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

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Afternoon On Ullswater

Like much of the country Cumbria saw some snow last night and waking this morning there was a good covering remaining even at low levels.

I understand that there were plenty of issues on the regions' roads overnight but by this morning a combination of slightly milder temperatures and the efforts of the local authorities resulted in, for me at least, trouble free travel.

Nige & I set off just after lunchtime with one of my open canoes to enjoy a short paddle in stunning scenery on a breezy Ullswater. As well as making the most of the conditions we planned to continue to ascend (hopefully!) the steep learning curve of "how to best use" the GoPro Hero3 camera.

The YouTube channel link at the top right hand corner of this page will reveal our efforts!!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Wintry In Bannerdale Today

Was this morning the last outing in snow this season?

It was certainly wintry on Bannerdale Crags, North Lakes, ahead of the well forecast front that is due to move through today.

Hope its not the end of winter conditions but just in case.........................................

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Day on Raise With In2venture

Group: Ferg, Graham, Alan & Me

Weather: Lying dry powder snow thigh deep in drifts but with a general covering of several inches; very still; visibility varying from perfect to near whiteout

Where: Helvellyn Ridge from Thirlmere side, Lake District

Moon Over Sticks Pass
We left Stannah at about 10:30 in cold, still and quite overcast conditions. The day always had the promise of some good views as the picture to the north towards Skiddaw and Blencathra was one of clearing skies.

Sticks Pass is a real slog either up or down and today we were quite slow with winter gear faff consuming too much time! There was virtually nobody around - which I quite like but was nevertheless surprising given the promise of such good conditions. The trudge through deep snow in places up to the "crossroads" at the head of the pass seemed to take ages and we all agreed was quite tiring in these conditions.

A right turn at the "crossroads" saw the cloud clear for just a few minutes & we could see the summit of Raise (the only peak in this range I've not visited before). There was a frantic scramble for cameras at this point but I need to come clean and say that everything I took was rubbish! Hence, can't share this one with you! We did, however, spy for the first time for any of us the Raise ski tow. Before we got chance to begin the ascent towards the top the cloud had dropped again and visibility was pretty poor.

The main path which broadly follows the summit ridge across the Dodds and Helvellyn etc passes just below the Raise cairn and we deviated off to the East in order "bag" Raise. I've often heard this section to the North of Helvellyn described as "boring", however, under these conditions and at only just shy of 3,000' it felt like a good mountain to me. We were even rewarded with a short improvement in visibility for our visit.

We began our descent, off-piste of course, aiming for Brund Gill and within minutes were back into low cloud and the loss of any potential views out across Thirlmere. The snow in the area at the head of the gill was the deepest we saw all day with Alan disappearing waist deep at one point.

In clearing skies we reached the lower slopes, still with an ample snow covering and headed back across an impressively frozen Fisherplace Gill to Sticks Pass to conclude the day in the clearest conditions we'd seen! The scene back up the valley towards Blencathra was a bit special!

Approximate route map below: about 5 miles & 2,450' of ascent

Monday, 21 January 2013

A Bit More From Helvellyn

Swirral Edge

Just uploaded some GoPro footage taken the other day on Helvellyn with Alan Rainford. Its all taken whilst on the move using the GoPro head camera attachment.

Thanks to Martin for writing & playing some music for me.

You can either click on my YouTube channel (top right of this page) or on the link below to view:

Helvellyn via Helvellyn Gill Path

Sunday, 20 January 2013

You Tube

Just put a new link up towards the top right hand corner of the page to my youtube channel

Its all a bit rustic at the moment but I will get better!

First clip is a 360 degree panorama from the top of Causey Pike taken earlier today, it features Becky & Nige plus a bit of interference from my hand (sorry just practising!)

Catching Up

Still a bit short on words at the moment.

Over the last few days it has been extremely helpful to be able to get into the outdoors that Kay & I spent so much time enjoying & exploring. A day on Helvellyn with my good friend Alan Rainford & this afternoon on Causey Pike with daughter Becky & Nige were absolutely great occasions that I will never forget. Just to be able to be in special places and for the conversation to be completely relaxed whether it was about recent events; normal everyday things or just a comfortable silence - was good.

So just a few photos below:

In order above: outline map of route; looking down on Swirral Edge; Alan Rainford in summit shelter; Red Tarn

In order above: outline map of route; Becky on Causey Pike Summit; Nige (same place); looking back along Scar Crags; The Masked Man

Thank You

After recent events I just need to go public and thank an incredible number of people for their unfailing support; prayers; practical help; kind thoughts and words and so much more.

So to my: family; friends; In2venture friends; all the folk at St Elisabeth's, Harraby; Blaithwaite House staff and all those Blaithwaite visitors who have been in touch; everybody from Widnes; Darlington & the North East; Carlisle & further afield in Cumbria - a massive thank you!

"He Gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint"

Friday, 11 January 2013

11 January 2013

Kay left us at 04:10 this morning.

Don't have the words.

It will be quiet here for a little while


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2013 Looking Forward

Happy New Year!

Kay & I spent New Year's Eve in the hospice, it was the quietest New Year that either of us can remember and as we sat and watched TV it was a good opportunity to just "be" for a few hours - to live in the present.

Now is New Year's Day and its providing a short opportunity to sit down and get caught up on a few things. It feels difficult to do much planning at the moment so I'm going to restrict my thinking to what 2013 might, I hope, bring on these pages & in that one "box" of life that takes place in the outdoors. Although by no means clear the plans do excite me!

Balance! Canoes, Mountains & Caves. Over recent months there have been feasts and famines in these three areas but I hope that 2013 will see:

A return to journeying by open canoe: short day journeys; multi-day expeditions and maybe even a return to some regular white water paddling. For me this is where it all started.

I'm also hoping to be able to make a return to sea kayaking this year.

Time in the mountains is precious & along with lakes are very much the local resource. Journeying has always been the inspiration, days out are fine but our girls bought me a new ruck sack for Christmas that should be small enough to keep things quite light and fast but big enough to exploit more overnight opportunities and spend extra time living in the mountains. Watch this space.

I've always found caving (& mine exploration) to be a very social activity. Of the three I regularly participate in its also by far the most physically challenging and interestingly the one that can be "fitted" into corners of time where other activity would be difficult. So regular caving activity, especially on winter evenings, will remain part of the mix in 2013.

The thought of trying to achieve a balance across the actual "doing" bits in these three areas in the outdoors  genuinely has me "psyched" for 2013  but I'm more than motivated by new plans around how to record & report on activity. As such I hope you will enjoy some very new audio & visual presentation through this blog - keep reading! But for now, here's a clue:

Its a present from Kay - she is good to me!

Competitions - The last photo competition generated some discussion (well done to Bill for correctly getting High Seat) & folk regularly take a stab at trying to identify pictures I don't put any commentary on, so I think we'll have a few more of these!

In2venture - I love In2venture and have been involved with the charity in various capacities for over 20 years now. I'm very much looking forward to continued interaction with many good friends across the North of England, no doubt much of what is written above will involve folk from the charity.

NGB Qualifications - every year this is one of those Steve Redgrave "never going back in a boat moments" so I'm not saying anything but there still are one or two (or even three) things that appeal!

Challenges - its a bit like the above................................................................................................

There is almost certainly something missing and no doubt things will change but for now I pray that you will all enjoy a Happy & Peaceful 2013