Thursday 24 March 2016

Easter Holiday Outdoor Activity Sessions in The lake District - a special offer for Families from Kendal Mountaineering Services.

The Easter Holidays are about to begin. Have you have decided to visit The Lake District with your family? Wondering what to do? There are a great many different activities you can do here - but where do you start?

Why not start by booking your Easter Family Adventures with us! This Easter, we are offering children under 15 the opportunity to try out our activity sessions for just £10 per child for a half day or just £20 each for a full day of activities. This offer is open to family groups only!

This makes our activity packages exceptionally good value for families this Easter Holiday!

So what sort of adventures could you have with us during this holiday? Read on to get the full picture!

The areas is famous for its Hill Walking, Rock Climbing, Lakes and Rivers and with Kendal Mountaineering Services, you and your family can enjoy adventures in all of these places.

Take Hill Walking and scrambling for example - like the people in the photo who are tackling one one the Lake Districts famous scrambles - Sharp Edge en route to the summit of Blencathra which is one of The Lake Districts best known mountains.

We know the best routes up all of the Lake District Mountains so if you fancy being guided up the mountain of your choice such as Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, Skiddaw or Great Gable contact us to arrange your guided hill walking adventure. Prices start at just £75.00 each for two persons with your own Hill Walking guide for a full (eight hour) day out in the mountains. Children under 15 can do this for £20 each!

Fancy trying a wet activity this Easter Holiday? Do you like the thought of seeing the great views from one of the areas many lakes rather than just looking from the shore? Then how about spending a half day or even a full day out with us in a Canadian Canoe or in your very own Kayak?

Canadian Canoeing - pictured right, is great fun for all the family and you can all have just as much much as these children were having seen here in photo two - warmly kitted out in wet suits and buoyancy aids to keep you afloat if you want to jump into the Lake!

In one of our Lake District Kayaking Sessions - you'll get your very own boat to paddle if you don't want to share with someone else, so that you can have that freedom to go where you want - provided you stay in sight & sound our our instructors for safety!

Kayaks are great fun on rivers where they are more manoeuvrable and if you've proved yourself capable of handling one of these on flat water then we'll take you on an easy section of moving water just to gain the experience!

Prices for Kayaking or Open Canoeing sessions in The Lake District start at £45 per person for a four hour half day session, children under 15 can do this for £10 each. These sessions include the provision of wets suits, buoyancy aids, cagoules, Canoes or Kayaks and paddles.

Perhaps you fancy the idea of Ghyll Scrambling or Canyoning in The Lake District on your visit this Easter? There are loads of fantastic mountain streams that you can get in and walk up whilst being guided by our instructors.

We provide you with wet suits, cagoules, walking boots, helmets & harnesses for your Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions with us to keep you comfortable as you make your way upstream swimming through pools and climbing up waterfalls - roped if necessary to keep you safe. These sessions are great family fun for children & adults alike and if you fancy something more adventurous and challenging then try one of our canyoning descents where we descend a gorge - abseiling or jumping down waterfalls into the deep pools below.

Our half day (four hour) Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions start at £45 per person (children under 15 - £10) and are a great way  to spend part of a day during your Easter Holiday visit to The Lake District.

If you fancy trying something different this Easter - then let us take you Caving in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. If you are staying in The Lake District then it's closer than you think - being a mere half hour drive from Kendal or 40 minutes from Windermere.

We will provide you with caving oversuits, wellington boots and helmets with caving lamps - all you need is old clothing, some thick socks and a change of underwear and towels - just in case you get wet!

We will introduce you to the delights of Caving underground in places such as Long Churns with it's famous (or infamous) squeeze called The Cheese Press and Babtistry Crawl with its fantastic Limestone formations. You can try out climbing the waterfall at Doctor Bannister's Washbasin and if you don't like small spaces then there are always bigger passageways around the tight sections.

