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 September 2012

September in County Antrim

Its been a strange passage of time: leaving Blaithwaite; moving house; taking time out with Kay; new treatment for Kay - a lot of change. September comes to a close and a new chapter begins tomorrow. 

For the last few years we have always tried to take time away at the end of September, this year planning has not been easy and was made more complex by Kay starting another course of chemotherapy mid-August. 

Anyway, with the treatment being well tolerated and a review with the consultant completed about ten days ago we hastily put together a visit to Northern Ireland's County Antrim coast, despite the worst efforts of "Nadine" (the storm produced some spectacular seas) we were blessed with good weather for our visit to this spectacular coastline. There are a series of photos below that show a few of the highlights:

Good place to stay, Ballyclough Cottages, we stayed in Bluebell Cottage

Walking in the footsteps of Giants!



Old Bushmills Distillery - Well Worth A Visit

Nadine wreaking havoc off the County Donegal Coast

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Sheffield Pike & Heron Pike

With: on my own

Weather: fine early autumn afternoon; long sunny spells; cloud above summits & strong southwesterly breeze

Where: Lake District, Eastern Fells

Another afternoon exploring the new "local" fells and another couple of summits that have long been on the "to do" list now visited.

Once again just a short drive to Glenridding where on this occasion, the in my opinion, excessive Lake District National Park parking fees were grudgingly paid.

It was a fine afternoon as I set off alongside Gldenridding Beck, crossing at Rattlebeck Bridge and continuing up the Greenside Mine road where Glenriding Screes looked impressive in the afternoon sun.. This was a first visit to the Greenside area where the workings are extensive.
The plan was to spend as much time as possible off established paths and to proceed by following the line of Swart Beck toward the general area of Sticks Pass, however, initial attempts to access the gill from around the Youth Hostel were thwarted by a fence so I continued ascending on the path behind the buildings ultimately following the line of a leat to regain the gill. This was not a great route choice decision as the next section involved fairly continuous scrambling over mine debris so ultimately I returned to the path just ablove Lucy's Tongue / the Dam - nevertheless this did add some interest! The scene at the footbridge across the beck was very reminiscent of the mining environment that is encountered in Swaledale.

Looking Back Down Swart Beck - "Swaledale Like"?
From here there is once again plenty of opportunity to shun the beaten track & I set off from the bridge in an easterly direction across open fell towards the small pinnacles in the direction of the summit of Sheffield Pike - the area is very boggy!

Sheffield Pike summit offered incredible views of Ullswater:

Heron Pike is about 700m SE over more boggy ground and past a few unremarkable tarns. 

Similar excellent views were available:

Descent was via a steep path to the shoulder between Heron Pike & Glenridding Dodd from where the Greenside Mine road was regained and a short walk back into Glenridding.

I like Glenridding, especially when its quiet, it was now about 6:30 and most folk had gone home. The coffee from Fellbites Cafe was good and it was pleasant to be able to sit outside in the early evening at this time of year.

Distance: Approx 6 miles
Heoght Gain: Approx 1900'

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Kay & I spent a few days in the forest this week. There are a selection of photos below:

Tour of Britain 2012

This week the Tour of Britain passed through Cumbria on Wednesday (Stage 4).
After starting in Carlisle we caught up with it in a very wet Penrith.

Team Sky - Mark Cavendish Went on to Win the Stage

The Remainder of the Peloton

The "motorcade" was impressive also

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Daily Mail Cave Photography

I was passed on the link below, its to a recent Daily Mail article and contains some stunning cave photography. Take a look:


The photographer is Robbie Shone there is a link to his blog in the right tool bar on this page.

Thanks to Billy for sending this info through!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Heron Pot

Alan Rainford at Heron Pot Entrance

With: Alan & Clare

Weather: Hmm, dry with brisk SW wind when we went in, with a dry forecast for the following few hours. However, by the time we got out it was raining quite persistently - several hours ahead of the "light" rain forecast by the met office.

Where: Kingsdale, Yorkshire Dales

It was fantastic to be out caving again!

Its been a while & this opportunity presented itself at quite short notice so Alan, Clare & myself set off for Kingsdale & Heron Pot. Parking is opposite Yordas Wood and we set off under grey skies but with the cloud high above the summits and moving quickly, the forecast was for several more hours of dry weather. Across the stile and the general direction of the faint "caver's" path is towards the obvious bend in Gaze Gill. We crossed the gill and continued up the steeper ground; through the gap in the dry stone wall; and along the dry stream bed until after a short distance we found the cave entrance in the right hand bank.

We've been in Heron Pot a couple of times before, its a good short trip offering a bit of everything: low crawling until the main stream way; a fairly classic meandering vadose "Yorkshire" passage; a choice of SRT routes (traditional or high level) and then more fine stream way before the option of an exit into daylight at Gaze Gill or a return back the way you have already travelled.

After a too long of an absence from caving the initial low section brought plenty of adverse comment! However, it wasn't too long before we reached the head of the first pitch, after some debate we opted for the traditional route & I got on with rigging the pitch which has a slightly awkward step round a right hand corner into a small alcove.

The picture (taken by Clare) to the left is of me rigging the Y-hang at the head of the first pitch (I did go on to "dress" the knot!)

We took just one 65m rope (plus a safety rope) and the single rope was more than adequate for both pitches.

A straight hang after the alcove on the first pitch lands in a damp chamber with an ascending traverse directly to the second pitch where a Y-hang tied unevenly ensures no rope rub at the top of the descent, for a completely dry abseil there is a single bolt re-belay part way down.

Alan & Clare at Bottom of Second Pitch
We carried on down the main "canyon-way" until it became very low just prior to the exit. Having decided not to make this a "pull through" trip today we re-traced our steps and ascended the ropes we had left in place. The fact that this was our first trip for some time was underlined on the crawling sections of the exit as a bag full of wet ropes and krabs left in place from de-rigging made things that bit more "awkward".

Three hours or so saw us back in daylight and an unexpectedly wet walk in persistent rain back to the vehicle.

Photos: Clare & Alan emerging from Heron Pot