Thursday 31 July 2014

Stag Events in The Lake District. Saturday 19th July 2014.

Allan Yeates contacted us at the end of May when looking to arrange some activities for a mates Stag Event due to take place in July. Allan contacted us because we came highly recommended by another person and that is good to know - we always try to exceed our clients expectations on every Stag or Hen Event we arrange!

Having initially enquired about a half day of Raft Building and a half day of Ghyll Scrambling for up to 25, when it came down to the final count, Allan only had 12 persons in his party and none of them wanted to go Ghyll Scrambling - if only they had realised what they were missing!

Photo one shows six of the group working on a suitable layout for their raft. For raft building, we provide you with wooden spars, plastic barrels and ropes. With instruction provided by us, we will show you how to arrange your framework of spars in a suitable fashion and how to tie it all together with the ropes using "square lashings" for the spars and a "Lorrymans hitch" for use to tie the barrels on to the framework.

This is all good fun, Raftbuilding is a great way to get people working together and is an activity that we often us on our team building events as well as Stag & Hen Events.

After the two sub teams had each completed their rafts to a standard which we considered would allow them to remain intact whilst loaded down on the lake with six persons, it was time to get everyone into the wetsuits, cagoules & buoyancy aids that we provide as part of the fee.

We do this for a number of reasons -  mainly to keep people warm should they fall into the water and afloat if they are weak swimmers. Getting wet is a dead cert when involved with raft building session as during the games that follow raft building, the various teams generally end up attacking each other's rafts as well  as giving each other a thorough soaking - it's all in the name of fun!

For this Lake District Stag Groups Rafting Session, we provided a number of inter-team challenges. These all involved a fair bit of effort and as much co-operation on the water in manouevring the rafts as had been required on the beach when building them.

Teams were expected to complete a number of 360 degree manouevres - both clockwise & anti-clockwise and a number of races on the lake - in this case Coniston water. One race included a standing start well back from the beach running down to the rafts, launching and then racing out to a marker buoy and back - the winning team being the first to make it back to the start point.

At the end, we had twelve rather tired but very satisfied lads who had probably worked off enough calories for a really good night out on the town!

Allan Yeates party each paid £40 for their Rafting Sesson in The Lake District. It is a great challenge; and we thoroughly recommend  it for Stag & Hen Groups or Teambuilding Events.

Contact us here to arrange your Raft Building Session in The Lake District. We look forward o working with you.

Adventures Days for two in The Lake District! Abseiling & Kayaking. Friday 18th July 2014.

At this time of year, what with the Summer Holidays, many people can find themselves trying to make a plan and arrange some Outdoor Activities at short notice. Obviously, this is a busy time of year for us but we still have gaps and will always help you if we can!

This was the case when Kimberley Quinn enquired about a day of Abseiling and Kayaking for herself and boyfriend Richard; and in fact, final arrangements for their day out with Iain were not made until the day before they wanted the activities to run!

However, Iain was available to arrange this Outdoor Activity Adventure Day in The Lake District for the pair and arranged to meet them in Ambleside. Whilst the weather forecast was questionable, it was looking like it might not break sooff we went straight to Hodge Close Quarry where Iain arranged three different Abseils. Photo one sees Richard attempting the first one.

Abseiling in The Lake District is, for many people, a challenging affair when done for the first time. Even though you are attached to two ropes (an abseil rope and a safety rope) with a climbing harnesses and are wearing a helmet and grippy walking boots (also supplied by us on this occasion) Abseiling backwards over a vertical drop is an immensely challenging affair!

However, with our expert guidance and calm instructions you'll soon get the hang of abseiling as Kimberley and Richard did. Seen in photo two at the end of their abseiling session in the Lake District, they were successful in attempting all three abseil challenges set by Iain. This included the Parrock Quarry Abseil - which at 135 feet with a free hanging section, is undoubtedly one of The Lake Districts most challenging abseils. Well done!!

After abseiling, it was then off to Coniston Water via Coniston Village so that the pair could collect some lunch. We then drove down the east shore of Coniston Water  to a quiet car park with easy access to the lake for the pairs afternoon Introductory Kayaking Session in The Lake District.

After some intial skills training, we headed out on to the lake and northwards towards the Coniston Boat Landings. A shame we hadn't brough a bit of cash along for a tea & sticky at the Bluebird Cafe!

We spent about three hours kayaking on Coniston Water in the afternoon - making our way along the eastern shore before crossing to the boat landings and then ultimately heading back accross the lake to our get in point.

