Sunday 31 July 2016

Guided Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District. 14th July 2016.

A few weeks ago Iain was out with Matthew Dean and his girlfriend Katie. The pair were visiting the area for the week and it was also Katie's birthday. Katie enjoys climbing and the pair have already spent some time  climbing at their local indoor climbing wall, so Matt thought it would be a nice birthday treat for her to experience some real outdoor climbing on proper Lake District Rock.

Matt had contacted us some time previously to book a guided Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District. Iain arranged to meet the pair at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Langdale and guide them, first of all, on the classic Lake District Rock Climb - Middlefell Buttress (Diff).

Photo one sees Katie and Matt feeling somewhat elated - having put all of the difficult sections of Middlefell Buttress behind them.
As well as climbing, the pair also wanted to try a proper abseil too and a large Rowan tree at the top of Middlefell Buttress presents such an opportunity - being draped with a large loop of "Abseil Tat" (climbing rope left for the purpose of doing an abseil) and a Maillon (steel karabiner)  through which to attach your rope for abseiling.

We made our way over to this tree and with cowstails at the ready, attached ourselves to the abseil tat. Iain then threaded our climbing ropes through the maillon and then attached Matt & Katie to the ropes using our belay plates in a fashion known as a "stacked" abseil. This allowed him to leave the pair safely attached to the climbing ropes whilst he descended first.

Once Iain was down, Katie was given the call to follow; and once Katie was down, Matt followed her (photo  two). Getting off Middlefell Buttress this way allowed us to avoid the gully descent and get back to our bags quickly before we headed off to our next rock climb of the day.

Photo three sees Matt & Katie several hours later at the first stance on Route 1, Upper Scout Crag. We had moved to the National Trust Sticklebarn Car Park; and had lunch before taking the short walk up to this crag.

Upper Scout Crag is a great place for taking your first steps on to real Lake District Rock and a venue that we often use for teaching Rock Climbing Skills. It is also a great route for guiding on as well - being a relatively easy rock climb, but just like Middlefell Buttress, having the feel of a big mountain crag.

As you can see from the photos, we were lucky with the weather on this Guided Rock Climbing Day. It was exactly what we wanted, warm, dry & sunny with only a light breeze at the top of the crag and stunning views in all directions!

Our final photo from this post about a Guided Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District sees Matt  & Katie at the top of Upper Scout Crag looking very satisfied with what they had achieved - and not without good reason!

With Iain's guidance, they had climbed two of The Lake District's best easy multi-pitch rock climbs with a total of six pitches of rock climbing and a long abseil. Now, that's not bad going for your first day's introduction to multi-pitch  Rock Climbing in The Lake District!

The pair paid just £80 each for their Guided Multi-pitch Rock Climbing day with Iain who is an experienced & knowledgeable Mountaineering Instructor. Equipment provided as part of your fee per person including helmets, harnesses, ropes and rack. We can hire in climbing shoes for you at £10 per pair per day if you do not possess them.

If you fancy trying out multi-pitch Rock Climbing in The Lake District as the next progression from indoor climbing then contact us here. We look forward to working with you!

Saturday 30 July 2016

Guided Fell Walking in The Lake District. The Scafell Pike Circuit from Borrowdale. 29th July 2016.

Yesterday, Iain was out providing a guided walk for Donise Winter & her Daughter Leila who wanted to climb England's highest Mountain - Scafell Pike (3210 feet/978 metres). We think that the best way to do this mountain is from Seathwaite in Borrowdale and do a circuitous walk which takes in the summits to the north of Scafell Pike and also the famous Corridor  Route. All in all, distance is around 11 miles in total with 2782 feet of ascent from Seathwaite to Scafell Pike's summit.

Photo one shows the view in upper Borrowdale with the River Derwent in the foreground and Seathwaite Fell - England's wettest mountain, looming in the distance.

Photo two is taken from the bridge over Styhead Gill approximately two miles further on. Today was a completely different day from our last guided walk up here almost 3 weeks earlier when we were absolutely lashed by heavy rain for almost the entire day.  It is just as well as conditions were better for Donise & Leila's Scafell Pike ascent as otherwise we would have had to abandon the attempt - last time was no weather for a six year old, but as you can see from today's photos, the weather couldn't have been kinder to us!
After a break and "snack stop" next to picturesque Styhead Tarn, we continued up over the pass, down & across Spout Head and up to join the Corridor Route adjacent to Skew Gill.

