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, 22 November 2015

Changing Seasons

2015 has been a blessed year containing much to be thankful for! Even now, late in November, we have just completed a busy week of canoeing & caving. Next week is by no means devoid of activity with three days on the water already in the diary. 

However, as the best Indian Summer I can remember has given way to winter storms Abigail & Barney so the weather has recently taken a further turn. Friday saw the wind begin to swing around to the North and we woke on Saturday to frost and a dusting of snow. The drive down the M6 to Ingleton featured the Lake District and Howgill Fells looking magnificent, topped in white for the first time this winter. The Yorkshire Dales were at their finest as the photo below attempts to capture the scene.

We had a great day in the Dales as a small group tackled an old favourite, Alum Pot. The walk up the fell was Baltic as a North wind scoured the flanks of Ingleborough and we were happy to drop underground at the Diccan Pot entrance. I was the only one of our number to have done the trip before so every twist and turn of the cave brought something new: the crawl to gain the main stream way; deliberations and attempts at the Cheese Press; drop into the slot; a roped climb down and on to the Dolly Tubs for the first abseil & traverse - I enjoy this adventure! The story from this point is better told by the images below:

"Apres Cave" tea & cake in Inglesport were welcome & it was good to get home to a warm house, hot food and company for dinner.

Today dawned equally cold and bright, I like this kind of weather. After a morning at Church and coffee in a bustling pre-Christmas Carlise my mind is just starting to adjust to the forthcoming season of advent and subsequently Christmas. Practically the balance will begin to shift from a heavy bias on group work towards winter projects and much training. Mentally and spiritually the mood will become increasingly more reflective as we move into December and on towards the end of another year. This is a good time ...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Caught Up Now...

Thanks to all regular readers of these pages for persisting with us through this last couple of months where posts have been scarce! We are just about caught up now and with the winter ahead. looking forward to seasonal "projects".

There's quite a bit of open boating planned and a few caving days already in the diary. It'll be nice though to get out in the local fells & who knows we might even get some snow. Posts will hopefully be more frequent so please keep dropping in ...

A Day on the Lune

Looking back through my canoeing log book revealed that it was November 2003 when I last paddled on the River Lune. On that occasion myself, Paul Richardson and Graham Simpson accessed the river at Tebay in open canoes and paddled the section down to Beckfoot in torrential rain on a rapidly rising river. My recollection of the day was that we got on immediately below a waterfall and paddled a fairly continuous stretch of grade 2/2+ water as three solo paddlers. No pictures, just memories of a good day out.

Fast forward a full twelve years and a group of us got on the same river, this time at Beckfoot and paddled down to the Rawthey confluence in kayaks. The level this time was low and made for a technical paddle on this grade 2 and 3 section of the river. Of particular interest were the gorges & the two weirs which are towards the end of the trip, the second (Stangerthwaite Weir) was of particular interest I've never ran one quite like this before. We didn't stop often for photos as such those below are all from the "strid" section.

Loch Tay: November 2015

Loch Tay and the River Tay has been a canoe trip which has been on the agenda for many years, as such it was a real privilege to be invited along to help lead a three day journey from Ardeonaig to Aberfeldy during the first week of November.

The first day was short with a quiet float from Ardeonaig itself across the loch in flat calm conditions to a superb beach where we camped for the night. Accommodation, across the board, was under tarps which was great to see! Food cooked; fire lit on a fine starry night - what a start!!

Day two dawned equally still with the loch shrouded in mist. We set off paddling east in the direction of Kenmore, making a long diagonal open crossing quite early in the day back over to the south side of the loch. As the day went on the mist thickened and by mid afternoon we found ourselves paddling in an eerie silence, visually insulated from the world around us. Our destination was Priory Island (Eilean Nam Ban) which we could easily have missed given the low visibility conditions! Our arrival at the island, which is quite small and clearly frequently camped on, was late afternoon. A repeat of the previous night took place with tarps swiftly built and a blazing campfire established.

We were quite a large group and as such divided into three sub-groups to run the river the following morning. My group set off first and after a short coaching section under the bridge at Kenmore we quickly came upon the first and most entertaining rapids on this stretch of the river in the area of "Chinese Bridge". Everyone did well handling the loaded boats down the bouncy wave trains - great fun! Unfortunately no pictures of this part of the journey. The level was such that we arrived promptly in Aberfeldy egressing the river just upstream of Wade's Bridge. It was nice to spend a little time in Aberfeldy, a place I've not visited for over 20 years - looking forward to repeating this journey...

More Day's Out With Families

This is really just a collection of images captured on two great days out with families (one of which was our own!) in very different locations namely Headend Quarry, another local favourite and the other a classic trip in Smallcleugh Mine at Nenthead with two families from Hexham.

Climbing At Scratchmere Scar

This is the first of a series of "catch up" articles to try to get the blog back up to date again!

Hopefully, we'll get accompanying photos on to Flickr to complete the job.

We've been incredibly blessed with work continuing well into the Autumn this year and until recently the weather to go with it has been un-seasonally fine [Winter storms Abigail & Barney seem to have put paid to this now!!]

October closed out with a well attended family climbing day at Scratchmere Scar near Penrith, this is a venue we have come to like very much - not far from home & tucked away amongst the trees on a hill commanding great views. From a personal perspective it was great to be climbing again with long time friend John Pear. We spent the whole day climbing at the Sycamore Buttress end of the crag starting with easier routes and working up through the grades. There was a great sense of satisfaction about the day as everyone achieved at some level whether from rigging climbs to accomplishing a grade above that which they had successfully climbed before. The weather was kind to us with threatened afternoon rain not materialising.

I guess we probably caught one of the last days before the onset of winter that this tree shrouded venue will have remained climbable. We're already looking forward to returning next year. Hope the photos give a flavour of the day, there'll be more on Flickr shortly.