Wednesday 27 August 2014

Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Friday 22nd August 2014.

Well, it was good news that the weather last Friday was going to be dry & sunny - especially as we had a Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in the Lake district to run for Sarah Payne and Kathryn West.

Both had come to us enquiring about Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses separately; and whilst we will certainly run courses for one person, we cannot teach multi-pitch rock climbing skills - unless two people turn up as a climbing pair.

So why is this? Well, multi-pitch rock climbing usually involves two or more people working together to climb a rock face. One person will be leading and stitching themselves to the rock by means of running belays and being attached to a climbing rope being paid out by the "second" - the person who subsequently follows the leader up the climb.

As Mountaineering Instructors, we have a duty of care to our clients and if two people turn up to learn climbing then it is possible for the instructor to "self line" - that is to set up a climbing rope alongside an intended climbing route from which to be able to coach; and keep safe, a novice climbing leader.

However, if one person turns up on their own then the climbing session must become a "guided" climbing session in which the Mountaineering Instructor acts as lead climber at all times to protect the client. However, in this situation it is not possible to allow a novice to lead and this was not what either Sarah or Kathryn wanted!

Both have been out climbing as competent seconds with other leaders, but both wanted to learn to lead rock climbs for themselves. However, neither had been able to arrange a climbing partner to join them and share the cost of our fee for a Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District.

So Iain put the two in touch with each other as they were keen to work together on this climbing course and find a date that was mutually suitable and one on which Iain could work with them to provide coaching.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel a previous convenient date when the weather refused to co-operate. This was on Sunday August 10th, when hurricane Bertha had crossed the Atlantic to lash our district with torrential rain and strong winds.

There was no point whatsoever in attempting to teach rock climbing skills in those conditions, but fortunately, the pair were able to reschedule to the 22nd of August instead.

We spent a few hours in the morning at Lower Scout Crag in Langdale looking at anchor placements and equalising anchors (photo one) to a central attachment point before heading up to Route One at Upper Scout Crag to get on with some climbing.

Sarah & Kathryn each led at least one pitch on this route (photo two) and got to practise the skill of good anchor placements, extending anchors for running belays; and equalising two anchors bringing them together to a central attachment point which is essential when belaying from a stance as Kathryn is doing in photo three.

As part of our Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District - as well as teach you how to lead rock climbs competently and safely, we also consider it very important that you learn the techniques necessary to perform an abseil retreat from a crag.

Why might you need to do this? For a number of reasons! The weather may have deteriorated and climbing has become a cold & uncomfortable proposition, chilly people do not climb well and mistakes might result in an accident. Or, it may be getting dark! Other reasons might include people feeling suddenly unwell or someone getting injured; or, one might just decide that the climb is beyond their ability.

We showed Sarah & Kathryn the techniques for arranging an abseil retreat from a convenient oak tree on pitch two of Route Two. This involved 1. Attaching to the anchor (a sling around the tree)  using cowstails before both untied from the rope. 2. Threading the rope through the anchor and then dropping both sides down to the foot of the crag before 3. Attaching to the climbing rope with their belay plates as in a "Stacked Abseil" before following Iain down to the foot of the crag as in photo four.

The pair thoroughly enjoyed their Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and have booked another day out with us in September - let's just hope that the weather is kind to us then!

To learn more about rock climbing skills contact us to book your own course here. As long as we have dry weather - such courses can be run, usually up until the end of October. You'll have a great time and learn a lot on one of our Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District - so get one booked today!

Monday 25 August 2014

Canyoning in The Lake District. August 21st 2014.

Last Thursday, Iain ran one of our popular Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District at Church Beck near Coniston. Frank Donoghue, together with his son Harry & daughter Tess had made the journey down from Keswick, where they were staying on holiday to join Iain at this venue.

Canyoning is all about descending a mountain stream, abseiling; or as in photo one - being lowered down waterfalls; and in this photo Frank goes first. The drop behind him is not very high - only about 10 feet into the pool below, but the act of passing through a waterfall is a truly exhilarating experience!

Photo two was taken a little further downstream after we had abseiled the waterfall at the head of the gorge; and then jumped into a deep pool at the fall below. We were the only party in Church Beck on this Thursday afternoon which we thought a little odd; although the weather was pretty rubbish with a strong wind blowing and the rain lashing down.

