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, 27 May 2015

May's Catch Up...

The last couple of weeks have been the busiest of the year so far & we have had a great time! 

We've spent time working with: young people in the North Pennines AONB; freelancing in the Yorkshire Dales National Park; freelancing in the Lake District National Park and enjoyed some great weather for our half-term family day in the North East yesterday. Activities have included: climbing hills; gorge walking; canoe journeys; mine exploration; caving; kayaking and climbing.

Its been great to catch up with friends both as colleagues and clients and equally good to meet loads of new people from a truly diverse range of cultural backgrounds, caving with a group of twelve Russian students being a stand out moment on this front!

Today and tomorrow offer a chance to get caught up, at least a little, in the office; spend some time relaxing and reflecting before another busy spell over the next three weeks. Its hard to summarise a period of time like this in words but hopefully the pictures below offer some idea:

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Guest Post: Climbing With the Cockbains

Thanks go to Jane Cockbain for sending us her thoughts from a recent "Community Climbing" event:

We set off for the Community Climbing event with only a small group of people, made up of 3 adults and 1 teenager plus Mal who ably instructed and encouraged us.
God blessed us with a clear, dry and relatively still evening to set up at Windmore End at Brough, a place I had never been before.

The rock didn't look too daunting as it wasn't that high - the guide book did say however that the place took after its name and could be quite unforgiving with the elements, so when we were there and it was relatively still and we were in a recess, I felt most blessed and almost cocooned.

Before I continue I should just say that I have previously done more abseiling than climbing, mostly in my younger days and more on static towers than hard rock. Our son however, the teenager is lithe and athletic and has always shown an interest in climbing, hence our main reason for joining on the event.

My husband who was happy to keep both feet on the ground willingly took up the belay position with our son climbing one of the first ropes put up. He made it look extremely easy - watching on I thought 'what it is to be young', admiring his speed and confidence. Then came my turn; wearing trainers making it harder I think, I had my feet placed at an angle and I cautiously tried to reach up to grab a hand hold which was just out of reach and failed several times over. Not one for giving up, I had a rest and then tried again and failed. I don't remember this feeling from years ago, I would have made the stretch, had the strength in my fingers and arm to hold on but following invasive surgery to my left side, that stretch and strength are no longer there, the head and heart were willing but the body, not so.

Our son continued climbing on the other 2 routes put up and our other adult climbing partner, through perseverance and a bit of encouragement, made it up all 3, I however only conquered 1. This for me was a great achievement after life's storms of the last 5 years and I came away feeling: tired and happy but challenged, and a sense that I need to be aware of physical limitations but so thankful for the opportunity to spend time with family doing something fun.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Out in the North Western Fells

A couple of new Wainwrights's on Saturday (Mellbreak & Hen Comb):

Mellbreak Looking Quite Imposing

Mellbreak's Scree Slope


Mellbreak Summit

Crossing Mosedale Beck

Hen Comb Summit

About 6 Miles & 2,375' of Ascent

Friday, 8 May 2015

Drawn by Hope & Driven by Fear

The day after election day, its a strange morning to wake up to. 

I can't hide the fact that I seek to be part of an inclusive society that supports the poor and needy; the widow and the foreigner; one that has world class healthcare and public services; one that takes its place alongside our European neighbours rather than courting the concept of a stand alone nation. The ideology that a well supported and cared for elite will ultimately result in wealth trickling down through society resonates to me as the politics of division. 

A recent stand out comment suggested: "People are drawn by hope & driven by fear". 

Now I'm a Unionist rather than a Nationalist, however, I see the people of Scotland being drawn by the hope of what is perceived to be a better future in a progressive society with a clear vision to look forward to, whereas I'm sad to conclude, an English nation that has been driven by fear throughout this election campaign and for longer. The Financial Times lists key "fears" constantly referred to throughout the English campaign: "fear of Scottish nationalism; fear of Labour profligacy; fear of Ed Milliband; seven days to save the NHS" & I would add to the list the unmerited paranoia of "fear of the foreigner".

So this morning, I'd say well done Scotland - the only part of the UK to be drawn by hope & to vote for a bright, positive vision of the future.

Loch Torridon at Dawn

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Photo of the Month: April

There were so many superlative photos taken on Loch Shiel, in beautiful weather, during this years open canoe expedition! As such rather than tackle the impossible task of choosing "the best one" we decided to go for the group photo taken on the last night by Sandra feeling that it captured the true spirit of the trip which was the people who took part.