Prices start at £45 for a half day (4 hour) caving session with us or £75 for a full eight hour day underground. Again on this occasion, Children under 15 can enjoy their half day session for £10 or £20 for a full day of caving.

And finally, The Lake District is famous for its crags making it a great place to get out rock climbing this Easter. Not tried it before? then come along to one of ourIntroductory Climbing Sessions where you will be kitted up with a helmet & harness and attached to a climbing rope before starting to climb on real rock.

All of these sessions are 100% safe - you cannot fall and our instructors will be on hand to make sure that you are kept safe throughout a climbing session where you will be able to challenge your fear of heights and gain new skills and confidence - great for children & adults alike! Our half day introductory climbing sessions start at a mere £45 per person for a full four hours climbing (children under 15 - £10) and with all of our Adventure Activities in The Lake District this Easter, the more of you come, the cheaper it will be.

Contact us at Kendal Mountaineering Services to arrange your Adventure Activities in The Lake District this Easter - we look forward to working with you.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Checking out the River Lune in readiness for our next bit of work. Saturday 19th March 2016.

What many of our customers don't realise is the amount of work that goes into running your activity sessions or Skills Training Courses. People turn up for a session; and leave at the end of it and often that's all they see. But what about the setup time? packing equipment, organizing staff and then cleaning everything up, drying it out and putting it all away afterwards!

Also, if you do a skills training course with us (or indeed - an activity) then we will never take you to somewhere that we haven't been and checked out ourselves first!

And that's exactly the theme of this post.

Photo one sees Iain's daft partner posing for a photo as we set off to reconnoitre a section of the River Lune between Killington Bridge (here in photo one) and  Rigmaden Bridge - some five miles downstream. We'll be reporting on a few days with Helen Wright & her family early next week when they join us once again wishing to do some river journeying as part of developing their skills set for paddling rivers.

The River Lune is a great place for journeying and we have taken a number of people down it over the years, but the Killington to Rigmaden Bridge stretch is new to us.

Shortly after setting off, we found ourselves at a nasty weir (a vertical head dam) that needed to be portaged (avoided by carrying the canoes past it) and then a little further on, we came to the weir in photo two, which  again, had to be portaged.

Below this weir the river flow was funneled into a narrow channel becoming quite fast. We could see this being a tricky place for novices as in medium water when this section would certainly be grade three. Over this coming weekend, it is supposed to rain, so we may avoid this part of the river and get on at the Rawthey Confluence instead!

What is the Rawthey Confluence? The answer is the place in photo three! After travelling around a mile down this rather "interesting" section of the Lune, we arrived at the place where the River Rawthey - running in from the direction of Sedbergh, joins our river. In photo three, the Rawthey joins from the right of the photo and the River Lune runs in from just right of centre. We felt that here was a good place to stop for lunch and you can see Iain's partner - Kirstin; and our friend Simon who joined us for the day enjoying lunch on the shingle bank beyond our canoes. As the weather was fine, this was a lovely place to stop.

Continuing on from the Rawthey Confluence, we found no rapids of significant difficulty as the river meandered on an only gently sloping course through farmland towards Rigmaden Bridge.

All in all, we had a pleasant paddling trip done in low water conditions which meant that even after the additional flow of the Rawthey  joined us,it was still a "bump & a scrape" in places and on a few occasions, the river was so shallow that we had to get out and push.

We saw quite a lot of wildlife, Dippers, Oyster-catchers and on the banks - many of what we believed were Otter prints though we never actually saw any. Photo four was taken only about 5 minutes before we sighted Rigmaden Bridge.  By now, we were a tad damp after briefly falling in on a rapid some way back!
Photo five sees Simon getting out just below Rigmaden Bridge at the end of our Canadian Canoe "recce" trip. Iain is satisfied that the section between there & Killington Bridge will, largely, be suitable for Helen and her family next week; although if the forecast rains bring the river level up then we might well avoid that first mile or so and get in at the Rawthey Confluence.