What better thing to do on your visit to The Lake District if the weather is poor - come Canyoning or Ghyll Scrambling with us! Both are ideal & fun ways to occupy a miserable day and you can't get any wetter!

A little further beyond where photo two was taken one arrives at Miner's Bridge spanning the gorge. Immediately below here is the Miners Bridge Waterfall and in photo three - Tess scrambles backwards towards the top of the fall to be lowered down by Iain.

Below the Miners Bridge Waterfall, the gorge narrows in to section known as The Top Jumps - three waterfalls and deep pools in quick succession. To keep you safe, we belay you (protect you with a rope) as you climb out to us to avoid the narrow slot of the first fall and then lower you to a point where you can jump, without fear of hitting the rock sides, in to the pool below. We climb down the next waterfall and swim the pool below to then slide down the final fall using a big sloping rock slab as the launching point.

That big slab can be seen in photo four behind Frank with the water falling down either side of it.

On your Canyoning Descent of Church Beck we can continue downstream from this point for a further 300 metres and then turn around to do a roped climb up a waterfall passed in descent and also a "tricky traverse" across a rock wall at the back of the pool above, penalty for falling off - a thorough ducking!.

We finish off by climbing out of the left bank of the gorge (behind the trio in photo four) and ascending then descending to a point some 20 feet above the pool that is above the chockstone fall seen here. We do the jump into that pool before doing the slide behind Harry Tess and Frank one last time. We find this is a great finale to the Canyoning Session and it is the biggest jump in the gorge.

Canyoning is great exhilarating and challenging fun and our prices start at just £45 per person for a four hour session. All of the equipment you see Frank, Harry & Tess wearing is provided as part of your fee. All you need to bring is swimwear, towels, a long sleeved fleece type top and a pair of thick socks to wear in the walking boots we provide. Oh! - and don't forget plenty of enthusiasm! We can guarantee you'll love Canyoning. Contact us here to book your session. We look forward to working with you.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Stag Activity sessions in The Lake District. Stoneycoft Gill. Saturday 16th August 2014.

Lee Bollom contacted us some time ago to arrange Ghyll Scrambling as part of a weekend Stag do in The Lake District for a bunch of mates.

The Stag party were staying up near Keswick so we arranged to travel up there to run their Ghyll Scrambling session at nearby Stoneycroft Gill.

Photo one shows the group as we prepared to enter the ghyll at the upstream get in. Each person is kitted out with wetsuit, cagoule, buoyancy aid, walking boots and a helmet - all provided by us as part of your fee per person. We consider it our responsibility to provide you this comprehensive package of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as part of our mission to keep you as comfortable & as safe as possible during any of our Outdoor activity Sessions.

Stoneycroft Gill is unusal as a Ghyll Scrambling Session (also known as Gorge Walking) as one starts upstream and descends the stream bed. Ghyll Scrambling/Gorge Walking usually refers to clambering up a stream bed wading & swimming through pools and climbing up waterfalls - but not here.

The descent of Stoneycroft Ghyll is along a narrow & fast flowing channel which is well vegetated along the banks. Just below the get in there are a couple of waterslides down some steep smooth chutes in the rock and today, there was quite a bit of water making for a fast & exhilarating descent of these - in fact Iain had to stand at the bottom to stop party members from shooting out of the lower chute too fast!

We then made ourway downstream one behind the other (photo two) with Iain leading the way throughout.
The descent route in Stoneycroft starts off relatively gently - after the initial waterslide. Further on there is another double slide down more chutes into a deepish pool and then further on on gets to the top of a ten foot high waterfall which drops into another deep pool and the slide down over this is quite exciting - certainly this group loved it.

Further on there is a climb down (using recently fixed chains) by the side of another waterfall which has a large boulder in the pool at it's base. It is possible to dive down & squeeze through a gap between the boulder  and the side of the pool (a bit like cave diving) but today, the weather had turned windy & wet and it was quite chilly. Also the water in the ghyll was turbid, so it would have been a real challenge to ask any of the group to attempt to dive underwater and swim through a narrow gap today.

The final photo was taken as the group pass through a mini gorge and a very deep pool that necessitates swimming.

As you can see from the camera lens (a GOPRO Hero 3) even despite constantly wiping the lens with a dishcloth it was constantly getting covered with raindrops - hence the blurred spots.