Richard & Kimberley took to kayaking very well and after ironing the usual problems getting their kayaks to go in a straight line, they had a great session. Just to finish off, Iain arranged a kayaking alternative - ie sitting on the craft rather than in it  as in photo four. Quite a tricky challenge often resulting in complete wetness if you get it wrong - which it did for both of them. Fortunately, with the recent hot weather, the lake was quite warm!

Kimberly & Richard both enjoyed Abseiling and kayaking as part of their adventure day in The Lake District with us and paid just £70 each for this full day out with all technical equipment included in the fee.

If you are looking for a day or half day of exciting Outdoor Activities at short notice during your Lake District visit this Summer then contact us. And if we are available, then you can expect to enjoy as good a day out as Kimberley & Richard did with us.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Three Days of Caving in The Yorkshire dales National park with The Scouts. July 15th - 17th 2014

From Tuesday to Thursday. Iain's services as a Cave Leader had been secured by the Scout Centre at Great Tower Scout Camp near Windermere in The Lake District.

For three days, Iain took a different group each day caving in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. On the first day, we went to Long Churns - the very venue that we generally use for all of our Introductory Caving Sessions in The Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Photo one shows Iain's first group enjoying some lunch in Long Churns lane before we went underground on yet another lovely day.

However, today we were not the only group at Long Churns - in fact there were some four other groups already there and then a fifth arrived. This meant that there were going to be some 60 - 75 people moving arround the cave system which would mean a lot of waiting to attempt challenges such as The Cheese Press and when attempting to pass other difficult sections such as Double Shuffle Pool. Not fun!

To avoid the other groups, we entered Long Churns via Middle Entrance, made our way through Cross Passage and headed into Upper Long Churns exiting via Doctor Bannister's Washbasin. Photo two sees the group a little while later as we entered the delightful little Wilson's Cave. Wilson's is actually separate; although adjacent to the main Long Churns cave system; and because of it's wet "sting in the tail" tends to get considerably less use than the main system!

Wilsons starts off with an easy climb down in to an open passageway which meanders just under the limestone pavement for quite a way before gradually descending. At first, there are a lot of views up to daylight before the roof closes overhead for good.

Further on, we descend two short waterfalls in quick succession. Photo three sees some of the girls in this group of Belgian Scouts as we descended the second waterfall.

Wilsons is a pleasant cave (apart from the wet crawl that was yet to come!) and as such, Iain felt that it would be ideal for a group of this size & age. It certainly seemed to work perfectly as they were all absolutely loving it! Also, importantly from Iains perspective - we were not having to stand around waiting for other groups to get out of the way!
After some 200 metres of delightful passageway, the roof lowers abruptly to a low crawl - in water!

This low crawl continues for around a further 200 metres and eventually one is reduced to crawling in all fours through the water which can be quite chilly.

There was certainly a lot of shouting, screaming & general laughter from the group as we all made our way one behind the other to the low exit as seen here in photo four. But at least when we all got out it was into warmth & sunshine, so we all warmed up again really quickly.

And then it was off to Inglesport to return the caving helmets and enjoy a brew & some cake in their fantastic cafe!

For the next two days, Iain decided to go elsewhere for the groups caving sessions. Iain wanted his groups to have their own caving experiences free from the stress that comes from the pressure of large groups of users. Above all, he wanted them to enjoy their caving sessions in The Yorkshire Dales National Park.

In photo five, Iain had taken the second group to Great Douk Cave. Getting to this cave involves a 1km walk across fields, then a walk up a shallow valley before crossing a wall into a wood.

The wood surrounds the walled in chasm that is Great Douk Pot. This is the remains of a collapse where the roof of the large cave fell in. Descending into Great Douk Pot - one heads towards the sound of the waterfall where the stream from Great Douk Cave emerges into the open pit.
Great Douk Cave starts at the foot of Simon Fell - a kilometre distant from Great Douk Pot. The passageway - followed generally upstream, is quite roomy at first and then lowers again before one emerges again in daylight at Little Douk Pot.

Upstream from here one follows a pleasant meandering passage climbing up a few cascades until the passage lowers and narrows and then the water appears out of a low passage on the left with a larger dry passage continuing straight on.

Here, the wet passageway can be followed back to the dry one and presents a wet low crawling challenge that many of Iains group were keen to try (photo six) None of these Belgian Scouts seemed to be afflicted with Claustrophobia ( a fear of small spaces) - this was good news as the way on ahead lowered to a flat out crawl in water for some distance!

