Monday 11 April 2016

Guided Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District. Sunday 10th April 2016

Yesterday, Iain was out in the afternoon sun - rock climbing in Langdale with  returning clients Andy Craggs and his mate Sean.

We first worked with this pair along with their mate Phil whose birthday it was on that occasion during last October. Then, we organised an introductory Rock Climbing Session for the three followed by an afternoon kayaking session on Coniston Water.

These guys are all long standing mates - having grown up in the same street together and they still get together now on regular occasions. Rock climbing wasn't really Phil's gambit, but Andy & Sean had enjoyed their previous session with Iain and wanted to try something more challenging.

So, Iain organised a half day of guided multi-pitch rock climbing for the pair. On photo one, we are about to start up the first pitch of Route 1 on Upper Scout Crag.

We were lucky here today. The previous evening, it had been snowing even in Kendal and Iain was sure that climbing would be a chilly prospect, but the day was cloudless and the sun melted the snow and warmed the rock and there was only the slightest of breeze. By early afternoon conditions were great for rock climbing, but where were all the climbers?

We had Route 1 to ourselves for most of the afternoon. After getting the lads tied on, Iain set off up the first pitch to the first stance, set up a belay and brought Sean and  Andy up to join him.

We had spent a bit of time before stating discussing how to remove anchors and deal with running belays and slings. It all went fine until Andy got to the last runner just below our stance and couldn't extract it, so Iain had to descend to retrieve it. There he snapped Photo two looking up at Andy & Phil securely attached at the top of the first pitch.

Photo three sees Sean & Andy arriving at the top of Route 1.

This fine little multi-pitch rock climb has three pitches, with good stances inbetween and lots of good anchor placements. The route is graded V Diff (Very Difficult) but in  terms of rock climbing grades V Diff lies almost at the easy end of the spectrum. There are a few interesting bits on the route- the rather smooth slab on the first pitch; and the arete (the hardest part - also known as the Crux) on the second pitch. After that, the third pitch is really, an easy scramble to the top of the route.

The route was enough to get the lads "juices flowing" though, with the exposure & challenge just right to keep them talking about it!

Photo four is a snap from  the top of the crag and one that Iain can't resist taking time & time again - particularly on such a lovely day.

There are many beautiful places in the world and many are more beautiful than here (try Patagonia!) but on a nice day, the Lake District is hard to beat with its rugged mountains,  beautiful wooded valleys and pretty lakes. The area also abounds with rock faces, there is rock climbing to be found in every valley and there area is steeped in climbing history.
In a half day (four hour) session, any Mountaineering Instructor would do well to guide two clients up a couple of multi-pitch rock climbs and Iain is no exception. How fast you get up a route depends on the conditions, the confidence of the climbers and how well they have absorbed the information given to help them follow you up a rock climb.

Sean and Andy had climbed Route 1 with confidence; and we put this climb behind us in three hours giving us time to get part way up another rock climb - Route 2 before abseiling down to the foot of the cliff as in an "abseil retreat".

Iain wanted the lads to experience the different way in which you abseil from a multi-pitch rock climb where you actually control your own descent using a belay device. Last time they had climbed with Iain,  they were merely lowered back down the route by their belayer as part of their introductory rock climbing session. Today's method was very different!

This time, having climbed up to the second stance on Route 2, they were actually going to have to untie from the climbing rope, but first, we all had to secure ourselves to something else for safety.

At the top of pitch two on Route 2 sits a conveniently sited Oak tree around which Iain attached a sling and then he got Sean & Andy to attach to this sling each with another sling larksfooted through their harnesses.  In the middle of each sling an overhand knot was tied and once they had done this and clipped into the anchor sling, it was then safe to untie from the ends of the rope.

Iain threaded the rope around the Oak tree until he reached the mid point of the rope and then threw both ends down to the foot of the crag. We all attached our belay devices into the slings between the harnesses and the overhand knot and attached them to the climbing rope. We could now disconnect from the anchor and remove it. Photo five shows the arrangement for each of us at this point.

It was now simply a case of abseiling down one after the other. Iain went first and coached Andy down  whilst protecting him by holding the trailing (dead) rope in case he let go.