Beyond this point, the route rises steeply for 3/4 of a mile and then levels off just before a buttress top is crossed. Then, just around the corner one finds ones-self looking into the pleasant hanging valley of Greta Gill (photo three). The Corridor Route rises gently across this valley and crosses the head of Piers Gill before rising to the col in the background (Lingmell Col). From here to the summit of Scafell Pike is no more than a half hour up a long boulder slope.

Scafell pike summit would be a nice place if it were not for the crowds that frequent the summit. Of course this is to be expected - after all it is the highest point in England!!

Unfortunately, there are always the ignorant few who have to leave their rubbish behind, so it is always a fairly messy place as well! We found one of the commonly sighted Banana peels lying around and no doubt there will be many of these plus Orange Peel too!  See this video in this Facebook post to dispel the "myth" that these fruit peels are quickly biodegraded in our climate. As lovers of our wild mountain environment, we would ask all hill-goers....please take all of your rubbish off the mountains folks - leave only footprints and absolutely nothing else- thank you!

As the weather continued to be good; and six year old Leila continued to be strong and as keen as ever, we we decided to continue on our circular route back to Seathwaite via Broad Crag & Ill Crag.

This meant heading north from Scafell Pike summit, dropping first into Broad Crag Col at the head of Little Narrowcove; and then reascending the boulder-slope to cross the shoulder connecting Broad Crag & Ill Crag.

Photo five sees Donise and daughter Leila on the shoulder of Ill Crag with nothing but descent now between here and Seathwaite; although a long descent it is!

Our final photo from this post about Guided Fell Walking in The Lake District sees Donise and Leila as we descended back to Stockley Bridge via Grains Gill in afternoon sunlight. It had been a great day, perhaps bordering on being a little too warm at times, but better this way than lashing rain and thick cloud.

We enjoyed stunning views throughout the day in all directions and Donise and Leila thoroughly enjoyed their guided walking day in The Lake District with us.

We hope that the pair have had as good a day out today with Hayley on Skiddaw. Again, it's been dry, if not a little cooler, but the views will again, have been good - which is what every fell walker wants!

Prices for our Guided Walking Days in The Lake District start at £75 per person for a minimum of two adults. Children can come along for free! Discounts are applied for larger group numbers so if you fancy getting to know some of The Lake District's mountain walks better then book Iain here. With over 45 years of walking in The Lake District Mountains, no-one knows them better; and you can be assured of a great day out. We look forward to working with you!

Thursday 28 July 2016

Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District. Wednesday 27th July 2016.

Yesterday, Iain spent the day with John Richardson, his son Oli and John's mate Dave at St Johns in The Vale at a new venue for one of our Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District.

We had been asked to work with these clients on behalf of Mark Eddy at Mountain Journeys and Mark had suggested the Rock Climbing venue- Church Crag situated on Low Rigg close to St John's Church.

This pleasant little single pitch Rock Climbing venue is split into two distinct buttresses with lots of bolts at the top - just ideal for setting up top ropes for a "top rope/bottom belaying session.
It is clear to Iain that the venue is used by a local outdoor centre for the purpose of providing outdoor Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions here right in the middle of The Lake District.
So what is a top rope/bottom belaying Rock Climbing Session? Well, it is one where a climbing rope is anchored at the top of a climb. This system is most commonly seen in indoor climbing walls - both ends of the rope hang down to the foot of the climbing wall or rock climb and the rock climber ties on to one end whilst the belayer clips the rope into their belay device on the other side.

The rock climber then climbs up the wall whilst the belayer "takes in" the climbing rope through their belay device on their side of the rope. The belayer must keep the rope tight between themselves and the rock climber in order to prevent a shock load should the climber fall.

Photo two sees John belaying his son whilst Dave provides encouragement and guidance for six year old Oli as he takes his very first steps on outdoor rock.

Photo three sees Oli toward the end of the family's Introductory Rock Climbing Session in The Lake District and at this point, he is on around climb number eight on the south buttress of Church Crag.

Johns primary aim on this Introductory  Rock Climbing Session in The Lake District to to give his six year old son confidence in climbing on rock  and during the day, we saw Oli's confidence grow in leaps and bounds.

