Friday, 9 December 2016

A report about our Last Navigation Skills Training Course for 2016 and dates are up now for 2017!

The weekend of October 26th & 27th saw us run our last Navigation Skills Training Course of 2016.

The weather was perfect - too perfect in fact, but better that than the rain & gales we were having this time last year and just ideal for outdoor skills training of any sort.

On this course were joined by (from left to right in photo one) Darren who has done quite a lot with us over the last few years, Sam Glendenning - also in blue attending with his brother Matt (in green) and Nic & Julya who were on holiday in the area from Northampton-shire.

We spent the morning of the first day following the usual order - understanding the different map scales (1:25 & 1:50'000) and the information to be found on each before moving on to setting the map and then measuring distance on the map followed by learning how to pace it on the ground.

Our route took us up Hall Lane where we looked at finding tick-off features along our linear route to a point a kilometre beyond Park House where we stopped for lunch. Time soon goes by!

Following this, Iain taught the group how to find grid references in the order of four, six and then eight figures allowing them to gain a high degree of accuracy in either finding or giving a location on a map. We then started to travel across open ground using compass bearings as well as pacing. Here, in photo two, we use a gateway to avoid climbing a wall - the correct etiquette when in the countryside and a good way to avoid getting shouted at by farmers!

We often find on our Navigation Skills Training Weekend that people turn up in pairs and here, we had a couple who enjoy walking in the countryside and two brothers who also enjoy the same.

Working together on one of our Lake District Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses is a good way to learn the skills and quite often, one person in a pair will pick up a certain element of the skills better than the other. Teamwork in this environment leads to a rewarding experience for all concerned and this weekend was no exception!
The final photo from our first day of Navigation Skills Training sees everyone looking a little orange due to the fantastic sunset at the end of the afternoon.
A few more photos of the sunset will be posted on our Facebook page shortly - do have a look, it was stunning!
Anyway now, the temperature was starting to drop and people were tired after an intensive day. Moments later, Iain's words were "OK folks - get us back to the Land Rover please - by the easiest route!"

Day two saw us all meet up outside of Wilf's Cafe again, but this time Darren didn't join us. Day two will always see us go higher in the mountains if possible; and the weather was still good, so we did just that - driving up to Hallow Bank above Kentmere Village and then taking the BOAT (Bridleway Open to All Traffic) leading over into Longsleddale for a way, before heading across open ground.

We firstly located a stream head, then a small enclosure at the junction of three walls - an ideal place to have lunch before heading straight up a steep slope to reach the summit of Shipman Knotts.

Photo five was taken at a shoulder mid-way up that slope just after Iain had asked the group to identify where they were on the map. The "shoulder" is identifiable by a slight widening of the contour lines on the map at this point and everyone in the group was able to identify where they were - spot on. Brilliant!

Once at the top of Shipman Knotts, some of the group made it known that they would quite like to "bag a wainwright" if possible; and Kentmere Pike was the nearest one at just over 2 kilometres distant. We "navved" our way over the top of Goat Scar to another stream head and then struck out directly for the summit of Kentmere Pike having various degrees of success walking on a bearing on what was quite a long leg!

We reached the summit of Kentmere Pike at around 3pm and whilst there was still some snow around, it was disappointing to see how much it had melted in the last week (photo six). A shame we never got to play in it before it all melted!

Matt, Sam, Nic and Julya all left this course with an improved confidence in their abilities to map read and navigate on any terrain in any conditions and we wish them all the very best with their future forays into the mountains.

Dates are now up for our Navigation Skills Training Weekends during 2017. There are six courses to choose from - three in the Spring and three in the Autumn and still at only £80 per person should we get four or more persons per course.

So, don't delay - contact us to book a place on our 2017 Navigation Skills Training Courses today! (Iain's a poet and he didn't know it!) Ah well! We do look forward to working with you in 2017

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Buy the perfect Gift from us this Christmas. Treat your loved one, family member or friend to an amazing adventure or skills training course with us in 2017!