Andy then did the same for Sean (photo six). Once both were down, that was the end of their Guided Rock Climbing half day Session in The Lake District.

You can experience Rock Climbing in The Lake District with us for just £45 per person for a half day (four hour) Introductory Rock Climbing Session (minimum of two persons). We'd recommend doing that before trying what these two did with Iain yesterday,  Rock Climbing is challenging, but fun and safe when the sessions are run by one of our qualified & experienced Mountaineering Instructors. Rock climbing is ideal for families with children, groups of friends, people attending a Stag or Hen Event or corporate groups looking for a team building session.

Contact us here to book your session now, We look forward to working with you!

Sunday 10 April 2016

Lake District Ghyll Scrambling Sessions. Borrowdale. 7th April 2016.

A couple of days after running a great Scrambling Skills Training Course for Owen Higgs, We have been out again, in a completely different location, doing something completely different with a group of nine young people.

Pictured in photo one, this group is the first intake of Nucleargraduates Cohort Ten. We have been fortunate to have remained associated to Nucleargraduates since they came to us in 2011 looking for a group activity that would help to bond people together.
Ghyll Scrambling is great fun for everyone not just apprentices such as these. You get equipped with a wet-suit to keep you warm as well as a cagoule to provide additional upper body insulation, walking boots to provide protection for your feet and good grip. A helmet for your head and a harness where it is likely you'll be roped up a waterfall. For ghylls with deep pools you'll also be provided with a buoyancy aid to keep you afloat.

With all of this equipment you'll be well prepared to enjoy the exhilarating experience that is ghyll scrambling in The Lake District.

So what is the sport of Ghyll Scrambling?  Well as you can see, you actually get into a mountain stream or Ghyll and walk up it - scrambling up small waterfalls and climbing up others whilst protected by one of our instructors. You'll also be wading or swimming through pools working upstream against the flow of the stream which can be quite strong, it is an exciting and challenging experience but great fun.

Ghyll Scrambling is ideal for everyone form children to adults and at only £45 per person for a four hour session (less the larger your group size) it is something that everyone should try at least once in their lives. Definitely add this activity to your bucket list and do it with us here in The Lake District!

Just look at the fun this group are having in photo three climbing up the side of this waterfall!
So why do Nucleargraduates use us to provide this activity for them. Well, here, Ghyll Scrambling is used in the context of "team building" or as an "ice breaker".

Why? These young  graduates, all with degrees in engineering or Nuclear Chemistry have been successful in gaining a two year  apprenticeship within the Nuclear Industry and will, at some point during those two years, be working alongside each other. They came together for the first time the previous day and this activity is designed to get them working together and building bonds and friendships that will last them through their apprenticeships within Nucleargraduates and beyond.

We have proven that used in this context - it works!

Whether or not  you are  a business, a family, a group of friends, or someone looking for a suitable activity as part of a Stag or Hen Event, you should try Ghyll Scrambling (also known as Gorge Walking) with us.

It's an experience you'll never forget, so contact us to book your session. We look forward to working with you!

Lake District Scrambling Courses. 5th & 6th April 2016.

After his weekend on the Kentmere Fells running a Navigation Skills Training Course for Richard, Andy & Joe, Iain was back out the next day to meet Owen Higgs in Langdale for his Scrambling Skills Training Course.

Owen had originally booked this course almost two years ago and was to have attended with a friend who had a tragic accident just a few days beforehand. Owen asked Iain if he could postpone until another time? Absolutely no problem - what else  could anyone have possibly  said!

Anyway, Owen got in touch early in the New Year to reschedule his scrambling course for April and we were happy to oblige.

Photo one sees Owen at Tarn Crag in Langdale where we spent the first day of his training course. We started off looking at "spotting" where scramblers help each other using hands and a braced stance to ascend an easy scramble where use of a rope is unnecessary and would only slow things down.

Photo two sees Owen getting to grips with short roping techniques.

Short roping is used on ground where a slip could turn into something more serious, but where the ground is a mixture of easy & harder terrain - in most likelihood a grade II buttress with steps of no more than a metre or two requiring a tensioned rope to stop a less capable second from slipping.