Photo seven was taken the following morning with Iain's final caving group of the week.

Again we had gone to great Douk first; and followed the cave right through to its final flat out crawl ultimately emerging in the rock outcrop by the sheep fold at Middle Washfold Caves. (photo seven)

The mountain in the background  is Ingleborough Hill - one of the areas "three peaks". The other two "peaks" are Whernside and Penyghent.
Ingleborough Hill can also be seen way in the distance in photo eight - with Simon Fell just to it's left.

This photo was taken by Iain as he emerged with his group from one of the Runscar Caves at Ribblehead - a short drive up the valley. On the second & third day of our Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales National Park, we had followed our morning caving session underground in Great Douk with the afternoon spent in the great little caves at Ribblehead known as Runscar & Thistle.
Out of the two cave systems at Ribblehead, Thistle is the drier one. It also has many small side passages or fossil caves  - challenging small crawls and ideal for small children.

One can emerge from an upstream walk through Thistle Cave, and then walk along the limestone pavement to the upsteam entrances to Runscar where there are four separate parts to the system. Usually, only the downstream three get used by caving groups though; and our photo looking from the inside out  was taken from the second one of these.

The final part of Runscar Caves involves dropping into a canyon which then turns into a cave. After 150m or so, the roof drops to a flat out crawl in water - very much like that described at the end of Wilson's Cave although this wet crawl is very much shorter!

It does however, end with a much tighter squeeze out than the exit at Wilson's and that exit is seen here in photo nine. After this - as with the previous two days, we went back to the vehicle to get changed and then returned to The Lake District via Inglesport  returning the caving helmets and enjoying a drink and a slice of cake or a traybake in the cafe.

In every case - it was a great end to a great day and Iain would like to thank Jonhny Hartnell at Inglesport for getting him this caving work in the first place.

As you can see from this post, caving is great fun and can be enjoyed by children of all ages as well as adults & Stag & Hen Groups. Our prices for these sessions start off at £45 per person for a four hour half day session or £70 for a full eight hour day. You'll be provided with caving oversuits, wellingtons, helmets with lights and caving belts as part of your fee and if you are lucky - you'll be guided by Iain who is a knowledgeble and experienced Cave Leader. To book your Introductory Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales National Park - contact us here. You can be assured of a great adventure!!

Introductory Rock Climbing Courses and Guiding Climbing Sessions in The Lake District. July 13th 2014.

On Sunday, Iain found himself working with Alan Smith and his son in law - Chris.

The pair had journeyed up from the south for a long weekend away in the area and Alan had booked an Introductory Climbing day in The Lake District with us for both himself and as a birthday present for Chris.

The two had never climbed on outdoor rock before, so we spent the morning at Lower Scout Crag in Langdale where Iain set up a number of climbs using a top rope/bottom belay system typically seen in Introductory Climbing Sessions. After teaching the pair how to belay  (prevent each other from falling whilst using a climbing rope) they were able to get on and enjoy a number of climbs at this great little pitch climbing venue which was, today,  very quiet - despite the great weather.

It had been arranged with Iain that the pair also wanted to try Guided Multi-pitch Climbing during the same day. So, Iain took them to nearby Upper Scout Crag - only a five minute walk uphill from the Introductory Climbing venue.

When we got there we found a number of parties already climbing on this great multi-pitch crag; and more were approaching from below.

Fortunately for Iain, Alan & Chris, no-one at that precise moment were climbing the very route that Iain wished to guide the pair on. Photo two sees the pair tying on to the two climbing ropes. We used two ropes between the three of us to climb in series - ie one behind the other. Iain was tied on to Chris with the red rope and Chris to Alan with the purple one.
So what is Guided Multi-Pitch Climbing? It is a means of climbing whereby another person or persons follow a competent Climbing Instructor up a rock climbing route consisting or more than one pitch (section). The Instructor leads each pitch and then brings up the seconds to each stance (anchor point) between each pitch.

NOTE - for Multi-Pitch Climbing Instruction you should always secure the services of a fully qualified Mountaineering Instructor. Read why here!
Anyway, Iain's system for guiding on this multi-pitch Rock Climb in The Lake District was that he would lead and belay Chris up each pitch. Chris was subsequently attached to the anchors at each stance and he could then belay up Alan. By using this approach Chris could feel what it would be like to belay a second as if he were a leading the climb himeself.