Christmas 2016 is now only a little over four weeks away! 

Are you still trying to decide what you want to buy that loved one, family friend or family member for Christmas? At Kendal Mountaineering Services, we can help!

If any of your family are into the great outdoors, like trying adventurous activities; or have already been introduced to a particular sport such as Mountain Walking, Rock Climbing, Scrambling, Canoeing, Kayaking or Caving and would like to learn the  skills to go off and do these sports for themselves - then you can help them experience these activities or learn those skills by buying them a Kendal Mountaineering Services Gift Certificate for Christmas!

Our Gift Certificates are designed to be flexible. You can check out the different activities and Skill Training Courses we offer by visiting our website and by visiting our Prices page. You do not have to make the full payment for any activity you see if you do not wish to - making a part payment towards someone's Activity Session or Skills Training Course is absolutely fine!

Buying a gift certificate is easy! Having decided what you would like to buy, simply contact us to pay for; and arrange your Christmas Gift Certificate.

Details we will require are who the gift certificate is for so that we can print their name on to it and also which Activity Session or Skills Training Course  you are paying for/towards the cost of. The value of the purchase can  also be entered on to the voucher if required.

Payment for Christmas Gift Certificates can be done either by Cheque made out to Mr I Gallagher and posted to our business address (details on the Contact us page) or by Bank Transfer in which you'll need to contact us to be given the sort code & account number.Ideally, we also need an email address so that we can confirm receipt of your payment and then email you your Christmas Gift Certificate for you to print off and present.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today or call Iain on 07761483364 to arrange that special gift with a difference for a loved one, friend; or family member this Christmas. They won't be disappointed!

Navigation & Map Reading Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District this coming weekend. Only £80 per person! Grab a last minute bargain.

Want to learn to read a map and navigate safely in the Mountains? We've a course taking place this coming weekend in The Lake District! Short notice, we know - but the forecast is looking exceptionally good!

A two Day Map reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses - for only £80 per person!! Now, that's a bargain.

We've already got four persons booked on to this coming weekend's Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District.

This means that it is definitely going ahead!

There are still six places available at only £80 for the two day course! So, grab a bargain, join us on November 26th & 27th and be prepared early to enjoy a great winter, hill-walking in the UK in confidence whilst using the navigation skills you've learnt with us!

Our Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District represent truly fantastic value. For only £80 per person you get two days of tuition and maps are also provided. All you need to do is to turn up with a compass (we recommend the Silva Type 4 expedition model), everything you would need for two days walking out in the mountains - and plenty of enthusiasm to learn new skills!

Our Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses are run in one of the Lake Districts most peaceful, pleasant and yet most accessible places.

Our meeting point is for these courses outside of Wilfs Cafe in Staveley which is very close to the A591 - one of the main roads into the southern part of The Lake District and very close to Kendal, Windermere and Ambleside. Accommodation options are considerable locally and range from reasonably priced hotels & guest houses through to nearby campsites.

Book a Navigation Skills Training Course with us and we will help you find accommodation of your choice in the area!

Each day, we start at 9am and finish back at Staveley by 5pm giving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the hospitality that the area has to offer.

Please note that if you do wish to buy provisions for your days out on the hill with us or would just like to grab a takeaway coffee before starting your course, then Staveley Post Office directly opposite the Entrance to Mill Yard (where Wilfs is located) offers far better value than any other cafe of delicatessen in the locality and is open from 07:00 - even on Sunday! Sandwiches can be made to order and pre-ordered by calling 01539 822339.

Here's why you should book on to one of our fantastic value Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses? You'll have a great time in some of the areas most stunning surroundings, learn new skills which will give you the confidence to venture further into the areas mountains and have a great deal of fun.

These courses are suitable for anyone wishing to learn more about Map Reading & Navigation Skills - no matter what you ability might be and are great fun for couples who want to get more out of hill walking and individuals who may be aspiring to undertake Mountain Walking Leader Awards - in which case our courses are excellent as an ML Refresher prior to going for assessment or re-assessment.

