Thursday 3 December 2015

Give a loved one, family member or friend a Gift Certificate for a Christmas Present with a difference this Christmas!

Christmas 2015 is literally three weeks away!

Are you still trying to decide what you want to buy that loved one, family friend or family member for Christmas? At Kendal Mountaineering Services, we can help!

If any of your family are into the great outdoors, like trying adventurous activities; or have already been introduced to a particular sport such as Mountain Walking, Rock Climbing, Scrambling, Canoeing, Kayaking or Caving and would like to learn the  skills to go off and do these sports for themselves - then you can help them experience these activities or learn those skills by buying them Kendal Mountaineering Services Gift Certificate for Christmas!

Our Gift Certificates are designed to be flexible. You can check out the different activities and Skill Training Courses we offer by visiting our website and by visiting our Prices page. You do not have to make the full payment for any activity you see if you do not wish to - making a part payment towards someone's Activity Session or Skills Training Course is absolutely fine!

Buying a gift certificate is easy! Having decided what you would like to buy, simply contact us to pay for; and arrange your Christmas Gift Certificate.

Details we will require are who the gift certificate is for so that we can print their name on to it and also which Activity Session or Skills Training Course  you are paying for/towards the cost of. The value of the purchase can  also be entered on to the voucher if required.

Payment for Christmas Gift Certificates can be done either by Cheque made out to Mr I Gallagher and posted to our business address (details on the Contact us page) or by Bank Transfer in which you'll need to contact us to be given the sort code & account number. Ideally, we also need an email address so that we can confirm receipt of your payment and then email you your Christmas Gift Certificate for you to print off and present.

We do also offer a printing & posting service for those on you wishing to have the Christmas Gift certificate sent direct to the recipient. This costs an additional £1.50 per certificate and we will need a postal address if you require this service.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to arrange that special gift with a difference for a loved one, friend; or family member this Christmas. They won't be disappointed!

Wednesday 2 December 2015

And since the Mountain Festival? Late November/early December 2015 with Kendal Mountaineering Services.

The latter part of Autumn/early winter has been quiet for us - let's face it, the weather hasn't exactly been conducive to getting out and enjoying the outdoors as the UK has been battered by one low pressure system after another leading to heavy rain & strong winds - surely soon the winter will kick in and the weather will calm down!

We have still been out on a few occasions though. Last Saturday, Iain was out with returning client Darren Willis and Emma Kershaw - both of whom were wanting to improve their Navigation and Map Reading Skills Ability in the mountains.

The MWIS Forecast for the weekend was not good but we decided to get out and see what could be done on Saturday at least. Photo one shows Darren & Emma having just successfully completed their first leg between two grid references walking on a bearing; and in the conditions - well done!!

We had met at 9 am at Wilfs and then headed on to Staveley Head Fell starting off with the usual orientation of the map followed by measuring distance on the map and then pacing it on the ground.  We followed "tick off features" along Hall Land to Park House and beyond to the sheepfold on the "Bridleway Open To All Traffic".

By this point, we were all very wet and it was extremely cold - even with gloves on. We took some respite behind a barn to get out of the wind & rain and learned about Grid References whilst under the cover of Iain's Group Shelter. During this time we discovered it had ceased to be waterproof.

Venturing back out once again, the weather appeared to have warmed up slightly and this was enough to allow us to keep going until we left the hill early to go and finish the day doing further consolidation of skills learnt during the afternoon in the comparative comfort of Wilfs Cafe.

Photo two sees Darren who had resorted to using his own group shelter during our second brew stop. He'd even grown a big bushy beard for the occasion! Good plan.

We didn't go out on Sunday because the forecast was even worse but we do hope to run Darren & Emma's second Navigation Skills Training Day this coming Saturday. Hopefully the weather  will allow!

This was meant to be the last of our 2015 Navigation Skills Training Weekends. Dates are now up for all of our 2016 Navigation Skills Training Weekends and are priced the usual £80 per person for the two day course.

Book your place now or buy a space with one of our Gift Certificates - a great way to give someone a Christmas Gift with a difference this coming festive season!

Yesterday (December 1st) saw Iain meeting  up once again with Sheetal Bedi and husband Adeem who, along with their 16th month old son, were visiting The Lake District from Birmingham for a four day break staying in Ambleside.

Iain had been asked to provide them with a half day of guided walking; although the weather hadn't really improved any from the weekend. He was somewhat surprised when he arrived to find Adeem ready & keen to go out; along with his son packed into a baby carrier and well wrapped up!
The three of us headed out of the back of Ambleside straight on to Wansfell. Wansfell is a relatively straightforward walk going for a short distance straight in to the Stock Ghyll Valley before going straight up to the summit.

