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, 30 December 2015

2015 Review: Caves

Okay so the format's the same as the last two! This year started & finished underground for us; its included both caves & mines. Mines have perhaps had the edge over the last 12 months and its been good to do two or three "classic" Lake District trips. There'll undoubtedly continue to be lots of mine activity in 2016 but there are strong indications that the pendulum might swing back to caves, watch this space.

It wasn't possible to split January between an old favourite caving trip and the Lake District "special" of Greenside Mine, Helvellyn (another great day out with "The" Dave Baines):

Followed by a cold day in Upper Long Churn cave:

Alan Rainford, Andy Hoe and myself did quite a bit of new (for us) exploration in Brownley Hills mine at Nenthead through this year. This is Andy entering deep water in some of the remotest parts of the mine we have accessed:

Just before Easter we had a day's caving in Great Douk & Sunset Hole with a great group of folk from the North East:

One of the year's iconic photos captured in Smallcleugh Mine, Nenthead when working with a school group in May:

June, a wet exit from Wilson's Cave:

In July I visited Alum Pot with a couple of guys who were looking for a vertical trip. Again it produced some of the most iconic images of the year it'd be a travesty to only select one , what a great day out(!):

We were back in Wrysagn Slate Mine with friends in August, another "favourite"venue:

September is a bit of a personal one really, Andy Hoe & I got into Carrock Wolframite Mine in the Lake District Northern Fells. It'd been on my "to do" list for a good number of years and so it was great to eventually get in there:

Another Lake District special for October, again with Andy Hoe, when we spent an evening in Hartsop Hall Lead Mine which is a real gem:

We got back in Alum Pot in November. It was a "Community Day" but none of those who came out had ever been in Alum Pot before. Again it'd be a shame to only include one photo:

The year finished as strongly as it started with a "sporting" day out in the Yorkshire Dales:

The "underworld" is a personal favourite & I'm very much looking forward to both work and leisure underground in 2016. However, in the meantime Marion & I would like to say a huge "Thank You" to everybody who has participated in any activity with us during 2015, its been a fantastic year & we are very much looking forward to more adventures in the New Year!!

2015 Review: Mountains

2015 was a year that perhaps involved us in the least amount of mountain based activity in recent memory. However, time in the Gorges and Ghylls of both the Lake District and Snowdonia remained very high on the agenda & provided some real highlights and we did grab a few very enjoyable sessions at various crags out and about across the North of England. Amidst all this there were a few very enjoyable days out in the fells and like the last post there are a series of pictures and captions below:

In January we were down in Ingleton buying some shiny new caving gear. A short walk up to the "Cheese Press" stones, West Kingsdale, on a cold, snowy day was a "first". A similar Baltic cold encounter with our local Northern Fells can't be ignored in a review of the year:

In February we enjoyed a classic winter day out with "The Community" on Glaramara. The view shown is looking back at Great Gable:

Two of the "Three Musketeers" were out in March running a session at a favourite North East climbing crag. Once again good to be out with John Pear:

I was torn on this one! We went out for a snowy walk in Gunnerside Gill in January. Adrian Wintle took a fantastic picture looking out into the sunshine from just inside Bunton Level (Lead Mine). I was going to mention it in the January part of the review, however, in April the photo went on to win the "Adit Now" snowy photo competition. It is a very good image:

A day out with "regulars": Brendan, Maccy & Andy Hoe in the North Western Fells was May's only venture out into the hills:

It was June before Marion & I grabbed a first evening in the sun at Headend Quarry:

We had a superb Community gorge walk in Stoneycroft Ghyll in July:

Followed by multiple visits to Afon Merch, Snowdonia in August - what a great week that was. The "Community" holiday that followed wasn't bad either!

