September too is looking nicely busy, but with a more generous helping of downtime, so time to do some of our own exploring in preparation for yet more fun times next summer and beyond. This exploring has already began and I'll be writing about one such place in the next blog post.
It is also time for us to start preliminary planning for our winter activities in the Costa Blanca. It's only a month until I head out to sunnier climes, so time to be thinking about any shiny new equipment that may be needed for the coming season.
This post shows some a few recent days out amongst the beautiful Lakeland Fells with many lovely people. Firstly, an afternoon spent Scrambling on Raven crag in Yewdale. We had a warm, sunny day, dry rock that is super grippy, and our reward for reaching the top was loads of Wild Bilberry and stunning views over to Coniston Water. We were joined by 2 families, including 4 youngsters. This proved to be an ideal afternoon activity with just the right amount of challenge to ensure the youngsters were all stretched.
You will find some organisations impose a lower age limit on various activities and we can understand why this is so. However, we only have advisory age limits as each individual is different, with some adventurous 5 year olds being very able and more willing than much older kids. As an example, we are taking a 4 year old rock climbing next month! Along with his parents of course!
We have taken quite a few youngsters through the upper section of the Church Beck canyon in Coniston and to the remote Esk Gorge. All have absolutely loved the experience. But these are not first timers, they have been on similar activities previously, so we and they know capabilities.
The photo below showing us dry scrambling alongside Stickle Ghyll was the start of a mountaineering style day in Langdale. This family had contacted us looking for a scrambling day based on Langdale and at some point Jack's Rake was mentioned. We put together a flexible plan of scrambles that would take us to the summit of either Pavey Ark or Harrison Stickle. As with many of our days out, flexibility is key to success. We began scrambling within a couple of minutes of the National Trust car park at Stickle Barn and followed the Stickle Ghyll water course all the way to Tarn Crag. And yes we stayed dry all the way :-)
We then meandered our way through the rocky spurs and buttresses of Tarn crag, deploying the rope for some short, steep sections. Whilst walking around Stickle tarn it became clear that some weren't keen to go up Jack's Rake, whilst others had unfinished business there. So the team split into the 'picnic by the tarn' and 'Jack's Rake' teams. Naturally I was in the Jack's Rake team with Tim, who was quite apprehensive about the scramble ahead.
We took our time and discussed good scrambling technique and movement, but also stopping to enjoy the views and increased exposure. I could sense the doubt still present in Tim, but this was subsiding as we gained more and more height. His feeling of elation and achievement when I announced we had reached the top was quite a WOW moment. It's times like this that makes our job so worthwhile. The satisfaction and happiness on peoples faces is priceless. A hop, skip, and jump (no, not literally) and we were back at the tarn and fast catching up with Carman and Edith. Another hugely successful day out in the mountains, oh yes.
Gorge scrambling has been a big hit this summer, and rightly so as it's tons of fun and still tons of fun in the rain. The final photo in this post shows perfectly how to jump into that pool in Stickle Ghyll. Some of the gorges here can be equally suitable for 5 - 50 year olds and complete novices or seasoned mountaineers. They really are that varied.
This goes back to being flexible. And as we know hundreds of routes throughout the Lake District, you can rest assured that we can be flexible not only in our approach but also venue choice and how we help you through the activity.
Thanks again all, we hope to see you again soon.
Mark & Kate