Wednesday 17 September 2014

Level 2 Caving day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Sunday 14th September 2014.

Variety is the spice of life; and when you run an Outdoor Activity Company - variety is certainly what you get! Iain could get a "proper job" like his mate Paul mentioned in our previous post but who wants to be sat in an office in a building when you can have the whole of the great outdoors as your office? Not us - that's for sure!

And today, our office was the Yorkshire Dales National Park as we set about providing Shirley & Graham (photo one) with a day of hardcore Level 2 Caving in Kingsdale.
A level 2 caving session differs from a level one introductory caving session in so much that the Cave Leader is qualifed to work with clients on vertical pitches of up to 18 metres (60 feet) in hieght - a very much more serious proposition than the 2 metre (6 foot) pitches to be found on a level One Caving Session.

To get to where Graham is in photo two, Iain had lowered him & Shirley down a 6 metre pitch after a 500 metre walk underground with considerable stooping & some crawling. We had then continued up the streamway in Kingsdale Master Cave for a further 200 metres before crawling another 200 through a low chilly streamway to get to this point - strenuous, challenging stuff and an adventure of a serious nature!

And we were only half way there with regards to this particular Level 2 Caving Trip - but it was worth it for where we were heading!

Photo three sees Graham in the massive vertical  cavern that is the Swinsto Great Aven. This chamber goes shooting upwards for a hieght of over 40 metres and its floor is a steep jumble of mud & boulders that have fallen out of the roof far above.

There are a couple of fixed handlines in place allowing cavers to ascend the tricky slopes to some of the caverns higher reaches such as the place where Graham was stood. Swinsto Great Aven is an awesome place and well worth the hard work required to get there.
Having investigated the upper reaches of the Great Aven in as much as we could, Iain led the pair out via the other route leading back to Kingsdale Master Cave - South East Passage.

Whichever way you enter the Great Aven, a climb up/scramble down through boulders is required, however, Philosophers Crawl takes the main flow entering from Swinsto & Simpsons Pots and is lower & wetter than South East Passage which is also the shorter route.

It was with some relief for Shirley that the crawling down here was soon over and were were able to walk back down the main streamway in the Master Cave to the pitch foot. Iain  ascended this pitch and then dropped the ladder down for Shirley and Graham who climbed it in fine style - again, no easy task! It is no wonder that Shirley was all smiles as she appears at the pitch head in photo four.

Our round trip underground via Valley Entrance (photo one), the Master Cave and Swinsto Great Aven took three hours and it was about 1pm before we emerged from the lidded entrance to the cave system into warmth and sunlight. That left all afternoon; and definitely time for another Level 2 Caving Trip - so should it be Heron Pot or Yordas Cave?

Shirley didn't fancy the idea of more crawling and there is a fair crawl out of Heron Pot at the end, but the idea of being lowered into Yordas Cave and down the truly impressive Chapter House Waterfall into the equally as impressive main chamber appealed - so after a relaxed lunch in the sunshine, that was what we went and did!

Photo five sees Graham as Iain lowers him down the Chapter House Waterfall to the delight of a family (and shirley) watching from below. This pitch is very impressive with the noise of the water as it crashes down into the darkness - fortunately today it was well lit from the bottom thanks to the family with their headtorches and Shirley.

Our final photo from this post about a Level Two Caving Day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park sees Iain with a pair of very satisfied clients who had throughly enjoyed their challenging and very adventurous day underground.

The day had included a visit to two cave systems, being lowered down four pitches  - the highest of which had been the last one at over 15 metres in height; and also a climb up out of the Master Cave of 6 metres in height. Total distance covered was in the region of 3.5km consisting of walking, stooping and crawling - at times through quite chilly water!

The pair paid just £80 each for this day out with Iain and that fee included all of the equipment you see them wearing in this final photo. Great value for a fantastic experience.