The total height gain from Ambleside is no more than 370 metres (1214 feet) and the distance - a mere 2 kilometres. It took us no time at all to get to the summit and Iain took two good photos along the way - one showing just how wet the conditions were underfoot and another of Adeem & his son who was well wrapped up and comfortable despite the wet conditions.

We had only set off at 9 pm and Adeem wasn't looking for a long walk wishing to get the little chap  back indoors for no later than 11:45.

We retraced our steps as far the footpath junction leading to Stock Ghyll Lane - paying a visit to the waterfall of the same name en route to provide a point of interest!

The weather has been exceptionally wet here in The Lake District of late - however, it is worth remembering that in such conditions many Lake District Waterfalls do become awesome and spectacular sights!

Our half day guided walks in The Lake District start at just £37.50 per person and are conducted by a Mountaineering Instructor with considerable knowledge of the area and it's local history. Interested in going to a particular part of The Lake District, learning about it's local history and taking in a point of interest? Then contact us to book your guided walking experience - you won't be disappointed!

The Kendal Mountain Festival. November 18th - 22nd 2015.

A few weeks ago, we saw the annual coming together of outdoor enthusiasts and outdoor professionals for the Kendal Mountain Festival, 2015.

Since 2009, we have usually been joined at this event by a few past clients who have become friends. On  this occasion, Chris was able to make it but not Adam. On the day the festival started, Chris & Iain took a trip out west to Wastwater in order that Chris could get a few more Wainwrights under his belt and a few of these were actually new to Iain too. Photo one was taken from the saddle between Seatallan and Haycock looking towards Yewbarrow and Wastwater, with the Scafells in the cloud beyond. The day started off very wet and cloudy, but improved markedly whilst we were out.

Friday saw us venture into the Mountain Festival around mid-day. There was the usual big "Base-camp" tent erected outside in the Brewery Arts Centre Car Park. This time, it was a pleasant surprise to find it full of stalls and displays for all manner of business and manufacturers associated with outdoor sports rather than being half occupied by racks of cut price outdoor clothing! A big improvement.

Our first lecture of the weekend found us in the base-camp tent later that afternoon enjoying a short lecture by local climbing legend James McHaffie about his rock climbing career (photo two).

The Kendal Mountain Festival is a fantastic social occasion for all of us working in the outdoors. You can guarantee to spend a fair amount of time socialising, chatting and catching up with past acquaintances and old work colleagues. In photo three, Chris chats with Neil Mackay a recently qualified IFMGA Mountain Guide and long standing friend of ours. Neil is just one of many people that we caught up with; and shared a beer with during the course of the Mountain Festival. The last time we saw Neil was during Iain, Chris & Adam's visit to The Alps  in July when we spent quite a lot of time with him - climbing some great Alpine routes in the run up to his final guides test - top stuff!

Later on Friday evening, we went to see the premiere of the film Transition produced by Hot Aches Productions. The film (photo four) follows the course of Natalie Berry - UK Competition climber, as she makes the transition from indoors climbing to outdoors "trad" in Summer & Winter with leading UK Climber Dave McLeod as her mentor. As a Mountaineering Instructor often working with clients as a mentor facilitating this exact same transition, Iain was keen to see how this leading outdoor professional developed Natalie's skills although as it turned out, there was very little coaching presented throughout the film. We still enjoyed it though!

For Saturday, Chris & Iain had obtained some film passes for the festival which at £30 each, were expensive - particularly if you only wanted to see one or two films mixed in with some lectures. The KMF used to do a "Weekend Film Pass" which was very good value. On this occasion, the value factor seemed to have disappeared from the event sadly and in the evening Chris was quite annoyed when he discovered that one of the films he had paid the film pass fee for (Tom) was being shown free in Ruskin's Bar in the town centre!

We spent the latter part of the evening socialising with friends in both The Brewery and then later, in Ruskin's before leaving others to party through the night. As our Sunday lecture started at 09:00 in the morning, 02:30 was a late enough time to be out drinking we felt; and in any case, upon rising at 07:30, yes, it certainly felt like the morning after the KMF Saturday night out!

We made our way in to The Brewery to see the "Best of Kendal Breakfast" film presentation and funnily enough, the last film of the presentation was...Tom! On discovering this, Chris decided to leave early to make the long drive back up north. As always, it had been great to spend time with him.