We continued down the ghyll passing through another deep pool and getting out above the Canyoning section in the lower part of the ghyll. All of the Stag Part had been soaked throughout this Lake District Ghyll Scrambling Session and the weather had been cold & wet for the most part. Time to pack up and get warm & dry!

Each member of Lee Bollom's Stag Party paid just £40 for this half day Ghyll Scrambling Session and despite the unseasonably cool temperatures, they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They have the photos and videos taken with our GOPRO Camera to remind them of the experience - something else which we include in your fee per person.

We offer Stag Groups and Hen Parties a comprehensive package of activities where you can choose anything from the website including Raft Building. Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning are definitely our most popular activities with these types of group through. Book your activity sessions with us and we will help you arrange you accommodation and advise you on the best places for you night out too.

If you would like us to help you to arrange a Stag or Hen Event in The Lake District you'll never forget for all the right reasons - then contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

1 day bespoke Lake District Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District. August 15th 2014.

We were contacted last week by the Kendall Family who were looking for a one day orienteering course - or so they thought! Orienteering is the sport of following a mapped out course visiting Grid References or marker points that have a means of marking a score card to prove you have been there. It is a competitive sport, often timed; and is carried out by experienced map readers. Usually the competition is won by the person or team achieving the most markers in the shortest time.

With a little bit of enquiring from Iain, it became apparent, the what the family really wanted was a day of Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training. Iain met them in Staveley as we usually do for all our Lake District Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses at 09:00 on Friday morning; and off we went!

This one day bespoke Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course started off as they always do - by going right back to basics. Discussing map scales and the difference in detail on those map scales and then the importance map orientation before setting off on a linear route ( a minor road) measuring & pacing distance between "tick off" features that we looked for along the way. This was a very good way to get the family reading from the map on to the ground.Through this method, they very quickly picked up the required techniques and had a lot of fun in the process.

Photo two was taken during a snack stop and a lesson in how to identify Grid References on the map to pinpoint a location. The family again picked this up very quickly indeed and were, in no time, giving Iain 8 figure Grid References for points that they were identifying on the map - very precise. Good stuff!

The next progression on from being able to identify the location of a Grid Reference on a map is to be able to find it on the ground. The next part of the session would see us leave the security of using linear features such as bridleways, tracks & footpaths to get from A to B and use a compass to walk in a straight line instead to find Grid References.

Photo three sees the family near to a rather insignificant pool of water marked on the map all having a laugh about the method that Dad - Cavan and one of his sons had used to get there. Unlike Mum - Dee & the other two lads, they had read the map and followed a track before identifying contour features that helped them to "home in" on the pool of water. Whilst the rest of us had used a compass bearing to get there. No matter, it had still worked; and that was a good result!

The final photo from this post about a one day bespoke Navigation & Map Reading Skills Training Course sees Mum and sons Carl & Harry working together to get the correct bearing a measure the distance from where they were to the next Grid Reference.

We spent the rest of the afternoon working in this fashion and then finished off by discussing Naismith's Rule for working out walking times between Grid References and then using the compass to identify unknown features on the ground from our known location.

The Kendall family had a very satisfying day out with Iain and are looking forward to venturing into the mountains on their next visit to the Lake District and being able to find their way around with confidence. We wish them the best of luck and hope to see them again.

Our weekend Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District start again soon with the first one taking place on September 27th & 28th. At £80 per person for these two day courses they are a bargain if you want to learn how to find your way around in the mountains in any weather. Contact us to get booked on the September course. We look forward to working with you.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ghyll Scrambling in The Lake District. Tuesday 12th August 2014.

We were back in Church beck On August 12th - this time with the Exodus Explorer Scouts from Royston in Hertfordshire. Once again Iain was working on behalf on Great Tower Scout Activity Centre as lead instructor being supported by three very able members of Great Tower's own staff team.

Photo one shows the group as we entered Church Beck next to the Hydro Electic Power Plant to commence our ghyll scrambling ascent of this Lake District Venue.
Ghyll Scrambling also often known as Gorge Walking is, in fact, the same activity and refers to walking up a mountain stream bed - getting throughly wet in the process.

The whole activity is very much fun (provided it's not too cold), is challenging and often involve members of a Ghyll Scrambling group looking after each other. It's great way to get to know someone new!