Level Two Caving is great fun and very rewarding for the effort involved to reach some of the more remote and impressive places underground. Level One Caving Sessions are as much fun but less physically demanding and prices start at just £45 per person for a half day (four hour) Introductory Caving Session.

Contact us here to arrange a great adventure that you'll never forget. We look forward to working with you.

Introductory Kayaking Sessions in The Lake District. Saturday 13th September 2014.

Well, Summer has finally turned into Autumn, but the Summer weather is still with us. Conditions are perfect for doing any outdoor activity you fancy. Of course now that the Summer Holidays are over things have quietened down somewhat - but we are still fully booked up for every weekend this month!

Last weekend saw Iain out on Saturday providing an Introductory Kayaking Session in The lake District for long time friend Paul Ridhalgh.

Photo one was taken on Derwentwater after we had gotten on at Kettlewell, done a short foray on to the Upper Derwent and then headed back on to the lake with the intention of having lunch on St Herbert's Island. As you can see, the weather was great, warm sunshine and no wind!

Paul has a "proper job" working as a project Manager for BAE Systems in Barrow in Furness and his role is largely office based. He was keen to try out Kayaking in order that he might learn some skills to go and paddle on some of the rivers on Lancashires Fylde District - his home area.

As he was keen to get some moving water action, Iain arranged to run Paul's Introductory Kayaking Session on Derwentwater and follow it with a journey down the Middle Derwent.

Photo two was taken some time later as we headed down the Middle Derwent and is taken just below Portinscale Footbridge. On this section, the river is at it's most lively as it descends onwards towards Bassenthwaite lake. Today, it was very low and an ideal level for introducing a novice to the skills required on moving water.

The journey along the Middle Derwent is about 5 kilometres long and takes several hours to travel.

The rivers leaves Derwentwater through a deep narrow channel flowing slowly until it is joined by the Rive Greta coming in from Keswick. After this, a lively section, though still only grade 2 in difficulty, continues all the way to the A66 Keswick Bypass bridge.

Beyond there, the river flows at a slower pace and consists of deep pools interspersed with rapids. Some of these contain obstacles such as dead trees or overhanging bushes. Iain led the way and advised Paul as to how to deal with each rapid.

However, in photo three Paul was unlucky enough to get tipped over by a submerged root and is emptying out his kayak. No-one likes to get a soaking - but at least he got to practise the capsize drill that Iain had explained earlier!

The final photo from this Introductory Kayaking Session in The Lake District sees us just below the getout at Low Stock Bridge having covered, in total, at least 10 kilometres on both Derwentwater and the Middle Derwent.

Paul had enjoyed his day out with Iain and is certainly interested in the idea of getting his own kayak. However, he struggled throughout the day with getting his whitewater kayak to go in a straight line so is thinking of getting a Sea Kayak which might be the right boat for him - so long as he doesn't need to turn quickly to avoid a tree root!

Paul paid £160 for his day out with Iain but two people also get the same session at that price which makes it exceptional value if you are looking for a guided day out on water in The Lake District with all of the technical equipment you'll need provided as part of the fee.

Fancy trying out Kayaking or Canoeing and having a similar great day out? Contact us here to book your session. We look forward to working with you.

Friday 12 September 2014

Lake District based Scrambling Skills Training Courses. 9th & 10th September 2014.

Last Tuesday & Wednesday, Iain ran a Scrambling Skills Training course in The Lake District for Russell Cullen and his father Stephen.

Stephen, now retired, thoroughly enjoys spending time in the mountains and particularly enjoys scrambling - which he often goes off and does on his own.

Russell had bought one of our Activity Gift Vouchers last Christmas for his Dad as he thought that  it would be an ideal way of making sure that Stephen gained some proper tuition in the skills required for safe scrambling. He then decided to join his Dad on this course. Photo one sees the pair enjoying some easy scrambling on Tarn Crag in langdale and practising the skill of "Spotting" that is to keep each other safe by the use of hands to prevent a slip or fall - generally all that is required on this type of scrambling terrain.