By the time this photograph was taken, Oli's confidence was such that he was happy to stand on the rock face and give Iain the thumbs up.

It was great to that that one of our Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions in The Lake District could be used to improve a little six year old lad's confidence so much that he was now literally scampering up all over this rock face whereas a few hours earlier, he had been scared to go more than six feet off the floor!

As well as introducing Oli to outdoor rock climbing, both John & Dave wanted to get back into it as well. Both guys climbed some rock climbs on both parts of Church Crag before Iain spent some time coaching John in the art of "setting up" anchors for top rope belay systems - this involves being able to place appropriate and strong anchors in cracks in the rock face and being able to bring two anchors ( you must always use two anchors when setting up for any belaying system whilst climbing!) to a central attachment point for the climbing rope using either static (pre-stretched rope) or slings and karabiners.

In photo four John is having a go at setting up his own anchor system and he picked up the information well; although he has climbed in the past so, these systems were probably not completely new to him.

John paid just £160 for his full day of Introductory Rock Climbing in The Lake District for himself and Dave and Oli came along for free! All of our Introductory Rock Climbing Courses in The Lake District come with helmets, harnesses and walking boots if you need them as well as expert tuition by one of our qualified instructional team. Introductory Rock Climbing Sessions are great fun for the family and these sessions are also ideal as part of a team building Event for a Corporate Event.

Contact us here to book your Introductory Rock Climbing Session in The Lake District today!

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District. July 21st 2016. Church Beck, Coniston.

Last Wednesday afternoon, we were contacted by Martin Buckthorpe looking for a Canyoning Session in The Lake District at short notice. We couldn't help Martin on either Friday or Saturday - but would Thursday Morning do? It would!

Iain met Martin & his girlfriend Kirstin at Coniston at 09:00 on the Thursday Morning, we got kitted out in wetsuits, cagoules, buoyancy aids, helmets & harnesses before setting off up the track to Coppermines Valley and Church Beck.

Photo one sees the pair just after we had gotten all of our equipment on prior to setting off downstream. If you come on either a Ghyll Scrambling or Canyoning Session in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services - you can expect to receive all of this equipment as part of your fee. The same cannot be said of all our competitors often offering the same activity but for less money; and hence less personal protective equipment!

Straightaway on our Canyoning Descent of Church beck, we are in to our first waterfall lower.

This is a challenging introduction to anyone attending one of our Canyoning Descents. You are attached to a rope which is then paid out as you crawl/slide backwards towards a vertical drop. Of course the rope is kept tight to protect you and control your descent.

The vertical drop is not high - only around eight feet, but you descend amidst the waterfall; and land in a deep pool at it's foot. A thorough soaking is what you get - but it is exhilarating fun; and you'll be warm in that wet-suit once the initial soaking is over.

Martin's girlfriend certainly looks at though she is enjoying the first waterfall lower in photo one. Martin, who has already done the descent, looks on on the background.

Photo three was taken some time later. After the first waterfall lower, we did a short jump into a deep pool only a short distance beyond. After that, a short walk downstream with the water takes us to an area of greasy slabs best avoided on dry rock.

After passing under Miner's Bridge, we do the higher & longer Miners Bridge waterfall lower. Below here, the gorge narrows & deepens as one arrives at "The Top Jumps". Here are three waterfalls and three deep pools. The first waterfall is a 12 foot drop into a narrow slot which is risky - so we reduce the risk by traversing out to a wider section and our clients approach us; roped to protect them; and after a 6 feet lower they are able to jump into a wider section of the pool below the slot.

The middle waterfall, we generally climb down as again, the jump is risky. The final waterfall - seen in photo and known as "the chock-stone slide is just that, a slide down the stone into the pool below. Very exhilarating - yet perfectly safe!

The final part of our Canyoning Descent of Church beck is actually a Ghyll Scrambling ascent. Ghyll Scrambling refers to the sport of going upstream, swimming through pools, climbing up waterfalls. There is a waterfall just upstream from the point where Church Beck becomes private property (unless you want to pay £6 per person to go there!) which can be climbed - roped. To do this gives people the challenging option of climbing up through a waterfall.

We can also finish off your Church Beck Canyoning Session with one last thing and that is a high jump, made from the side of the ravine into the middle pool in the section of the the top jumps.