Chris did a good job too and the pair climbed really well throughout the day - well done!

The final photograph from the pairs Introductory & Guided Climbing Day in The Lake District sees Alan & Chris at the top of our Multi-pitch Climb with Langdale, in all it's glory behind them - on yet another perfect climbing day!

For Alan & Chris's Climbing Day in The Lake District with Iain, the pair each paid £75. This fee included the provision of helmets & harnesses plus the services of a qualified Mountaineering Instruct who provided ropes rack and rucksacks to carry it all in.

The pair had a great day and hope to come back another time to climb some more. If you want to have a great & progressive day's climbing like Alan & Chris did - then contact Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services here to book your session. You won't be disappointed!!

Canadian Canoeing Sessions in The Lake District. Saturday 12th July 2014.

Saturday was another day in which we provided our instructional services for another business.

On this occasion, Iain was asked to provide his services as a Canoeing Coach for a group from the Rock Solid Youth Group from Durham who were staying in The Lake District for a weekend of Adventurous Activities.

We met the groups at Glenridding Steamer Pier on Ullswater and got them kitted up in wetsuits, cagoules & buoyancy aids before introducing them to the Canadian Canoes that we would be using for the next three hours.

Canadian Canoes are great craft for "journeying" on water and were developed by Canadian Indians for this exact purpose on rivers & lakes in Canada.

Iain's group took a journey across the head of Ullswater to nearby Goldrill Beck (photo one). Whilst we were unable to journey very far up this river, it did give the group a feel for what river journeying is about.

Photo two sees the group "rafted up" on Ullswater as we made our way a short distance down the lake to our next place where we would be undertaking a cliff jump. Rafted Canoes make a very stable platform - suitable if pairs want to swap with one another.

As part of this Introductory Canadian Canoeing Session in The Lake District, the group were given the option to attempt this challenge - a 15 foot high cliff jump off the edge of a rocky peninsula opposite Glenridding (photo three).

The water is deep here as the cliff continues straight down under water and with the group wearing wetsuits & buoyancy aids it is a safe challenge to attempt as you'll only get wet. Everyone who tried the cliff jump enjoyed it, but it wasn't for everyone!
It's amazing what you can achieve in a short space of time! In the three hours available to the group, we had spent some time journeying on a river then paddled down the lake to visit the cliff jump.

We then paddled on down the lake a little further to visit an island and play a few games but then suddenly, it was time to think about getting back.

During the afternoon a breeze had sprung up; and paddling Canadian Canoes in the wind can be quite a challenge - and hard work! Just as well then that we had brought along wooden spars and a means of securing them to the canoes to create rafts (photo four). Four pairs of arms definitely work better then two when you are trying to get around in a breeze!

These young people all enjoyed their half day Introductory Canadian Canoeing Session in The Lake District and you can with us too. Our prices start at £45 per person for a half day session and include the provision of wetsuits, cagoules, buoyancy aids and of course Canadian Canoes & paddles.

These sessions are suitable for families, friends and Stag & Hen Groups. Contact us here to make your booking. We look forward to working with you.

An Adventure day in Yorkshire! Wednesday 9th July 2014.

Working in the Outdoor Adventure Industry - you can expect a lot of variety. Kendal Mountaineering Services provide Skills Training Courses throughout The Lake District, Wales & Scotland and Caving Sessions (and climbing) in The Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We are one of many such businesses operating in the UK and much networking goes on between businesses. Sometimes, we require instructional staff to assist with our courses; and sometimes they require our services to assist with their staffing requirements.

This was the case on Wednesday when Iain had been asked to assist with Village Camps on one of their annual visits to The Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We spent the morning as in photo one helping these international students as they enjoyed an Introductory Rock Climbing Session at the National Trust Venue - Brimham Rocks.

Having spent the morning climbing & scrambling at Brimham, we relocated to How Stean Gorge at the head of nearby Nidderdale.

Here, there is a fantastic limestone gorge which which up to 18m in depth. In order to walk up the gorge one has to get down to the bed of the stream and there are a number of routes in.

Iain chose to take his group in via a climb down through Tom Taylors Cave (photo two) where there are steps & ladders to descend before a final short scramble down in to the slippery bed of How Stean Beck. There is another cave that can also be visited whilst in the gorge - How Stean Cave, so what with the introductory Caving sections and the gorge walk itself, this is a truly fantastic venue through which to be introduced to these two great adventurous activities.
There is also another way of entering the gorge at How Stean; and that can be seen here in photo three.