Iain spent the afternoon at Andy Kirkpatrick's Lecture followed by Leo Houlding's outstanding lecture about his recent ascent of "Mirror Wall" in East Greenland. This was, in our view, the best lecture of the whole event! After this, Iain was, quite frankly, "Festivalled out" and was happy to return home for a quiet night in.

Thoughts on the Kendal Mountain festival on this occasion, well somehow, it just didn't feel as good as years gone by.  As mentioned, daily film passes were expensive making the combination of seeing films & lectures prohibitive on the same day unless you wanted to spend a fortune and then it was most annoying to find films you'd paid paid for repeated elsewhere...there seemed to be an awful lot of duplication - particularly with regards to films.

Hopefully next year will be better!!

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Guided Scrambling Days in The Lake District. November 14th 2015.

On Returning from holiday in Myanmar, Iain had a few bits of work to look forward to, however, the weather here in the UK has been somewhat stormy, wet and cold since his return.

In Iain's ideal world, we would jump straight from a warm, dry, sunny Summer, straight into a cold, snowy, frozen and sunny winter! We can definitely do without this wet & windy transition period that is Autumn, but whilst it discourages most people from going out - some others are still really keen!

Andy Stephenson proved to be one such person. We have met Andy before in a recent post about a half day of Guided Rock Climbing in The Lake District. Andy enjoyed this session with Iain so much that he booked  a full day out of Guided Scrambling  in The Lake District with us and we got out and ran this last Saturday.

Photo one sees Andy at the foot of Low Water Beck, a popular grade 3 scramble  in the Coniston area of The Lake District.

Photo two sees Andy enjoying the rather wet first pitch of Low Water Beck. Originally, Iain wouldn't have considered going here given the MWIS forecast for the day - winds 30 - 50 mph with gusts of 70! Low cloud, snow above 600 metres, rain becoming torrential by dusk! It sounded pretty grim really!

However, upon our meeting of Saturday morning it was apparent that the forecast hadn't materialized; and water levels in the streams were actually quite low!

Because of this, Iain decided to take Andy over to the Coniston area where there were a number of scrambles at low level - just in case the wind did pick up; and as conditions appeared to be much better then forecast, he though that Andy might as well be started on a grade 3 route which he was sure would be well within his capabilities!
Andy certainly enjoyed Low Water Beck. The route was challenging in the wet and every section had to be pitched. As a leader, Iain avoided the exposed rib on pitch three which is poorly protected in terms of "runner" placements for a climbing leader. Whilst that wouldn't normally matter for a competent scrambler such as Iain, today the rib was covered in slime. Iain felt it would, however, be fine for Dave to attempt it with the security of a top rope and he managed it without difficulty!

The first part of Low Water Beck goes up steeply and very close to the water, the second part is less steep, but in places, almost as wet. The scramble continues right behind Dave in photo three; and on the right hand side of the water-slide before continuing up a giant slab - basically an island in the watercourse. Then, the final wall is surmounted to the left of the stream by a choice of two routes - if conditions are dry!

We were finished this route by around mid day and the weather had remained better than forecast - to this point at least!

After a bit of lunch we headed back down into the valley and across to "The Bell". This "mini mountain" has a fine rock rib rising from its southern side which is given grade 2 in the Cicerone guide - Scrambles in The Lake District South. Dave can be seen halfway up the second pitch on this route in photo four.

By 14:30, we had also put The Bell behind us and although the cloud had come down somewhat and the drizzle had started, we still had time for one last scrambling route before darkness set in around 16:30.

We walked back to the car at Walna Scar Car Park and then drove down through Coniston and up Coppermines Lane to park next to Church Beck (our main Canyoning venue) to get on to another grade 2  scrambling route - Mouldry Bank.

We scrambled up here and then continued on up the fine rocky nose of Rascal How  (a recommended continuation) descending in the gathering dusk and arriving back at the car at around 16:15.

Dave thoroughly enjoyed his Guided Scrambling Day in The Lake District with Iain - just as well considering he had driven all the way over from Hull and then camped in Langdale for a night either side of his day out! Dave would go on to have something of an epic getting out of The Lake District the next morning as the area was fairly well flooded after a night of heavy rain. If you want to see some photos from the flooding in South Lakes then visit the Kendal Mountaineering Services Facebook Page to view Iain's report about an excursion in the floodwaters the next day!

Dave paid £160 for his Guided Scrambling Course in The Lake District with Iain. The price is the same for 1 or 2 persons and includes  the provision of helmets, harnesses and guiding by a Mountaineering Instructor. If you enjoyed reading about this great day out and fancy trying scrambling for yourself then contact us here - you won't be disappointed!