We may also continue along the section below Rigmaden Bridge on to Kirkby Lonsdale  as this is arguably the finest section on the River Lune for running in a Canadian Canoe - with more of areas of interest than the section that we ran today.

If you would like to try Canadian Canoeing, then try one of our half day taster sessions at only £45 per person or book our combined introduction to Canadian Canoeing and easy river journeying based on Derwent-Water and the "middle" River Derwent near Keswick for only £80 per person for a full day out; and a great one at that! Contact us here to book your Canadian Canoeing experience, we look forward to working with you!

Stag Events in The Lake District. Sam Burnside & Friends. Saturday, March 12th, 2016.

Saturday March 12 found Iain meeting Sam Burnside & friends for Stag - Ollie's Stag Activity day in The Lake District with us.

Sam had booked a half day of Gorge Walking to be followed by a half day of Raft-building - double immersion potentially then; and in early March too! These lads were keen!

On the note of the time of year and the temperature, we threw in some extra warm kit in terms of neoprene gloves, neoprene wet-socks and extra fleeces; and also - an extra large brew kit so that everyone could get a hot drink whenever it was needed! Photo one sees the lads as we set off up the lower part of Stickle Ghyll in Langdale.

Photo two is taken about two hours later after we had clambered up the bed of the ghyll in to the upper ravine. We had walked up the stream bed, wading through pools, helping one another up easy waterfalls, but we had avoided getting wet above our legs tops although a few people fell in - but not intentionally!

March 2016 has been a fantastic month weather-wise, dry and consequently cold, but sunny (and warm in the sun) however, these lads hadn't brought the sun with them today. The Lake District today was cold, clammy, shrouded in mist and it was drizzling too - Urgh!

Still, Sam's party hardly seemed to notice the chill as we had them wrapped up as well as they could be. Admittedly, we could have gone one further and given them dry-suits but unfortunately, that's just a step to far - even for us!

We finished off the session by climbing up the big waterfall at the top of the gorge. As you can see in photo three, we were now in the mist and if anything, it was chillier than before - especially for Iain who was roping everyone up the waterfall. He had to stand in the same place for half an hour and had given up long before in taking a photo of everyone who was climbing. Today, this was not a place to hang around on!

We quickly headed back down to the car park and everyone got changed. We then drove over to Coniston where the lads went for lunch at the Black Bull Inn for an hour before we moved on to the second half of their Stag Day.

After lunch, a short drive found us all on the eastern shore of Coniston Water. As it had stopped drizzling by now, Iain recommended that the lads stay warm & dry in their clothes whilst building the raft.

Initially, Iain produced enough equipment for two rafts (8 barrels, 12 spars and a whole pile of ropes for lashings) but it soon became apparent that enthusiasm had waned for getting on the raft and possibly getting a soaking in a chilly lake! Half the kit went straight back in the van again.

The lads designed & then built a raft (photo four). The extension at the front with the extra barrel was meant to be a gang plank for Ollie whose mates were determined he was "going in". Owing to a duff design (Iain's fault - sorry!) Ollie didn't make it to the end - but he did go for that swim!

Photo five sees this hardcore bunch of lads some time later after they had paddled the raft out & about for a while. Ollie was encouraged to walk the gangplank which promptly swiveled so he toppled in sideways before getting on to the back of the raft.

The rest followed suite - on by one; and then they had a quick paddle about to warm up again before paddling back in to shore. Those who hadn't partaken in this activity promptly stripped the raft down whilst the others went & got dried out. Teamwork had the whole thing packed up, done & dusted in a very short time - thanks lads!

The final shot from this post about a Stag Event Day in The Lake District sees everyone enjoying a well earned hot chocolate. Sam - the Stag Event organiser is in the blue jacket with Ollie in dark blue behind him.

Sam's group were really happy with what we had organised for them and certainly; on their part - in terms of effort & enthusiasm, they had definitely given the day 200%. Well done! All they had to do now was make their way back to Keswick - the long way, around as Dunmail Raise is still closed!

