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!!