Multi-activity Days in The Lake District. Sunday 18th October 2015.

After working with Dave Stephenson on a Guided Rock Climbing half day in The Lake District on Saturday, Iain set about getting ready for Sunday; and Andy Craggs booking for a full day of Introductory  Rock Climbing and Kayaking in The Lake District.

Photo one sees  Andy and his mates - Sean & Phil on Sunday morning as the lads enjoyed an introductory Climbing Session at Sticklebarn Crag in Langdale. Sean is climbing whilst Phil belays and Andy holds the "dead rope".

We chose to use Sticklebarn Crag today as it is less popular than the other nearby venue - Lower Scout Crag which can sometimes have groups of up to thirty people climbing there attending introductory Rock Climbing Sessions. Iain wanted the lads to have a crag to themselves and he made sure this what was they got!
So what is an introductory Rock Climbing Session? Well, it involves people rock climbing: and very often, for the first time out of doors. Many people begin by climbing indoors at a climbing wall and then make the transition to single pitch rock climbing outdoors using the "top rope - bottom belay system".

In such a  scenario, the climber climbs up from the ground attached to a rope which is anchored at the top of the rock pitch (crag). As the climber climbs up, the rope is kept  tight by the belayer who is also on the ground an is attached to the rope by means of a harness and belay plate.

The belayer learns how to keep the rope tight and is often assisted by a "tailer" who has a hold of the "dead" rope (the slack rope beyond the belayer). The "live" rope is that portion of tight rope between the climber & the belayer.  The belayer
must NEVER let go of the dead rope whilst a climber is on the live rope! Anyway, for the climber, a tight rope anchored at the top of the crag means that if they slip - they won't fall. However, once at the top of the rock pitch, the climber must be lowered by the belayer back to the ground; and in photo two you can see Phil lowering Sean back down to the bottom of the climb.

Introductory Rock Climbing is a great way to learn new rock climbing & belaying skills and work together as part of a team. It is good for improving trust between friends and a great team-building  activity!

We finished our Introductory Rock Climbing Session at around 12:30 and returned to our vehicles in the Sticklebarn Car Park for Lunch before driving the six miles to nearby Coniston Water for the groups afternoon Kayaking Session in The Lake District.

We parked on the East Shore of Coniston Water - (one of the few places where free parking is still to be found in The Lake District!) and got kitted out in wetsuits, cagoules and buoyancy aids  before heading out on to the lake to learn some skills and do some journeying.

The final photo from this post  about a multi-activity day in The Lake District sees Andy & Sean "steaming ahead" on Coniston Water. The Lake is famous for its peace & tranquility and it's watersports, the steam Gondola and of course  Donald Campbell's waterspeed attempt in the Bluebird that ended in tragedy on January 4th 1967.

Andy, Sean and Phil all enjoyed their multi-activity day in The Lake District with  Iain and they have left a few comments on our Facebook page.

The lads paid just £75  each for a full eight hour day out with us enjoying two great activities in two different locations of The Lake District. Their fee included instruction and all of the equipment required to run the activities in safety and comfort.

Contact us if you are interested in arranging one of our Lake District Multi-activity days for yourself, your family, friends or a Stag or Hen Party! Discounts apply for group bookings and you could get a full day out for as little as £50 per person -amazing value for money!

Half day Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District. Saturday 17th October 2015.

After two busy weeks with Prince's Trust Residentials, Iain had but two days before heading off to Myanmar for three weeks with his partner. On both days, he would find himself busy working.

On Saturday, Iain was joined by Dave Stephenson  from Hull.  Dave and his family regularly visit the Lake District and enjoy outdoor sports. Dave was keen to try outdoor rock climbing and had booked a half day of Guided Rock Climbing in The Lake District  with Iain. Photo one sees Dave on the second stance of Route 1, Upper Scout Crag in Langdale.

We have been really lucky with the weather so far this Autumn which has been settled, warm and dry - a real Indian Summer as the saying goes!

It has been ideal for anyone wishing to do anything in the outdoors and  we have continued to be busy throughout the season.

Photo two is a view up Langdale from the foot of Upper Scout Crag and today, it was very warm in the little bay  to be found at the foot of routes 1 and 2. Absolutely  ideal for rock climbing!!
Dave turned up on his own to climb, so the plan  had to be guided  rock climbing. However, as we progressed up Route 1, Iain made a point of telling Dave about everything that  he was doing; and why!