A bridge spans the gorge between the cafe and the campsite/amenities block. The bridge has been specially fitted with Abseil Stations - one on either side and therefore two groups can be abseiling at the same time.

So what is abseiling? Basically lowering ones-self down a drop on a rope. Challenging stuff? Absolutely! - particularly if you've never done it before. You'll be wearing a helmet & harness and will also be attached to a safety back up rope which is paid out by the instructor as you lower yourself down. This is to ensure that if you let go of the abseil rope you won't plummet & sustain injury. How safe is abseiling in this fashion? 100% safe. It has to be!
Our final photo from this day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park sees Iain's group enjoying wet fun in How Stean Gorge.

Everyone had been kitted up in wetsuits, cagoules, Buoyancy aids and helmets - just as we would for all our sessions however this group received wellingtons for their feet which are just as safe as the walking boots we provide on our own sessions.

Our half day activity sessions start at £45 per person although we apply discounts as your group size increases. Also, we are one of the few Lake District businesses to work with as few as two persons at a time.

There are other businesses in the Lake District claiming to offer you the same activity sessions as we do - but for less money and you should ask them what equipment they will provide you with as part of the price.

We believe in providing all specialist equipment you'll need on any of our sessions as part of your fee so for an activity day such as this, you can expect to be provided with helmets & harnesses for climbing (and we can also provide rock shoes) wetsuits, cagoules, bouyancy aids, helmets , harnesses & walking boots for Gorge Scrambling and caving oversuits, wellington boots, helmets with lights and caving belts for our caving sessions.

Businesses offering these sessions for less will probably ask you to turn up with your own waterproofs for Gorge walking (Ghyll Scrambling) and may suggest that training shoes or plimsols are appropriate footwear for caving or Ghyll Scrambling. Without a wetsuit on a wet session you'll be cold; and run the risk of injury through the use of inappropriate footwear such as that we've outlined. Book on a half day activity session with us and yes - you might pay more than you will with some, but you can be assured of being provided with the right equipment as part of your fee; and remaining comfortable as well as safe throughout your session!

Ghyll Scrambling in The Esk Gorge. The Lake Districts ultimate wet adventure. Monday 7th July 2014.

July has been a busy month for us so far at Kendal Mountaineering Services. We've run quite a bit of our own stuff and done some sessions for other businesses too. It's been great fun providing Skills Training Courses and Outdoor Activity Sessions in what has proved to be, so far, the best Summer for quite a few years.

So what is the best thing you can do in The Lake District in this hot, sunny weather? Without doubt - it has to be an Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Session. Mick & Chris Harris both enjoyed this session with us on a fine sunny day.

So what is an Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling (also known as gorge walking) Trip all about?

Well, firstly, it involves meeting us - usually at Ambleside in The Lake District and then following us over Wrynose & Hardknott Passes - The Lake District's two most challenging mountain roads. If there are only a few of you then we'll squeeze you into our own transport and you can sit back & enjoy the drive through some of the areas most stunning scenery!
After an hours walk in to the start of the gorge, we'll get kitted up and get in! Photos one & two pretty much sum up what you will be doing - lots of swimming through deep crystal clear pools and climbing up; or beside waterfalls; and of course we'll ensure your safety with a rope wherever it's needed.

One of the most challenging aspects of an Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Trip have to be the jumps. There are eleven that we know of in total although we'll only allow you to do ten of these. They vary in height from 15 feet right up to 25 feet.

Each jump will be demonstrated by our experienced instructors who will have done them all before so there is no need to worry about hitting the bottom!

In photo three - Chris jumps whilst Mick looks on. This particular jump is only probably about 18 feet and is the last jump we allow people to do on our ascent of the Esk Gorge. On this occasion, we had enjoyed a great session so far; and there was still an hour of time left!

The final photo from this Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District is something of a rarity. It shows Mick & Chris at the very top of the Esk Gorge and the summit of England's highest mountain - Scafell Pike, can be seen right behind the pair.

Whilst we often make it to the jump in photo three, it is not often that we'll complete the whole gorge. The Esk Gorge is some 3km in length and rises some 200m throughout. On a hot, sunny Summers day there is nothing much better then getting a wetsuit & wet cag on, walking boots and buoyancy aid and then immersing ones-self in a mountain stream. Our Esk Gorge Trips feel like a real adventure what with the driving over the Lake District;s highest mountain passes and spending four hours swimming in a mountain stream - right under Englands highest summits.