We spent the morning and early afternoon of the pairs first day on an easy grade one buttress looking at all of the skills required for safe scrambling. Having started with Spotting, we then moved on to "Short Roping" which is used on steeper terrain where spotting alone would be ineffective and where a slip could definitely turn into something more serious.

Short roping does, as the name implies, involve using a short length of climbing rope attached between a scrambling pair - kept tensioned by the lead scrambler to protect the second as they climb steeper sections of scrambling terrain.

Of course, the leader has to remain safe themselves whilst providing this tension (known as belaying). Sometimes, merely a braced stance - pulling in the rope hand over hand will do, but sometimes a more secure method of belaying is needed on steeper rock to prevent the leader from being pulled off by a falling second. In photo two, Russell uses a direct belay to lower Stephen down a short steep rock section.

Whilst short roping, we practised the various options of belaying available for use by the pair. These included an indirect or body belay seen being used by Russell here in photo three and various "direct" belays such as that seen in photo two.

A direct belay can take the form of a sling around a solid spike of rock to which a pear shaped karabiner is attached. An Italian Hitch (friction hitch) is then used to safeguard a second. Italian Hitches can be used for both belaying a second up or down a scrambling pitch. Other forms of direct belay include merely running the rope around a spike of rock or using a Wallnut or similar anchoring device c/w an Italian Hitch. What is important is that the anchor MUST be solid, ie it must not be likely to move or fail when loaded!

Usually, day two of our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District will see us consolidating the learning and practical work done on day one through further practice & coaching.

This will be done by visiting a further two graded scrambles (one will have already been climbed during the latter part of the first day). We might have returned to Langdale to Tarn Crag - ultimately moving on to Jacks's Rake ( a classic Lake District Scramble) for our "finale", but Stephen had already done that scramble some time previously.

So, Iain decided to take the pair to the Coniston area in order that they could ascend the area's highest peak - the Old Man. But instead of following the usual route - ie one of the many footpaths, we followed the scrambling line of Low Water Beck (grade 3) seen here in photo four as Russell sets off up the very first pitch.
Low Water Beck is a fine long scramble with some steep, rock in it's first section where it follows the right hand side of the precipitous watercourse (a great little winter climb when frozen).

Pitching is necessary all the way to the top of the first section and direct belays are required to protect the second. Above here, the angle and "exposure factor" eases although there are still few pitches requiring good solid belaying techniques interspersed between some "moving together" terrain.

At the top we had lunch before moving past Low Water (the tarn in photo five and climbing the final slope to the top of the ridge by way of the pleasant and relatively easy grade 2 route Brim Fell Rib.

On this route, Russell & Stephen were able to move faster as the terrain is less steep and serious than Low Water Beck. Moving together was appropriate here as were simple belaying techniques such as body belays, hand over hand as seen in this photo and the use of the rope around the odd rock spike.

The final photo from this post about a Scrambling Skills Training Course in The lake District is a view north from the summit of the Old Man of Coniston looking down on Low Water.

Our first scrambling route had followed the line of the stream issuing from this small tarn and whilst we were following it, we saw only two other persons. The second route takes the line of the rocky outcrops that can be seen rising from the tarn towards the top left hand of the photo and on this route, we saw no-one.

This just goes to prove that if you want to get the the top of a mountain without seeing too many people then a scrambling line is the best way to go - providing exhilaration, challenge; and a little exposure along the way!

Both Russell & Stephen thoroughly enjoyed their two day Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and paid just £80 each per day. The fee includes instruction and coaching by a qualified Mountaineering Instructor as well as the provision of helmets, harnesses, rope and scrambling rack.

To book your Guided Scrambling Course or Scrambling Skills Training Course in The lake District contact us here. Don't forget - we also run these courses in North Wales and Scotland! We look forward to working with you.

