Saturday 20 August 2016

Kayaking Journeys in The Lake District. Derwentwater & the Middle Derwent. Friday 19th August 2016.

Yesterday, Iain was back out with Steven, Guy, Nathan & Sam for a completely different adventure on water - rather than in it if possible!

The weather was also different, cooler, cloudy and wet as a forecasted low pressure system moved in off the Atlantic - this was why we had chosen to go to The Esk Gorge the previous day; and a good plan that had been too!

At part of their two days out with Iain, Steven had wanted the lads to experience Kayaking - preferably on moving water. Firstly, Iain needed them to learn some basic flat water Skills. Where better a place to do both? Derwentwater of course!

We got to Kettlewell Car Park on Derwentwater at about 09:15 and after getting everyone kitted out and all of the equipment ready, Iain's car was moved to a layby near Mirehouse just opposite the land leading up from our "get-out" point on the River Derwent at Low Stock Bridge. Steven then drove Iain back to Kettlewell so we could start the session from there.

We then spent the first half of our day learning skills on Derwentwater (photo two) and lunching on St Herbert's Island before entering the River Derwent to start our "moving water phase" of the day's adventure. Our journey north up Derwentwater had been marked by an increasing south westerly wind which certainly made this first part of the day feel like another "true adventure".

Once on the River Derwent, the "adventure dynamics" changed. Now the group were on a moving river where they didn't know what was around the next bend.

We spent a fair bit of time at the outset talking about back paddling to slow ourselves down in the current, reverse ferry gliding to get ourselves in position on the flow and we evening got out on occasion to view rapids and discuss the best line of descent through these. Exciting - yet technical stuff!

Photo three sees the lads watching Uncle Steven as he attempts to follow their line down the easy rapid in to the eddy in which we were all "parked" waiting. Of course - he made it ok!

Photo four was taken several hours later and some four miles downstream and sees the lads draining out their kayaks after we had exited the river at the get-out point at Low Stock Bridge.

We had negotiated our way through countless easy rapids, taking the safest line each time, we had played (surfed) on a standing wave on the man made weir just downstream from Portinscale footbridge and everyone (except Sam - holding his kayak upright in this photo) had taken at least one swim; and survived! All had learnt new skills in an entirely "new" environment.

All part of a good fun introductory session on moving water we'd say!

This was the second of two exceptionally good "adventure days" for the lads, two different days with different challenges to overcome and new skills to be learnt. Again, we charged Steven just £50 per person for this full day of introductions to flat & moving water kayaking and the lads thoroughly enjoyed themselves. All of the equipment you see the group using in photo four was supplied as part of that fee per person.

If you would like a half or full day of Kayaking on flat or moving water, then contact us to discuss your requirements and we will be happy to arrange a session to suit your needs. You won't be disappointed!

Back in The Esk Gorge! Thursday 18th August 2016.

As the post title says - back in The Esk Gorge again, twice in the same week. Believe us - we are not complaining at all - as this IS one of the best day excursions we run at Kendal Mountaineering Services. There are two important factors that must be taken into consideration as this is a serious trip. Firstly, the weather should be settled and warm (or hot!) and the River Esk should be at a low "Summer level".

We had both of these factors in place for Thursday when we walked in with (left to right) Guy, Steven, Sam & Nathan (photo one)

The Esk Gorge involves a 3 km/1 hour walk in and back out. Thursday was hot & sunny and Iain had three 15 - 16 year old cousins and their Uncle (Steven - a returning client) who were looking for two days of adventure. Iain had worked with Steven, Nathan & Sam about four years previously when Steven brought them for a half day Ghyll Scrambling Session in Church Beck at Coniston and Iain felt that the Esk Gorge would be a fitting progression for these strong young lads.

Today, we got into the River Esk downstream of our usual get in point opposite the sheepfold and Iain realised he had been "missing a trick". At the very start of The Esk Gorge there is a really big, deep pool with two jumps in - from opposite sides and then a short section of gorge to follow with a waterfall climb too! This bottom section (photo two) gives really good "value for money" in terms of challenge & adventure, so, we'll be starting here in the future!

Photo three was taken at "pool jumping venue # 4" which is a good half mile upstream from the very start of the gorge. By this time, the lads had already enjoyed three jumps - the highest of which must have been about 8 metres or so.

Here, the jumps (one on either side of the waterfall) are no more than 4 metres high but are enjoyable all the same. Of course, the lads did them both before climbing up the waterfall and moving on upstream - good stuff!
About half way up the Esk Gorge one arrives at the highest waterfall in the whole gorge, which surprisingly, only has a very shallow pool at it's foot - not a place for jumping then! Also the fall is steep and cannot be climbed - due in part to the sheer volume of water that cascades down it, so here, we exit on to the right bank (looking upstream) and climb steep clean rock to bypass the fall (photo four).