For only £75 per person you'll get a full day out in The Esk Gorge and be guided by one of our experienced staff. For your money, you'll also be provided with wetsuits, cagoules, buoyancy aids, helmets, harnesses & rucksacs for you to carry it all on the walk in. Just bring swimwear, towels, some spare clothing & waterproofs (just in case it's wet), your packed lunch and plenty of enthusiasm! These sessions are great for families, friends & stag or Hen Groups looking for a truly exhilarating & refreshing experience in the outdoors and represent great value for money. Contact us to book your Esk Gorge Session here. We look forward to working with you.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Caving in The Yorkshire Dales. Long Churns. Tuesday July 1st 2014.

Yesterday, Iain was working for Great Tower Scout Camp providing a caving experience for a group of pupils from Elmore Hall School in County Durham.

We do, of course, provide our own Caving Courses in The Yorkshire Dales National Park - so if you are interested in having a real adventure underground then contact us directly.

This group had requested to be taken to Long Churns on the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Photo one sees them sat at Diccan Entrance as we commenced our caving adventure.

Long Churns is a great place for an Introductory Caving Trip in The Yorkshire Dales National Park and most children staying at a residential Outdoor Centre in The Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales will visit these caves for their first caving experience.

Many will remember the famous Cheese Press as here in photo two; although not all sections of Long Churns are as tight as this. The cave system contains passages of all sizes - wet ones, dry ones, big ones and small ones. A fear of small spaces (claustrophobia) often gets mentioned as being would be cavers biggest concerns - but it doesn't have to be a concern here in Long Churns - there are ways around all of the small spaces!

Photo Three sees Paul, Lucy and Mike attempting to avoid the wetness of Plank Pool in Lower Long Churns - without much luck though! At least they are still smiling so one can assume they are enjoying themselves - they were!

The rest of the group - all pupils at this School for children with special educational needs had not been caving before, but they were all thoroughly enjoying their caving session which involved a lot of exploration as well as the challenge of tight & wet crawls and some deep pools to avoid.

As already mentioned, we started off by entering Lower Long Churns via Diccan Entrance to get to The Cheese Press and then made our way via Plank & Double Shuffle Pools back to the main streamway - exiting via the downstream exit back to Diccan Entrance.
We then re-entered the cave system at Middle Entrance - returning downstream to the mouth of Cross Passage (also known as Baptistry Crawl) which Iain allowed the group to explore themselves to the upstream connection with Upper Long Churns Cave.

After a quick visit back to Middle Entrance, the group led on, upstream to Doctor Bannisters Washbasin where there is a deep pool some 10 metres across. Here, the water from Alum Pot Beck enters down a waterslide.

Mike can be seen is photo four as he clambers up the waterslide - a questionable tactic were there to any amount of water coming down this pitch, but as it was, with the lack of rain recently, there was only a trickle of water (well - in comparison to the normal flow level!) flowing down, so on this occasion, it was quite safe without a rope.

Only a matter of 20 metres or so above Doctor Bannister's Washbasin, one arrives again in daylight at the upstream entrance to the Long Churns Cave system.

We had only been underground on this Introductory Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales National Park for some 2 & a half hours, but for the lads, that was enough.

The plan now - to pack up and head back to Inglesport to return the hired lamps & helmets and enjoy tea and cake in their legendary cafe; and did it taste good!

Our half day Introductory Caving sessions in The Yorkshire Dales National Park start at £45 per person and includes the provision of Caving oversuits, belts, wellingtons, helmets & caving lamps as well as qualified instruction. Our sessions typically last four hours so if you want to have as much fun and enjoy as great an adventure as these people did - then give us a call soon!

Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. June 28th & 29th 2014.

Last weekend, we ran our 4th Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course of 2014 in the Lake District near Kentmere.

Joining us on this Navigation Skills Training were a group of seven people coming from as far away as Somerset - so word about these great courses obviously gets around!

Our Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District are advertised at the end of each year for the following year and are usually run on the last weekend of each month starting in March. Check the website here to start planning when you'll be joining us on a course!

The cost is £80 per person for these advertised Navigation Skills Training Weekends - subject to our receiving a minimum of four bookings.