Ghyll Scrambling is great fun for any family and children of any age. We also find it very popular with Stag & Hen Parties looking for an event with a difference and we have a corporate client - Nucleargraduates, who regularly use this activity as an icebreaker for successful applicants joining their two year apprentice-ship programme. So Ghyll Scrambling can be used to faciliate a specific outcome as well as being fun and exhilarating!

For these young people however, Ghyll Scrambling was meant to be a blast whilst away on a weeks holiday in The Lake District - a great place to try out almost any outdoor activity you fancy.

We made our way up Church Beck - climbing up waterfalls such as the one in photo three, swimming through pools, crawling under logs in the full flow of the water; and you can tell from the photos that veryone was having plain old good fun!

Ghyll Scrambling is something that everyone should try at least once. And if that's not enough - then try this!

This particular group were lucky to have Iain along as he has over 20 year experience of providing exhilarating, fun and challenging  outdoor experiences to young people & adults.

The scene in photo four is the one usually seen at the end of one of our own Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District and this is the place where most ghyll scrambling ascents of Church Beck end. However, with Iain's knowledge of this venue and his perception of the ability of the group on this occasion he felt it appropriate to offer this group a "grand finale".

This grand finale was the same as we offer our own clients on the Canyoning descent of Church Beck - that being a slide down the waterfall behind the group after doing a 20 foot jump from the left hand bank (as in this photo) into the deep pool above the waterslide. All of the young people in the photo did it and they all loved it!

If you want to experience  Ghyll Scrambling or Canyoning in The Lake District then contact us. We provide a high standard of personal protective - all included in your fee per person and we will go that extra mile to make sure that you have a great session and that we exceed your expectations. Prices start at £45 per person for a half day (four hour) session. We look forward to working with you.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Ghyll Scrambling in The Lake District. Church Beck, 9th August 2014.

Yesterday, we were out at Church Beck at Coniston - once again, with another scout group visiting The Lake District. This time the group were from the 1st Biggar & Tinto Scout Group from South Lanarkshire.

The weather was warm & sunny (just like a few weeks ago) as we set off into Church Beck by the hydro-electric power plant to begin our ghyll scrambling session at this venue. (photo one)
Photo two sees some of the scout group a while later. By this point we had travelled 200 metres, wading & swimming through pools and climbing up waterfalls.

Just below this point the group had enjoyed their first jump from the sides into a deep pool - getting thoroughly soaked in the process and they were now enjoying scrambling up the next low waterfall. They certainly look like they are having fun and that is what Ghyll Scrambling (or Gorge Walking as is is also known) is all about!
In all of our Ghyll Scrambling Sessions, we try to include as many elements of challenge as we can; and in photo three, the girl you can see has just climbed the first really decent waterfall you get to on the upstream ascent of Church Beck.

The waterfall is only six feet high, but trying to climb up the rock through falling water is a real challenge for anyone; although all but one of our group were keen to give it a try and succeeded in getting to the top.

In all situations where a slip could turn into something more serious, we do make sure that people are attached to a tight rope; and almost everyone did slip at some point whilst climbing here today!

Our final photograph from this Ghyll Scrambling Session in The lake District sees the group having a final plunge and jump in the last pool before the gorge gets really serious (the scene of our Canyoning Descents of Church Beck).

By now, some of our smaller group members were starting to get really quite cold (they were only wearing thin sailing suits over their personal clothing) so just above here we exited the ghyll to the track and back into the sunlight to warm up.

On this occasion, we were working for another provider and the clients were using their equipment.

If you come on a ghyll Scrambling Session with Kendal Mountaineering Services, then you'll always get a wetsuit provided which provides good insulation against the cold, We also provide cagoules, buoyancy aids, harnesses, helmets and walking boots which give much better protection, ankle support and grip than the training shoes we see many other clients being asked to wear who have booked on to cheaper sessions with our competitors.

This is all worth thinking about when booking a ghyll Scrambling or Gorge Walking Activity Session in The Lake District - what do you really get for your money? You should at least be properly kitted out to keep you warm and give you maximum protection - so that you can get maximum enjoyment from your session. All of these considerations are our first priority when you book your activity session with us - so, Contact us here to make your booking. Our prices start at £45 per adult and £35 for children for a four hour session. Great fun for all the family!

Friday 8 August 2014

Caving sessions in The Yorkshire Dales. 7th August 2014.