Let us arrange your Stag or Hen Event with a difference for you! Browse our website for ideas about activities and ask us to put something together for you. You can choose from a full eight hour day as Sam's party did or if you want to try out an activity for just a morning or an afternoon - that is absolutely no problem! We'll even organise your catering for the day and will assist with finding your accommodation for your special event. We will also provide transport for your event too- if required!

Prices start at £75 per person for a full eight hour day of activities although Sam's group got a discount to £70 each due to the group size. Half day(four hour) activity sessions start at just £45 per person. All equipment you will need is provided as part of your fee per person as well; although lunch and transport is extra. Please contact us to enquire, we look forward to working with you!

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Guided Winter Mountaineering Days in Scotland. A traverse of the famous Aonach Eagach. March 5th 2016.

Well, we might as well be honest about it, we've missed out on this awesome Winter Season almost completely this year. Iain has been unable to consider going to Scotland - until early March at least!

You all might have seen some reports about our forays into the Lake District Mountains in January and February. Conditions were thin and only good at higher levels. However in Scotland things have been good - certainly since early February.

Photo one sees returning client Darren Willis as we approached the summit of Am Bodach in our quest to traverse the mighty Aonach Eagach Ridge which forms the northern boundary of Glen Coe - an equally as famous valley in the western highlands.

Darren  has done  a lot of stuff with us since he first met Iain at the Kendal Mountain Festival in 2014. We started with scrambling Skills Training in The Lake District and then last year Darren came to Glen Coe in February and performed really well in the winter environment on both Mountaineering and Winter Climbing terrain. Darren also joined us on our Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trip in May last year and is coming back again this May. We enjoyed each others company in September during a weekend away in the western Lakes and then Darren joined us for a day out on Helvellyn in January and it was then that he indicated he'd be keen on a Winter Climbing Weekend in Scotland as soon as Iain was ready. By March 5th, Iain reckoned he was ready!

We'd set off up the eastern end of Am Bodach at 08:30 having been dropped off by one of  the people whose guest house we were staying at. After a steady climb of some two & a half hours, we were at the summit of Am Bodach (photo two) in calm, windless conditions. The summit of Ben Nevis is hidden in cloud beyond Darren to his right. Just stunning!

On  arriving at the summit, we had a clear view all the way along the Aonach Eagach. We got kitted up right away as the fun was about to start within a few hundred metres of the first summit!

And that fun is getting down off  Am Bodach on to the ridge proper. There is a steep down-climb which is better abseiled in winter and a conveniently places large block at the top around which a 60 metre rope "doubles" nicely.

As we arrived to do this first descent, we were joined by another group who offered us their 60 metre rope to set up so they could follow us down. As Iain got Darren on to the ropes ready to abseil one of this group said "Is that Mr Gallagher?" It turned out that we were only in the company of another well known Lake District based instructor on a weeks Winter Climbing in Scotland. Small world isn't it! Photo three sees Darren abseiling down this first descent towards Iain.

Photo four was taken some 45 minutes and 3/4 of a mile later as we all approached the summit of Meall Dearg - the first Munro Summit on the ridge.

After our abseil,  there was one further tricky down-climb; and then after that, it was steady away upwards towards Meall Dearg Conditions were certainly more wintry than when Iain had last been here with Alison & Matt February last year. However, this time route finding was easier as there was no cloud at all! There was more snow & neve than the previous visit, and we had to be careful of the poorly  bonded wind-slab on top of the neve which had a habit of sliding off when you stood on it!

Once beyond Meall Dearg, the crest of the ridge falls for a while before rearing up again and it is at this point that one encounters the famous "pinnacles" seen here in photo five. An initial exposed down-climb (best protected by lowering someone who then spots you down!) gets you to the start where in all honesty, you'll probably find things aren't as bad as they looked. Two 480cm Dyneema slings & karabiners are useful here with which to lasso the pinnacles so that you can  use them as running belays whilst your partner belays you across. Once up the other side, you have a choice of direct belays with which to belay your partner across to you.