Stag Events in The Lake District. Saturday & Sunday September 6th & 7th 2014.

Last weekend, we provided a day and a half of adventurous activities for Alan Robinsons Stag group. Alan & a bunch of mates travelled over from Teeside for the weekend to stay at Bowness on Windermere. Alans mate - Andrew McIntyre organised the weekends itinerary with us. The group wanted a half day of Ghyll Scrambling followed by a half day of Kayaking on Saturday and then a morning of Abseiling on the Sunday.

Photo one sees the group about half way up the great little Ghyll Scrambling venue of Stickle Ghyll in Langdale. Most people were now starting to perk up" after a heavy night before. If there is one thing that Ghyll Scrambling's good for - its curing hangovers!

Photo two sees one of Alan's Stag party as he climbs up the final waterfall at the top of Stickle Ghyll. To get to this point, the Stag Group had covered around 2km of ghyll - scrambling and wading upstream, swimming through and jumping into pools as well as climbing up waterfalls - two of which were roped climbs such as the one seen here!

We could have continued a little further upstream beyond this point, but we really needed to move on to the next session. Enjoy the Youtube video of this Ghyll Scrambling Session kindly provided by Alan (the Stag). It gives a really good impression of what great fun this activity really is!

After our Ghyll Scrambling Session, we gave the lads some time to get to get some lunch at the handy Sticklebarn Tavern before heading over to Coniston for the afternoon's Kayaking Session.

Alyn - Iain's assistant for the day, had already headed over to unload the kayaks from the trailer and get all of the equipment ready. So, when we got there - all the lads had to do was to get back into their wetsuits & cagoules, grab a buoyancy aid and spraydeck and then with a bit of instruction, fit themselves into their kayaks; and go! Just look at the weather - what a great day we were having so far.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of learning Kayaking skills - how to make the craft go forwards, backwards, turn stop etc, before Al organised a load of games. These included raft games and ball games (as in photo four) here, the group split into two teams and each team scored by hitting Al's kayak with the ball - though each team member could only hang on to the ball for a count of six (so not long!) Inbetween games, we journeyed along the lake a short distance.

This session finished off with a very wobbly relay race from the shore, around Iains Kayak & back to shore. The lads had to sit on (not in!) their kayaks for this race - hence the instability, most fell in of course!

Owing to the "nature" of the weekend, Andrew - the organiser, had asked for a late start on the sunday morning; and both Iain & Al were fine to push it back a further half hour so that we could all have a decent lie in.

Iain met the group at Skelwith Bridge with Al having gone on ahead to set up the Abseil site at Hodge Close, ready for the groups arrival.

Photo five sees two of the lads getting stuck in to the descent of the big slab abseil at Hodge. Many of the group had abseiled before - in the distant past! so it was quite a challenge to give it another go. Good effort!

The final photograph from this post about a Stag Weekend in The Lake District sees the whole group as we headed off to a different part of Hodge Close to do another abseil - this time a little higher but much steeper.

The lads thoroughly enjoyed their adventurous activity weekend with Iain & Al; and had a couple of great nights out in Bowness. It must be said that they all turned up in better shape for the abseiling than for the activities the previous morning. Perhaps they thought that they really ought to be sober today as abseiling was the most challenging & potentially dangerous activity?

All of this Stag group paid just £95 each or the equivalent of just over £30 each for three different challenging activity sessions and each session included the provision of all personal protective equipment required.

If you want to organise something really special for your mates Stag do then give us a call and we will make sure you have an occasion that you'll never forget - for all the right reasons!

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Corporate Team Building Events in The Lake District. Ghyll Scrambling. August 28th 2014.

Our final post from August 2014 concerns one of our corporate clients - Nucleargraduates.

Nucleargraduates have been using our services since 2011 to provide Ghyll Scrambling as a means to facilitate a development in relationships between groups of graduate apprentices who have individually, been successful in securing a sponsored apprenticeship within the Nucleargraduates 2 year Apprentice Programme.