As previously mentioned on our Facebook Page, Iain worked in Yorkshire on Wednesday and then came home to The Lake District. However, by 11am on Thursday morning, he was back in the Yorkshire Dales National Park again - this time working on behalf of The Scouts with the 64th Birkenhead Sea Scout Group.

These children were on a visit to The Lake District from The Wirral and had booked a day of caving. Long Churns was once again too busy and we couldn't get parked to go to Great Douk. So, Iain decided to go over to the Birkwith area again - scene of our last two posts about Introductory Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Photo one sees the group peering down the manhole that leads straight down into Dismal Hill Cave - one of the Birkwith Group of caves.

Not much further along the Pennine Way from the lidded entrance to Dismal Hill Cave is the entrance to Old Ing Cave. Set in a grassy depression in the middle of a field - the entrance doesn't look like much, but once inside you can follow a roomy passageway for over 700 metres (photo two)

The passageway winds about through some fantastic limestone features until the floor begins to drop and the stream picks up its pace as it flow over waterfalls and deepening pools.

After some 400 metres from the entrance, a sharp right hand bend is reached with water flowing in from Rough Hill Inlet straight ahead. After another 300 metres of much more adventurous passageway, one arrives at the sump where the waters of Old Ing Cave sink below the surface to combine with the flow from Red Moss Pot en route for Dismal Hill Cave.
After an hour & a half or so of exploring, we resurfaced from Old Ing Cave and then walked back along the Pennine Way to visit Birkwith Cave.

The entrance is set under a limestone cliff in a wood and to get in involves a low crawl with the water to get to a chamber containing some massive blocks. Clambering over these brings one to a waterfall; although care is needed to get there without falling down some big gaps between the blocks.

Above the waterfall, a lively stream is followed some 300 metres until the roof lowers; and shortly afterwards, the canal is reached at a sharp bend rightwards. The water here deepens quickly and it is a chilly swim to the sump that cuts off further progress into Dismal Hill Cave. We turned around at the start of the canal!

On the way back downstream, a fossil passageway is passed on the right. This drier oxbow can be followed to where it ultimately emerges back in the main streamway and we took this route. Photo three sees most of the group back in the main streamway and one of the leaders (in blue) is emerging from the oxbow.

The final photo from this post about Introductory Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales sees the group descending the short canyon which runs at right angles from the mouth of Birkwith Cave.

The waterfalls behind the group are issuing from the cave mouth - one can drop through a tube in the rock and many of the group gained some delight from sliding through this; and watching others following - getting pretty wet in the process. Mind you - some of the group were already soaked - having chosen to take a swim in the canal deep undergound. They were braver than Iain!

After emerging from the pool at the foot of the canyon, we climbed back up the slope to join the path leading back to The Pennine Way and the bus - only a short distance away.

The group ate the remainder of their lunch and dried out in the sun - it was a lovely warm afternoon and a great end to another great caving session.

And so ended another great Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and all of the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We currently have availability to arrange a great caving adventure for you in the coming weeks between August 13th & 15th and the 18th - 22nd. To book a session - contact us here. We look forward to working with you.

Outdoor Activities in Yorkshire. 6th August 2014.

Last Wednesday saw the final piece of work with Village Camps in 2014 when once again we met a group of young children & staff who had an outdoor activity booked as part of their visit to Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The group arrived at Brimham Rocks at around 10am and were split into two smaller groups - one going straight off to enjoy an Introductory Rock Climbing Session as in photo one and the other group scrambling amongst the many rock outcrops that Brimham has to offer.
After two & a half hours of rock climbing and scrambling it was time to pack up and drive the eight or so miles to Howstean Gorge in nearby Nidderdale.

Before the group arrived, we all set up the tents required so that the group would be able to spend the night on the campsite here before their departure the next morning.

Upon the groups arrival, they were all kitted out with wetsuits, cagoules, walking boots, buoyancy aids, helmets & harnesses for the next activity that was part of their Outdoor Activity Day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

This involved first abseiling off the bridge over Howstean Gorge as seen here in Photo two. The bridge had two purpose built "abseil stations" and members of the group abseil down two at a time - connected to a safety rope of course!

Once the whole group were safely in the bottom of the gorge we could begin our gorge walking session.

So what is Gorge Walking? Well - the same as Ghyll Scrambling! OK - so what is it? Both are names for the same wet activity - wet because basically, you get into a stream or river and walk (or swim!) upstream or sometimes downstream.