If this weekend is no good for you then what about December 10th & 11th? We currently have ten places remaining on the December weekend and we'd be very happy to have you join us.

We do require a minimum of four persons per weekend course in order for them to run. We will shortly be releasing dates for our 2017 Navigation Skills Training Weekends  Details of future course dates can be found by visiting the website here.

For anyone wishing to book on one of our Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses please contact us here or call Iain on 07761 483364. We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Navigation Skills Training Day in The Lake District. October 28th 2016.

So, here's a report about our last bit of work in October - right at the end of the October Half Term Holiday.

As you can see from the view in photo one, Shams Khan and his daughter Shania had a very good day for their one day Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District with us. In general, October was a very good month weather-wise and undoubtedly contributed to the amount of work we did during that month

Shams had been looking for a course that would allow him and daughter Shania the opportunity to learn some map reading & navigation skills, but the course needed to fit in with their plans and a one day course was what they wanted. Of course, we were able to fit this in for the pair when it suited them.
We met outside Wilfs Cafe in Staveley - our usual meeting point for our Navigation Skills Training Courses before heading off on to Green Quarter Fell.

There, we started off by discussing the various map scales used by the Ordnance Survey and the detail visible on each scale. We followed this by discussing orientating the map and then measuring distance on the map and pacing it on the ground. We then made our way up Hall Lane identifying "tick off features" on the map and locating them on the ground. Doing this exercise would keep us busy for several hours.

After a lunch stop at a bridleway cross-roads, we moved on to grid references. A grid reference allows one to find a specific location on a map using the grid lines.

Maps are divided up into 1 kilometre grid squares by lines of longitude (Eastings) and lines of Latitude (Northings). A grid reference is a point located in a grid square. A six figure grid reference will put you at the lower left hand corner of a 100 metre square within a 1 kilometre grid square. More accurate is an 8 figure grid reference putting you in the bottom left hand corner of a 10 metre square within a 100 meter square within a 1 kilometre grid square. Sound complicated? Well, it's not really; and Shams soon picked up the skill allowing him & Shania to find this rather small & insignificant pool of water - good skills!

By this point, we had also introduced the skill of taking a bearing using a compass - just as well because we had left the security of footpaths & bridleways and were now heading across open countryside.

We spent the rest of the day walking from grid reference dealing with any unexpected situations along the way such as avoiding obstructions such as walls and marshes. Walking through bracken (photo four) also presented a challenge for the pair  who performed very well during the day and leave with new skills to use in the countryside.

Shams paid just £160 for their Navigation Skills Training Day in The Lake District with Iain. our next Navigation Skills Training Weekend Course in The Lake District is running this coming weekend - November 26th & 27th. The cost is £80 per person for the two day course so grab yourself a skills training bargain, contact Iain & get booked on! Maps are provided, you just need your own compass (and please bring a Silva Type 4 Expedition Compass - nothing less will do the job properly!) and equipment for going walking in the mountains in what could be inclement weather; and don't forget your lunch.

We look forward to working with you!

Canadian Canoeing Sessions on Windermere, The Lake District. Wednesday 26th October 2016.

Well, things have quietened down for us now at Kendal Mountaineering Services after a busy October. Mind you, we have been away in India for the last fortnight! For us, the quiet season is the best time to go away!

One of our most recent bits of work was with Richard, Lorna & Lydia when we ran a Canadian Canoeing Session for them on Windermere during the October Half Term School Holiday.

Photo one sees the three as we prepared to get on the lake at Fell Foot Country Park.

This was an Introductory Canadian Canoeing Session for the three. The girls had apparently canoed in the past, but it was a new experience for Richard. We started off as two separate canoes - Iain & Richard in one and Lorna & Lydia in the other.

Paddling a Canadian canoe requires co-operation between the person in the front & the one in back. Initially, Lydia & Lorna struggled with this but eventually got the hang of it as we progressed up the west shore of Windermere where, eventually, we reached the small island of Silver Holme.