This 20 foot high jump is challenging and exhilarating; and also allows you to do the chock-stone slide one last time.

Martin & Kirsten paid just £45 each for their half day(four hour) Canyoning Session in The Lake District with Iain. If you think this is expensive, it's not! One instructor to two of you and with all of the equipment provided - and for up to four hours too! We do give discounts for bigger groups and children, so if you are looking for something that is wet, fun, exhilarating & challenging to do over the Summer Holidays - then this is the activity for you!

Contact us here to book your own Canyoning Session in The Lake District. We look forward to working with you!

Looking or the ultimate challenge in wet fun in The Lake District? Then book an Esk Gorge Day with us! Prices start at just £75 per person!

Guided Walking Days in The Lake District. The Ullswater Valley. July 22nd 2016.

Last Thursday, Iain had the pleasure of providing a Guided Walking Day in The Lake to some visitors from the United States of America - New York to be precise!

We were asked by one of our associates - Mark Eddy at Mountain Journeys to run this guided walk on his behalf and collected his clients Dana & her two daughters - Eve & Penelope from The Holbeck Ghyll Hotel before travelling on to the Ullswater Valley.

Several hours later, we arrived at this place - The Lowther Tea Room on the footpath from Howtown to Patterdale on Ullswater's south shore (photo one).

And how did we get here? Well, the walk that had been suggested for Dana & her two daughters was to follow the lake-shore path from Howtown to Patterdale after getting one of the Ullswater Steamers from Glenridding to Howtown.

This walk is one of the most beautiful in The Lake District and one of the most popular options for visitors to the Ullswater Valley. However, there has not been a cafe en route for many years until now; and the Lowther Tea Room is a delightful little cafe situated half a mile west of Sandwick - well done whoever thought of this!

After coffee & cake at approximately the half way point of our south shore walk along Ullswater, we continued walking on our way west.

We passed the small waterfall of Salehow Force (reputed to have been "manufactured" by diverting the beck over a small cliff for the benefit of people looking west from the nearby Ullswater Outward Bound School many years ago) before reaching this pretty view (photo three) looking east along Ullswater. Having been "away" from the lake since Sandwick, we would now be following the lake shore under Birk Fell for the next few miles.

Not far beyond the point from which the last photo was taken, we snapped this pretty view looking west along Ullswater from a rocky bluff.

Beyond the family can be seen the hills between Glenridding and Glencoynedale and also those towards Helvellyn - at 3'118 feet, the highest mountain in the eastern Lake District and the 4th highest mountain in England.

Iain knows this area well, having been brought up in and around the Ullswater Valley - you will do well to find a more knowledgeable walking guide and Mountain Leader anywhere in the Lake District!

Our final photo from this post about Guided Walking in The Lake District sees Dana at our high point of the day - the col between Birk Fell & Silver How.

We had, by this point, travelled some six miles out of this seven mile walk and had reached the point where we could either walk around Silver How or go over the col between it and Birk Fell.

Iain had suggested that the views from the col down the Patterdale Valley would be worth the effort of walking up to here and the family had readily agreed.

Another two miles of walking around the head of the Lake to Glenridding would see us enjoy a late lunch at the Helvellyn Country Kitchen before Iain returned Dana, Eve & Penelope back to the Holbeck Ghyll, just in time for their Spa & beauty treatments.

This was a great Guided Walking Day in The Lake District for this family from "The States" and we can provide you with the same great experience. Whether it be an easy lowland walk in Beautiful Lakeland  or a guided ascent of England's highest mountain - Scafell Pike, we can arrange this for you. Transport by vehicle can also be included - contact us for details, we look forward to working with you!

Stag Events in The Lake District. Saturday July 23rd, 2016. Stickle Ghyll & Coniston Water.

Last Saturday, we were out in The Lake District providing a Stag Day for Tom Evans & his mates.

Many Stag groups these days are looking for a Stag Event with a difference and Stag Events involving outdoor activities have become increasingly popular in the UK.