The group seen here is the final intake for the 2014 cohort.

Nucleargraduates came to us initially looking for an activity which would impell these successful graduates into working together and getting to know each other better.

Everyone in this group had come together for the first time, the previous evening in Kendal. All of them will be working together ( often in pairs for the same sponsor organisation) as they move around those various sponsor organisations over the next two years.

Impelling them all together in a ghyll Scrambling Session has proven to be successful as a way in which to get them to work together more comfortably and helps to set the scene for the next two years
So what do we do? We provide the setting for the session to take place and make sure that all of these young people are properly equipped for that session.

Ghyll Scrambling must seem like quite a daunting activity for any person to try of their own accord - "Get into a freezing cold stream & walk up it? What"! But actually, it can be a lot of fun!

After a safety briefing, our instructors will largely let the group get on with it - only stepping in if safety becomes questionable or they consider that the group could, in some way, be working better together. Photo three shows the sort of outcome that both we & our client want to see - a happy, well bonded team. looking after each other and getting to know each other better!

The final photograph sees a rare view of Iain doing his job on the biggest waterfall  Stickle Ghyll has to offer.

The graduates are roped up this one at a time - encouraged by Iain from above who keeps them on a tight rope whilst they climb; and by the support of their peers - waiting to take their turn at the bottom.

At this stage in the day, the weather had turned windy and there was nearly as much water being blown back up the waterfall as was falling down it!

All of this particular intake of graduate apprentices thoroughly enjoyed their session and had "gelled" together as a group much better - as Iain could see that evening when he was very kindly invited to enjoy a meal and share a social occasion with them in Kendal.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the 2014 cohort every success with their apprenticeships and beyond and would like to thank Nucleargraduates for their continued custom.

If you would like a corporate Team Building Event arranging and designed against specific objectives for your business then contact us to arrange a bespoke event for you. You'll be surprised at what we can offer!

Half Day Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District National Park. August 28th 2014.

Today was the final instalment of Nick & Freya's three days of adventures in The Lake District with Iain & Kendal Mountaineering Services.

It is great to be so well qualified that we can offer many different activities to suit everyone's tastes and we one of the few Lake District businesses to be able to offer such variety. Unfortuately though, we don't offer Sailing, Windsurfing or Mountain Biking Courses. Iain believes that a good instructor should be passionate about the sports they instruct in and in his case that doesn't apply to the three outlined above!

So, today saw Iain, Nick & Freya in Stickle Ghyll in Langdale enjoying a Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District.

What is Ghyll Scrambling? Well, quite frankly - one of the most popular activities we offer! The word "Ghyll" is a northern phrase meaning a mountain stream or ravine. Gorge Walking is another term for the same activity and it generally means - getting into a stream, walking upstream, wading & swiming through pools such as here in photo two; and climbing up waterfalls - roped up where necessary.

Above all, Ghyll Scrambling/Gorge Walking is meant to be FUN! Undoubtedly, it is best done on a warm day but we will do our utmost to ensure your comfort & protection by equipping you with wetsuits, walking boots, cagoules, buoyancy aids (where necessary) and helmets & harnesses. All of this equipment costs around £270 per person to provide and you should make sure you get all of it when booking a Ghyll Scrambling Session with any provider. We charge £45 per person for a half day(4 hour) session and there is no doubt that you'll find other providers in the area offering you the same session for less - allegedly! - but they will be cutting corners somewhere; and most likely with the provison of your safety equipment. It's worth bearing in mind!

The final photo from this post sees Nick & Freya at the foot of the biggest waterfall climb in Stickle Ghyll.

To get to this point, we had already covered approximately 1500 metres of gorge, swimming, climbing & scrambling; and once again, the weather had been kind to us.

We climbed this waterfall with Iain's GoPro Camera taking some fine videos of the pair climbing it, before continuing a little further upstream than the other group on the right in order to climb one last waterfall.