Immediately above is another waterfall with a deep pool at it's base - pool jumping venue # 6!

We started today's Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Session about 11:30 am having arrived at about 11, then lunching before getting changed into wet-suits et cetera.

We did start the session by getting immersed in the pool immediately opposite the sheepfold to get "conditioned" before heading downstream to the really big pool. Getting from there back to our initial "get in point" took over half an hour!

By the time we had gotten out of the gorge (photo five) we had been in it for over four hours and had gotten roughly 2/3rds of the way up the gorge before it was decided by Steven to call "time" on the session. Water levels had been lower than three days earlier allowing Iain & the group to do more; and spend more time in the water. Consequently, the lads were now getting tired and a little chilly, so, it was a good point at which to finish. All four had had a fantastic time!

We were back at the rucksacks at about 3:45pm and it was good to get changed into dry clothes and enjoy the rest of our lunch and a flask of Iain's legendary Hot Chocolate.

We sat & took in the scenery for a while before packing up and heading back to the cars 3 km away at the foot of Hardknott Pass.

Today, was another perfect Esk Gorge Day with a bunch of fun loving young people who thoroughly enjoyed themselves here. Steven paid just £50 per person for this full day Ghyll Scrambling Session in Eskdale which was a 33% discount on our usual price of £75 each - this was applied as Steven was paying for the whole lot and had booked two consecutive days of activities with us!

The Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Trip is one of the best guided adventures you can have in The Lake District - book it with us to have a thoroughly fantastic experience you will never forget! We look forward to working with you!

Half Day Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District. Stickle Ghyll, Tuesday 16th August 2016.

Another Ghyll Scrambling post; on yet another lovely sunny day!

The day after we had been out with Nick Sutcliffe & his daughter Freya in The Esk Gorge, were were back at Stickle Ghyll in Langdale with - Nick Sutcliffe and his other daughter Eleanor.

Now, adventurous Outdoor Activity Sessions were admittedly, not Eleanor's "thing" whereas very much the opposite is the case for both Dad - Nick & sister - Freya. However, as the whole family had come to The Lake District for a Summer Holiday on this occasion, Eleanor was persuaded by Nick to give Ghyll Scrambling a try.

Photo one sees Eleanor & Nick at the first deep pool in Stickle Ghyll getting nicely "hydrated". Today, Iain saw a Brown Trout in here - a rare sight indeed in any Ghyll Scrambling venue!
Photo two sees Eleanor achieving success on the first waterfall climb in Stickle Ghyll. Whilst only ten feet high, the rock is steep and slippery due to the water crashing down it and Eleanor found it very challenging due to the fact that initially, she struggled to find feet & handholds through the falling water; and actually felt quite scared.

However, with Iain's competent belaying (safeguarding Eleanor from falling through use of a tight climbing rope) and encouragement from a very competent Dad, Eleanor was looking a lot happier by the time she had climbed up to the top of the waterfall to the point where we got a smile and a thumbs up - excellent!

This was another one of those experiences where we helped someone's confidence grow and saw an improvement in their ability as the session progressed. This often happens during our Outdoor Activity Sessions in The Lake District - proving that there is more to our sessions than just having fun - but having fun is VERY important!

Photo three sees father & daughter enjoying one of Stickle Ghyll's deeper pools.

The venue has plenty of variation throughout it's length, deep pools to swim in, waterfalls to climb, a pool that is actually deep enough to jump into safely; and loads of interesting wet scrambling along it's lower section between the "get in" just uphill from the National Trust Car Park - all the way to the footbridge.

The upper section is steeper, with a couple of waterfalls that can be climbed - roped and some more deep pools. This section is altogether more challenging than the lower section of Stickle Ghyll, but does allow for a great progression from easier to harder Ghyll Scrambling - which is just what is needed as confidence grows in ones ability to progress and climb.
The final photo from this post about a half day Ghyll Scrambling Session on The Lake District is just great!

It shows a now, confident Eleanor as she approaches Iain at the top of the highest waterfall climb in Stickle Ghyll.

This waterfall is about 25 feet high and the rock is slippery; and then of course there is all of that water falling down on you too whilst you try to work out the route upwards! Eleanor climbed waterfall this no problem and thoroughly enjoyed her Ghyll Scrambling Experience with Iain & her Dad.

When asked if she would come back and have a go at The Esk Gorge by Nick, her response was "Err - maybe!" Well, hopefully, we'll see Eleanor & her Dad again next year!

Nick paid just £45 each for this half Day Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District for himself & Eleanor and this fee includes all of the specialist equipment you see the pair wearing. walking boots, a good wet-suit, & cagoule are essential for you to enjoy a comfortable Ghyll Scrambling Session whilst being continually soaked - so don't settle for anything less from one of our competitors!