Groups can browse our comprehensive list of outdoor activity sessions in The Lake District. This group chose Ghyll Scrambling and Raft Building as the two activities for their Stag Event
So what is Ghyll Scrambling? Well, it is definitely one of our most popular Summer Outdoor Activities. It involves getting clad in a wet-suit and cagoule, you are also provided with walking boots to give you good grip in the bed of the stream, a helmet to protect your head and a harness to allow you to be roped up those tricky & slippery sections where a slip could turn into something more serious.

Photos one & two see Tom & his mates enjoying  the fun that Ghyll Scrambling has to offer - immersion in a mountain stream (a Ghyll), walking upstream - wading & swimming through pools and climbing up waterfalls.

This particular Stag Group were very able and took to Ghyll Scrambling well. We used Stickle Ghyll in Langdale as the venue and made rapid progress upstream climbing up waterfalls and swimming through as well as jumping into pools.

We finished off with a final "new" waterfall that Iain hasn't climbed before where everyone had to get right into the flow and climb up (photo three). This was challenging and exhilarating, but made safe by use of a tight rope. Everyone definitely got a face-full  of Stickle Ghyll here!

Our Ghyll Scrambling Sessions start at £45 per person for a half day (four hour) session, but the larger your group, the less you'll pay per head. These sessions are great fun for a Stag or Hen Event, but just as much fun with the family and we do provide addition discounts for family groups as we know how  expensive an activity session become when you have the whole family to pay for! Contact us at the foot of this post to get a quote for one of our Fantastic Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District.

After the Stag Group's  Ghyll Scrambling Session, we travelled to Coniston for lunch before beginning the group's second Stag Activity - Raft Building.

As there were only six persons, this was not quite enough to justify two rafts, so we brought along six wooden spars, four barrels and enough lashings (lengths of rope) to allow the guys to build one raft - significantly large enough to fit everyone one though.

We allowed the group to design their own raft (photo four) on the east shore of Coniston water where there is free parking and plenty of beach space to build a raft on.

Eventually, the group came up with a design and started to build their raft. We decided to stand back  and see what the group came up with and how well they built it.

The penalty for a poor raft design is usually a ducking when the raft falls apart, but this is safe and all part of the fun when everyone falls in! Iain's biggest concern about this Stag Group's design was that they chose to group all of the barrels together in the centre of the raft - when the length of the spars would have allowed them to put a barrel at "either corner" making it much more stable. However, as can be seen in photo five, the guys were not only able to get on their raft , but they also managed to keep it upright and paddle it too!Good effort!

Our final photo from this post about a Stag Event in The Lake District sees Tom's team back on dry land, with their raft - still intact!

They had enjoyed designing and building the raft and then of course, they had all shared in the success of paddling it a short distance around Coniston Water. It wasn't the most manoeuvrable craft and worked better this way up (initially it had been paddled with the framework at the bottom).

All that remained now was for the raft to be stripped down & packed away!

Tom Evan's Stag Group enjoyed a very satisfying Stag Event with us in The Lake District and you can too. This group paid only £70 per person for a full day of exhilarating fun with all of the equipment needed for each activity provide by us. Contact us here to book your Stag or Hen Event in The Lake District and be assured that you'll receive a fun and value for money day out that you will never forget! We look forward to working with you!

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. July 18th & 19th 2016.

Yesterday & Monday, Iain was out in the Lake District fells with Nicola & Richard Penfold who had travelled up to the area for a weeks walking holiday from London.

The couple's friends Rob & Evita Evans also from London, had booked a two day bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District  for them as a wedding present. Rob & Evita attended one of our bespoke Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District in May 2012 and had also recently paid for a one day course for their daughter Mieke and son in law Adam.

Clearly, we are perceived to be doing something right with our Lake District based Navigation Skills Training Courses and we would like to extend a big thank you! to Rob & Evita for all of the business you have put our way!
Anyway, we started day one as usual with Nicola & Richard (photo one) by walking up Hall Lane near Staveley beginning with basic skills such as map orientation, measuring distance on the map and pacing it on the ground.

We used these skills to locate tick off features along our route and the pair became quite adept at reading the map and identifying features on the ground as well as accurately finding them- exactly what we wanted to achieve today!

As usual on these courses, we supplied the maps - 1:50 and 1:25'000 scales in handy A4 Laminated versions. The compass also featured in photo two is the one we recommend for these courses - the Silva Type 4 Expedition - ideal for our courses, but you'd be surprised at how many people choose to ignore our advice!