We think that Nick & Freya enjoyed their three days of adventures in The Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales with us but you'll have to wait to see what they said about it. Amongst other things, they have been provided with a collection of photographs and GoPro Videos taken by Iain throughout the 3 days which, along with all of the equipment provided during their sessions; were included in the price. We do wonder how many of our competitors offer you so much for your money??

If you would like to arrange your own bespoke Outdoor Activity Package Holiday in The Lake District then contact us. In all of our sessions -We specialise in giving you what you want!

Introductory Caving Courses in Yorkshire Dales National Park. Wednesday 27th August 2014.

After our great day of Guided Climbing in The Lake District, Iain met Nick & Freya in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for an Introductory Caving Session in Long Churns.

The weather was as good as the previous day - as can be seen from this photo taken in Long Churns Lane. Hardly a cloud in the sky!

We met at Inglesport in Ingleton for breakfast before we started our caving session. Popping into this great outdoor shop with it's fantastic cafe has been a tradition of ours for many years - just as it is with many other caving groups heading to enjoy all that this beautiful area has to offer adventure-wise, underground.

Photo two sees Freya & Nick in the main streamway in Middle Long Churns.

We had entered the system at Middle entrance and explored a few fossil passageways along the way before arriving here.

It was good to find Long Churns Lane devoid of minibuses and other user groups when we arrived today. Long Churns Cave System is a fantastic introduction to caving in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, However, it is also very popular with Outdoor Centres from all over The Lake District and Yorkshire and when there are five or more 17 seat minibuses in Long Churns Lane, it is a place best avoided.

However, in that scenario, we know many other great caves to take you for your first caving experience. Have a read of The Blog from July and you will see what we mean!

Photo three sees Freya as she slid, easily, through The Cheese Press. This challenging squeeze through a bedding plane between two layers of limestone, is Long Churns most often remembered section - by children & adults alike.

The crawl is only about 4 metres long but involves moving through with your helmet on its side, wriggling through on your forearms & toes.

After doing this - anything else in Long Churns is easy. Well done Freya!
After visiting Lower Long Churns and The Cheese Press, all three of us made our way to the top of the Dolly Tubs Pitch into Alum Pot - the great 80 metre shaft hidden in the small wood passed en route to Long Churns. With our lights switched off, we could faintly see daylight coming in from the shaft beyond.

We continued around Long Churns, visiting the top of Diccan Pot in the process and then briefly appeared above surface at Diccan Entrance before taking the wet crawl back upstream into Middle Long Churns. We then did a tour of Cross Passage before returning to Middle Entrance - climbing the entrance waterfall before heading upstream to climb the waterslide at Doctor Bannisters's Washbasin at the end of Upper Long Churns.

In photo four, Nick is seen climbing the waterslide where Alum Pot Beck enters Upper Long Churns and the large pool of the Washbasin.

Our final photograph is taken on the Limestone pavement near the entrance to Upper Long Churns.

This bare limestone was scraped clear of any surface cover by the great glacial icefield that retreated northwards at the end of the last ice age - over 15'000 years ago. The surface of the rock is now a maze of channels created as acidic rainwater erodes the rock and looks really impressive.

All that remained to do now was to return to the vehicles, get changed; and head back to Inglesport for some cake and a brew; or in Nick & Freya's case - some lunch.

Nick paid just £45 per person for this half day Introductory Caving Session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and all of the equipment you see the pair wearing was provided as part of the fee.

As we move into Autumn, Caving is a great activity to try out - sheltered underground no matter what the weather might be doing above and having a really adventurous experience as you explore passageways - not knowing what is around the next corner! But of course you will always be accompanied by one of our experienced Caver Leaders who will look after your safety.

Caving should be tried by everyone at least once! Contact us here to book your trip, we look forward to working with you.

Guided Rock Climbing Courses in The Lake District, Monday 26th August 2014.