On day one - we go right back to basics starting with discussing map scales before moving on to the importance of orientating the map. Only once you have learnt this technique can you really start to identify what you will see around you. We then follow this by learing how to measure distance on the map before pacing it out on the ground.
Following on from that, we take a walk following a linear feature - usually a road or track identifying and locating "tickoff features" along the way.

This gives you the opportunity to identify features, measure and then pace out the distance to them - confirming your location upon arrival by setting (orientating the map). Most people find this method of map reading progression extremely rewarding and great for boosting their confidence.

After spending the morning in this manner, we'll then have lunch and take some time to discover how Grid References help you locate a point on a map. A six figure Grid Reference will get you onto the bottom left hand corner of a 100m square within a 1km Grid Square and an eight figure Grid Reference will further increase that accuracy down to 10 square metres. By the end of our lunchtime Grid Reference lecture on this course everyone was able to give as well as find 8 figure Grid References (photo two) Great stuff!

After the Grid Reference Exercise, we spend the rest of the day using compasses to accurately navigate between Grid References using pacing to help accuracy and at the end of the session, discuss Naithsmiths Rule for timings (5km/hour + 1 minute added for every 10m contour crossed).

As part of your fee per person of £80 for the weekend, we will provide you with laminated A4 sized maps of the areas you'll be working in.

These cost us pence and as they are laminated, are more durable and waterproof than a basic map costing £8. Also, an A4 sheet of paper is much more manageable than a whole map sheet if it is windy.

All we ask is that you bring a Silva Type 4 Expedition Compass, everything that you would take out for a day in the hills; and plenty of enthusiasm to learn all of those map reading skills we'll show you!

Whilst on day one, we will work in an area not too distant from our meeting point in the pretty Lake District village of Staveley. On day two, we always go further afield.

Generally, unless the weather conditions are adverse, we will venture on to the eastern side of the Kentmere Horseshoe where we will consolidate the Map Reading & Navigation Skills learnt on day one and add some more technical skills such as how to use the compass to identify an unknown feature from a known location.

If the weather is good then you'll get some fantastic views of The Lake District's Lakes & Mountains; and if you want to know what anything is - then you can use the skills you have learnt so far; or ask Iain!

Not all of the features you'll be asked to find will be as obvious as the rock in photo six (does anyone know what this erratic  is called and where it is?)

Amongst other things, by the end of this course you'll be expected to find contour features (a contour is a line joining areas of the same hieght and they basically show the shape and steepness of the ground) as well as springs such as in photo five. Using the skills developed on day one, you'll need to be able to justify why you are where you think you are!

Sounds a bit like a Summer Mountain Walking Leader Assessment? Well, in all honesty, all of our Lake District based Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses are run to Summer Mountain Walking leader standard so if you are thinking of attempting your Summer ML Assessment or have been deferred on your navigation, then our courses make an ideal refresher course.

Our next advertised Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course in the Lake District will be running during the weekend of September 27th & 28th. Contact us here if you would like to book a place.

In the meantime, if you would like to book your own bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course during July or August then feel free to enquire. Bespoke Nav Courses start at just £80 per person per day.

Corporate Team building Events in The Lake District. Ghyll Scrambling, Stickle Ghyll. June 26th 2014

Last Thursday afternoon, we ran yet another Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District for one of our Corporate Clients - Nucleargraduates.

Nucleargraduates have been using our services since 2011 when, whilst looking for an activity session that would promote team building objectives, they came across our website and liked the sound of our Ghyll Scrambling Sessions.
So why Ghyll Scrambling? and to what purpose?

Nucleargraduates are a company based in West Cumbria recruiting graduates to an apprenticeship scheme within the Nuclear Industry. Those graduates successful in gaining places on the Nucleargraduates Apprenticeship Scheme are invited to attend a two day Induction Workshop in The Lake District that invariably takes place in Kendal.

As the successful applicants are likely to be working alongside each other over their two year apprenticeship, it was felt that something was required to bring these people together in a manner which, by impelling them into working together, would, in turn, lead to their forming bonds and friendships which will last throughout this time.

Nucleargraduates looked to us to provide an appropriate session in the locality that would meet these objectives and so far, they have been pleased with our consistent delivery and results.

We have even delivered two large single day corporate Team Building Events for the organisation

For many of these professional young people, the idea of scrambling up a mountain stream. swimming through pools and climbing up waterfalls is a totally new, unusual and alien concept. However, it does work superbly well at bringing the team together.