Gorge walking (ghyll Scrambling) is a lot of FUN and is a real adeventure as you scramble over boulders, up waterfalls - never knowing quite what is around the next bend (unless you are the leader!)

The gorge at Howstean is set in Limestone and is up to 50 feet deep in places. Limestone is the rock normally associated with caves and caving sessions and as it happens there are two caves both leading into the gorge.

The final photo from this Outdoor Activity Day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park sees Iain's group as we headed back out from the gorge via Tom Taylors Cave.

This is a short 100 metre long cave reached from either the walkway which traverses through the gorge or from the stream bed and it is long enough to give the children a taste of what caving is all about.

On this occasion - as with all the previous reports related to Village Camps, Iain was working here on behalf of another provider but if you are visiting The Lake District with your family and would like to try any of the activities listed in this post then visit our website here as we also provide all of them. Prices start at £45 per person with discounts applied for children.

Half day Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Tuesday 5th August 2014

Last Tuesday, Iain ran a half day Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales for Bob, Jenny & Alex Lee. The family were holidaying in the area and staying in Ingleton and they decided to call in to Inglesport to see if a recommendation for a caving instructor could be found to provide their son, Alex, with his first caving experience.

Inglesport recommended that the family contact us; and as it happened, we had a few spare days this week in which to arrange the caving session for them.

Iain met the family at Inglesport. Initially, it was decied that the venue would be Long Churns, but on arrival at Long Churns Lane Iain observed six minibuses parked meaning that there would be a lot of people underground. He did not think this would be condusive to a great caving experience for the family.

So instead, we went to Browgill Cave across the valley. Photo one sees Bob, Jenny & Alex as we were about to go underground at Browgill Cave.

Browgill Cave starts off as a walk in with the emerging stream to a low crawl before one suddenly finds ones-self in a high rift passage with the ceiling some 10 metres above.

We continued by following this rift which narrows in to the point where you can only progress by moving sideways along it as you head towards the distant rumble of the underground waterfall.

Before you get to the waterfall, there is a climb up left to another crawl which leads back to the stream and on to the infamous squeezes of The Letterbox or The Slot - both of which lead into Hainsworth's Passage in photo two.

Photo three was taken after all three of the family had emerged from Hainsworth's Passage into the larger cave which gradually increases with hieght and leads back to the main streamway again.

Bob and Jenny have been into Browgill before and know many of the cave systems to be found in the Yorkshire Dales. Back in the early 90's they were both part of a university Caving Club and had many adventures underground introducing freshers to the delights of caving. Now living on the south coast of England they are no longer involved with caving - but wanted son Alex to experience some proper caving - and so far, he was thoroughly enjoying himself!

Beyond Hainsworth's passage, the upper streamway leads on for some 400 metres. Starting as a low crawl that clearly floods when Browgill Beck is in spate, one eventually meets the stream as it sinks into the floor.

Continuing upstream a small rift is passed from which the stream emerges but the way on left leads back to the stream. Eventually daylight; and a waterfall can be seen in the distance. This is the point at which Browgill Beck enters the cave via the 11 metre drop that is Calf Holes - the scene of our Level 2 Caving Trip from last Sunday.

At this point, we turned around and headed back downstream. On arriving at Hainsworth's passage, we crawled back through and emerged at the stream - this time via the alternative route of The Slot.

We descended with the stream which quickly drops into a canyon and then shoots out into space in a large chamber at the end of the lower rift passage. The waterfall is about 8 metres high and cannot be descended so we climbed back upstream, then over and back down into the rift we had followed earlier before heading back out into daylight.

Photo five sees Jenny, Bob & Alex having dealt with the "sting in the tail" - the walk back uphill from the cave mouth to the dirt track that led back to the vehicle. Iain thought this photo worth taking - typical Yorkshire Dales scenery, beautiful, we are sure you'll agree!

Bob, Jenny & Alex's Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park cost just £45 per person. The price includes provision of all the equipment you see the family wearing and in this case, a lift from & back to Ingleton.

If you like the sound of a great caving session underground with an experienced and enthusiastic Cave Leader then contact us to book your session here. We look forward to working with you.

Monday 4 August 2014

Caving Sessions in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. August 3rd 2014.

Yesterday, Iain was out again -this time Caving in the Yorkshire Dales National Park with Sarah Huntley & her husband Richard.