Nick Sutcliffe contacted us in July looking for a 3 day Adventure Activity Holiday in The Lake District for himself & daughter Freya. You'll be able to read about the other activity sessions they booked in the other two posts.

This post is about the day of Guided Climbing in The Lake District that they booked with Iain.

Photo one sees Freya safeguarding her Dad as he climbs the crux moves on Route 1, Upper Scout Crag, in Langdale.
Even though the pair wanted to be guided on some multi-pitch rock climbing routes there is always some teaching to be done - generally in the principles of runner extraction. Once this skill was covered, we could begin to get on with rock climbing.

Iain would be leading all pitches of the several routes we climbed at upper Scout Crag, but he saw it as an ideal opportunity to teach the others some belaying skills and Freya was especially keen. There was also the system of climbing calls to learn as well.

We picked our first day out together for Rock climbing - as the forecast had indicated that this would be the best of the three days available to Freya & Nick. As you'll see in photo two - taken on the descent route, the weather really was perfect!

With such good weather, it was unlikely that we would be the only people to be climbing at Upper Scout Crag and were soon joined by several other pairs. Back at the base of the crag we could see another pair had followed us up Route 1 and others were just leaving the second stance on Route 2. Looking at this, a plan was forming in Iain's mind - had the pair every done an abseil retreat from a crag before? If not, it would be a useful skill to know!

Whilst Nick might well have done an abseil in his past climbing career, Freya had never abseiled and was keen to try it. So, we climbed the first two pitches of Route 2 to the Oak Tree and then prepared to abseil back down.

An abseil retreat involves escaping the system and then arranging the rope so that an abseil can be performed following with the rope being retrieved. Photo three sees Nick as he abseils back to Iain - if you want to know more about this skill - then book on to one of our Lake District Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses or Rescue Skills Training Courses for Climbers!

At this point, we had done five pitches of rock climbing and an abseil retreat - not bad going, but there was still another two and a half hours of the day left!

So, Iain's cunning plan to keep the pair occupied involved climbing the first pitch of Route 1 (our very first pitch of the day) followed by a variant called Route 1.5 which joined Route 2 just below it's overhanging crux.

Photo four sees Freya as she climbed the crux of Route 2 on her way to join Iain at the next stance. Once up, Freya was attached to the anchors by Iain before she belayed up her Dad.

This left one final pitch of Route 2 to climb in the sun - a great end to a fantastic day of guided Multi-pitch Climbing in The Lake District.
Our final photo from the day sees Nick & Freya looking back at Upper Scout Crag. The weather had been glorious through and although there had been a fair breeze blowing in the morning - at least it had been warm. In the afternoon the breeze had died away and it became quite hot, but not unpleasantly so.

Nick had paid £80 each for himself & Freya for this guided rock climbing day. The fee includes the provision of helmets, harnesses, ropes and climbing rack and guiding by an enthusiastic Mountaineering Instructor.

We had done eight pitches of rock climbing as well as abseil and the pair had a great day out. You can too when you book a Guided Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District with us. Contact us here to book your course today, we look forward to working with you!

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Saturday & Sunday August 23rd & 24th 2014.

After the somewhat Autumnal feel to most of August, the weather, the weather improved significantly for Darren & Caroline Kells Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District with us, the weekend before last.

After having been out on a few previous occasions with friends who had gotten into difficulties somewhat when attempting classic scrambling routes in the UK, both Darren & Caroline had decided that it was time to take some proper tuition in scrambling from a Mountaineering Instructor and had booked their course with Kendal Mountaineering Services way back in January.

Iain took the pair to Tarn Crag in Langdale where we spent the morning of day one looking at basic skills required for scrambling on easy ground. Photo one sees the pair employing the techniques of "spotting". Spotting requires the use of hands and a braced stance and is used when going up steep steps or coming down. Hands are used to hold feet in place or press into backs or backsides - the idea is to prevent a slip turning into something more serious. Using the technique of spotting allows one to make good progress on easy scrambling ground where the use of a rope would be really uneccessary and would only slow up proceedings.

