Tuesday 16 June 2015

Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. Sunday June 7th, 2015.

On the Sunday, we "swapped" locations with the "other" group who were being coached by Scott Troughton on our behalf.

This time, Iain took his group to The Bell near to Coniston. This is a fine grade one scramble leading up the crest of a ridge on a small summit not far away from the main mountain ridge.

Left to right are Josh, Sam & Ben in photo one. This was taken as we approached The Bell which is the ridge in the background.
The plan for today was to consolidate the scrambling skills learnt the previous day and this would be done on two scrambles throughout the day with whoever was leading being coached by Iain in the application of the correct belay techniques necessary for each section of scrambling terrain encountered.

Photo two sees Josh on the sharp end of the rope and reeling in (as Iain likes to call it) Sam & Ben on some short roping terrain. The two lads at the back are negotiating an easy step on the ridge and all that Josh really requires to do here is to use a braced stance and employ a method of taking in the rope and making hand coils under tension to provide safeguarding.

The Bell had all sorts of great scrambling ground requiring Josh to use all of the belaying techniques taught by Iain the previous day. All he had to do was to make sure that he applied to appropriate techniques in the right places. Sam & Ben were quite happy to let him get on with it for the duration of the day.

Scrambling on The Bell went so well that Iain was sure that the lads could manage something harder. So, as this was meant to be a "journey day" in the mountains, we followed the old quarry tracks through the remains on the long disused Coniston Slate quarries to the foot of Low Water Beck - a grade three scramble.

So how does a grade three compare to a grade one scrambling route? it's a lot steeper and there is a lot more of the steep stuff too. It's highly likely that there will be less "moving together involved or body belays; and more use of direct belays, pitching and techniques closely associated with climbing - quite possibly involving the placing of running belays and being belayed by the seconds using a belay plate on some of the more exposed sections.

Low Water Beck is a steep and exposed scramble in its lower reaches - as can be seen here in photo three where Sam and Ben are scrambling up beside the watercourse to get to Josh who has "pitched" this first section - one of five such pitches to get to the easier ground above!

The final photo from the Scrambling Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District  sees Josh using a direct belay - running around a rock spike as an anchor to safeguard Sam & Ben who were scrambling up a steep slabby section of rock. We were almost at the top of the route.

Josh did a superb job of looking after the pair throughout this second scrambling day and demonstrated competence scrambling on rock and use of appropriate scrambling techniques - however, he is also a rock climber!

As for Sam & Ben who are both hill walkers, hopefully, this weekend has seen their confidence grow on more exposed ground and perhaps the future will see them wish to develop their scrambling & climbing skills in the mountains? we wish them all the best of luck whatever they do and the same goes to the other three who worked with Scott over the weekend!

The weekend course for this group of six keen aspirant scramblers from the Cambridge University Hill Walking Club cost only £120 per person for the two day course and included the provision of helmets, harnesses, ropes, scrambling rack and tuition for two experienced and competent Mountaineering Instructors. We think we provide excellent value for money with our Scrambling Skills Training Courses and invite you to contact us to arrange yours. Our usual price for a pair of people is £80 per day which is cheaper than some of our competitors are offering! Contact us here to book your course, we look forward to working with you.

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