Hello, my name is Mal Tabb.
Thanks for visiting our web pages. Marion & I operate a small outdoor activity organisation called Canoes, Mountains & Caves. We provide activities for: adults, young people, schools, charities, families & individuals. A key aspect of our work is the provision of a "Community Programme" which is offered free of charge to participants. If you think we might be able to help please don't hesitate to contact us, you can find out more about what we do on our main website www.canoesmountainscaves.com

Sunday, 30 October 2011

No Hills

The title & theme of this post have been taken from the latest post on the excellent blog "Cairn in the Mist"

This should have been Original Mountain Marathon weekend for Dave Magnall & myself but unfortunately Kay's recent illness worsened leading to her being admitted to hospital midweek - she starts treatment tomorrow, we are hoping and praying that it is both effective and kind to her on the side effects. These are challenging times.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Rhodri Pritchard: A Big Day In Snowdonia

This week I'm really grateful to Rhodri (Rodders) Pritchard for writing my first ever guest post, its very timely because life has contrived to give me a week in which I've spent more time indoors than outdoors (sometimes its just like that).
Rodders spent a year with us at Blaithwaite House and has now moved on to continue his instructor training at the Christian Mountain Centre in Wales. I hope you enjoy his post - looks like they had a great day out! Thanks Rodders.

With: Gavin, Samantha, Josh, Sam, Anna, Megan, Amber.

Weather: Dry, warm, blue skies and sunshine.

Where: Snowdonia, Road by Gwen Gof Uchaf; Tryfan North ridge; Tryfan summit; Tryfan South ridge; Bristly ridge, Glyder Fach summit, along the bottom of the east side of Tryfan back to Gwen Gof Uchaf.

Six weeks into starting my two year instructor training at Christian Mountain Centre and I have done lots already and learnt a whole lot more besides. As part of the training we are given the opportunity to get the mountain leader award. For this award you need to get 20 quality mountain days in before you can even go for training. As part of this whenever I get time as part of work or free time on days off I and the other trainees aim to get some mountains logged. I have already done four days since being here.
A guy I know called Gavin suggested that we do the route I have written about. He described it before hand as “one of the best days out you could have in the whole of Snowdonia”. Gavin and Samantha had recently completed their ML qualifications. The experience they have from that meant the day was a lot more enjoyable and safe. The rest of us were very grateful that they invited us along with them.
The first part of the route involved scrambling up and some points climbing the North ridge of Tryfan. The main route up it is pretty tame, we choose to scramble and climb the harder stuff next to the main route for the most. For those familiar with Tryfan you’ll know of the cannon which is on the North ridge, we stopped here for photos as it was the first time up Tryfan for most of us. When we reached the summit of Tryfan there were a lot of people already there. The main reasons being it was forecast to be a sunny day which it didn’t disappoint, and it was a Saturday.
Adam and Eve looked different to how I had pictured them. They were a lot less tall then I had expected but still tall enough that when you jump them you get an adrenalin rush. Anna, Gavin and I were the only ones who jumped them. It took a lot more courage than I expected with a large drop on one side and the wind pushing you about.
We then headed down the south side of Tryfan. When we got to the bottom we decided we had enough energy and time to climb Bristly ridge, which leads to the top of Glyder Fach. It was a scary climb and scramble at parts due to the fall if you made a mistake. There were some hard bits that we were able to tackle because we all have experience in climbing, which would be a lot harder or impossible for those that don’t. The top of Glyder Fach looked amazing. The large stone formations and a large cantilever makes it a very special looking mountain top. Again the cantilever is a popular photo spot and we were no different from the masses in having our photo taken on it. I personally enjoyed Glyder Fach over Tryfan. Saying that Tryfan was also a very enjoyable mountain to climb. After we reached Glyder Fach summit we headed down the east side of Glyder Fach then back along the bottom of the east side of Tryfan back towards where the cars were parked.
It was one of the best Mountain walking days I’ve done. I recommend doing it if given the chance. Although if you are not that fit and new to any form of scrambling it is a bit daunting.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

First Year of Blogging!

Its hard to believe that a year has past since I started to write this blog - I've really enjoyed it!
Taking photos; writing up and publishing days out has enhanced the whole activity experience. 

A big thank you for 2,353 visits to the site - please keep reading!

To celebrate the first year I've re-published my favourite three photos in order of preference - hope you like them, please let me know if you think I've missed one & whether or not you agree with the order of preference. 

Innominate Tarn with a Snow Flecked Pillar in the Background

Coire Mhic Fheachair
High Seat in the Coldest Winter for Decades

Climbing At Headend Quarry

With: Ferg
Where: Headend Quarry is just outside the northern boundary of the Lake District National Park; mid way between Keswick & Carlisle. Its our local crag.
Weather: bitterly cold NW wind; one or two bursts of sunshine - a heavy downpour brought the session to an early end

Its Autumn Retreat week at Blaithwaite, we've got 15 folk on the retreat & its a great time at the Centre.
Kay covered the office / site while Ferg & I nipped out for about an hour and a half to the quarry. I love the views from the crag, to the south Skiddaw and slightly further afield the North Western fells looked moody & broody. To the north the ever increasing number of wind turbines were working hard & occasional bursts of sunshine illuminated the flatlands which lie between the Northern Fells & the Solway Coast. It was absolutely baltic and only minimal climbing was achieved before a torrential downpour ended things prematurely.

Ferg in one of the few bursts of sunshine!

Thursday, 13 October 2011


With: on my own
Weather: a weak ridge of high pressure gave brief respite from what has been a long wet, windy and mild period. Weather on the day was still, dry with cloud just covering the higher summits. The northern fells appeared to be cloud free
Where: Lake District, Borrowdale Fells; Stonethwaite; via road towards Seathwaite; Tarn at Leaves; Bessyboot summit; Big Stanger Gill; back to Seathwaite

Distance: approx 4 miles; 1500' ascent; walking time 2 hours 35 mins

Rough Route - not drawn all that well, sorry!
Tarn At Leaves
View North From Bessyboot Summit Towards Derwent Water

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Back At Blaithwaite

After a couple of weeks away Kay & I got back to the Centre on Friday - it was good to take some time away but its also good to be back. Blaithwaite has been much busier than normal at this time of year (& this is set to continue) - we had a full site over the weekend; a busy school week & are set to be full again for the coming weekend with another Church and a youth group. Kay is working mornings at the moment dealing with Centre admin; domestics and writing a new community prayer book. I've split my time this week between the archery range; indoor climbing & abseiling and the Centre office.

The weather is definitely autumn: its been windy all week; initially a gusty south westerly and today a bitterly cold north westerly with frequent heavy showers.

An Autumnal Blaithwaite Barn (taken by Kay - not bad?!)

Dave-M & I have decided to make the effort and take up our place in this years Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) at the end of the month - not sure how the injury will hold up - but looking forward to taking part!