Abseiling in the Lake District

Wednesday, December 05th, 2007

Think outdoor activities in the Lake District and you might be conjuring up images of wet school trips with ill-fitting waterproof gear and soggy sandwiches.  Okay, so the Lake District isn’t known for its tropical climate, but Johan and Emma Hoving, founders of outdoor activity and holiday company, RiverDeepMountainHigh, strongly believe that with the right attitude and equipment their activities can be comfortably enjoyed by all sorts of people, not just ‘outdoor types’ who consider a bivvy bag to be a luxury! To that end, they have set about building up a company that is on a mission to correct these largely held misconceptions and provide tailor-made outdoor activities and activity holidays that are comfortable as well as fun. Suited us!

Abseiling in the Lake District

Lucy, Emma Hoving and Emma…hoping the handbrake will hold!

We met up with Johan and Emma in Little Langdale, on a very steep hill just outside Ambleside, before walking to a disused slate mine called Cathedral Quarry.  Inside, it is an immense cavern with lots of different tunnels leading around it; outside, it is an extremely popular site for rock climbing and abseiling.  We were about to go abseiling and, luckily, when you choose to go and do something like that in December, you pretty much get the whole place to yourself!

After posing for a few photos in the quarry, to get the old adrenalin pumping we went and stood at the bottom of the 150ft wall we were about to be shimmying down.  Actually, we were more worried that after two months of eating sandwiches and pub food we might not be able to walk up there but we managed ok and were spared any serious humiliation!

Abseiling in the Lake District

Inside Cathedral Quarry

Once we reached the top, we got harnessed up and Johan explained to us how abseiling (a climbing technique that allows you to safely descend steep rock sections on a fixed rope) works before making us practice on a gentle slope.  The banter flowed so we had little time to get nervous in between the more serious safety chats and we were soon ready to drop off the top.  For anyone who hasn’t abseiled before, the beginning bit is the hardest part as, with no tension on your harness and ropes, you have to climb over the edge and just lean backwards into a huge drop before the rope ‘kicks in’ and you can feel that you are being supported.  After that, there is no turning back and the actual descent seems like a breeze as you kind of bounce your way to the bottom.  All in all, it is great fun and a wonderful shot of adrenalin whist enjoying beautiful views of the Lake District.

Abseiling in the Lake District

Emma Abseiling

Johan and Emma offer loads of other activities and one of the most popular in slightly warmer months is gorge walking, in which you shove on a wetsuit and scramble up a steep-sided beck (Lakeland river).  Lucy had a go earlier in the year and thought is was brilliant.  It’s basically like being a kid again, where you get to swim, jump, climb, slide and generally muck about, all the time getting completely soaked safe in the knowledge that you’ll soon be sitting in a nice dry pub!

For more information about their holidays and activities, visit www.riverdeepmountainhigh.co.uk or get in touch with Emma or Johan at:

The Clocktower Buildings
Low Wood
LA12 8LY
T: 01539 531116
M: 07968 870117