We discussed the merits of good anchor placements and the importance for extending well away from these when placing "running belays". Why two anchors are needed at stances and how to bring these together to a central attachment point using either slings or the climbing rope.

Where possible, Iain allowed Dave the opportunity to practice skills for himself - such as in photo three, where Dave was able to practice using the rope to "tie in" to two anchor points.

We completed Route 1 in a couple of hours which left time to partially climb Route 2 - again, with Iain doing the leading.

At the top of the second pitch of Route 2 there is an Oak tree - a very handy place to discuss and arrange an abseil retreat. This  is something that all rock climbers should be familiar with as sometimes, retreating from a rock climb is unavoidable.

At the stance, we both attached to the anchor using a "cows-tail" (a sling) and screw-gate karabiner each. These cows-tails were attached to us using a larks-foot knot tied through our harness abseil loops. An overhand knot was tied mid way along the sling and our belay plates were attached between this knot and the larks-foot knot.

At this point we were both now ready and safe to untie from the climbing rope which was threaded around the anchor at the mid  point of the rope. Both ends were then knotted (but NOT together) before being thrown down the crag accompanied first by the loud cry of "BELOW!"

We both then attached our belay plates to both ropes and then unclipped from the anchor in readiness to abseil.

Photo four shows the setup used for an abseil retreat and if you want to learn these skills or enjoy a day of half day of guided Rock climbing in The Lake District then please contact us here. Prices start at just £45 per per person for introductory climbing or £50 per person for a half day of guided climbing (minimum charge of £90) or £160 for a full day of guided climbing or Rock Climbing Skills Training. Please note that if you wish to do a rock climbing course on your own then you will undertake a introductory rock climbing or guided Rock Climbing Course - unless we can partner you up with another person to allow the instructor to coach you rather than guide.

All of our multi-pitch rock climbing courses are delivered  by experienced Mountaineering Instructors and ropes, climbing rack, helmets & harnesses are provided as part of your fee.

Prince's Trust Residentials. October 12th - 15th 2015.

Following on from his day out with The Browns teaching Map Reading & Navigation Skills in The Lake District, Iain was back in Yorkshire the next day starting work with yet another Prince's Trust Group - this time from PT Huddersfield.

The programme followed a similar format to the previous week in so much that Iain started by meeting the group at Harrogate Climbing Centre where we spent several hours rock climbing on the indoor wall. (photo one).

Indoor climbing is the way that most start out. It can be done in a warm & comfortable environment and it is easy to see all of the climbing holds; and, you can make make it as easy or as hard as you wish. This type of climbing is a good way also to get people to work together to look after each other whilst climbing. And gives individuals the opportunity to learn new skills and overcome their fears and often that is a fear of heights!

After a great session at Harrogate Climbing Centre,  we drove, again, to Skirfare Bridge Barn - our base for this second week of Prince's Trust Residentials.

The next day we were up and away over to Nidderdale to meet Geoff for another Introductory Caving Session similar to the previous week.

This time the water levels were low so we went into New Goyden Pot to give the group their caving experience. New Goyden is  a pretty extensive system and we were underground for several hours visiting Mud Hall (photo two) and the main streamway which carries the flow of the River Nidd.

We did a circular route which involved some crawling, some climbing  and some sliding about on a rope as we descended a steep muddy slope.

As you can see from the groups expressions, they all had a great time on this underground adventure!

In the afternoon, we drove on to Brimham Rocks for yet another scrambling session; and then returned to Skirfare Bridge Barn for another excellent Archery Session.

The next day, the group went to Malham for a circular walk from the village to Janet's Foss, Gordale Scar and Malham Cove and then went bowling in Skipton by way of a treat for everyone's hard work over the three days.

It was another successful week for these young people who we hope all go on to be successful with their futures.

We look forward to working on the next Prince's Trust Residentials in 2016!

All of the activities undertaken  by this group are also offered by us here in The Lake District. Contact us to find out more, activity sessions start at just £45 per person for  a half day (four hour) session  with all specialist equipment required included in the fee.

Family Navigation Skills Training Days in The Lake District. Sunday 11th October 2015.

On Sunday October 11th, Iain spent the day with the Brown family helping them brush up on their Map Reading & Navigation Skills ability.

Steve had been bought one of our Gift Vouchers by wife Michelle  the previous Christmas and had asked to use it on a one day Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District. When booking the date with Iain, he had asked if it was ok to bring the rest of the family along: and the dog too? Of course we said yes!

