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

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

22 March 2014

The last post for March 2014 will be regarded as somewhat "off subject" by regular readers of these pages. Its not the first time there has been a deviation from the usual "outdoorsy" theme but such diversions are admittedly quite rare. The reason for this - I got married on Saturday!

So, no canoes, mountains or caves this time; no photographs of folk in caving suits; helmets & lamps. Rather, it'll be shiny vintage cars; Churches and folk in their finery - although the cake was in the shape of a mountain.

The wedding cast was as follows:

Bride, the lovely Marion
Groom, me
Best Man, Paul Rich
Bridesmaid, Charis
Giving the Bride Away, Josh & Charis
Minister, Rev Kim Hurst
Sermon, Rev Peter Ormerod
Readings & Prayers, Alan & Mim Rainford
Photography, Mike Fox

All on location at Wigton Methodist Church & later at the Wheyrigg Hotel (near Abbeytown)

My day started with a short run in Carlisle followed by a trip into Wigton & return for a catch up with my daughters. Paul & Joy picked me up at noon & it was back to Wigton for lunch in the Monkey Tree - with tension mounting! The weather was cold and dry as we took the short walk to a Church at which guests had already started to arrive.


It was good to spend the majority of the anxious waiting time at the Church door, meeting & greeting guests. The Church was full. At this stage all of the action being outside, thankfully Marion arrived on time, looking fantastic with a little help from the Wedding Warehouse, Carlisle and Marie Hill Millinery, Lockerbie!


We'd put much thought and work into the Church service and are really grateful to: Kim for all she did both on the day and in preparation; Peter for an excellent talk and Alan & Mim for readings and prayers.


While we were signing the registers the video below was played: a series of photos from our work & travels over the summer and autumn of 2013

                                                                 Click here to view

It was a great occasion at the Church, with just a short time after the service for more photos & a chance to speak to a few folk.


Then it was back to the Wheyrigg for food, speeches & Ceilidh Dancing with the "Border Pilgrims"


We had a fantastic day!

Thanks to everyone who was there & made it all possible!!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Re-Post: Last Year's Open Canoe Expedition

Over the weekend we joined the celebrations for Sara's recent wedding & spent some time on Sunday morning reminiscing over past: caving trips; paddling ventures & more specifically last year's open canoe expedition in North West Scotland.

It came out in conversation that a few folk hadn't seen some of the photos & video from the trip, so I've re-posted below:

Click here for GoPro Hero3 Video from trip

Friday, 14 March 2014

Binsey By Night

Last Friday night, with good weather being heralded for the first time this year there was an evening of firsts!

Regular readers will by now be tired of my "twining" (forgive the attempt at a bit of local dialect) about being too busy to get out in the fells or the weather being too poor. Well to underline the point my first opportunity of 2014 arose on Friday evening! Leaving Wigton at 7:30 I took the short drive via the A595 & A591 to Bewaldeth and set off up Binsey at about 7:50. Leaving the car its digital thermometer was oscillating between 2-3 degC

Now Binsey is far from the best of Wainwright's 214 with probably its only real claim to fame being that it is the most northern of them. Its a bit of a grassy hill really. However, due to its very local position I've visited its summit more times than I can remember: in a heat wave; in the snow; with the dog; with more school groups than I can recall; I've taken communion on the summit; it was George's first Wainwright....... But I've never been up there in the dark, until last Friday.

It was a bright moonlit night and although fully equipped with head torch, map & compass none of them were used for more than a few minutes as natural light and familiarity with the terrain made life straightforward. Along the muddy track; reach the intake wall; diagonal traverse to the disused gravel pit; find West Crags; head for the summit mound.

The summit of Binsey is quite well decorated for such an insignificant summit; carins, shelter, trig point. The views are tremendous on a clear day: The Solway & South West Scotland; Skiddaw & the Northern Fells and South West into the Lake District proper. Even in the dark it was impressive with the lights of Wigton; Anthorn Masts; and numerous smaller Cumbrian settlements.

I attempted some time lapse photography with the GoPro camera but it didn't turn out well - so not many pictures, to compound matters my phone battery ran out!

However, it didn't take long to cook a "Mountain House" potato, ham & eggs meal - it was distinctly average(!) before setting off back down again, the whole venture took only about two hours (not quite matching my best fell running time for this route of just 41 minutes, I know its not great but at least its my record). Anyway, there was still time at the end of the night to call back via Wigton for a curry in Lazeez (good!) & a beer in "The Vic" - also both firsts.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

North Pennines

It continues to be a very hectic spell of life! Whereas for much of the last year its been a real blessing for the aspect of work which involves the delivery of outdoor activity to be dominant, the last two or three months have been swamped in far more office based activity.

The weekend offered some brief respite and for the first time this year coincided with a short spell of brighter more settled and dry weather. We took the opportunity to head off in the afternoon to check out some potential activity venues and options in the North Pennines. Its an area we are anticipating doing much work in this summer.

I do like the North Pennines, mine exploration in this part of the country has been often reported on these pages. However, visits to: High Cup Nick; Great Dun Fell; Cross Fell; Greggs Hut and the like have been seldom for me but the memory is of high, wild & lonely places so the prospect of spending an extended period of time there this year appeals greatly.

So it was with much anticipation we set off to Knock and Dufton: pouring over maps; planning; plotting and drawing mental pictures of just what might be possible................

Photography - by Marion