After lunch on day one, Iain gave Nicola & Richard the skills to find and give grid references  to be able to determine locations on the map; and with an eight figure grid reference we were able to get our accuracy down to the nearest ten metres. We followed this by learning how to use the compass to take a bearing between grid references and then using it to walk on a bearing. We would spend the rest of the afternoon of day one walking between grid references - using the compass, before finishing off talking about Naismith's Rule and calculating timings between grid references as well - all good navigation skills!

On day two, we travelled further up the Kentmere Valley with the intention being to further put into practice the skills learnt on day one  and learn some new ones too!

We started off by identifying unknown features from a known location using the compass before setting off on a fairly long walk up the upper Kentmere Valley to find the sheepfold in photo three.

Nicola & Richard were most enthusiastic about pacing and identifying tick off features along the way and  were able to accurately identify exactly where they were on our walk at any time; and they also found the sheepfold no problem.

Once on the "open fell" things became  a little harder to find and this really relied on the pairs ability to accurately pace and walk on a bearing as well as "time" using Naismith's Rule.

We visited some harder to find locations such as a bridleway/stream junction and a stream junction in the middle of nowhere - all of which the couple managed to find.  By this time it was mid afternoon and getting very hot, so we returned via the Kentmere Reservoir (photo four) and Kentmere Valley to the vehicle before going off to the Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley for a well earned beer with Nicola and Richard very pleased with what they had learnt over the two days.

Rob & Evita Evans paid £160 per day for Nicola & Richard's "one on two" Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Weekend. This may sound like a lot but obviously the benefits of a couple of people working with an instructor were perceived to outweigh the cost - which they most definitely do!

The other benefit of a bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District is that you can book one at any time you fancy. For those people who think £160 per day sounds too much then consider our Navigation Skills Training Weekends priced at £80 per person for the two day course - but expect to be part of a much larger group.

To book your bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course or Navigation Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District - contact us here. We look forward to working with you!

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Learning to Lead Rock Climbing Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. July 5th & 6th 2016.

Last Tuesday & Wednesday, Iain was out on Lake District Rock with Stuart Freeman & his partner Dee. The couple were in the area on a holiday from the South East and had booked two days of "Trad" Rock Climbing Skills Training with us as part of their stay.

Fortunately, despite having been rather unsettled of late, the Lake District weather smiled on us all providing  two largely fine, dry days - just what you need when rock climbing!

We started Stuart & Dee's Rock Climbing Skills Training Course at Upper Scout Crag in Langdale where "Route One" proved to be a good choice of climbing terrain with three fine pitches of V-Diff with good stances and good anchor placements.

In photo one, Dee Joins Stuart at the first stance of the route after he had led the first pitch placing good running belays along the way and employing correct techniques throughout at the first stance. Good stuff!

Stuart & Dee climbed fast and with competence - so much so in fact that  the usual plan of climbing all of Route One & half of Route Two before executing an abseil retreat would have seen us finish dayone several hours early. So, instead, we continued all the way up to the top of Route Two before finishing.

Photo two sees Stuart just coming over "the crux" (the hardest part) of Route Two which is a polished an awkward move into the base of a chimney. Dee looks on  from the Oak Tree which forms the stance and the place of our usual "abseil retreat" from this rock climb.

Stuart is lead climbing, but at the place where he is now, a lead fall would have serious consequences if it were not for the fact that he has just clipped in to a running belay pre-placed  by Iain. Iain had protected Stuart up to that point by means of a long sling attached between himself and Stuart's harness. Learning the skills and getting on with rock climbing are all important parts of a Mountaineering Instructor's remit - however, the student's safety has to be our top priority at all times!

Day two would see us a little further up Langdale; and climbing  the easy multi-pitch classic rock climb of Middlefell Buttress (Diff). This great route has the feel of a big  mountain route, again, with great protection and up to six pitches to be done - depending on how you want to climb it.

The base of the route has three possible variants; and as the pair had climbed so well the previous day, Iain chose the severe chimney crack as their start with Stu leading - again protected by Iain en route. Above here, the route is easier & less sustained, so Dee led up two pitches and then Stuart finished off up the final super easy pitch to the top (photo three)

The weather was now looking like it was going to break with clouds lowering over Crinkle Crags and light showers breaking out all around us. It was decided to finish early after an abseil retreat from the Rowan tree into the gully forming the western boundary of the buttress just opposite the top of the climb.