Photo one sees the family on Hall Lane near Staveley. At this point we were trying to identify some distant woodland we could see and pinpoint it's location on the map.

As with many of our Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District, we had met in Staveley and then driven  up to Hall Lane to start the day.

We started out by learning how to orientate the map ie align it with the surrounding landscape - this immediately aids identification of what can be seen around.

We then followed this with working out how to measure distance on the map and then pace  it out on the ground.

By the time we got to where photo two was taken, we had moved on considerably in terms of skills input and learning; and the family were now learning about grid references.

Being able to find a location on the map using  a grid reference is essential as is actually being able to give a grid reference for a place where you are. This might be particularly useful  if one of your party has  an accident and Mountain Rescue needs to be called!

Grid references come in four, six or eight figures and the more figures, the more accurate you will be in pinpointing the location. In photo three, the family had been given an eight figure grid reference and had used it to locate the insignificant pool of water they were now standing next to. This was after they had learned the skill of taking a compass bearing; and then walking on that bearing to get there. Bravo!

We spent the rest of the day going from one grid reference to another on Green Quarter Fell. Each time the family had to work out the bearing and distance to the next point to be visited which would be checked by Iain for accuracy.  Iain also encouraged them to read the map to ensure that they knew what the ground would be doing between each grid reference and what they could expect to see  along the way. This would help them know where they were at all times!

We reached the summit of Birk Rigg at around 3:30pm  and sat down to discuss Naismith's Rule. Harold Naismith reckoned that most people walked in the mountains at around 3km per hour and that 1 minute should be added for each 10m contour crossed in ascent or descent. Iain reckons most people walk at about 5 km per hour thus taking 12 minutes to walk one kilometre. We spent about half an hour working out timings between various grid references in order to give the family another component to aid accuracy in navigation when out in the mountains.

The Brown family thoroughly enjoyed their Navigation Skills Training Day in The Lake District with Iain who wishes them all the best with their future forays in to the mountains.

A heads up for anyone who is interested - we have a Navigation Skills Training weekend taking place during November 28th & 29th 2015 if you would like to brush up on your Map Reading and Navigation Skills ability. Two people are definitely attending and there are places for up to another eight persons! The cost, if we get four persons or more, will be only £80 each for this great two day course. So if you are interested, contact us via the website or call Iain on 07761 483364 for details. We hope you can join us!

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Prince's Trust Residentials, October 6th - 9th 2015.

Between October 6th & 9th, Iain worked for Prince's Trust Pontefract with one of their residential groups consisting of twelve people - support workers; and young people considered "at risk".

The Prince's Trust is a charity founded by Prince Charles in 1976. The Prince's Trust aims to work with young people from four priority target groups. These are the long-term unemployed, people who have been in trouble with the law, people who are in difficulty at school, and people who have been in care. These young people are considered by the Prince's Trust as being "disadvantaged". A small number of people who are employed also go on some Prince’s Trust courses. Known as the employed participants scheme, it is used as a learning and development opportunity (to develop the employee's skills), as additional support to the programme's young people (the employed participants act as additional mentors or support to young people) and as a fundraising initiative (as the employer pays a training fee for their staff member to attend)

As part of their Prince's Trust Programme, all participants are expected to undertake a residential in which they will live together and work together through a series of activities or challenges and they are also expected to cook their own meals as well as those of the support staff who will be working with them.

On this occasion, we stayed in the Yorkshire Dales National Park at a fantastic bunkhouse called Skirfare Bridge Barn (photo two) in Wharfedale.

Activities during this residential commenced with our meeting at Harrogate Climbing Centre where we spent the afternoon having a go at the challenge of indoor climbing which involved getting members of the group to work together to safeguard and support each other. After this, we headed for Skirfare Bridge Barn for an Archery Session before settling into the bunkhouse for the night.

The next day would find us up and off (not so early!) to spend  a day hiking around the Malham  Area (photos three & four).

Our circular walk on this day would take us from the car park at Malham to the spectacular waterfall Janet's Foss seen in photo three and then on to the equally spectacular gorge  of Gordale Scar. Later, we would cross over the fell to visit the spectacular limestone cliffs of Malham Cove (photo four) before  dropping down the far side of the cove to walk back out to Malham Village where everyone enjoyed  fare  as diverse as Bacon Butties and Cream Teas at The Old Barn Cafe before we headed back to Wharfedale.

The day had started out rather wet and this dampened the groups enthusiasm somewhat for the activity. However, the weather did improve throughout the day and everyone took part in route finding and learning to read the map. It would turn out to be a rewarding day out for all concerned!

