Thursday 29 May 2014

Technical Advisory Services from Kendal Mountaineering Services. Gordale Scar, Malham. May 7th 2014.

As well as providing all manner of Outdoor Activity Sessions and Skills Training Courses in The Lake District, Wales & Scotland, we are also able to provide Technical Advisory and Assessment Services for other providers of Outdoor Activities.

Today was the second time that Iain's role as a Technical Advisor had been requested by Rock & River Outdoor Pursuits of Mawdesley, Lancashire. Following a recent inspection by the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) the recommendation had been made by the inspector that all instructors using the Gordale Scar venue at Malham should be assessed by a Mountaineering Instructor under various criteria to be awarded a Statement of Competence (SOC). SOCs are a document accepted by AALA as proof of an instructors competence when working at specific venues - in this case Goredale Scar.
Iain went along to meet the group from Rock & River  along with their two instructors Jon and Barry. The group were doing a circular walk from Malham up to Goredale Scar via Janet's Foss and then over to a point above Malham Cove before returning to the vehicles.

The weather was cool and rather wet with a southerly wind blowing and creating it's own set of problems in so much that it was funneling up Gordale and blasting up the waterfall at the scar (the venue for the assessment and photo one of this post) making it a cold wet & miserable place to be - a risk in itself.

Iain's role as assessor today was to check both instructors knowledge of the venue with regards to hazard recognition and risk assessment and to see how they managed their clients on the pitch at Gordale Scar (photo two) through efficient and appropriate belay techniques and the use of correct equipment.

It was quite clear to Iain that both Jon and Barry were experienced instructors who had worked at this particular venue on a number of occasions and were conversant with the associated risks. These included risks due to stone fall, high water levels in Goredale Beck and the cold wet & windy conditions experienced today when the wind was actually blowing water back up the waterfall!

The group were got into waterproofs to protect them from the wet and wind, donned helmets to protect against stone fall and then were moved one by one from a safe area below the waterfall, belayed up the climb and then directed to another safe area out of the wind. Barry & Jon did a great job of managing each individual up the climb and then escorting them to a safe place above the gorge rim where  helmets & harnesses were removed (photo three).

Iain was satisfied that the two instructors had demonstrated competence in all areas of consideration and was happy to write a Statement of Competence for each of them. Job done and everyone satisfied!

If, as a requirement of your AALA License you are required to find a person to assess your instructional Staff for Statements of Competence then contact us to arrange your assessment. We look forward to working with you.

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