Contact us here to book your Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District with us - this is one of the most fun family outings you can enjoy whilst on holiday here in The Lake District. We can guarantee - you won't be disappointed!

The Esk Gorge, The Lake District's most challenging Ghyll Scrambling Venue. Monday 15th August 2016.

Last Monday, Iain was back in action after a well earned weekend off with friends on The North York Moors. The day found him heading for The Esk Gorge with returning client Nick Sutcliffe & his daughter Freya. Nick & Freya came to us for three days of fantastic Outdoor Adventures for the first time in 2014 and again last year when we had some big days out. They were looking for something equally as big this time; and Iain thought The Esk Gorge would fit the bill perfectly!

Photo one sees Freya & Nick getting nicely hydrated at the start of the session before we headed up the waterfall behind and on into the gorge.

The Esk Gorge is the best Ghyll Scrambling Session The Lake District has to offer.The gorge is about 3km long and the River Esk drops in the region of 200 m on it's descent from Upper Eskdale into the lower valley, so, as you can imagine - there are a lot of waterfalls en route, some climbable, some not and some very deep pools with high rock walls allowing some big jumps to be made - in complete safety, into those pools - some 12 jumps in total up to 9 m in height! See a complete album of photos from a previous Esk Gorge Adventure here.

Photo two sees Nick, caught in mid air on a "burst shot" exposure and he sails through the air to land in the deep pool below at "jumping venue # 3" on our journey upstream.

Photo three was taken some time later at about the half way point on our Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Session. This is the highest waterfall in the gorge although strangely, the pool at it's foot is very shallow indeed! Nick & Freya had just waded upstream in the left of the photo to the left hand fall and then continued under the main fall to emerge where they were stood.

We then climbed on dry rock up the wall to the right in this photo; and immediately above, there is another waterfall with another deep pool at it's base and this is "jumping venue # 5".

Last week was glorious weather (up until the Friday anyway!) and on Nick & Freya's visit to the Esk Gorge, the weather was in the low 20's (centigrade).

This meant that whenever we got out of the water, we were immediately warmed by the sun and all of the dry rock felt hot to the touch - not too hot, but just right. It was just what we needed today!

Photo four was taken at about 3:45 pm as we started our descent back to our hidden rucksacks at the gorge foot (we had started our ascent of the gorge at about 11:30 am!). In the distance, above Upper Eskdale, can be seen Scafell Pike (3210 feet) - England's highest mountain and we had just scrambled up the final section of gorge to be seen just below Freya & Nick.

The pair were lucky enough to enjoy the "complete" Esk Gorge experience from bottom to top and had attempted every challenging jump and waterfall climb along the way. We were very lucky to be blessed with such a warm day and it was great to get back to the rucksacks, get changed into dry clothes and then bask in the warmth for a while before we had to start the 3km walk back to Iain's car at the foot of Hardknott Pass.

The Esk Gorge is a brilliant day out and feels like a real expedition in to the mountains where challenge awaits with some of the biggest pool jumps to be found anywhere. We do recommend coming on one of our half day Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District before attempting this - but if you are made of stern stuff - then why not go & do it rightway!

Nick paid just £80 each for himself & Freya to enjoy this adventure with Iain - one of The Lake District's most experienced Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Guides. Contact Iain here to book your own Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Day, you won't be disappointed!

Half Day Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District. Thursday 11th August, 2016.

A week has passed already since we last posted about our work in the Lake District where we have been continuing to provide groups and families with some fantastic adventures. As the weather has been warm, most of our recent work has seen us getting wet providing one Ghyll Scrambling Session after another - but we don't mind cos Ghyll Scrambling is great fun!

Photo one from this post about one of our Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District sees (left to right) Ambu, Akhil, Ragi & Hari who were on a visit to The Lake District and wanted to try out this fantastic sport!

The family didn't have transport whilst staying in the area, but we helped them out by picking them up from Brockhole and then dropping them back to Ambleside YHA at the end of their session.

Once at the National Trust car park at Langdale, Iain kitted everyone out in wetsuits, walking boots, cagoules, helmets & harnesses to keep them warm and comfortable for the fun that was going to be had. After all, they would all be soaking wet for the most part of it!

Photo two sees Ambu as Iain ropes him up the first waterfall in Stickle Ghyll. The whole family came this way and really enjoyed it!

Photo three sees Ambu at the top of the jump into the plunge pool in the lower section of Stickle Ghyll some time later.

All of the rest of the family had already done the jump - only a matter of six feet or so into the pool but that's quite a big jump for a nine year old lad who wasn't quite five feet tall.