Sarah enjoys the outdoor life - being brought up by parents who love doing stuff in the outdoors and indeed, Sarah's Mum - Doreen, booked her daughter an activity day with us by way of buying one of our Gift Vouchers as a Christmas Present - what a lovely idea!

It took until yesterday for Sarah to redeem her gift voucher due to an unexpected setback some months earlier, but the pair met Iain at Inglesport yesterday morning as the starting point for the day of caving and abseiling that had been previously arranged.

Photo one sees Richard & Sarah as we started our Introductory Caving Session at Long Churns at around 10am.
We did our usual Introductory Caving Session with this pair - starting at Middle Entrance and making our way down into Lower Long Churns to ultimately arrive at the famous (or infamous!) Cheese Press where both successfully squeezed through - easily as it happens! We then made our way to the head of the Dolly Tubs Pitch so that, with lights out, we could see the daylight entering from Alum Pot.

On the way back out, we exited via Diccan Entrance - taking a quick detour to the pitch head of Diccan Pot via the streamway (which is where photo two was taken) before re-appearing in daylight at Diccan Entrance.

As the pair were truly enthusiastic about caving and already pretty wet, we did the upstream crawl from Diccan entrance to Middle Long Churns and then headed into Cross Passage, ultimately emerging in Upper Long Churns - a wide, roomy passageway.

After returning to daylight at Middle Entrance and then climbing the entrance waterfall, we continued along Upper Long Churns, eventually arriving at the large pool of Doctor Bannister's Washbasin.

Here, we climbed the waterfall to emerge into somewhat inclement weather at the upstream entrance into the Long Churns Cave system. The time was about mid-day!

Normally, photo three - taken on the nearby Limestone pavement would also see a view across Ribblesdale to Penyghent - one of the Yorkshire 3 peaks. Today, that view was shrouded in rain.

For the afternoon option, Iain give the pair three choices - either Abseiling in the wet or an Indoor Climbing Session at Inglesport Wall. Or, provided it didn't get too wet; an introduction to Level 2 Caving at Browgill Cave.

He wasn't really that surprised when they chose the Level 2 Caving option - so what is level 2 caving?

Well, all of our Introductory Caving Sessions in The Yorkshire DalesNational Park are Level 1 Sessions - ie they are walk in/walk out caving trips with vertical pitches of no more than 2 metres involved.

A level 2 Caving Trip is an altogether more serious option only open to people who have already attended a level one trip with us and have exhibited confidence at that level. A Level 2 Caving Trip involves descending or climbing pitches of up to 18 metres or 60 feet. The pitch Iain is lowering Sarah down in photo four is no more than 11 metres.

The weather hadn't gotten any wetter after lunch, so Iain took the pair across valley to do the Calf Holes/Browgill Cave Trip.

This involves an 11 metre lower in to the cave from the surface next to a waterfall and then what is otherwise a Level 1 journey downstream and a tight squeeze through Hainsworth's Passage & The Slot to rejoin the stream and eventually emerge at daylight at Browgill Cave Entrance.

We could have called it a day there, but there was still plenty of time, so we turned around and made our way back to the Calf Holes pitch foot via a slightly different squeeze - The Letterbox (photo five) and then finally, Iain laddered the pair back up the Calf Holes pitch.

This was a truly adventurous day for Sarah & Richard as well as being challenging & strenuous. Our caving sessions are not all like that - we tailor them to your requirements and it was clear that this pair were up to a bit more of a challenge. They had a great day and Iain enjoyed providing it for them.

Sarah & Richard's Caving Day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park cost them £150 or £75 each and all of the equipment you see the pair wearing was included in the price. Our half day Introductory Caving Sessions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park start at just £45 per person with all technical equipment provided and our next blog post will be about just such a session we are running tomorrow.

Caving is fun and everyone should try it at least once! Contact us here to book your session here.

Kayak River Journeys in The Lake District. Saturday August 2nd 2014.

Last weekend, Iain enjoyed a rather wet adventure with Bob & Paul Bettinson from Essex who, whilst visiting Pauls brother in Lancaster, booked a day of Kayaking in The Lake District with us.