A further 100 metres beyond the pinnacles finds you descending towards a drop. Descend a groove on the Glen Coe side of the ridge here and hopefully you'll find (as we did this time but not last year!) a thread containing some abseil tat and a maillon just below. Once again, our 60 metre rope doubled through the maillon was more than enough to reach the bottom of what would otherwise have been another "dodgy" down-climb. Photo six sees Darren following Iain down this abseil.

We would spend probably a further 45 minutes covering the last 500 metres  of difficulties before we reached the col at the foot of the slope leading up to Stob Coire Leith and these consisted of a number of climb ups and downs with a lot of short roping and belaying required along the way.  When we finally reached that col it was good to know that the technical difficulties of the ridge were over. The time was about 15:30 so we had around a further 3 hours of daylight left.

Photo eight is one of those "selfies"" people often take these days and this one was taken at the top of Stob Coire Leith looking back at the most technical section of the Aonach Eagach which is right above Darren & Iain's heads. The summit of Meal Dearg is the snow covered cone to the left of Darren.

The walk on from here to the summit of Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh (the highest Munro Summit on the ridge) was relatively easy - a gentle descent to the bealach followed by a gradual rise to the higher summit.
We reached the summit of Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh at 5pm (photo nine) and began a descent that would take the best part of 3 hours by the time we reached Darren's pickup truck at the Clachaig. The direct route would have been down the side of the Clachaig Gully - dangerous at the best of times so we chose to take the route off the lower western top of Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh towards the top on the right of this photo (Sgorr Na Ciche - the Pap of Glen Coe) before dropping down west to pick up the single track road between Glen Coe Village and The Clachaig.

It had been a long day - eleven hours or so, but that's what to expect on the Aonach Eagach Traverse in Winter. It is a long and technical traverse which requires time and respect. It was a brilliant "tick" for Darren who was so knackered that he refused the offer of a further climbing day the next day. Indeed - Iain was back in Kendal by 3pm on the Sunday!

We'll hopefully be back in Scotland during the Winter of 2016-17, in better shape and with a lot to offer anyone looking for Winter Skills Courses and coaching or guiding on Winter Mountaineering Routes or Winter Climbs.Watch this space - we look forward to working with you!

The Fenix HL35 head torch. A real contender for group use cave illumination? Here's what we think!

In our role as Outdoor Adventure Specialists, we are regularly contacted by companies wishing to offer us "deals" on equipment. Fenix Lighting contacted us specifically with regards to a head torch which they reckoned could out perform the competition - hands down!

OK - then  send us one we said; and they did! And as a result  - here is our review of the Fenix HL35 Head Torch.

We used a recent caving day with  two clients to put the HL35 through it's paces. In photo one Alice (left) sports one of our tried & tested Petzl Pixa II torches whilst Jess (right) started the day with the HL35.

As can be seen, both head-torches have thick adjustable headbands which allow them to sit well on our caving helmets (standard climbing helmets). The HL35 comes with an additional "over the top of the head" elastic strap to stop the light sagging down if worn directly on one's head. We can see that this additional strap might well be useful in that scenario (the Pixa II doesn't have this additional strap), but in this situation,that extra strap wasn't needed.

At a glance. The fenix HL35 (the left hand head-torch in photo two) is about two thirds the size of the Pixa II weighing 150g as opposed to the Pixa II's 169g. There's not much in it in terms of weight - not that you'd notice with it on your head anyway!