It took Ambu a few moments to "go for it" despite a great deal of encouragement from his family and mother who is waiting with outstretched arms below, but in the end the little fella plucked up the courage and absolutely loved it!

We often find on our Outdoor Activity Sessions in The Lake District that people can turn up feeling anxious & unsure about whether or not they will be capable of doing the activity they have booked on to. Our role is to look after you, keep you safe and comfortable and to encourage you to try something challenging wherever possible. Without realising it at the time, many of our clients grow in confidence with our support during our sessions; and this all adds to the value that we try to provide to you!

And the confidence of Ambu, Akhil and Hari had certainly grown during their Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District with Iain. We reached a point where Ragi decided she had done enough and wanted to wait out whilst the three lads were really keen to explore the upper part of Stickle Ghyll which has some of the most challenging climbs and waterfalls that the venue has to offer.

Even little Ambu (whom Iain was concerned about getting cold) only wanted to forge on upstream climbing up waterfalls and wading swimming through pools - obviously all of that equipment we provide you with as part of your fee per person works well at insulating bodies!

Photo four sees Akhil approaching Ian at the top of the final big waterfall in Stickle Ghyll. Ambu was already up and Hari soon followed. At that point, we decided to call it a day as there was quite a bit of water in the ghyll and everyone was well and truly satisfied with what they had achieved on their Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District.

The family paid just £45 each; and £30 for Ambu as we provide additional discounts for families with children.

Ghyll Scrambling in one of the must fun & exhilarating things you can do in the area in hot sunny Summer weather; or even on a wet day! Contact us here to book your Ghyll Scrambling Session, we look forward to working with you!

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Introductory Kayaking Sessions in The Lake District, Windermere. Wednesday August, 10th 2016.

This afternoon, Iain has been running an introductory Kayaking Session in The Lake District for the Thomas Family from London who have been staying in the area for almost a fortnight.

Ian Thomas (Dad), had originally tried to book a kayaking session with one of our competitors (with whom they went Ghyll Scrambling) but found the other business hard work when it came to booking a kayaking session. Ian found that we did Introductory Kayaking Sessions through a Google search and contacted us. He found our speedy response much more positive!

Iain met Ian and sons Oscar and Alex  (in the "hoodie in photo one) at Fell Foot Country Park at Windermere's southern end. Non of the three had kayaked before and the children were quite young for attempting kayaking anyway (Alex was only six) but we got kitted out and got on the lake with some prior instruction to the three about how to paddle the kayak when we got on the water.

Photo two was taken some time later downstream  of the lake when Iain got the three to raft up; and then gave the boys the opportunity to run around the rafted boats - they thought this was great fun!

Kayaking for youngsters, particularly during their first ever session is going to be less about learning all of the necessary skills required to get a kayak to go in a straight line forward or backwards or be able to turn their craft around. No - the session should be about having fun and playing a few games and maybe trying a few unusual but safe alternatives.

Kayaks are designed to be paddled solo - that means - by a person on their own. Ian & Oscar mastered this task pretty well, but Alex struggled - not for wont of trying though. Iain thought it might be better for him if he & Oscar tandem paddled a single person kayak as in photo three. The challenge with this task was going to be keeping the kayak balanced so that they didn't both fall in.

As you might imagine that didn't work too well!!

Photo four sees a tired but happy Alex with a smile on his face despite being a little chilly from his swim. For a six year old he had done really well having mastered paddling a Kayak to a degree and having travelled best part of two miles down the river to Newby Bridge and back.

He had played some kayaking games with his Dad & brother and had gotten wet when they all went wrong, but falling into the lake was all part of the fun; and it hadn't been a bad experience and when he'd had enough, Iain towed him all the way back to Fell Foot.

Ian considered that the session had been pitched "at the right level for them all" - so hopefully, we'll see them again for some more adventurous Outdoor Activities on their next visit to The Lake District!

Ian paid just £40 each for the three's Introductory half day Kayaking Session in The Lake District with us as we had applied a bit of discount for the children. All of the equipment you see the family wearing - wetsuits, cagoules, buoyancy aids and the kayaks & paddles were all supplied as part of their fee as well as tuition by one of The Lake District's most experienced Outdoor Instructors.

To experience some of the best value for money outdoor activity sessions you can buy in The Lake District this Summer Holiday - contact us here. You won't be disappointed!

Guided Scrambling days in The Lake District. Coniston area. Tuesday 9th August 2016.

This report is about Guided Scrambling in The Lake District - on dry rock for a change, most of our recent reports have been about Ghyll Scrambling - a very different sport on very wet rock!

Michael Dunkley lives & works in London, but visits the Coniston area generally around once a year to stay in a friends cottage there.