The second full day of the groups residential saw us taking a fairly long drive to get to Brimham Rocks.

Brimham rocks is quite unique and consists of a Grit-stone outcrop found within a wood on top of a ridge. Brimham is a great place for introductory Rock Climbing sessions outdoors and also for scrambling - up, around & through the boulders and outcrops. Photo five sees the group posing for a photo at Brimham towards the end of another rewarding activity session in which they had all worked very well together.

We finished the scrambling session and then drove again to the head of Nidderdale. After lunch, the group were equipped with caving over-suits, wellingtons, caving belts and helmets with lights in preparation for an underground caving session in Manchester Hole.

Fortunately, after the wet weather the previous day, the water levels had dropped and we were able to go quite a long way into this system which takes the flow of the River Nidd running through the valley. An advanced team continued with one instructor all the way  to the sump, whilst Iain and another Cave Leader turned back with the less enthusiastic group. They had still done well though!

The final photo from this post about working with The Prince's Trust sees the group having just enjoyed their final evening meal at Skirfare Bridge Barn. The next morning would see us all depart around 10am, the group heading back the Pontefract; and Iain, back to The Lake District.

We offer all of the activities undertaken  with this group here in The Lake District - Indoor & Outdoor Introductory Climbing, Guided Walking, scrambling  and Introductory Caving Sessions. Our prices start at £45 per person for a half day (4 hours session) with all specialist equipment provided as part of your fee. Contact us here to book your outdoor activity session, we look forward to working with you!

Monday 16 November 2015

An afternoon Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District. Stickle Ghyll, Sunday 4th October 2015.

Whilst Iain was working with Sheetal Bedi's walking group on Saturday, he received a phone call from Pamela Hoang.

Pamela and her partner Colin, were also staying  in The Lake District and were looking to pack in plenty of outdoor action over the weekend. Initially, they  were looking for a Ghyll Scrambling session on the Saturday, but that was too short notice for Iain to arrange anything. However, as we always do our very best to accommodate people he did suggest Sunday afternoon instead!

After some consideration, Pamela got back to us and booked  a Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District to start at the slightly later time than usual of 2pm on the Sunday. Apparently, it was a  toss up between  a Ghyll Scrambling Session with us; or a Spa Treatment session; and we were told at the end of the session that choosing  our activity had definitely been the right choice!
Iain met the pair at the National Trust Car Park next to the Sticklebarn Tavern in Great Langdale and we all went into Stickle Ghyll to enjoy the pair's session.

Here, there was plenty of water for a wet exhilarating session and as you can see from the smiles on the couples faces - they absolutely loved it!

So what is Ghyll Scrambling?  Well, it involves getting equipped with a wet-suit for insulation, walking boots for good grip & ankle support and a buoyancy aid to help keep you afloat in those deeper pools.

Climbing helmets are always issued to protect your head as are harnesses as a rule- where roped climbing is necessary to protect you.

Ghyll Scrambling is often referred to as Gorge Walking (they are, in essence, the same activity) this involves getting into a mountain stream and walking up it- swimming through pools; and climbing up waterfalls  - it is all great, exhilarating, FUN!

Ideally best done between the end of March and the end of October when the weather is warmer. Ghyll scrambling is undoubtedly one of our most popular activities; and sometimes those harnesses really are needed - as can be seen in photo three where Pamela is climbing the biggest waterfall in Stickle Ghyll. As you can see, Ghyll Scrambling is often a good way to get an Adrenalin buzz too!

We spent the afternoon making our way up Stickle Ghyll and the pair made the most of every deep pool and every waterfall they came across- getting thoroughly soaked in the process, but having a great time along the way.

Working with just two persons, Iain was able to give the pair a lot of attention and provide them with plenty of challenges to keep them busy. The weather even improved (it had already been good to start off with for October!) but the sun came out and warmed us a little as we climbed upwards and ventured beyond the top of the big waterfall seen in photo three to another, a little further upstream.

Here, we decided to call it a day, with both Pamela & Colin having put  120% into the session, but now starting to feel a little chilly. What did the pair think of their Ghyll Scrambling Session in the Lake District with us? Well, surely the final photo (taken at the end of their session) says it all!

For a four hour Ghyll Scrambling Session with Iain, the pair paid just £45 each  and the fee included all of the equipment you see them wearing as part of the fee as well as a hot drink at the end of the session. Thinking about a Christmas present for loved ones, family members or friends? Then why not consider buying one of our Christmas Gift Certificates for a ghyll Scrambling Session for next Spring or Summer! You can be sure of buying something that people will love and remember for a long time to come!