Most of the rope is not required so therefore the lead scrambler takes chest coils and then locks these off to prevent getting throttled if the second falls. The leader will have a reservoir of coils in their uphill hand that should be of sufficient length to allow the leader to ascend any easy pitch whilst leaving the second stood still in a safe place. The leader will always be above the second acting as an anchor at all times and using a braced stance to prevent them from being dislodged (pulled) over and that is also the reason that Owen is holding the rope with a bent arm - to prevent being pulled over!
Sometimes however, scrambling ground can get so serious that merely short roping and belaying someone with your body & hands will not be sufficient to safeguard either them or you; and it is important that safety comes first at all times when scrambling. This is when using direct belays comes into place.

In photo three, Owen is using a direct belay to lower Iain down a steeper part of a gully where he would have trouble holding Iain otherwise were he to slip. In this case, the direct belay is merely a spike of rock around which the rope is run and the friction of rope against rock is sufficient to provide a safeguard.  This sort of belay can be used in ascent as well as descent and is a very quick means of providing a safeguard. However, it is essential that any such rocky protuberance is checked thoroughly to ensure that it is a solid part of the surrounding rock  and not likely to break off in use - with potentially fatal consequences!
As well as looking at spotting, Short Roping and Direct belays using rope over rock, we also looked at pacing artificial anchors such as this one in photo four.

The metal wedge on a swage of metal wire is known by a number of terms - "wires", "nuts", all are branded products such as DMM''s Wallnuts or Wild Country's Rocks for example; and they come in a range of sizes. For placements where nuts or wires are too small, one can use chocks such as Hexcentrics or Torque Nuts.

All of these anchors have one thing in common - they are designed to be inserted into tapered cracks where they will only jam in tighter  if they receive a shock-load.

Iain gave Owen the chance to insert these into appropriate cracks  and then use them as a direct belay by attaching an HMS (pear shaped) karabiner used in conjunction with a rolling hitch (Italian hitch) to safeguard someone up or down serious ground. You can use a tape (Dyneema) sling around a rock spike in conjunction with the same karabiner/rolling hitch combination as well.

By the time we had covered all of these techniques with Iain demonstrating and then allowing Owen to practice, the day was almost over. We had had a later than planned start after Owen had turned up thinking that a pair of approach shoes would be appropriate for the day, but Iain persuaded him to get the best footwear for the job; and we nipped back into Ambleside so that he could purchase a pair. It was just as well we did, as not long into our Scrambling Skills Training Course, the rain started  and didn't let up for the rest of the day. Owen was glad that Iain had persuaded him to buy something appropriate for the task in hand, otherwise, it is likely that his first day would have had to be cut very short!

Day two found us back at Tarn Crag in the morning (photo five) where  Iain guided Owen up his first grade II Scramble.

This was done in order that Owen could get to see the different the different belaying techniques that Iain would use where appropriate to safeguard him on such a scrambling route.

The intention had been that Iain  would guide Owen up this route and then that we would return to put Owen on the "sharp end" so that he could try the techniques for himself and have his application of these appraised by Iain.

However, that morning was also pretty vile - cold and wet making the Lake District  rock very slippery indeed and forcing Iain to employ rock climbing tactics at one point - beyond the level at which he was teaching Owen today. It was decided to change plan, with Iain guiding Owen for the rest of the day - something that Owen was quite ok with!!

So, having finished the Spur (grade II) on Tarn Crag and having then had some lunch, we headed up over the summit and around Stickle Tarn to scramble up Jack's Rake (the diagonal ramp  ascending the cliff behind Owen in photo six) on Pavey Ark .

Jacks Rake is one of The Lake Districts  most popular scrambling routes and only graded I.  For this reason it gets a lot of ascents by people who think it is merely a steep walk up the cliff. That - it most certainly is not!

The first part of this route follows a seemingly friendly gully which gets steeper as you climb until it peters out forcing you to climb an exposed, polished & often wet groove to get to the Rowan tree at its top. Many people neither equipped to; nor experienced in dealing with such terrain have found themselves "in extremis" here and the place has been the scene of a number of fatalities in recent years. Above this point, the ramp angle eases and apart from one other serious step above the junction with Crescent Climb; and some easier steps towards the exit pinnacle, this is a most pleasant and rewarding scramble.