Michael contact us a few weeks ago asking if there was any scrambling that could be done in the area as it was something that he wished to try out -  nothing too hard, but something that would provide a reasonable amount of challenge for him.

Iain suggested starting at the Walna Scar Car Park and linking three scrambles that would ultimately lead on to the top of the ridge of the Old Man of Coniston - a real scrambling adventure day.

Photo one sees  Michael approaching Iain's boot! on the great little scramble - The Bell (grade 2). The Bell is only a ten minute walk from the Walna Scar Car Park (in the distance in the photo) and can be seen on the approach as a rising rocky crest.

A grade 2 route is only of moderate seriousness, but the bell is still  best done roped for novices. It is possible to take easier or harder lines up the successive rising rocky outcrops that eventually lead to easier angled slabs at the summit.

We put The Bell behind us in little over an hour and then walked a kilometre across to the foot of Low Water Beck  (grade 3). Low Water Beck is a more serious proposition following the line of the stream coming from Low Water - either in it or right beside it! Michael (in photo two) had already had one slip on damp greasy rock just below where this photo was taken so it was as well that he was attached to the rope and being belayed by Iain!

Photo three sees Michael surmounting the final rock buttress to be climbed on the scramble of Low Water Beck and here we were "off route" according to what is described in the guide.

The upper part of Low Water Beck, provided rock conditions are dry, allow a number of variants to be taken up rocky buttresses rather than following the grassy rakes that actually avoid them.

Michael seemed to be scrambling with ease so Iain decided to push him on the these steeper & more exposed variants which would be more towards Rock Climbing at "Moderate" standard. Some sections were definitely beyond grade 3 scrambling - let's put it that way!

Our final photo from this report about a Guided Scrambling Day in The Lake District sees Michael high on our final scrambling route of the day - Brim Fell Rib (grade 2) with Low Water behind Michael and the path snaking up to the summit of The Old Man beyond.

Upon reaching Low Water, we had sat down for a bite to eat & drink and within a few minutes, it started raining very heavily!  This nearly put paid to the plans for the final scrambling route, but then it cleared out almost as quickly as it started and by the time we had walked the short distance to the base of the final scramble, the rock was dry once again!

Michael paid just £160 for his Guided Scrambling Day in The Lake District with Iain - a knowledgeable and experienced Mountaineering Instructor who was able to come up with a good plan for Michael's day out and also encourage him to try harder stuff when it became clear he could manage it. As well as covering the cost of Iain's guiding, the fee included the provision of a helmet & harness too.

Scrambling routes allow you to take the most exhilarating ways to mountain summits. Contact Iain here to book your Guided Scrambling Day in The Lake District, you won't be disappointed! 

Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District. Wren Gill, Monday 9th August 2016.

Last Monday afternoon, we were out again - up to our necks in it! Ghyll Scrambling seems to be just about the most popular thing we are getting bookings for at the moment - and that's good news.

Ghyll Scrambling is definitely one of those "out there" activities that should be one everyone's bucket list! Getting a soaking in a mountain stream - what!, but once you've tried it, you can't stop talking about it and the great fun you've had.

When Louise Cawthorn booked a Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District with us, she had heard from others who had been and tried ghyll scrambling in the area. The family were coming from the east coast of Yorkshire for a few days and were keen to try it out for themselves.

The family were planning to stay near Kendal and enquired about Ghyll Scrambling with a number of Outdoor Activity companies. We were one of the few who replied; and the only one to be offering a Ghyll Scrambling Session close to town.
Wren Gill is a mere six miles north of Kendal whereas the next nearest suitable ghyll Scrambling venues are over 20 miles away  in Langdale and near Coniston. We will usually meet you at the  Morrisons Superstore on the north east side of town and then you will follow us up the narrow road leading through Longsleddale to the parking area at Sadgill where we get kitted up ready for your Ghyll Scrambling Session.

From Sadgill to the Ghyll Scrambling venue is a further 1.5 mile walk up the track that leads to Gatesgarth Pass. However, if your group size is no more than 5 or six persons, then we will transport you up the track in our vintage 56 year old Land Rover - there can't be many other companies operating in the Lake District or indeed - in the UK where you get to enjoy some off roading  in a classic vehicle as part of your Ghyll Scrambling Session!
Once at Wren Gill, you'll be able to enjoy a Ghyll Scrambling Session in a venue offering plenty of variety - steeper sections with easy waterfalls to climb and some deep pools interspersed with gentler, shallower sections where even the smallest child can enjoy playing in the river.

As you can see from these photos, the Cawthorn family enjoyed a fun & exhilarating Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District with us that involved jumping into deep pools and being lowered down waterfalls as well as climbing up them.

Today's session lasted almost the full four hours that we offer in a half day and at £45 per adult and £30 per child offered superb value and great fun that the family will remember for a long time.