Here, we rafted up the canoes as we prepared to cross Windermere to make our return journey down the eastern shore of the lake. This was done by connecting the two canoes with a central wooden spar and then tensioning the two boats using the ropes (painters) at the front and the back. Rafting up two or more Canadian Canoes makes them much more stable/safe; and the teams in each boat can work together to make progress.

So why did we raft our two Canadian Canoes together? Well, for what was to come! Windermere at this point is about 600 metres wide; and a breeze had built up during the first half of our session.

Crossing the lake with two novices in one canoe and one in the other would have been a very risky business! Rafted, we managed the crossing without incident, but when we turned south into the wind, we found it too strong to make any real progress - so, back across the lake to the west shore we went!

We eventually arrived back at Fell Foot at about 5pm. Photo three shows a tired but satisfied group. No wonder they were tired as we had done a total of 5 & a half miles in three hours; and half of that was paddled against a headwind!

Our Introductory Canadian Canoeing Sessions in The Lake District start at just £45 per person for a four hour half day session. We do offer discounts for children and for this session, we charged £100 or a little over £33 each for Richard, Lorna & Lydia's half day session with Iain.

Canadian Canoeing is a great way to explore The Lake District's lakes & rivers and the best way to enjoy your first adventure on water where you are in control. Contact us here to book your Canadian Canoeing Session in The Lake District. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Guided Fell Walking in The Lake District. Helm Crag. Friday 21st October 2016.

After our great day out on Blencathra the previous day, Iain was back at working guiding Donise and Leila the next morning. This time the pair had picked Helm Crag, Grasmere as their objective and our start time 11am.

This pretty little mountain overlooks Grasmere and is famous for it's distinctive summit rock outcrops known as "The Lion & The Lamb" and the true summit going by the names of "The Witch and The Organ/The Howitzer". Photo one sees Leila enjoying some rock climbing on the true summit of Helm Crag which is a steep rock crest overhanging on it's east side.

Photo two sees Leila and Donise just beyond the true summit of Helm Crag. Iain & Leila climbed four routes on the left hand sloping side of this rocky buttress. Leila was delighted to be "working with the rope" again just as she had been the previous day on Sharp Edge. Donise was quite happy to sit and watch her little girl climbing today.

Our next objective - the "other" rocky outcrop of The Lion & The Lamb lay only a couple of hundred metres along the summit crest, but disappointingly for Leila. there was, no easy rock climbing to be done there.

However, there was this deep cleft just next to the outcrop of The Lion & The Lamb for Leila to explore. The downhill entrance to this could be easily reached and so Iain & Leila went to explore.

Photo three sees Leila in the cleft with Donise just beyond at the head of a short but difficult climb out. It was easy for Iain to get Leila up this climb; at which point she duly ran back around and asked to do it again. Anything to keep the customers happy! Iain wasn't getting out this way himself, so had to walk back down the cleft and climb back up by the easy route.

There has clearly been some geological cataclysm on Helm Crag many thousands of years ago. The whole of the east side of the mountain appears to have subsided by some 25 metres having torn away from the mountains crest. This has produced a rocky trench just below the summit crest and the distinctive shapes of The Howitzer and The Lion & The Lamb which both overhang on their eastern sides as a result.

Out route up Helm Crag had started at Ghyll Foot on the north east side of the mountain, we crossed the foot of the pretty Greenburn Valley and then headed up to the col between Helm Crag & Gibson Knott - a distance of only 3/4 of a mile and some 600 feet of ascent. From there is was only a short distance to the summit of Helm Crag where, we climbed for a while before going to explore the cleft at The Lion & The Lamb. We then descended via the south ridge of Helm Crag (photo three) to Lancrigg (another of Wordsworth's many one time residences in the area) through a pretty arboretum before following the road back under the eastern side of the fell back to Ghyll Foot - it didn't take long!