And today it was a most rewarding route to be on. The nature of the scramble, the feeling of exposure and the  views that opened out as we climbed higher & higher made it feel like the special place that it truly is.

An improvement in the weather only added to our feeling of exhilaration and it was with a great feeling of satisfaction that we arrived at the pinnacle (right  of Owen in photo seven), unroped and enjoyed some more lunch. What a fantastic route!

We were finished on Jack's Rake a little after 2 pm, so there was still time to fit in another scrambling route and Iain decided that we should take a look at the nearby "Pavey Far East". This is another grade II scrambling route listed in the Cicerone guide Lake District Scrambles South also on Pavey Ark.

Iain had been here once before with a pair on a  scrambling Skills Training Course who decided that they wanted to give up at the first buttress - they must have had a premonition!

We continued beyond the first buttress following a line above a cliff. The line wasn't great as it traversed along sloping rock and grass and it was difficult to provide any protection for Owen at the best of times and although he was quite happy - Iain wasn't! When our route took us down an unprotectable groove with a large drop beyond, Iain decided enough was enough, so we bailed off the route and scrambled up to better ground (photo eight) Neither of us felt it was any great loss! This route is one for bone dry weather only! Iain's view is that Brian Evans must have been getting desperate for something to fill the final pages of the guide when he picked this line.

That was the end of Owen's 2 day Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District and he was absolutely delighted with what we had achieved. He plans to return, hopefully in June with his daughters for whom he had come on this course in order that he could take them scrambling in the hills. We look forward to working with him again then.

Owen paid just  £160 per day for his Scrambling Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and that price is for one or two persons. Helmets & harnesses are provided as well as enthusiastic instruction and coaching from an experienced Mountaineering Instructor. If you would like to learn scrambling Skills for yourself, then contact us - we look forward to working with you!

Navigation Skills Training Weekends in The Lake District. Saturday & Sunday 3rd & 4th April 2016.

Last weekend saw Iain running a Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District for Richard McEvoy and his friends Andy & Joe.

All come from the Keighley Area of West Yorkshire where they spend their spare time running bush-craft courses for a local young persons club. The three wished to learn Navigation Skills Training in order to increase the breadth of what they can offer the club by possibly taking the lads hill walking.

Due to the weather, we changed from the original plan of meeting at Staveley to go to the Kentmere Valley and instead met in Kendal to go into Longsleddale.

Photo one sees us climbing out of Longsleddale on what was  a very wet start to their Navigation Skills Training Weekend!
As usual with our courses, we started off by discussion the differences between the two map scales we would be using and then outlining the important of orientating the map. We then measured distance on the map and learnt how to pace out 100 metres on the ground.

After this, we set out on our days journey which would take us up on to the area of fell between the Longsleddale & Kentmere Valleys measuring distance and pacing between "tick off features". As our route was quite steep up out of the valley, we were able to compare our pacings per 100 metres on different slope angles which was most useful.

After an our of doing this, we found ourselves at the top of the slope above Longsleddale and it was time to move on to the next stage of the lads Navigation Training ie learning about grid references  - except we were stuck out in the cold and rain. Fortunately, Iain knows of a bothy which contains benches and a table and here we were able to get under cover, sit down and have a classroom type lesson about grid references  and taking compass bearings (photo two).

Really, it was just as well were were able to get under cover for that part of the course as outside, the weather had, if anything, gotten worse.  We spent the rest of the day "bog hopping" and looking for features such as stream junctions (photo three), pools of water, ruins and bridges as well as identifying some contour features along the way.

The lads picked up the Navigation skills provided by Iain very well despite the weather, good stuff!

Photo four was taken at almost the same place as the first photo of this Navigation Skills Training Course as we made our way back down to the vehicles at around 4pm.

As you can see, the weather was starting to dry up as was forecast,  however, the whole area  had received a thorough soaking as had we. The original plan had been to wild camp at the head of the Kentmere Valley, but by coming to Longsleddale, we had given ourselves another option for our overnight stay in the mountains.