Whilst it's warm & sunny - contact us to book your very own family Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District - you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Stag Events in The Lake District. Stoneycroft gill, Saturday 6th August 2016.

Last Saturday afternoon, we were working in the Northern Lake District for a change near to Keswick where we ran a Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District for a Stag Group who were in the area for the weekend.

Andrew Pimm had contacted us to see if we could run this session for him and his ten mates who were coming up to the area from Sheffield and Leeds.

The group were also looking for a Canadian Canoeing Session on Derwentwater for the Sunday so we directed them to our good friends at Platty Plus who are based right on Derwentwater and who we felt were better placed to serve the groups needs on this occasion.

Photo one sees most of Andrew's Stag Group cooling off as we got in to the start of Stoneycroft Ghyll - after the  3/4 mile walk uphill in wetsuits to get here!

Stoneycroft Gill is probably North Lakes most popular Ghyll Scrambling Venue, but it is quite unusual in that it is a ghyll Scrambling descent whereas we quote that Ghyll Scrambling involves walking upstream - not so here!

One gets in  and straightaway, we slide down a slippery groove with the water and over a small waterfall. It's enough to give to a taste of what's to come for the next few hours! Things gradually get more interesting as the stream steepens and the waterfalls, water-slides and pools become more numerous; and the pools get deeper!

Photo two sees Andrew - the activity organiser for today's session as he scrambles down a waterfall in control whilst the rest of the Stag Group looks on. Staying in control is necessary if you don't want a bruised backside - even in a wet-suit!
Photo three sees one of the Stag Group with less "bottle" than his mates as he descends this waterfall facing forward. The plunge pool at the bottom of the waterfall was deep on this occasion - about four feet deep; and when we arrived at the top another instructor was  sending his clients down backwards - just for a bit of extra challenge!

Most of the lads in our Stag Group were also up for trying it this way, but not everyone. There was a great deal of laughter as everyone dropped into the pool - backwards or forwards, but for that matter there was a great deal of laughter throughout the whole session as everyone was having such a lot of fun.

As you can see from this photo, we had sunshine for this afternoon Ghyll Scrambling Session in Stoneycroft Gill and the weather was warm. Given the equipment we had dressed the lads up in, no-one complained at any time about being cold during this session; and that's the way it should be!

Photo four sees three of the lads getting stuck into a section known locally as "the washing machine". Here, a seven foot high waterfall drops into a circular pool which has large boulder jammed in it. The water around the boulder is quite deep - particularly where the waterfall is and towards the outflow of the pool where the boulder touches the surrounding rock wall one can dive down underwater and swim through a gap between the boulder and the surrounding rock (just in front of Andrew in this photo).

This makes for an interesting & challenging circuit - around the boulder to the right, through the waterfall and then dive down & squeeze through the gap between the boulder and the surrounding rock. It's not for everybody; and only two of our group of eleven attempted the dive. Andrew was one of those who did it -  well done mate!
Our final photo about this Stag  Group's Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District sees the group shortly after we had exited the ghyll. The weather was warm enough that now we were not immersed in the water of the ghyll, everyone wanted to strip off to a degree. The lads had all thoroughly enjoyed their Ghyll Scrambling Session and the challenges it had to offer them.

This Stag Group paid just £35 per person for their Ghyll Scrambling Session in Stoneycroft  Gill with us and that fee includes the provision of wetsuits, cagoules, helmets harnesses and walking boots for all - equipment that many of our competitors still fail to match! Walking boots are essential equipment in any Ghyll Scrambling or Canyoning environment as far as we are concerned. Safety first, comfort second; and enjoyment third is our motto! Without the first two in place you won't get the last - but you can be sure to get all three with us!Another reason why you should book your Stag or Hen Event with Kendal Mountaineering Services. Contact us here to book your Sat or Hen Event now - you won't be disappointed!

Monday 8 August 2016

Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District. Stickle Ghyll, Friday, August 5th, 2016.

Last Friday, Iain was back out Ghyll Scrambling in The Lake District - this time, in Stickle Ghyll in Langdale - one of The Lake District's best known Ghyll Scrambling venues.

When Iain had worked with George and his godmother Jane on Tuesday, an interest had been expressed in trying out Ghyll Scrambling  - "Do you know anyone who does that?" asked Jane. "Yes, said Iain - we do!" and subsequently, Iain gained a bit more work from Jane's group of friends - Emma & Claire; and Claire's three children - Anna, Archie; and of course - George!

The group booked their Ghyll Scrambling Half Day Session with us to start at 1pm on Friday. Iain got the children kitted out and then off we went for an afternoon of fun.

Photo one sees Archie, Anna  & George getting well & truly hydrated at the first waterfall climb in Stickle Ghyll!

