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

Monday, 18 November 2013

At Work

There aren't that many photos of "my bad self" on these pages but after Saturday's Family Ghyll Scramble I posted this series on Twitter. Its not a bad life........

Not too early a start to the working day

Busy, busy....


Brew Time

Back to it


Its a hard life


Home time.....


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ghyll Scrambling

Apologies, its a period of quite short posts at the moment (perhaps some prefer it that way?!).

We spent Saturday working for In2venture on a family Ghyll Scramble in Sour Milk Ghyll, Borrowdale. The weather was kind for the time of year & water levels were low. It was a really enjoyable time for those involved with challenges met & fears conquered!

Last Week's Climbing

Three days of last week were spent on a climbing course, its an area of outdoor activity that I've not really paid a lot of attention to over the years so this was a first formal, structured look at this area. So training now complete, there'll be an investment in a bit more new kit and a winter project will now ensue aimed at up-skilling towards assessment next Spring.

We spent a few hours at the Kendal Climbing Wall (no pictures from here); a day at Hutton Roof (it was Baltic) and a really interesting  day at Scratchmere - just outside of Penrith. Thanks to Glyn Mitchell for an excellent few days!

Photographs From Hutton Roof

Saturday, 9 November 2013


We've been spending quite a bit of time this year developing activity options in the North Wales area. Last week saw a three day visit with Alan Rainford & Clare Mackey to familiarise ourselves with the vast Cwmorthin Slate Mine near Tanygrisiau.

Day one started at the Lakeside Cafe with a meet up with our good friend Dave Baines for an initial guided look through the mine, it was a massive help to wander around with Dave. The ground we covered would have taken days to sort out by ourselves. Entering the mine at lake level we headed off down the incline plane to begin the vertical descent through the system.

An initial traverse on the right followed by crossing over the incline plane leads to the head of the first pitch - a straightforward abseil that we rigged for pull through. The pitch lands at the foot of the "stairway to heaven"

From here its possible to re-access the incline plane or, as a better alternative, head through to the catwalk traverses & use the excellent infra-structure provided by "Go Below" to box around the huge void to gain a second abseil.

Once again we rigged the pitch for abseil and descended another floor heading for the bridge & back out on to the incline plane.

Descending the incline plane another level allows access to the final pitch, which is on the right hand side and is the biggest of the three at a full 20m,

A further pull-through abseil saw us land once again able to access further excellent infra-structure in the form of the "pipes" a nice walk way with chains for the hands which allows a section of deeper water to be crossed dry-shod. Thanks again to "Go Below"

This is D/E floor where a compressed air line, on the ground now, can be followed via two side-steps to the left before ascending towards to the ceiling. At this point a slight step to the right and short ascent allows "Level French" to be gained.

We followed Level French to a sharp right hand bend before working our way right again to vast chambers and the head of the zig zag steps which were descended to G Floor & Graf Spee House. A little "ratching" around G floor was followed by a return to the house & exit via the back of the chamber & ultimately the ascent of an incline plane back on to D/E floor & a walk along past the water wheel; compressor house and then the boundary with Oakley Mine. We then back-tracked until the passage just after the compressor to emerge in a chamber above Graf Spee House from where we headed back to the foot of the incline plane. It was a hard slog back up - especially carrying a good 100m of rope & tackle so we headed off at the up turned cart to locate the "Stairway to Heaven" in order to complete our ascent back to Lake Level.

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.
We returned to the mine on Thursday and repeated the "rope free" section of the above trip & also explored the area of the Old Vein incline plane & then again on Friday to repeat the vertical trip above.
All in all a very productive 3 days in the biggest mine system I have visited and undoubtedly the best vertical mine exploration I have experienced.  Big thanks to Dave Baines for all his help.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Few Days In Torridon

Its been a pretty intense passage of time since returning from a working holiday in Snowdonia at the end of August so we were well ready for a few days in wild Torridon over the half term holiday last week.

We stayed for 5 days at the absolutely excellent B&B facility "The Loft" at Inveralligin. The accommodation, which is owned by the very hospitable Glyn & Pete, is finished to an excellent standard and offers B&B with a slight difference! If you are heading in this direction I couldn't recommend it highly enough!

The journey up was long (we did however divert very much off-route to Hawick to visit friends on the way) so it was a late arrival on a wet Sunday evening.

Waking on Monday morning gave a first impression of just what an excellent location this is. Inveralligin is about 4 miles west of Torridon and it was a pleasant walk there and back through The Torridon House estate after a late start to the day. The cafe at Torridon provided a good coffee & cake stop in the middle!

 The Loft - Inveralligin

Diverse Views Between Inveralligin & Torridon

Tuesday was planned (although it was always more a hope than reality given the forecast for the week) as a Benn Alligin mountain day. Unfortunately the forecasters were very much correct and low cloud; frequent torrential showers; hail & the wind blowing a hoolie led us to decide to head for the lower Sgorr a Chadail (in the photos above). We parked at the Benn Alligin car park just outside Inveralligin & headed up the path towards Coire Mhic Nobuil. Breaking off the path just before the footbridge lead to a really good day out - no paths (nav by features); plenty of scrambling & between showers some excellent views. I'd never heard of this hill but if it was in the lake District it would be very popular!

Sgorr a Chadail

Wednesday, got off to a good start with the most incredible dawn over Loch Torridon.
We spent the day which initially turned out a bit better than forecast with a visit to Gairloch.

Thursday - long drive back home & the start of a tour of Northern England!