Photo five sees Andy & Joe loaded up in the back of Iain's Land Rover after we had all driven up Longsleddale as far as you can go in a car.

What lay ahead of us now was a three mile drive up a challenging bridleway to a point high up where we would been able to walk a short distance to a peaceful & secluded wild camping area; or, if things were too wet, have the option to "overnight" in one of the Lake District's few bothies. We had already decided to take the bothy option!

Photo six sees us all outside of the bothy the next morning after a good, dry, night's sleep.

The  walk here from the Land Rover had taken about an hour and after we had settled in and eaten, we went out to do some night navigation.

"Night Nav" is difficult and relies solely on an individuals ability to accurately pace and walk on a bearing as well as "time" how long each leg between grid references will take. Richard, Andy & Joe performed well throughout the session and it was almost midnight before we arrived back at the bothy. No-one was particularly keen to get going early the next morning and it was after 10am before we left this place.

We headed straight up the slope to the north through the nearby quarries to find a summit, pacing, timing and walking on a bearing to get us there.

The weather on day two of this Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District was bright and sunny - but consequently, a lot colder! We continued west on to the summit of Branstree (photo seven) passing some large snow patches along the way. Everyone was surprised by the amount of snow lingering on the fells, but prior to Easter, the weather had been dry & bright for weeks  and it would have been cold up here with frosts every night.

We descended west from Branstree to Gatesgarth Pass (photo eight) and then made our way down to  Brownhowe Bottom (in the middle distance) where the Land Rover was parked. Richard had asked to be back there by 2 pm so that the lads could get a good  start on their way back home as all were back at work the next day. Iain would be too!

Richard, Andy & Joe each paid £120 for this two day Navigation Skills Training  Weekend in The Lake District with a qualified & experienced practitioner who had the forethought to build some flexibility into the programme due to the weather forecast. You can join one of our Weekend Navigation Skills Training Courses for just £80 for the two days. 

The next one of these courses is running two weeks time during April 23rd & 24th. Our Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District will give you the skills you need to head into the mountains in unfamiliar terrain with confidence and are ideal for anyone preparing for a Mountain Walking Leader Assessment as a Navigation Refresher Course. Contact Iain here to book your place. We look forward to working with you.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Canadian Canoeing River Journeying Skills Training Course in The Lake District. March 29th & 30th 2016.

After our brilliant first day of River Journeying on the River Eamont, Iain met up with the Wright Family once again for their second day of journeying on moving water.

This time, the plan was to travel a section of the River Lune - the largest river in the south of the county which flows from the Howgill Fells to empty into Morecambe Bay beyond  Lancaster.

Allegedly, it is the River Lune that gives it's name not only to the city of Lancaster, but also the county of Lancashire!

Photo one sees Helen pinpointing our location on the map. Map reading & navigation is an essential skill forming part of any river journey. Ideally, you should know where you are at all times - just in case of accidents as it will help the emergency services to locate you quickly. Also, knowledge of your river journey may stop you from overshooting your destination as well as helping you to identify where potential hazards may lie ahead on the river!

Today, Iain had given Helen & Ian the task of leading himself and James down the River Lune. Today's journey was a longer Canadian Canoe Journey on a bigger volume river than that paddled the previous day.

Because of the amount of water in the Lune, Iain chose for the party not to put on at Killington Bridge; or at the Rawthey Confluence due potential access issues across land at that point.

We did get on about 500 beyond the Rawthey Confluence and found that the increased volume of water actually benefited us in as much that some rapids were less technical and more friendly such as this one in photo two. Right about this point, Iain & Kirstin had capsized when hitting a rock some three weeks previously. Today, we saw no sign of any rocks!

Two hours and some 5 kilometres later, we decided to stop for lunch - having inspected if necessary; and run, a number of easy rapids with Helen and Ian doing a great job of finding the best line down the river.

At this point in photo three, we found a convenient shingle bank on which to stop where we were in sight and sound of no-one else.

It was a very peaceful place to stop for lunch and we all enjoyed the tranquility of the setting. We were also  enjoying journeying the river which despite being higher than when Iain last paddled it, was proving to be very easy indeed.