Scrambling terrain is to be found between walking terrain and Rock Climbing. Grade 1 ground refers to terrain where there is little chance of a fall turning into something more serious. As the slope angle gets steeper and a fall becomes more likely - then the rope must be employed.

Photo two sees Darren short roping Caroline up an rocky rib where spotting would not be safe. In short roping, the leader takes up chest coils which are then locked off to prevent a falling second from throttling them. The rope between leader & second is kept tight wherever possible and when "taking in" the rope, the leader will always adopt a braced stance - ie leaning away from the direction of pull should the second slip. Indeed, in photo two, Darren is doing a very good job of this!

After spending the morning and early afternoon looking at spotting & short roping techniques including anchor selection & use and other belaying techniques available, we always get our clients on to their first proper scrambling route which will be no more than grade 2 in standard.

In photo three, Darren scrambles up the second pitch of The Spur, Tarn Crag having led the previous pitch and then brought Caroline up to the stance on a tight rope before leaving her securely attached to the belay as he climbed the second pitch. Throughout scrambling up this route, he was coached in appropriate techniques by Iain

By the time we reached the top, it was time to call it a day and descend. It had been a really good first day for Darren & Caroline's Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District with reasonable temperatures and dry weather; and the forecast was looking good for the next day too!

9am on Sunday saw us meeting at the National Trust Car Park at Sticklebarn Tavern and heading to Tarn Crag again.

This time we climbed a different route - the East Rib, also grade 2, but this time Caroline led the scramble and she did a really good job too. Iain scrambled alongside Caroline coaching her in belaying techniques. In photo four Caroline was using an Indirect or Body Belay which she picked up very quickly. This sort of belay is only appropriate on easy sections of scrambling terrain and is very quick to set up!

After the morning consolidating Caroline's scrambling skills on the East Rib, we headed over the top of Tarn Crag and across to the foot of Jacks Rake on Pavey Ark.

Jack's Rake is only given grade one in the Lake District Scrambles South Cicerone Guidebook, but Iain believes it to be undergraded. It is one of the classic Lake District Scrambling ticks for many people but it also attracts a lot of people who turn up to climb it without decent walking boots, no helmets, harnesses or ropes and basically - no idea!

Today we found ourselves in a queue of just such people whom had become "stacked up" at a tricky step at the top of the first section. Fortunately, with the scrambling ropework skills the pair had learnt already, Darren was able to overtake this large, slow & inexperienced party and then bring up Caroline safely, quickly and efficiently (photo five). Once past these people, we were able to remain ahead and enjoy the rest of the varied and pleasant scrambling Jack's Rake has to offer.

Our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District allow you to develop the skills to climb the Lake District mountains by the most exhilarating routes - leaving most hill walkers behind and getting into some great positions in relative peace.

There are some fantastic scambling routes all over the Lake District. Examples include Slab & Notch Route on Pillar Rock, Sharp Edge on Blencathra, Jacks Rake in Langdale, Striding Edge on Helvellyn and Low Water Beck/Brimfell Rib as an alternative route to the top of the Old Man of Coniston.

During one of our two day Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District, you'll develop all of the ropework and belaying skills to help you correctly select the appropriate belay method for any situation to allow you to go, with confidence, on to any of the country's great scrambles in Snowdonia, The Lake District and Scotland.

Our Scrambling Skills Training Courses can be run in any of these areas and our prices start at £80 per person per day with helmets, harnesses, ropes and scrambling rack all included as part of the fee as well as tuition from qualified Mountaineering Instructors. You can choose from one or two day courses; and if you really just want to have a great day out scrambling, but being looked after - then why not consider being guided by us on some classic Lake District scrambling routes? Contact us here to arrange your scrambling course. We look forward to working with you.