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

Friday, 27 July 2012

Scafell Pike: With An Overnight Camp At Round How

With: On My Own
Weather: Light winds from south - south westerly direction; first evening humid and low visibility above ca. 400m; second day slightly fresher very low visibility start followed by clearing skies & a glorious day by lunch time.
Where: Lake District
Distance: Approx 11miles & 4,540 feet of ascent (apologies but the top two maps are the first leg & last leg; the middle middle leg is underneath - "blogger" just doesn't seem to want me to put them in the right order!!)

Its ages since my last big outing in the fells, this one could have been done in a day but our daughter is staying  with us at the moment so the opportunity for an overnighter presented itself - it was gratefully accepted.

Leaving Seathwaite at about 16:30 on Thursday afternoon it was humid, 18degC on the car thermometer, the higher summits were shrouded in low cloud and the breeze was almost non-existent. The early steps were very familiar: through the farm; on to Stockley Bridge; cross the gill; over the bridge on Ruddy Gill & up the extensively repaired path. In the upper reaches of Ruddy Gill the cloud base discernibly dropped enveloping me and producing a muted quality to the entire environment, this is how the world presented itself for some time. At the head of the gill it was a right turn, Sprinkling Tarn couldn't be seen at anything more than about 20m range, descending now it was a left turn on to the so called "Corridor Route" (I believe it was once called the Guides Route). There were no big views just a damp gloom all the way to the point at which I peeled off from the Corridor Route at Round How to find a camp site for the night.

It was still well "clagged in" when the tent was pitched. Evening meal was Chicken Casserole & Chocolate Pudding (both Wayfarer's) washed down with green ginger tea made with water from Greta Gill. Then at about 21:00, as if by magic, the cloud lifted to provide some stunning late evening views.

After consuming a "wee dram" I was asleep before ten o'clock and slept like a log through until around seven. It was a great encouragement to look out the front of the tent and see the sun shining on Lingmell.

Unfortunately the sun didn't last for long and by the time I had finished breakfast (porridge) the mist had once again descended. I had contemplated going deep into the bowl of Round How and ascending the gill to gain the summit ridge, however, the lack of visibility helped me to the conclusion that to continue on the Corridor Route might be a better option which I did as far as Piers Gill. Ascending the gill brought some relief from trudging along the path and provided the best walking of the trip so far, the damp of the cloud gave way to a fine soaking drizzle at this point and full waterproofs became necessary. Emerging on to the summit ridge very little could be seen and after a right turn the rocky path shortly gave way to an ascent over the boulder field and past a line of cairns which eventually led to England's highest point at 978m (3,209 feet). Rarely, I had the place all to myself - it was only about half past nine - after peering into the murk and snapping a couple of photos it was time to descend, stopping briefly to exchange pleasantries with three fell runners who were somewhat displeased that I had beaten them to the top!

Now was decision time, optimum route choice was to follow the ridge all the way back along to Great End, alternative was to drop down out of the cloud and be able to enjoy some of the views that are a such motivation for this activity. At Little Narrowcove I opted to descend knowing that this would add another considerable ascent to regain Esk Hause. The descent of the cove is steep and rocky. After dropping about 500' views down into the valley began to appear, frustratingly it wasn't just me dropping out of the cloud - the whole sky became progressively more blue over the next ten minutes and the ridge walk that I had just spurned became clearly visible.

Rapidly Clearing Picture On Descending Little Narrowcove
At the foot of Little Narrowcove the sun was shining and there was a real warmth in the air, the young River Esk now became my companion as I made for Esk Hause. Although there is a green right of way shown on the OS map all the way to the Hause the section which is squeezed between the river and the "Tongue" is most pleasant and has the feel of a path less travelled - a very pleasant section.

Towards Esk Hause

Its worth mentioning at this point that other than the three fell runners on Scafell Pike I hadn't seen a soul since passing Sprinkling Tarn yesterday evening, ascending on to Esk Hause this was about to change!

The views down to Borrowdale and on to Derwent Water were impressive.

Not long now back down alongside Ruddy Gill passing hordes of folk "heading for the top". 

It could have been done in a day but it was far better to have done over two.

Sprinkling Tarn form Esk Hause

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Leaving Blaithwaite

I guess that a good number of folk who regularly visit this blog will already be aware of the fact that Kay & I are leaving Blaithwaite, it now feels timely to go public. In fact, since the beginning of July, we have "stepped down" as Centre Managers and Blaithwaite is being looked after by a Duty Manager and our board of Directors until Darran Draper takes over as Centre Manager at the beginning of September. We are very thankful that the Directors have been able to make this arrangement happen - over the last 12 months managing the Centre has become increasingly difficult against the background of Kay's illness - so this has provided us with some invaluable time together and an opportunity to re-group and prepare for the future.

The seven years we have spent at Blaithwaite have been a deeply rewarding yet challenging experience and we will be forever grateful to Dennis Donald and the Trustees / Directors of In2venture for the faith they demonstrated in us when appointing us to this position, we will take with us many treasured memories!  Blaithwaite is in good shape & we pray that Darran and Moira will be able to oversee much future development and growth here. 

To everybody we have met at Blaithwaite over the last seven years - a big thanks from Kay & I, its been great to get to know you, many of you have become good friends & we'll look forward to keeping in touch.

The Future

In the short term we are very much focussed on moving into a new house and "naturalising" as Cumbrians!

In the Autumn I will take on a newly created role in our "sister" charity In2venture. In2venture is a Christian charity specialising in working with young people through the media of outdoor activity, I will be undertaking some development work on behalf of the organisation - more of this in future posts.

This blog - will continue!

There will be less on Centre life and an increased focus Christian Outdoor Ministry; outdoor activity; Cumbrian life and whatever else seems to be of interest at the time - thanks for reading & watch this space!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

An Afternoon On Derwent Water

2012 is proving to be a challenging time with life being full of twists and turns, there is plenty to think about - more of this in future posts. As for now its good to report that I am recovering nicely from the recent "malaise" (pardon the pun) and hope to be fully up and running again this week.

Over the last few days we've enjoyed our driest spell of weather since May and one of the very few upsides of Kay's illness is that we have got to see a lot more of our daughters and grandchildren, this weekend one of their visits coincided with the better weather and we took a trip to Derwent Water.

I took my Mad River Explorer 16 open canoe, its a green Royalex version (as a piece of trivia I once visited Spartech's factory in Warsaw, Indiana where the Royalex sheets are manufactured - one of the more interesting visits of my time in the plastics industry!!). It was purchased about 12 years ago now & has been a great boat which I've found ideal for white water doubles; multi-day canoe camping trips and like today leisurely floating around. We accessed the lake at Kettlewell at the southern end and just paddled around enjoying the scenerey and each others company. Today was a good day!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Honister Slate Mine

I'm feeling a bit frustrated at the moment, for the first time in seven years I'm having to take some time off. For the last three weeks I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to shake off a virus and the Doctor has now advised me to take a rest. Its a very busy time of year but to be honest I am tired & don't feel great so I need to be patient and let this run its course. Hence, the recent lack of activity posts - please stay tuned normal service will resume as soon as possible!

As such, in today's break in the weather, we took a leisurely drive up to Honister Slate Mine. This is a Lake District tourist attraction that I'm quite keen on a bit more "rustic" and less "plastic" than the usual fare and set in one of my favourite parts of the region. They have a good website . The weather held all the while we were there: tuna pannini & coffee in the Sky Hi cafe and a browse of the extensive display of slate products in the shop; a few photos and a bit of time to soak up the landscape - all good therapy!