This is the third time that Bob & Paul have joined Iain for an adventurous activity session in The Lake District. The first time was an all day Esk Gorge Trip in 2012 and then last year, we spent a day on Derwent Water and the Middle Derwent during an Open Canoe Skills Training Session and a River Journey.
This time, the pair wanted to try Kayaking which is something largely done on moving water. Kayaks were invented by Eskimos for travelling on water. The difference between a Kayak & an Open Canoe is that these are 1 person craft and by use of a spraydeck have closed cockpits (ie the place where a person sits) whereas in an Open Canoe - the cockpit is completely open and those craft are often paddled together by two persons.

Most modern Kayaks are designed for river running as can be seen in photos one & two and are designed to be extremely manoeuvrable - very handy when negotiating a rapid!

Today was a steep learning curve for Bob who does extremely well for a 67 year old! He is travelling down river first in both photos two & three and struggled to get his kayak to go in a straight line throughout the day - this is a common problem for a novice.

However, with Iain's tuition and guiding, the pair mananaged to negotiate a section of the River Lune which, on the stretch that we did, is no more than Grade 2 in difficulty although it looks really impressive in the photos - we are sure you'll agree!
The final photo is taken at the getout. We had started kayaking at 10am and had spent the first hour & a half revisiting moving water skills such as ferry gliding & reverse paddling as well as manoeuvring into & out of eddies (areas of calm water between rapids)

During this 10km river trip both Bob & Paul paddled well with only one swim (well - if you could call it a swim!) taking place when Bob failed to make an eddy and then grabbed a tree - a move which he knows never to make again!

The weather was due to be wet and it duly was - with the worst shower coinciding with Bob's dunking. During the day we received a number of showers but then as the afternoon wore on the weather brightened up as we approached the getout (photo four) finally arriving at 4pm.

Bob & Paul enjoyed yet another day of Adventurous Activities with Iain and are talking about returning next year to finish the upper section of the Esk Gorge which we didn't quite manage two years ago.

Kendal Mountaineering Services run Introductory Kayaking Sessions on most of The Lake Districts Lakes and River Journeys in the area where access permits. Half day sessions start at £45 per person, full day guided River trips start at £80 each. Contact us here to book your Kayaking adventure.

Ghyll Scrambling in The Lake District, Church Beck, Coniston. July 30th 2014.

Last Wednesday, Iain was once again working for The Scouts providing another great Outdoor Activity Session - this time Ghyll Scrambling in The Lake District at Church Beck, Coniston.

Today's group were the 1st Holborn Scout Group from King's Cross in London. The group were enjoying a weeks camping and outdoor activities in The Lake District and were staying at Great Tower Scout Camp near Windermere.

Photo one shows the group getting stuck in as we set off up the lower part of Church Beck - wading through the first really deep pool we come across on this Ghyll Scrambling Ascent.

It is clear that the group were enjoying themselves immensely already!
In photo two, the group take a wet pose for this photograph, at this point we had travelled some 300metres on this Ghyll Scrambling ascent and there were another 500metres to go.

A little further on there is a deep pool with a waterfall and there are several places from which to jump in from the rocky sides. You'll will be fine jumping as long as you bring your feet up to prevent striking the bottom - even though the pool is deep enough to swim in.

Above that one eventually comes to the tree in photo three.

Photo three sees one of the group enjoying a wet challenge. The tree lies across the bed of the ghyll and has a gap underneath it into which most of the water flows - unless there is a lot of water in which case it will be flowing over the top and it would not be possible to do what we see group members doing here!

The idea is to lie on your back and stick your head & shoulders through first - into the falling water! However, if you keep your nose up against the tree you can avoid getting a faceful!

It was quite a tight squeeze for the young chap in this photo - you can see by the water that he all but blocked the hole! Just like everyone else, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience though!
The final photo from this Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District sees the group at the big pool just before the area known as the "top jumps".

The top jumps can be read about in this post and we do them as part of our Canyoning Descents of Church Beck which we consider to be even more fun than Ghyll Scrambling here.

Just above the waterfall in this photo, we exited Church Beck with this group and then Iain demonstrated the high jump of the left hand bank and the slide down the chockstone pitch back into the pool where the group were waiting. After that we all got out and went for coffee & cake in Ambleside.

Our Ghyll Scrambling and Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District cost £45 per person for a four hour session and this includes the provision of wetsuit, walking boots, cagoule, buoyancy aid, helmet & harness each. For the ultimate ghyll scrambling experience in the Lake District you should also consider our all day Esk Gorge Trips. Contact us here to make your booking.