Photo two sees the three about another 100 yards upstream - well & truly up to their necks in it!

Ghyll Scrambling is all about having fun in a mountain stream. Ghyll Scrambling is also known as Gorge Walking, but we think the term "scrambling" applies better. Anyway- what is it all about?

Scrambling up the stream bed, against the flow of the water, wading & swimming through pools, jumping off the banks into pools, climbing up waterfalls - roped up where necessary to prevent a fall, feeling challenged, feeling exhilarated, but being safe; and being warm enough in the comprehensive equipment we provide you with that you can enjoy these sessions in comfort whilst being soaked but not feeling too cold - this is particularly important with young children who, generally not carrying too much body fat - can get chilly quite rapidly!
Getting chilly was no such concern today for these three aged  from eight to 14 - they were moving far too fast for that as one might expect - the smaller the group, the less hanging around there is to get cold!

The weather was also much better than two days previously when Iain had been in Wren Gill - another one of our brilliant Lake District Ghyll Scrambling Venues. On that day it had been very windy & wet, water levels had been high and it was certainly chilly!

Photo three sees Archie, Anna & George with Mum - Claire & her best mates - Emma & Jane on the bridge beyond. We think this is a fine photo!

We always split Stickle Ghyll into two parts - the lower part starts just above the Sticklebarn Tavern and goes for about 600 m up to the footbridge.  In this section, there is a waterfall climb, numerous deep pools for jumping into and lots of interesting steep scrambly sections.

Above the footbridge there is a bouldery section having nothing of real interest to it, so we bypass this and go in to the upper gorge  - again, lots of steep-ish scrambling up waterfalls and deep pools to play in and then this big waterfall - in photo four, often the "grand finale" that gets climbed - straight up, behind the children! We did climb this; and then called it a day! Another great Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District and the children loved it!

Our half day Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District cost £45 per adult for a four hour session with all of the equipment  you see the children wearing, provided as part of your fee. Bring more than five persons and that price drops to £40 each. However, we discount our prices significantly for children and Claire paid just £35 each for these three to try Ghyll Scrambling.

If you are looking for a family activity that the kids will love during your visit to The Lake District, then this is it and it is ideal for having fun on a wet day too! Contact us here to book your Ghyll Scrambling Session - you won't be disappointed!

Saturday 6 August 2016

Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District. Wren Gill. Wednesday 3rd August 2016.

On Wednesday afternoon, Iain met Ian Maddern with his daughter Sadie and a friend's son Brogan to take them for a half day Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District.

Ian came to the Lake District last year with a bunch of mates for a weekend birthday celebration. The group booked a half day Ghyll Scrambling Session with us, but unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, their Ghyll Scrambling Session was a very short one indeed.

On that occasion, we had gone to exactly the same place and had used the Land Rover to run the group up the one & a half miles up the track (photo one) although then - with six adults in it - it was rather more loaded down than last Wednesday!

Anyway, that Ghyll Scrambling Session obviously made a big impression as Ian had been keen to return; and it had been said last time that "the kids would love it" - something we know to be true only too well!

Wednesday had started off very windy, but dry; although there had been significant rainfall the night before - just how significant it had been up Longsleddale didn't become apparent until Iain saw Stockdale Beck running in spate. Wren Gill was the same!

To add to matters, as we started to drive from Sadgill to Wren Gill, rain showers started to spill over in to the valley from Kentmere, so the weather was on a downward spiral again; and we had two small children to look after! Iain's biggest concern when working with children  is how quickly they can get cold.

However, we do our best to give customers the best equipment we can for Ghyll Scrambling - wet-suits  for insulation when wet, cagoules again to aid insulation and walking boots for good grip and protection. All we ask is you bring your own fleece top, swimwear & socks to wear in the walking boots.

And even on Wednesday afternoon with the wind blowing strongly up Longsleddale; and the rain lashing down, this equipment was enough to keep Sadie & Brogan warm for long enough that they could enjoy the fun that Ghyll Scrambling has to offer.

Wren Gill was already running high when we got into it and it was necessary for Iain to keep ahold of Brogan whilst Ian kept ahold of Sadie. Between the two of us; and with Iain's guidance and experience in fast flowing water, we were pick a route upstream which allowed the children to experience the fun that Ghyll Scrambling can be - safely, by avoiding the most powerful parts of the flow or by sticking next to the edge of the river.

In photo three, Brogan & Sadie are poised to take their third jump into the deep pool below where the current took them straight into our arms - they loved it!

Photo four  is taken a little further on and sees Ian, Brogan & Sadie sat in a cave under a huge boulder right next to a waterfall crashing down from above into another pool that we normally jump in to (from the point  from which the photo was taken. However, Wren Gill was getting bigger by the minute; and Iain judged it too unsafe to jump into here now.