Firstly, we untied from the rope and then Iain threaded it through the anchor (a Maillon attached to a rope sling) to the rope's mid point before dropping either side down the crag. Then we each attached a cowstail to our harnesses with a larksfoot and an overhand knot mid sling before attaching a karabiner to the end of the sling, clipping to the anchor and then suspending ourselves from that.  Below the overhand knot - mid sling, we attached our belay devices and then attached the belay devices to the rope allowing us to safely set up for a "stacked abseil" whilst still being attached to the anchor.

Once we were all attached by our belay plates to both sides of the climbing rope, we then disconnected our cowstails from the anchor and then abseiled in order of attachment (photo four) to the base of the chimney and then scrambled back to the rucksacks for some well earned lunch before departing the crag.

Stuart & Dee learnt a lot on their two day Learning to Lead Trad Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and paid just £80 each per day for their course (less for day two as we finished early!).The fee includes the provision of helmets, harnesses, ropes and climbing rack as well as tuition  from an experienced Mountaineering Instructor.

Contact us here to book your Learning To lead Rock Climbing or Guided Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District with Iain who looks forward to working with you.

Corporate Events in The Lake District with Kendal Mountaineering Services. Seco Tools. July 7th & 8th 2016.

During last Thursday & Friday, we ran another Corporate Team Building Event for Seco Tools based in Alcester, Warwickshire.

This company came to us three years ago looking for a Team Building Event and following the success of that decided to return again.  There has recently been a restructuring of the sales team within the business and a number of new employees have been engaged. It was felt that another Corporate Team Building event with us would help to "bond" the new sales team with the ultimate aim of improving efficiency and sales.

As with the last Corporate Event we ran for Seco Tools, we started off with a competitive Team Task - Product Assembly in which the group is split four ways, given a brief and then asked to build a structure, correctly, in as short a time a possible.

In order to do this, the groups each had to devise a plan based around the brief and its constraints, discuss ideas, trial them an implement the solution.  The task ended with two "timed" assemblies against the other sub-groups. The winning team got from stacked components to assembled product in 17 seconds!

The second phase of the first afternoon was to go Canyoning in nearby Church Beck. Canyoning, for this group was intended to involve an element of challenge. For many of the sales personnel here the idea of climbing across exposed ground, jumping from height into pools of water or climbing up waterfalls whilst getting a face-full and being thoroughly soaked was something that none of them would normally entertain.

However, the group did all of these things; and with enthusiasm too as well as support & encouragement for each other. Above all, they had great fun that will be remembered - just as this activity was by those who had attended three years ago!

Having completed the afternoon's tasks, our next job was to get the group into their overnight accommodation.

As with the previous Corporate Team Building Event we ran for Seco Tools, the company had asked for something "rustic" and basic accommodation-wise. As it happened, the same climbing club hut that we used last time was available again and the company was happy to return there.

We had been asked to provide the group with ingredients to make their own evening meal  of Chilli Con Carne, however, whilst we had been Canyoning one of out staff team had prepared this for them. Photo three sees the group in the hut kitchen getting stuck into the hors d' oeuvres and beer prior to settling down to supper and a good evening in together in the remote location that the hut provided.

The next morning, we arrived early to prepare a good breakfast for the group. Cereals, tea coffee, toast & jam were followed by a "full English  Breakfast" of bacon eggs, sausage, baked beans and scrambled egg.

The group were up when we arrived, having enjoyed the evening in each others company and we had a considerable amount of help from them with preparing breakfast and then doing the dishes and cleaning the hut from top to bottom afterwards. Good stuff!

At Kendal Mountaineering Services, we offer a great deal more than the name suggests and for the Seco Tools Team-building Event, we arranged & staffed appropriate activities & tasks, arranged the accommodation and food; and provided transport for the group's baggage from the car park to the hut and back.

Our company slogan is "Giving you what you want"and this approach is applied to any aspect of our product whether it be a corporate course, Stag or Hen event, Skills Training Course or Outdoor Activity Session. Let us know what your requirements are and we will design a course or event to suit your needs!

