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

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Otherworldly Images

Descending Alum Pot, in the Yorkshire Dales, via Dolly Tubs pitches in the right conditions can give the opportunity to capture some interesting even otherworldly images...

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Stoneycroft Ghyll: Present & Past

We were back in Stoneycroft Ghyll again yesterday, we've been there quite a lot this year!

Yesterday we entered the ghyll at the traditional starting point of the metal plate and did everything, including the so called "canyoning" section, right down to the road bridge. It was a great day out with a great group of folk, some of whom we've got to know very well over the years & have become good friends. I always enjoy Stoneycroft and in particular the less well traveled section from the normal get out down to the road. The pictures below give a taste of what can be experienced there.

As is the norm the ghyll was busy, I couldn't begin to estimate the number of people that must descend it each year? 

Walking past the various mining remains that can still be clearly observed I reflected on how few of those who visit would believe the industrial heritage of the now "idyllic" Stoneycroft Ghyll. Ian Tyler suggests that Stoneycroft Mine: "... is perhaps one of the most important mine sites in the county; it is still shrouded in mystery and a site worthy of a visit..." The ghyll was first mined in what I would refer to as its lower reaches, near to the bridge, for lead by the early German miners. Around 1680 the engineer David Davies sank an engine shaft in the stream bed, however, the elements prevailed and heavy rains burst the dams he created tragically drowning the miners downstream. Mining did not  re-commence until the mid-1800's; a 22' water wheel was constructed amidst extensive engineering. The project did not last and mining ceased again after less than ten years. There is more on this in the excellent: "The Lakes & Cumbria Mines Guide" by Ian Tyler.

Its hard to imagine Stoneycroft as a hive of industry today, to an extent & unlike Snowdonia I feel the present perception of the Lake District is somewhat blinkered to its relatively recent alternative past... a good thing or a bad thing?

Friday, 10 July 2015

A Week This Summer

The first full week of July 2015 has been a great week in the outdoors, broadly speaking its been very similar to each week since the beginning of March! There have been a rich & varied range of activities and we've had the pleasure of spending time with a truly diverse bunch of people from every walk of life.

The mainstay of our work always has been and always will be our "Community Programme" Saturday saw us enjoying an extended day underground in the Yorkshire Dales. It was physical, muddy but full of everything that makes Yorkshire's underground environment such a special place. We abseiled into a large surface pot hole; crawled through passages caked in a clay deposited during the last ice age and looked up in awe at enormous subterranean caverns.

Sunday was another day underground, this time on a freelance basis, with a group of young people from Northern Ireland so it was back to the Yorkshire Dales on a fine sunny day. The water levels were low as we caved ahead of a forecast change in the weather later in the day. None of the group had caved before, its always a real privilege to cave with folk who have never ventured into the underworld. The view over the karst landscape towards Pen-y-Ghent was as good as ever!

Monday could have been another day underground but on occasions at this busy time of year it really is necessary to get one or two "life" things done and a day spent in the office and around Carlisle was needed....

Tuesday, was a return to Lake District for some freelancing: archery and ghyll scrambling. Whilst a mild but very wet Wednesday began with a journey to the North East to work with a group of guys we see on a regular basis. The venue was the busiest Ellerton Water Park I've ever seen. The army, two schools and ourselves resulted in over a hundred water users on the day - there was still plenty of room and a very wet day both in & on the water was enjoyed!

It was back to the Lake District Thursday for a repeat of Tuesday's freelancing. Friday has been a day of preparation for tomorrows canoeing day with another group of young people from the North East, we are looking forward to it, ahead of more of the same next week!