Courses in The Lake District sees Steve ascending towards the summit of Pillar with Pillar Rock below and the floor of Ennerdale beyond.

Rising in the sunlight on the opposite side of Ennerdale is the slope leading to the summit of High Stile which overlooks Buttermere and way in the distance can be seen Grasmoor and Eel Crags.

Our descent of Slab & Notch Route was accomplished relatively quickly with Steve being belayed by Iain as he down climbed the various sections. The route is clearly very popular as is evident by the amount of "polish" which will make it a serious and somewhat dubious proposition in the wet.

Once back at the rucksacks it was nice to take in the summit of Pillar as a finale to the day before descending the ridge to Black Sail Pass and on to Wasdale Head. The weather during the day had been most "atmospheric" with many unusual cloud formations caused by the strong south easterly wind sweeping the area. At least the day had remained dry throughout and we had been sheltered from the wind though our choice of venue.

Steve enjoyed his Guided Scrambling Day in The Lake District with Iain who may well be contacted again to assist Steve in getting to the summit of The Cobbler in Scotland next year. In the meantime, we wish him well with his goal of summiting all of the Nuttalls.

As well as guided Scrambling, we also run Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District should you wish to learn the skills to go out  and have a day such as this for yourselves. Contact us to find out more about these courses and read a recent training course report here. We look forward to working with you.