And to finish off on Friday morning, we had decided to offer something completely different to the last group's Canadian Canoeing Session on Windermere but instead, give the group another task which again required teamwork, communication & planning - Strategy Orienteering.

Strategy Orienteering involved dividing into sub-groups again with each group being required to locate 35 different orienteering markers all located within 1 kilometre of Tranearth, with each marker being worth points.

The idea was to find all 35 markers during three separate collection phases and gain all of the points. However, there were penalties if a marker was not collected and if the group didn't arrive back before the end of each collection phase.  Again, a brief was provided and the group had to plan who was going where to collect which markers during each phase.

This was physically demanding work for each group but the planning done by each team worked well. All three subgroups gained high scores and few penalties; and it proved to be another useful exercise in getting all team members working together.

By the time we finished this task it was almost mid-day and the group needed to be gone as some were driving as far as the south coast to get back home that evening.The feedback we have had so far is that the sales-force and sales managers were very pleased with what we provided and that we can expect to see another group from Seco Tools in the Autumn - we look forward to that.

If you would like a corporate Team Building Event organising in The Lake District utilising all that the area has to offer then  we would be very pleased to design a package for you, so please contact us to discuss your requirements. We look forward to working with you!

Guided Walking Days in The Lake District. Scafell pike via the Corridor Route. July 9th 2016.

Last Saturday, Iain was working for Ambleside Adventures providing a Guided Fell Walking Day in The Lake District for Jon Sanderson, his son Alfie and friend Andy who had driven up from South Lincolnshire for the weekend.

The forecast for the day was poor, low cloud, heavy rain and winds gusting up to 40 mph on the summits, however, a walk is a walk and  provided one has good waterproofs - you can still go out!

Photo one sees the three at the confluence of  Ruddy Gill and Styhead Gill in upper Borrowdale. Seathwaite Fell (in the background- left) is reputed to be the wettest place in England! Today, it certainly felt like it!
Several hours later, we found ourselves at the scene in photo two where the footpath up to the col at the head of Piers Gill branches off from the main "Corridor Route" footpath.

The Corridor  Route is one of the nicest ways up Scafell Pike from Styhead Pass (a little over an hours walk from Seathwaite in Borrowdale) and follows a gradually rising line from there to the summit.  Today, we saw little, but certainly all of the streams in spate were very impressive.

However, when we got to  the point where photo two was taken it really looked as though the weather might clear up. The clouds lifted and we got a clear view to the summit of Great End. However, this was only a brief interlude before the cloud closed in and the rain started again!

Photo three was taken by some kind chap at the summit of Scafell Pike at around 1pm (we had left Seathwaite at 09:40) and shows us all fairly drenched. Given the conditions, it was really surprising how many people were around, but there was some corporate orienteering event going on involving a lot of young people  from BMW. We can only hope that they all got off the mountain safely.

On our Guided Scafell Pike days, we will ideally do a circular route and today, Iain would have like to return to Borrowdale via the summits to the north of Scafell  - Broad Crag, Ill Crag & Great End  before dropping back to Seathwaite by way of Esk Hause & Ruddy Gill. However, with the wind picking up and conditions already poor, Iain decided that the most prudent plan was to return via our relatively sheltered ascent route.

Our final photo from this post about Guided  Fell Walking in The Lake District sees Jon, Alfie & Andy about ten minutes from Seathwaite walking alongside a considerably swollen Rover Derwent.

After we left Scafell Pike Summit, the weather worsened considerably, yet we still met people walking towards us, many ill-equipped for the conditions, all intent on reaching the summit and many clearly did not know exactly where they were as Iain was asked this question on a a number of occasions. This is typical, but really very poor!

If you are going to go hill walking in the UK's  mountains, then you should know how to read a map and use a compass. You should also be able to read and interpret a weather forecast and know when to "turn back". You should also be aware of what to take with you when going out in conditions which, in the mountains, can become very hostile in a very short space of time. We can advise you on all aspects of Hill Walking & Mountaineering in the UK and provide courses in Map Reading & Navigation Skills.

Or- you can hire the services of  an experienced Mountaineering Instructor to guide you & keep you safe in the hills. Iain has been walking the mountains of the Lake District for 47 years and knows all the routes, no matter what the weather!

Contact us here to book your guided  Lake District Fell Walk or Navigation Skills Training Course. We look forward to working with you!