Thursday 16 March 2017

Make the most of your Easter Holiday in the Lake District - book an adventure with us!

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

Why not start by booking your Easter Family Adventures with us! This Easter, we are offering children under 15 the opportunity to try out our activity sessions for just £30 per child for a half day or just £50 each for a full day of activities. This offer is open to family groups only!

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

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

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

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

We know the best routes up all of the Lake District Mountains so if you fancy being guided up the mountain of your choice such as Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, Skiddaw or Great Gable contact us to arrange your guided hill walking adventure. Prices start at just £75.00 each for two persons with your own Hill Walking guide for a full (eight hour) day out in the mountains. Children under 15 can do this for £50 each!

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

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

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

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

Prices for Kayaking or Open Canoeing sessions in The Lake District start at £45 per person for a four hour half day session, children under 15 can do this for just £30 each. These sessions include the provision of wets suits, buoyancy aids, cagoules, Canoes or Kayaks and paddles.

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

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

Our half day (four hour) Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions start at £45 per person (children under 15 - £30) and are a great way  to spend part of a day during your Easter Holiday visit to The Lake District.

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

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

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

Prices start at £45 for a half day (4 hour) caving session with us or £75 for a full eight hour day underground. Again on this occasion, Children under 15 can enjoy their half day session for £30 or £50 for a full day of caving.

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

All of these sessions are 100% safe - you cannot fall and our instructors will be on hand to make sure that you are kept safe throughout a climbing session where you will be able to challenge your fear of heights and gain new skills and confidence - great for children & adults alike! Our half day introductory climbing sessions start at a mere £45 per person for a full four hours climbing (children under 15 - £30) and with all of our Adventure Activities in The Lake District this Easter, the more of you come, the cheaper it will be.

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

Guided Fell Walking in The Lake District. Climbing Scafell Pike. March 15th, 2016

Yesterday, Iain drove over to Wasdale to provide a day of guided walking on Scafell Pike - on what would turn out to be the best day of this week!

Debbie (in the green jacket) and Jane had travelled over to the area for a short break in a lovely little cottage near Nether Wasdale. They had decided that they wished to hire a guide to climb Scafell Pike and contacted us.

Photo one shows the pair at a viewpoint next to Wast Water. The lake was like a mirror, it was so calm. It looked like it was going to be a lovely day!

Iain drove the pair to Wasdale Head where we parked up before heading in the direction of Styhead Pass. Rather than going up & down the quick & steep way via Lingmell Gill and Brown Tongue, Iain offered the pair a circular route which would provide them with constantly changing scenery.

Photo two sees Jane and Debbie about half an hour after we had set off from Wasdale Head on their Guided Fell Walk in The Lake District - just as we crossed the footbridge over Gable Beck. Our Objective - Styhead Pass, is the gap in the mountains beyond!

We continued up the bridleway towards Styhead Pass. The cloud was still low over the mountains, but it was starting to lift on the Scafell side of the valley; although it never completely cleared from Great Gable during our Fell Walking Day.
Photo three was taken about an hour & a half later as we continued on our Guide Fell Walking Day in The Lake District. It had taken a little over an hour to reach Styhead Pass where we were assailed by a rather bitter breeze coming up from Wasdale. We had a brief break here for refreshments and a chat with other walkers heading up Scafell Pike and Great Gable and then set off up The Corridor Route - this is where we are in photo three.

The "Corridor Route" is one of the classic ways up or down England's highest mountain. It is particularly useful if the weather is inclement as it is generally, the most sheltered route on the mountain.

The Corridor Route starts near to Styhead Pass. Many people choose to walk 500 metres SE on the route to Sprinkling Tarn/Esk Hause first before turning west. However, for those in "the know" there is a more direct route straight to the path, joining, near to where it crosses Skew Gill.

After a short descent across Spout Head; and across the foot of Skew Gill (an impressive looking ravine), the path rises in a series of steps and traverses all to way to Lingmell Col. Here, one meets the junction with the path coming up from Brown Tongue/Lingmell Gill and the continuation up the northern flank to the summit.

Along the Corridor Route, there is an interesting descent down a groove and rocky slabs (photo four) as one enters the hanging valley from where Greta Gill emerges. As Scafell Pike hadn't emerged from the cloud by this time; and Iain predicted that we wouldn't want to "hang around" at the summit, we enjoyed lunch here, before continuing on to Lingmell Col.