Shortly after lunch , we passed under Rigmaden Bridge which was the "one third" marker of today's Canadian Canoe River Journey. (Photo four)

From this point, we had a further ten kilometres to travel downstream to our get-out point at Devil's Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale.

Currently, access issues exist along this stretch of the river, with a permit being required to access the river from this bridge. As were were already on the water, one might say that this issue didn't apply to us, but Iain had already briefed the family on what to do should we meet any fishermen or gamekeepers.

As it happened, we didn't see anyone. However, if you do meet anyone fishing then our advice would be to get out, well upstream of them and go and ask them "Hello, can we paddle past you? Or would you like us to portage around you?".

A polite and considerate approach can make all the difference between a good day out where other river users actually appreciate your consideration; or one where someone goes out of their way to spoil your day. Don't let it happen, particularly here- as this section of the Lune is arguably the best section for canoeists.

In photo five, James & Iain are about to descend one of the rivers bigger rapids - Helen & Ian's canoe can be seen in the distance. On the biggest waves here, James actually got some "airtime" right under his seat!!

Below this point, on it's way past Underley Hall, The Lune runs in a gorge with a number of rapids and two sharp right hand turns in the flow.

There was acute evidence all along the Lune of last Decembers flood and in many places, flood debris could be seem 15 to 20 feet above our heads. In the gorge, a section of  slope had been undercut and here there were many conifers on the point of toppling into the river. Some already had!

Photo six sees  us emerge from the gorge into bright sunlight; and rain showers - the theme of our second day of Canadian Canoe River Journeying. The town of Kirkby Lonsdale can now be seen ahead in the distance. Not far to go then!

As we approached Kirkby Lonsdale, the flow of the River Lune divided around yet another island. We all agreed that the flow to river right looked like the cleanest line with no obstructions. Following this downstream, the river takes another sharp right hand turn amid rocks to then broaden out and flow over a rocky shelf interspersed with boulders. A wise move is to slow ones-self down by reverse paddling in the current to allow you to select the best line through the rapid  & rocks below.

Helen & Ian made the bend, but then got stuck on a rock. Iain & James had to get out and throw the pair a throw-line which was attached to the front of their canoe. A good sharp tug from Iain had them off the rock without incident and they then  carried on to the get-out just below - seen here in photo seven with Devil's Bridge and the newer A65 bridge just beyond. Another day of experiences and learning, but no mishaps - that's the way we like it!

Our final photo from our second post about two days of Canadian Canoe River Journeying in The Lake District sees a very happy Helen, Ian & James now feeling much more confident about approaching river journeying for themselves. Iain has been informed though, that they will probably be back for more coaching; and with a second canoe to bring the rest of the family in. We can't wait!

Again, this family paid £175 for a full day of river journeying with us covering 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) over the course of an eight hour day - excellent value for money for what they did, but you can try Canadian Canoeing with us from as little as £45 per person for a four hour session!

Contact us here if you would like to try Canadian Canoeing. We look forward to working with you.

Canadian Canoeing River Journeying Skills Training Course in The Lake District. March 29th & 30th 2016.

Once again it's been a while since we've posted, Iain is not very good at doing a days work and then blogging about it straightaway that evening.

You could say that it's good news as if he is not blogging then he must be busy working!! Well, yes - let us say that since the Easter Weekend, he has been quite busy running some great sessions.

Photo one shows the mixed conditions we had over Easter and indeed since. This evening, in fact (April 9th) we've had rain & sleet/wet snow here in Kendal. Unbelievable!

Photo one shows the conditions on the Lake District Fells on March 29th. That is Helvellyn in the background - with a fresh coating of snow put down over the Easter weekend.

It was not too surprising therefore that the weather didn't bring tourists out in droves to try the many fantastic Outdoor activity packages that we offer. The truth was, it was just too cold!

Tuesday March 29th was looking like a better & drier day than the previous  few. Iain's concern was that rivers levels might have risen significantly - just in time for his River Journeying Skills Training Course with Helen & Ian who were accompanied once again, by son James.