Okay, so September is a bit of a cheat! There wasn't much mountain activity in this month but it'd be a shame to miss out some more of the highlights from the "Community Holiday" the month before in Snowdonia. This one is take from the mountain day on Snowdon itself:

We got away for a long weekend in October and did a couple of big days in the Yorkshire Dales. This year we experienced an incredible Indian Summer, the photo below was taken on the Coast to Coast Path in Swaledale on an un-seasonally warm early October day:

The October half term holidays just about stretched into November this year. I suspect the "cragging" pictures below probably just fell into the end of October but a couple days out with "family" both our own & our "Community" family are more than worthy of inclusion:

December has just been wet! Days in the hills have been non-existent, something we'll endeavour to rectify in the New Year as the necessity to walk off too many mince pies becomes overwhelming. Anyway, for what initially felt like a bit of a barren year in the hills the review doesn't look too bad? So in the absence of anything for December here's another from a day Marion & I managed to "steal" in this year's superlative Indian Summer:

Again a big thanks to everybody who has shared in our mountain adventures in 2015. We'll be back in 2016 and looking forward to seeing you all again!

2015 Review: Canoes

This is the first of a series of three posts reviewing 2015.

Its a very close call as to whether we spend most of our time in canoes or underground. For a good while the "underworld" was definitely in front but in recent months time spent in a boat has increased dramatically. This year has seen just about every type and genre of canoeing we are ever likely to be involved in with: a return to several "classic" North East England open canoe trips; no less than five canoe journeys featuring at least one overnight camp; two very enjoyable days in sea kayaks and even a return to a little white water kayaking. Below are a series of photo highlights from days on the water in 2015:

Late February saw a return to the River Swale, in the Yorkshire Dales, for the first time in over 10 years. Levels were a little low but it was great to be out & Mr Johnson's Hou Canoe was to become a familiar sight in 2015!

It was great to see John Pear back in a boat in March:

April was perhaps the canoeing highlight of the year with a group of eight of us enjoying four days of superb weather on Loch Shiel. Its impossible to pick just one picture that captures the spirit of the trip but we were continually blessed with views like this:

May, June and July saw much in the way of sessions. It was a great passage of time, its always good to see folk both young and old just out enjoying themselves in boats! There were also one or two magical canoe moments amongst the mayhem:

August and September were the months of the "micro-expedition" and once again we were blessed by the most amazing weather. Loch Doon was this years' venue and it served us well for both adult and family trips:

Amongst much canoe based activity October saw a return after many years to the River Tees in open canoes & to the River Lune in kayaks:

Water based activity levels remained very high throughout November with the undoubted highlight being three days on Loch Tay and the River Tay in surreal calm and foggy conditions:

There was much more that didn't make the review!
To everybody we've spent time with on the water - a big thank you! We'll hope to see you again in 2016!!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Advent 2015 #10

Our advent journey this year has been less consistent than we anticipated and has certainly taken a different path than originally planned due to the events that we have witnessed in Cumbria.

Since the beginning of December we have seen people around us begin journeys: those affected by flood waters; family members having made difficult, bold and risky decisions packing up their belongings and making a move north.

These journeys serve to remind us of the lines from a familiar account from history:

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census would be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria). And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary,,,”

What followed changed the world for all time and so on this Christmas Eve:

May the joy of the Angels,
The eagerness of the shepherds,
The perseverance of the wise men,
The obedience of Joseph and Mary,
And the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Advent 2015 #9

It’s a week before Christmas and as the late night shoppers bustle their way around the city one lone boy sits with his head in his hands and begins to cry.

On questioning, the story goes that he and his mum have ‘fallen out’ through the aisles of a busy store.

Had the stresses of the season just got too much, or was there more to it? We’ll probably never know, but to see him run and hug his mum as she emerged from the shop entrance was a moment to capture.

Leaving the scene behind, a sense that this young life was being watched over …

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Advent 2015 #8

A little musical interlude to go with today's advent thoughts:


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Advent 2015 #7

The national news channels may have departed the flood plains of Cumbria and for some it is now becoming a moment in history. 

For us, and many others, the happenings of last weekend remain very in the moment, daily reminders through areas of the city of Carlisle where pavements are bursting with damaged furniture; kerbsides laden with skips. 

We therefore make no apologies for our advent thoughts that have developed from our own adventures of the last 12 months, continuing to link with these events …