Above the junction between The Corridor Route and the Brown Tongue path, the way on is very rocky. In fact the top 200 metres of Scafell Pike is just a gigantic rubble slope.

We were now in the cloud and back in the cold breeze, both Jane and Debbie found the final part of the ascent quite tough, but we completed this part of our Guided Fell Walk in The Lake District in about 45 minutes.

Photo Five sees the pair both relieved and exhilarated at their success in reaching the summit of England's highest mountain.

It was quite surprising how many people were up there when we arrived given the weather. Mind you - it was just cold, not wet! Shortly after we reached the summit, a couple of fell-runners arrived having run the 11.2 miles all the way from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Langdale via Esk Hause accompanied by the wee dog in the red jacket; and they intended to turn about and retrace their steps! Rather them than us!

Whilst the final 200 metres of our ascent and descent of Scafell pike was the chilliest part of the pair's guided Fell Walking Day in The Lake District, the lack of real winter conditions were in evidence on this - England's highest mountain!

Snow patches were visible on the upper north west slope above Piers Gill on the walk in, but it wasn't until were were within 200 metres walking distance from the summit did we actually happen across any snow at all. Iain made a point of taking a photo of Debbie & Jane next to this patch on our descent.

The Lake District has to have seen it's mildest winter ever this year. OK - we were out of the country for eight weeks of it, but even so, we have seen very little snow in the mountains this winter when we've been around! This is in stark contrast to Iain's childhood when the upper part of Scafell Pike would have been encased in snow and ice until probably well in to May. Global warming is happening apace; and it's very worrying for those of us who love winter.

And down in the valleys here, it really feels like Spring has started.

Many of the roadside Daffodils are in full bloom already, quite a lot of Hawthorn has fully sprouted and the birds are singing their heads off. Spring in The Lake District is always a wondrous time, but this year it is early - much to early!

We set off down from the top of Scafell Pike and just below the junction with The Corridor Route path, found ourselves out of the cloud where it was noticeably warmer. By the time we reached Hollow Stones - the piles of moraine just above Brown Tongue, there was no wind at all.

The cloud was finally clearing from both Scafell Pike and Scafell and the view down Lingmell Gill out west over Wast Water to the distant Irish Sea was just stunning. In photo nine we are just leaving Lingmell Gill to head over the shoulder of Lingmell down to Wasdale Head. Behind the pair, the way above leads to Brown Tongue and Scafell Pike in the background.

Iain added this "end of the day photo" so that you can see the contrast between the weather at the end of the day and at the start. This is the classic Wast Water photo with, (from left to right) Yewbarrow, partially in shadow, Great Gable, still wearing a slight cloud cap, Lingmell leading up right to Scafell Pike and Scafell and the bulk of Wastwater Screes dropping in to the lake.

Just beautiful!

Debbie and Jane thoroughly enjoyed their guided Fell Walk with Iain and paid just £80 each for their day out with a knowledgeable and experienced Mountaineering Instructor. They thought it was worth every penny!

Want to enjoy a Guided Fell Walk in The Lake District with us? Then contact Iain here. The more people in your party, the less it will cost you; and you can be assured of a great day out!

We look forward to working with you.

Monday 13 March 2017

Stag Events in The Lake District. Ghyll Scrambling Sessions in The Lake District, Friday 10th March 2017.

Last Friday, we were out with our first Stag Group of the year and shared a great Ghyll Scrambling experience in Stickle Ghyll with Simon Williams's group of seven.

Ghyll Scrambling had been booked with us as part of the lads weekend Stag trip off up north from Stoke on Trent. After Ghyll Scrambling with us, they were continuing off up the M6 to Glasgow and we hope that  they had a great time up there.

They certainly enjoyed their Ghyll Scrambling Session in Stickle Ghyll and the weather turned out to be somewhat milder than it could have been at this time of year. We had neoprene wet-socks and gloves prepared for use, but as it happened, it felt more like an early April day last Friday; and with everything else that we gave them, the lads were warm enough!
We didn't travel very far up Stickle Ghyll before we got to the first obstacle - the lower waterfall.

There are three ways past this obstacle, the "dry way" which is an easy scramble up a rocky corner well to the left of the waterfall, the "steep" way  - a short climb up dry-ish rock to the right of the main fall and the "steep & wet way" which is the way most of our group chose to go today (photo two).