Gift Certificates are on sale now for this great activity. Contact us here to book a Ghyll Scrambling Session for two for a mere £45 each. We look forward to seeing  the lucky recipients in the New Year! 

Guided Walking in The Lake District National Park. Saturday & Sunday, October 3rd & 4th 2015.

On October 4th, Iain was again acting as a guide for a walking group - this time, a family who were visiting The Lake District, again, from London.

Sheetal Bedi had arranged this weekend away to celebrate her mother's 60th birthday and most of the family had come along to help her celebrate. They had asked to be provided with two half days of guided walking in the Ambleside area and were not looking for anything particularly long or strenuous.

The walk that had been arranged for them on the first day was a a circular route around Loughrigg fell - one of the Lake Districts lower summits - providing excellent views north to Grasmere and also south over the northern end of Windermere - England's longest lake.

Photo one was taken looking north towards Rydal Water which was where we started the family's walking route. As you can see, the good weather was continuing still!

Photo two was taken at around mid day after we had covered around three miles walking along the west shore of Rydal Water before picking up the single track road leading between Pelter Bridge and Rothay Bridge at Ambleside. About a mile before reaching Rothay bridge, we took a path which would lead us up over the southern shoulder of Loughrigg Fell as a shortcut to get to Loughrigg Tarn. However, at this point, the family (ok - with Iain's encouragement!) decided that they would like to take in the summit of Loughrigg Fell and this is where  photo two was taken.

Well done to Sheetal's mother for her determination to get to the summit - a real achievement!

And getting to the summit was worth it as it often is when hill walking in The Lake District. The higher you go, the more and the further you can see - such as the stunning view here taken from just below Loughrigg Fell's summit looking north to Grasmere.

The rest of our morning walk would be taken descending steeply towards Loughrigg Terrace and then walking back the short distance to the parked vehicles at White Moss with our group of walkers immensely satisfied with their achievements; and quite rightly so!

Iain would meet Sheetal and her family the following morning for their second low level guided walk in The Lake District. This time we drove to the pretty village of Elterwater nestling at the foot of the Langdale Valleys. We then walked alongside Great Langdale Beck to Elterwater and on alongside the River Brathay to Skelwith Force where the rivers forces a short and narrow passage through opposing sides of the valley before plunging over  a ten foot drop. Skelwith Force is not so much famous for the height of its fall - more often the sheer volume of water pouring over it! Photo four was taken at the bridge spanning the gorge just upstream of the force

Our route from Skelwith force would take  us through woods and farmland below the A593 leading from Ambleside to Coniston and back to the River Brathay which  was flowing from the direction of Little Langdale towards Elterwater. This was a route even Iain hadn't walked before and it did take us past a place that he has wished to visit for many years, but never gotten around to visiting - Colwith Force (photo five). Here the family group pose with the waterfall in the background - a very pretty place which has a small hydro-electric power plant nestling at its foot. Most interesting!
From Colwith Force, we followed the River Brathay upstream for a short distance before ascending through woodland  to arrive in fields near to High Park (photo six) on the road to Little Langdale and Cathedral Quarry - a place that the group wished to visit.

Again, today, the weather was good to us and it was warm & dry again although hazy and we were denied really good views of the surrounding fells although everything else about this guided walk in the heart of The Lake District National Park had been good.

Our final photo from this post about Guided Walking in The Lake District National Park found us in Cathedral Cavern in Little Langdale -  a popular place used for our abseiling sessions amongst other activities!

This famous underground chamber was a place where slate miners quarried the rock used typically to provide slates for house roofs but also much of the waste slate was used to construct the walls of houses locally where this rock is common.

Did you know that apparently, for every 1 ton of quarried slate usable  for roofing purposes 9 tons of slate waste were produced!!

Sheetal & her family enjoyed today's guided walk every bit as much as the walk the previous day. Why come on a guided walk with us in The Lake District? Well, Iain for one is a  very experienced walking guide - having climbed all of the Lake District mountains many times and he also holds a wealth of knowledge about local history and natural history which can make for an interesting & informative day out for you!

Walking is good for you as a form of aerobic exercise. Enjoying the peace  and tranquility of the countryside which can be found here in The Lake District is good for everyone.

Our fee for a guided walking  for a group of seven for a half day low level walking in The Lake District would amount to only £25 per person for a half day (four hour) session and for what you will receive, this represents excellent value for money!

Contact us to arrange your Guided Walking Session in The Lake District here. We look forward to working with you!