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

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Monday, 27 April 2015

Time Flies...

Its hard to imagine that later this week the month of May will be upon us! March and April have been a very busy time, in fact March is already a fading memory. As is often the case its difficult to post regularly at this time of year - please accept our apologies.

April began with a week off and a trip down south to catch up with family & friends, Easter quickly transitioned to our first open canoe expedition of 2015. There was an article posted on these pages which covered the trip, we were blessed by the most amazing weather!

Exped was quickly followed by another glorious spell of weather which saw us working in both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks' - we spent a day on Ullswater with a youth group (canoeing & Team Development Games); a day underground in Sunset Hole & Great Douk with a great group of folk from Sunderland; before reverting back to the Lake District for a spell of freelancing. Sadly, the weather changed for today's group of young people but we had a an excellent, albeit it cold, morning in Stoneycroft Gill followed by more Team Development Games by the River Derwent at Grange. Looking into the week ahead we are expecting another visit to the Lakes for some canoeing; an evening's caving and some climbing, "stackers" and bushcraft on a Church weekend - that'll see May well and truly arrived!!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Canoe Journey

An extended open canoe journey is a highlight of any year, when the weather is exceptional it becomes a very special occasion. After a six hour drive up to the Glenfinnan House Hotel (where the owners are very "canoe friendly") and the usual "faff" of moving equipment from vehicles to boats; four well laden open canoes slipped silently into the calm waters of Loch Shiel under clear blue skies: the journey had begun.

It was to be just an hour or so paddle to locate a suitable campsite on this shortened first day. Any breeze that existed was in our faces and secluded, wild, beach campsites were abundant, it didn't take long to locate one. The first of two very comfortable nights were spent under a tarp whilst others went for a variety of tarp, tent and hammock options.

The next day dawned misty and full of promise for another good day progressing down this 30km long loch. Glass calm to start, with a breeze that picked up later in the day to produce a few white topped waves, the paddling conditions were excellent. Among the highlights of the day was a visit to Gaskan Woods and "Wildernesse" cottage - the home of Mike Tomkies from where he wrote the book "A Last Wild Place". Fittingly we spotted our first Golden Eagle when beaching the boats at Gaskan Wood. It was good to spend ten minutes talking to the present inhabitants of this lonely place. A little improvised sailing was also in order for the day before another near perfect campsite was found for our second night in the wilds.

On cue Friday dawned bright and clear and before long the anticipated increased wind speeds arrived with 30mph gusts making for quite a technical paddle amidst breaking waves. A planned early exit from the Highlands necessitated a camp as close to civilisation as possible for our last night, it wasn't difficult to find one that retained all of its wild feel. There were no tarps for this one, forecast overnight rain and sleet with strong winds forced us all into tents. The evening, however, remained fine and a superb final night's camping in the company of Golden Eagles was enjoyed.

Overnight snow fell on to the higher ground and a short, quiet paddle back to buildings, cars and people followed. 

It was good!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


The mine exploration website www.aditnow.co.uk recently ran a "Snowy Photo Competition".

Adrian Wintle, a Canoes Mountains & Caves "regular", joined us for a snowy day in Swaledale under & overground in January. He took a photo that went on to become our photograph of the month for January. Ad went on to enter the same photo in the "Adit Now" competition & it won, we've re-published the photo below - it's a good one!

Well done Ad!!

Looking Out From Bunton Level, Gunnerside Gill, Swaledale

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Day!

As Lent turns into Easter Day, and our 'mini expeditions' draw to a close, we hope our reflections of this period have been helpful to those of you who have joined in the exploration with us and that today you can rejoice in 'The Greatest Day in History' ...


Saturday, 4 April 2015

Photo of the Month - March

Albeit a few days late March's 'Photo of the Month' comes from our day out that became full of thanksgiving for achievements ...

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wild Places & Betrayal - Part 2

Nearing the end of our Lent reflections with thoughts from yesterdays blog:

“I always have, and still do, regard the outdoors as a place where well-being is enhanced. This sobering experience tested my trust in this thinking, the nearest I’ve got to considering the concept of “betrayal” in the outdoors”
Have our lives become disloyal and deceitful, letting other people down in order that we may benefit or gain in an unhealthy way?
Are our lives bruised and pierced because of broken trust?
Is it time to consider what and who we are trusting in?