For climbs such as this, we provide harnesses and people are protected by a tight rope as you climb. As well as enjoying yourself immensely, we want you to stay safe too!

Above the lower fall, the way on is interspersed with easy sections, some deep pools in which you can get a thorough soaking and a "jump" into the deepest pool if you are feeling hardcore. There are some more sections of easy climbing and scrambling up small waterfalls along the way.

Not everyone today was keen to get a thorough soaking, but a few of the guys did do the jump! Keen and brave indeed.

Photo three sees the group at the first obstacle as we entered the upper section of Stickle Ghyll. The waterfall behind them is not a difficult climb although it looks really impressive!

Our final post from this report about a Stag Party's Ghyll Scrambling Session in The Lake District with us sees one of the team getting roped up the biggest waterfall we climb in Stickle Ghyll. A rope was definitely needed here today as it was quite slippery, but it made for a memorable ghyll scrambling session for sure.

Above here there are two more possible waterfalls to climb before the way one becomes impassable to all but the most experienced of scramblers. The lads were quite happy to call it a day at this point anyway, so we packed up and headed back to the car park; and after the group had gotten changed we provided a welcome hot drink for the group. "What will it be sir? Tea, Coffee or Hot Chocolate?" Most people go for the hot chocolate, but black coffee seemed to be the favourite today!

Simon Williams's Stag Group paid just £40 each for their action packed Ghyll Scrambling Session with us in The Lake District. The fee included the provision of wetsuits, cagoules, walking boots and helmets & harnesses for the whole group including two experienced instructors to look after everyone. Today, we also provided a free hot drink at the end of the session and had additional warm kit to hand if it was needed. A free copy of every photograph we take on your session is always included as standard. 

All you have to turn up with is swimwear and a long sleeved fleece top if you have it, thick socks to go in the walking boots; and plenty of enthusiasm. We always provide walking boots to protect your feet in the ghyll when many of our competitors expect you to provide your own footwear!

It's getting warmer quite quickly, so Ghyll Scrambling or Canyoning is a great option to get some excitement and a bit of adrenaline on your visit to The Lake District. Our sessions are likely to be popular this coming Easter so enquire now and make your booking. We look forward to working with you!

Monday 6 March 2017

Navigation Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District. March 4th & 5th, 2017.

At the weekend, Iain was out with the Miller-Page family who had travelled up from Surrey to attend one of our Bespoke Navigation Skills Training weekends in The Lake District.

The family own a cottage in the area and are regular visitors. They enjoy fell walking, but have experienced a few occasions where they've encountered difficulties with route finding. A bit of online research led the family to four companies offering Navigation Skills Training in The Lake District and we were one of those.

Seemingly, we presented ourselves in the best way; and the family booked with us. Now that's good news - we must be doing something right!

Day one was spent up on Green Quarter Fell, just north of Staveley. The weather was surprisingly good considering we were supposedly of the fringe of a low pressure system. We started off in our usual format (see here) and by the time photo one was taken, we were progressing well with how to find and how to give grid references, helped, in no small part, by the Roamer Scales on our excellent Silva Type 4 Expedition Compasses and Iain's method of explanation.

When photo two was taken, the family had just completed navigating to their first grid reference, by using "Hand-railing", to an "Attack Point" and by pacing from there to the feature (a small tarn) by walking on a bearing. Good Skills!

After a most successful day one, conducted in perfect dry & calm weather, we were expecting it to be somewhat different on the second day - colder, wetter..definitely not as nice. But it didn't turn out that way.

We drove further up the valley on day two; and finished up on the east side of Shipman Knotts where Iain pushed the family on to more exacting terrain. In photo three, they had been compelled to transpose from the 1:25 to the 1:50'000 scale map in order to to identify features on the opposite side of Longsleddale because the features were "off" the 1:25'000 laminated map they were using. Again, they were successful in doing this and identifying all features requested by Iain. Marvellous stuff !

Eventually, we arrived at the top of Shipman Knotts and from here, Iain directed the family to find a distant stream head south of Kentmere Pike Summit. Looking south, it was clear that a forecasted front was approaching and that we could, in all likelihood, expect to get a little wet, but somehow, the showers never quite reached us (photo four)

The family successfully navigated on to the top of Kentmere Pike and then back to Green Quarter locating a further four grid references along the way.