The HL35's canister is constructed of anodized aircraft grade Aluminium as opposed to the Pixa II's all plastic construction. Our concern here was that the HL35 wouldn't with withstand knocks & bumps as well as the Pixa II and indeed, the HL35 is "fall rated" to 1.5 m as opposed to the Pixa II's fall rating of 2 m. However, looking beyond this, the HL35 begins to "outshine" (excuse the pun!) the Pixa II in other respects. Firstly the HL35 has an IP68 rating as opposed to the IP67 of the Pixa II. What does this mean? well, the HL35 is fully waterproof if submerged to a depth of no more than two metres. The Pixa II is waterproof to a depth of 1 metre but only for 30 minutes! On that note  - we wouldn't advise you take either cave diving but, the HL35 is the more waterproof of the two and Fenix clearly have faith in their product as they will guarantee it for 5 years against faults & defects. Petzl only offer a 3 year warranty on the Pixa II.

Both head-torches have adjustable beam angles and both take 2 x AA batteries. Now, on to performance!

The HL35 has eight different settings from two switches and two LED's. The smaller round button operates the red LED. Press once and the red LED illuminates, press this button again and the white LED is illuminated in a Morse Code SOS pattern. Pressing the button a third time enables a flashing red LED Mode. Press & hold for more than 1 second to select off.

The larger button enables the user to select from five different levels of brightness from "Moonlight Mode to high which is 200 lumens. Pressing & holding for more than 1.2 seconds selects "burst mode" which is an impressive 260 lumens with an Alkaline or NI-MH battery delivering 1.2 - 1.5 volts. However use Fenix's own 14500 Li-ion batteries and burst mode jumps to an all illuminating 450 lumens - having recently received a set of these batteries, we'll be adding an "additional" to this review soon!

By comparison, the Pixa II is a simple beast sporting a big chunky knob which rotates from off  to two brightness settings of 30 & 40 lumens on our caving units (we understand that they have recently been upgraded to provide 20 & 80 lumens respectively).

In terms of distance of illumination, the latest version of the Pixa II will now illuminate to 55 metres though that's still 35 metres short of the HL35's maximum range. Battery life with our Pixa II's at 40 lumens is stated as being around six hours whereas using the nearest comparable setting on the HL35 (70 lumens) sees the batteries last half as long again (9 hours). This appears to demonstrate that under normal use, the HL35 is almost twice as efficient as our Pixa II's!

With respect to drained batteries. The Pixa two enters reserve mode when the batteries are getting low and indicates thus with a double flash before dropping to an intensity of something less than 30 lumens but still providing a workable beam for ten hours (indeed - we have never had a Pixa II fully extinguish after entering this mode!) The HL35's beam intensity gradually reduces until once the battery reaches less than 10% capacity, the red LED illuminates to warn that battery replacement is required.

So how did the Fenix HL35 performs on one of our caving days? Well; and with no problems we would say! The unit was used for a duration of seven hours on visits to to caving systems in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. The head-torch functioned on its medium setting of 70 lumens throughout using two basic Alkaline batteries.

We visited Long Churns in the morning; and some readers may recognise this place as being the famous Cheese Press Bedding Plane crawl where Jess emerges sporting the HL35. We spent around 3 hours underground here.

After some lunch, we moved across valley to the Calf Holes/Browgill Cave system where we spent a further 3 hours underground. The HL35 was used in a demanding environment where where knocks against Limestone were all too likely, yet at the end of the day, it still looked undamaged.

What did the clients think of the HL35?  Both initially had problems getting to grips with the settings buttons as compared with that chunky switch on the Pixa II, the HL35's buttons are harder to feel/locate and we could see this presenting a real problem  for gloved fingers. However, they both commented on the warmth of the light and the way they felt it illuminated the caves features better and not just in a brighter way than the Pixa II. In the final photo from this equipment test report, the HL35 is seen lighting up the waterfall at Doctor Bannister's Washbasin in the Long Churns Cave System.

What did we think of the HL35? Well, we were in agreeance with our clients comments, otherwise we were impressed with the HL35's performance - not just in better overall efficiency/extended battery life, but also in the products versatility. Combine that with the products extended warranty compared with the Pixa II and  its competitive pricing means that we will certainly consider  adding a number of these lights to our stock of group use caving lights in the near future.