In all, these nine graduate apprentices spent several hours in Stickle Ghyll in Langdale with Iain. During that time, they were briefed on the objective of the session in si much that they were to work together to look after each other and help each other up difficult sections of the ghyll.

Opportunities for further challenge were provided by Iain and these included the chance to climb, roped, two waterfalls, the second of which was considerably higher than the first; and the opportunity to jump off a tree into a deep pool - the only one of it's depth in the ghyll.

It was clear that despite having only met each other for the first time that morning, by the end of the afternoon, this group of successful applicants had gotten to know each other much better and that bonds were already forming. So, once again - job done for Iain and Kendal Mountaineering Services. We hope that they all go on to have successful apprenticships with their sponsor industries within the Nucleargraduates Apprentice Scheme and are sure that their half day Ghyll Scrabling Session in The Lake District will leave a lasting, positive impression on their memories.

If you are looking for something to use as a method for facilitating positive change within your organisation or industry - then contact us to discuss your aims & objectives and we will design a Corporate event or session to meet those objectives. We look forward to working with you.

Introductory half day Rock Climbing Session in The Lake District June 25th 2014.

Rebecca Grayson (photo one) contacted us a while ago looking for an opportunity to try rock climbing out of doors for the first time, whilst holidaying in The Lake District.

Rebecca's previous experience amounted to some climbing sessions at her local climbing wall - basically - bouldering; as she had never tried climbing using ropes before or practicing the techniques required to belay.

Rebecca & her boyfriend - John turned up to meet Iain in Langdale with it having been arranged that we would provide the pair with an Introductory Rock Climbing Session in The Lake District at Lower Scout Crag - one of the area's most popular single pitch venues for introductory rock climbing. (photo one) Popular it was too as we had only just started rock climbing ourselves when another group turned up to join us.
In photo two, Rebecca's boyfriend - John, belays Rebecca as she climbs a route on Lower Scout Crag that follows a corner upwards towards an overhang.

Iain had arranged a top anchor ie two rock anchor placements attached at the top of the climb and equalized by bringing the load to a central attachment point using static (pre-stretched) rope.

Into the central attachment point he had placed two karabiners (metal clips) and attached the climbing rope (seen being used by John & Rebecca. The climbing rope was attached to Rebecca and also to John who "took in" the rope - keeping it tight whilst Rebecca rock climbed up.

The ultimate aim was to reach the karabiners at the central attachment point and upon doing so - be lowered back to the ground by the person belaying (John).

We always do our best to make sure that you get the most out of any Activity Session or Skills Training Course in The Lake District that you book with us. Unfortunately, due the the action of members of the other rock climbing groups - now numbering two at Lower Scout Crag, Iain felt that neither Rebecca or John were getting the best Introductory Rock Climbing Session that we could deliver.

Therefore, we moved to nearby Sticklebarn Crag (photo three) where there was only one other smaller; and more considerate rock climbing group with their staff.

Here, Rebecca & John could practice climbing on easier rock routes without the fear of someone else getting in their way  or crashing into them. Rebecca, in particular, was struggling with her confidence to climb upwards any distance, but with Iain & Johns encouragement, made it almost all the way to the top of a rock route here - what a great achievement!

The final photo from this post about Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District sees Rebecca descending the crag following reaching her "high point" of the day. Here, she is being lowered by John who belayed her whilst she rock climbed. When John was climbing - Rebecca belayed for him.

All in all, in terms of what was gained from this Introductory Rock Climbing Session in The Lake District both Rebecca & John achieved a great deal. Neither had climbed on outdoor rock before and neither had belayed using a rope before either.

Rebecca's confidence came along massively as she was climbing much higher towards the end of her climbing session than at the start. John climbed well from the outset, but was very good at belaying and supporting Rebecca in her attempts to rock climb.

The pair make a very good team and we hope to hear ultimately that they go on to buy a rope, harnesses , helmets and belay plates and then get out climbing. Rebecca thinks that another Rock Climbing Sessiuon in The Lake District might be in order before they do this and intends to give us another call when the pair return to the area in the Autumn. We look forward to working with them again.

Our Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions in The lake District are ideal for families, friends, Stag or Hen Groups and Corporate groups wishing to use these sessions for team building. They are a great way to encourage the development of trust, support & communication skills between individuals in a group and a great exhilarating way to have fun.

Prices for Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District start at £45 per person for a minimum of two persons or for as little as £30 depending on your group size. Helmets, harnesses and instruction are included in that price. Contact us here to make a booking.