The Miller-Page Family thoroughly enjoyed their Navigation Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District with us and go away with a whole new "toolbox" of skills with which to enjoy further forays into the mountains with improved confidence; and you can too - by booking your own Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course with us or by booking on to one of our Upcoming Navigation Skills Training Courses - but hurry! Our March Course is almost full and the others are filling up fast!

We look forward to working with you in the mountains.

Thursday 2 March 2017

Half day Caving Sessions in The Yorkshire Dales with Kendal Mountaineering Services. December 27th 2016.

What sort of activities can you do in the outdoors during Winter when the weather is likely to be cold and wet; or if you are lucky, snowy!

How many people actually think about going caving? Provided the weather is not too wet, caving can be a great deal of fun and a great adventure - following passages into the unknown, squeezing through smaller, narrower tunnels, feeling challenged, maybe getting a little wet in an active stream passageway - we will do our very best to make sure you don't get soaked though.

And you can have all of this fun under the cover of a rock ceiling, so you can get away from the wind, rain and cold. True - caves are not warm environments (around 8 degrees centigrade), but we'll keep you moving and you will stay warm in the caving over-suits that we provide; and the wellington boots help a lot too!
Matt & Ellie chose to come caving with us again in Winter having done the same thing two years previously on their way up north, after Christmas, to spend time with family near Glasgow for the New Year.

Last time, Iain took the pair to Long Churns Cave System near Ribblehead for their first underground experience. Understandably, the pair didn't want to go back there, so Iain took them underground in Browgill Cave - right across the valley from Selside where Long Churns is located.

Photo one shows the pair as we entered the downstream entrance to Browgill Cave. Photo two sees them again, about ten minutes later as we squeezed through the narrow part of the big rift. Ellie looks quite relaxed whilst Matt looks a bit nervous Lol!
Browgill is a good progression from Long Churns. It is a more serious cave; and like Long Churns, should be avoided in wet weather as it can flood quickly. Fortunately, that wasn't going to happen today!

After entering the system a walk with the stream quickly leads to a lowering roof and a crawl leads to a very high and wide passage (the big rift). This narrows (photo two) as one heads towards the rumble of a big waterfall which we visit before back-tracking slightly and climbing up through another rift to reach the ceiling above & beyond the waterfall.

Getting back to the stream entails an entertaining squeeze (photo three) which Ellie made look easy! (Well - it was easy for all three of us really!) However, for some people, negotiating a bedding plane crawl like this would be most challenging.

Above the waterfall, the stream appears to come from several directions at once; and if you attempt to follow any of the passageways, they eventually become so low it is impossible to continue.

However, a good and knowledgeable Cave Leader won't waste time here, but will take you straight to the "hard to spot" routes to the upper streamway via Hainsworth's Passage. There are two ways to get there - The Letterbox - an impossibly tight looking crawl in the roof of a chamber; and The Slot - a squeeze up through the limestone past a large slab resting only on a sliver of rock. Both routes are challenging and hard work, but worth it for what is to follow!

A hands & knees crawl leading to the sound of the stream quickly gets higher; and then it's on in the streamway for a further 500 metres to where daylight illuminates the waterfall crashing into the cave from Calf Holes (photo four). We do, often run Level two caving trips where we lower people down the Calf Holes pitch, make the journey to the Browgill Cave exit; and then return to climb a caving ladder back out at Calf Holes. These level two caving trips provide an even bigger level of challenge; though they will cost you only a little more money!

Today was another Level One Caving Trip for Matt & Ellie - so no ropes/harnesses and no ladders.

We retraced our steps and then crawled back into Hainsworth's passage, dropping back out to the middle level by way of The Slot (we'd entered Hainsworth's from The Letterbox).

In photo five, Ellie & Matt marvel over some Speleothems (limestone formations) produced when limestone laden water drips on to; or flow down rock leaving a deposit of Calcite behind which grows over time - (a very long period of time!) to create what we see. The tiny Limestone Straws in the background take 50 years to grow a centimetre.

That's why we always tell people to "Look - but don't touch!"

Matt & Ellie paid just £90 between them for their Half Day Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales with us and the fee included all that they are wearing. Contact us here to book your Caving Session in The Yorkshire Dales. It's a great adventure to do in winter as you can get out of the cold, wet and windy conditions underground and have fun! We can guarantee you'll love it!