Guided Caving Days in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. February 29th, 2016

Winter here at Kendal Mountaineering Services has been pretty quiet. The awful prior to Christmas wasn't conducive to encouraging people to venture into the outdoors, however once we were into the New Year enquiries started to arrive.

One of these was from Alice Courvoisier who was interested in booking an Introductory Caving Day for herself and friend Jess.

By the time we ran this day for the pair, the weather had settled down and was dry & calm if not a little chilly. Photo one is taken in front of the Alum Pot - one of the Yorkshire Dales deepest potholes at 104 metres.

Iain met the pair at Inglesport in Ingleton - our favourite meeting point for Introductory Caving Sessions in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. We then drove to  Long Churns lane, got kitted up and headed underground for a morning exploration of Long Churns - the area's best Introductory Caving Venue. We had a good explore all around Long Churns - marvelling at the many Speloethems (Limestone formations) to be seen and enjoying challenges such as the famous Cheese Press seen in photo two.
After lunch, the pair decided that they fancied the idea  of something a little more challenging. Iain took them straight across Ribblehead to the Calf Holes/Browgill Cave System which is definitely a "step up" from Long Churns.

Long Churns is termed a Level One or Introductory Caving Trip, Calf Holes & Browgill is a Level Two Caving Trip and definitely not somewhere you would take novices for their first caving trip - not via the Calf Holes Pitch anyway! Level One Caves are deemed to contain vertical pitches of more than 2 metres in height whereas a Level Two Caving Trip can have vertical pitches of up to 18 metres in height.

Photo three sees  Alice being lowered by Iain down the Calf Holes Pitch which although only 11 metres high is still quite challenging - and a lot more exciting! Jess was the next one down, followed by Iain.

At the bottom of the pitch, we all took off our harnesses and stashed them as we would be coming back. We then headed downstream to the point where the water sinks into the floor on the left and continued down a lowering dry passage which leads to a small hole also on the left - Hainsworth's Passage.

We crawled about 5 metres through this and then dropped through a  hole in the floor (The Slot) re-emerging next to the stream which we followed down a deepening canyon to the top of a waterfall. We could have done another lower here, but it was quicker to bypass the waterfall by climbing up & out of the canyon into a parallel passage which leads, via a down-climb in to a big rift beyond the fall. From the far end of this rift, the way is again, on with the stream, to emerge in daylight at the entrance  (or downstream exit) to Browgill Cave (photo three).
All we had to do now was retrace ours steps  back to the foot of the Calf Holes Pitch. This route, is, in fact, only classed as a Level One Caving Trip as far as the Calf Holes Pitch - it's that climb back out that makes it Level Two!

On the way back, we took a slightly different route emerging into Hainsworth's Passage from the challenging looking "Letterbox" crawling back out over The Slot and out of Hainsworth's. Ten minutes later after a further 500 metres of stooping along the low passage, we arrived back at the Calf Holes Pitch.

We got harnesses back on and then Iain jumared back up to the pitch head before lowering the caving ladder down to the pair waiting below. Climbing a caving ladder is strenuous work - especially if you don't so it right, but Iain had instructed Alice & Jess to keep their bodies straight and climb moving alternate hands & feet.  Iain was prepared to "haul" if necessary, but that wasn't needed as both climbed up & out  rapidly. Jess is the last one out in photo four.

So that was it - we packed up and walked back to the vehicles before parting company. Two very satisfied clients!

Alice & Jess paid just £75 per person for the full day out of caving with Iain and that fee included the use of caving over-suits, wellington boots, helmets with caving lights, caving belts and harnesses as well as a full day of guiding by Iain. As this trip proved - Caving is something all of the family can do in Winter when it is too cold to do anything else; and you'd be surprised how much shelter you get underground!

Contact us to book your caving experience in The Yorkshire Dales this Easter - we look forward to working with you!