We made it as far as Cleft Ghyll where Wren Gill comes crashing down an impassable 20 foot waterfall before exiting the ghyll and making our way back to the Land Rover with Brogan describing the experience as "the best day ever!".

Back at the Land Rover, Ian got the children changed into warm dry clothes before we headed back to Sadgill to their waiting vehicle.

This afternoon had certainly been a "hardcore" Ghyll Scrambling Session, but Ian & the children thoroughly enjoyed it. Our next report is also about Ghyll Scrambling - two days later and in much better conditions with three children who again...absolutely loved it!

Ghyll Scrambling is a fantastic, exhilarating experience and everyone should try it once. It is ideal for families or adults, Stag & Hen Events or just for a bit of Corporate fun. It is an activity that most people do remember for a long time. Our half day Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District start at £45 per adult, but less for children. For example, Ian paid just £30 each for the three of them.

Contact us here to book your Ghyll Scrambling Session whilst holidaying in The Lake District this Summer  - you won't regret it!

Rock Climbing Courses in The Lake District. Tuesday 2nd August 2016.

Last Tuesday morning, Iain was out with Jane Carter & her Godson - George providing George with a Rock Climbing lesson.

Jane had done some research on the internet some time ago looking for the ideal person to teach George about Rock Climbing and Kendal Mountaineering Services and Iain's name came up quite a lot - not too surprisingly as we do run a lot of Rock Climbing Courses! Anyway, Jane liked what she saw and booked George's Rock Climbing lesson with us without hesitation.

Iain took the pair to Upper Scout Crag in Langdale for George's lesson and photo one shows George & Jane - ready to climb at the foot of Route 1.
Route one is a great place to learn "trad climbing techniques". What are trad techniques? Well, simply put - the learning of how to use climbing hardware such as nuts, Hexcentrics or camming devices to anchor yourself to the rock on the route you are climbing. The skills include identifying  appropriate anchor placements (usually tapered cracks on a climbing route which will accept and  hold an anchor device), selecting the right anchor device for that placement  and how to link these anchor devices together or directly to the rope with the ultimate aim of protecting yourself (ie - preventing a fall) from the rock route you are climbing.

Iain is a Mountaineering Instructor - the highest UK award  for rock climbing instruction and the only one appropriate for teaching Rock Climbing on multi-pitch rock climbs such as those to be found at Upper Scout Crag. He also has over ten years of experience coaching  & guiding on rock routes in Summer and Winter Climbs in Winter and a lifetime of experience in the mountains around the UK and Europe.
In photo two, George can be seen firmly anchored to the rock at the first "stance" on Route One. A stance is a place where there is most likely, a small ledge which will comfortably accommodate two climbers at the top of a rock climbing pitch.

Upon reaching a stance, the lead climber secures themselves to the rock by means of two anchor placements (why two? Well if you only have one and that fails, then you've most likely had it!) which are then equalized to a central attachment point. Slings can be used if you are the one leading every pitch of a multi-pitch climb or if "alternately leading" then a leader will attach to both anchors directly with the climbing rope.

As George was leading the whole rock climb Iain showed him how to set up at stances using slings. Photo three sees George at the second stance on Route one keeping an eye on Jane who can be seen climbing "the crux". If possible, a lead climber should always be so placed that they can see; and if necessary, communicate with their climbing second!

Our final photo from this report about what was essentially a half day learning to lead Trad Rock Climbing Course in The Lake District sees George & Jane at the top of Route 1 looking very pleased - and not without good reason as we'd just completed the route before the forecast wet weather set in!

George had climbed well throughout the route and had absorbed Iain's coaching well with regards to anchor placements when to set up a running belay and how to equalize anchors at stances. He has climbed before - mainly at indoor climbing centres and as his family come to The Lake District regularly this has, on this occasion; allowed him this opportunity to learn to lead rock climbs out of doors on proper rock - something he doesn't find much of near to his home on the south coast of England.

One thing we always say to people after one of our skills training courses is "get out and use the skills you've learnt as soon as you possibly can - as if you don't you'll soon lose them!" Well, we wish George all the very best with his future aspirations with regards to climbing and hope that we have helped him along the way! Next, this young man is off to Wengen in the Bernese Oberland to be guided on The Monch and The Jungfrau in a week or two...alright for some isn't it!

Jane paid just £100 for George's half day Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District. The fee included the use of helmets, harnesses, ropes and climbing rack as well as coaching by an experienced Mountaineering Instructor. Our full (eight hour) day courses cost just £160 per day between two persons; and we recommend you book a second day for consolidation, but of course - the choice is yours!

Contact us here to book your Rock Climbing Skills Training Course in The Lake District - we look forward to working with you!