You can read a post about the last time we worked with this family here. Having had an introductory Canoeing Session in The Lake District with Iain, the pair had gone on to buy their own Canadian Canoe and had spent the interim period mainly on the sea exploring south coast estuaries and west coast Scottish sea lochs. They returned to Iain to learn about river running and photo two sees us all on the River Eamont - about half a mile downstream from where it flows out of Ullswater. Once again, to his delight James found himself in the front of Iain's Novacraft Prospector.

For anyone wishing to learn the techniques of "River running", the Eamont is a good venue offering ten kilometres of water of no more than grade two in standard. It is a fairly fast flowing river quite hemmed in by its banks and it comes with four weirs to be negotiated.

The first is a rather nasty man made affair that should be portaged. The second, near to Dalemain house is little more than a rapid these days. The third, by Sockbridge Mill should again be portaged as there is a nasty weir made of boulders plus low trees overhanging the flow on river left and river right is a fast channel leading into more overhanging trees - "Strainers" as we call them for reasons that you might be able to appreciate!

Photo two sees Helen & Iain enjoying negotiating a shallow rapid near to Pooley Mill in their Old Town Penobscot Canoe made of the same composite material as Iain's Novacraft - Royalex, now out of production sadly - sadly as this material was one of the best ever products to be used for making lightweight Canadian Canoes!

Earlier, we mentioned portaging around weirs.What this basically means is getting your boat out of the river and carrying it past an obstacle perceived to be dangerous such as a weir, a serious rapid; or a waterfall.

If there is a likelihood of your boat capsizing with serious consequences for you should you end up in the water, then a portage should be undertaken.

Here in photo four, we were bypassing the Sockbridge Mill Weir and it was easy for Iain to drag his boat across the wet muddy grass of the field - easier than our carrying it anyway! James did his best to provide a helpful push!

Shortly after Sockbridge Mill Weir, we got off briefly at a place where  there was a nice low bank at a slower moving part of the river (photo five). By this time, we had been on the river for around three hours and had travelled about six out of the ten kilometres we had to go.

Today, Iain was acting as river guide leading Helen & Ian on the first moving water journey.  The aim of the day was to give Helen & Ian the skills to be able to go on their own river journeys with their young family. So far the day had gone very well without incident; and now the sun had come out to warm us all!

Photo six was taken about an hour later and about two & a half kilometres further down river.

In this photo James & Iain are sat in an eddy below Southwaite Green Mill Weir having just run the weir.

Iain & James had taken a line just left of river centre (that is to say taken when looking downstream) but of course we had gotten out to inspect the weir first. Iain  reckoned that the line (just right of Jame's head) would be possible without our hitting any rocks (always a hazard on a river) or getting caught in a stopper (a recirculating wave at the base of a drop).

The weir looked & sounded intimidating and it was, without doubt, the biggest challenge of the day. Helen was a little nervous about giving it a go. Moments after this photo was taken, Iain got out to go & give the pair some encouragement - they ran the weir with success - Bravo! A great achievement.

This left us with only about a kilmetres & a half to go to our get-out point at Eamont Bridge - now reopened after being damaged in last  December's floods caused by storm Desmond.

Photo seven sees us approaching Eamont Bridge where, on passing under the left hand arch, there is a convenient get-out and parking area for vehicles.

We arrived  here about 16:45 and after pulling the boats up the bank, Iain & Ian set off to retrieve the latter's Transporter van from our get-on point on Ullswater near Waterfoot Park. We returned to Eamont Bridge, loaded canoes and then departed aiming to meet at a pre-arranged place the next morning for the second day of river journeying - what excitement!

The family paid just £175:00 for their day out river journeying with Iain acting as a guide & coach. If you would like to get to try river running then book on to one of our all day Canadian Canoeing Sessions in The Lake District. We run these on Derwent-Water where  you'll learn the skills to propel a Canadian Canoe on flat water before undertaking and easy river journey on the middle Derwent- six kilometres of easy moving water. This day costs £160 or £80 per person with all technical equipment supplied as part of your fee. Contact us here to book your Canadian  Canoeing Session in The Lake District. We look forward to working with you!