The total distance for this short, but pleasant guided walk in The Lake District was 4.2 kilometres (2.61 miles) and 264 m (866 feet) of ascent. We did the whole route in under four hours which suited Donise's itinerary for the pair for the day very well.

Our half day (four hour) guided walks in The Lake District cost just £100 for one to four persons. for more than four persons add £20 per additional person. With Iain's lifetime experience living and working in the area you can be sure to have a great experience. Contact us here to book your guided walk in The Lake District - we look forward to working with you.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Guided Fell Walking in The Lake District. Blencathra by the classic ridges of Sharp Edge & Hallsfell Ridge. Thursday 20th October 2016.

After his easy day out last Wednesday with Ray & Nicole Palmer, Iain was out the next day with Donise Winter & her daughter Leila for something a bit more challenging!

Donise & Leila make regular pilgrimages from London to their cottage near Windermere; and Iain has guided then up a number of Lake District mountains during this Summer. Thursday was our fourth day out with the pair who absolutely love walking in the Lake District Mountains and the fourth time we've been blessed with good, dry weather too.

Today, the weather didn't appear to have started out as per the MWIS forecast, which had stated visibility would be good on the mountains, with almost no risk of showers. On the drive to meet the pair, the Lake District mountains were observed to be shrouded in cloud and we had several showers en route, but but the time we got to the top of Mousthwaite Comb - things were looking a lot better (photo one).

Yes - our walk in to Scales Tarn saw the weather improve markedly. The skies cleared and the sun warmed us up; and there was no breeze. Just perfect!

The walk from Mousthwaite Comb alongside the River Glenderamackin is a mere 2 kilometres, with only a short climb to Scales Tarn, so we were soon there. Our objective - Sharp Edge (photo two) was swathed in mists that kept on clearing, but by the time were were on it, it was completely clear of cloud. This short arete has a notorious reputation! Short , it might be, but as it merges with the shoulder of Foule Crag it becomes extremely narrow with precipitous drops on both sides and due to the traffic it receives, the rock is very polished and hence, very slippery! Sharp Edge is definitely a place for which you'll want to engage the services of a Mountaineering Instructor to guide you if exposure and tricky scrambling are not your thing, but if you do this, then Sharp Edge can still be part of a great days Fell Walking in The Lake District on one of the areas most popular high summits.

Donise found Sharp Edge quite a challenge although little Leila took it in her stride (she loves scrambling & climbing on rock and does so at every opportunity when in the mountains!) There was a feeling of exhilaration, a sense of real achievement and relief (we think!) when the three finally reached the footpath at the top of the slabs on Sharp Edge - time for a celebration by having a bit more lunch!

The top of Blencathra was clouded in, but as we approached it, that also cleared and we had great views in all directions. Photo three sees a very satisfied Donise with Leila. The mountain in the background, left, is Skiddaw - a future objective for the pair.

For our descent from the summit of Blencathra back to the car, Iain gave Donise & Leila 3 options: The Scales Fell descent is the easiest & shortest route back; a walk along the summit ridge west to Blease Fell, a descent to it's foot and then a traverse all the way back east along the foot of the mountain is the longest route; and the descent directly from Blencathra's summit via the precipitous Hallsfell Ridge and Halls Fell, the most interesting (photo four). It was no surprise to Iain that Leila should pick the latter option and we all enjoyed this scrambling descent down to point where the ridge broadens out on the way down the the intake wall at Gate Gill.

This was another excellent guided walking day in The Lake District for Donise & Leila and another one "off the tick list". Apparently, it was Donise's most challenging fell walk to date!

Our Guided Fell Walking Days in The Lake District including a "passage of interest" such as a scramble like Sharp Edge cost £160 per day and you will be guided by a Mountaineering Instructor - not a Mountain Walking Leader! Walks such as these are a great way to experience all that the area's mountains have to offer; and Iain knows them well having been walking & climbing in the area for over 40 years. You can be assured of a great day out in Iain's company, so contact him here to book your Guided Fell Walking Day in The Lake District. You won't be disappointed!