Friday, 28 November 2014

I REALLY need a new ...*insert name of expensive kit*...

Written by Will an Outdoor Instructor

I really do think I've got the BEST job in the world...
I get to go climbing/kayaking/gorge walking/abseiling for work! With lovely holiday makers who really want to have fun... It can be tough stuff!
As a coincidence I get accidentally fit, never have to go to the gym and I can eat all the sweeties I want washed down by some calorie rich beer. Sounding good?! Yeah!
Working Hard
The other 'thing' that accidentally happens is that you start to collect lots of kit. Each sport requires quite a lot of specialist equipment and whilst River Deep Mountain High provides instructors (and customers) with kit, it can be nicer to own your own when you use it every day. I also take part in a few sports that RDMH doesn't offer, adding to the pile of jackets, thermals, socks, harnesses, helmets, ropes.... well you get the idea! As a rough guide I...

Indoor Climb, Outdoor Climb, Winter/Ice Climb, Mountaineer, Flat Water Kayak and Canoe, White Water Kayak and Canoe, Sail (dinghies and yachts), Mountain Bike, Road Bike, Cave, Hike/Hill Walk, Fell Run and GORGE WALK!

Now all of this kit costs money and some, because it is so specialist, costs a lot of money so I often have to ask myself 'do I really need a new....'

River Deep Mountain High has always been really good at Gorge Walking, it's something that's really fun and that we can do several times a week during the summer. I have an amazing wetsuit that I use 3 or 4 times a week and after 4 years of abuse I've decided that I NEED a new one!
  • I have multiple holes in the legs from battering the rocks (lots of falling over!) One tear is a good 2 inches diameter!
  •  If you look closely then you can actually now see through the fabric on the shoulders so I now always wear a t-shirt underneath. 
  • And it no longer fits... after years of pulling and stretching it to get in, I think it has given up, snapped and gone 'I give up!' 
'Testing' my wetsuit

Well I'm sad to say goodbye to what's become a friend, after running 193 Gorge Walks for RDMH since Autumn 2010 it feels strange to just throw away this second skin.

But don't worry, it turns out that you CAN buy new friends on the web....

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Some feedback from August 2014

Your name:Helen Allister
Activity Date(s):2nd August 2014. Activity(s):Church Beck Gorge walk. No in Group:2

Booking Process and Information
5. Very easy to follow and book up

Meet and Greet
5. Alex arrived well within time, greeted us straight away and explained well what we could expect

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)
5. the activity was well suited to our group especially as one of us was nervous of heights, water and enclosed spaces. Alex made sure he took care of this individual and gave choices when neccessary.  She really came out of her shell and fought many fears that day.

Overall Value for Money
4. I think the cost is very relative to the activity. The excellent customer service adds the cherry on top. 
Hi just like to say a very big thank you to Will our instructor on Thursday 8th August, we had an amazing time. Never done kayaking before Will showed us what to do and put us all at ease, even when hubby took an early dunking. We will try another activity as soon as possible. P.s. The hot chocolate was very good n welcoming. Thanks Maggie
9 August

A personal thank you to River Deep, and to individual instructors, for so easily accommodating my personal needs relating to physical impairment - I never felt I was slowing others down, or missing out at all myself. Support included arranging a schedule to include all our activity choices, along with transport to mitigate my inability to drive - priceless!
Tim Hilton

Activity Date(s): 29-31 July
Activity(s): Gorge-walking; Abseiling; Kayaking; Archery
Your name: Chris Heiberg

Activity Date(s): 12/08/14

Activity(s): Kayak Skills

No in Group: 4
Very enjoyable day giving us the confidence to go ahead and buy a kayak and be confident enough to kayak alone. Great coaching
Your name:Elizabeth Chester

Activity Date(s): 03/08/14, 05/08/2014, 06/08/2014, 08/08/2014

Activity(s): Scrambling, Dinghy Sailing, Canoeing, Gorge Walking No in Group: 4

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:

Website (Information and Navigation)

4 - I think you should give some advice on degree of fitness required. I was struggling with some and realise now that I would have had no chance with some others that I didn't book.

Booking Process and Information

4 It was difficult to choose when you have children across a range of ages.

Meet and Greet

5 Very good.

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)

5 The kit was excellent. Can't fault the expertise of the leaders. I was hugely relieved that we had two people (by chance) on the very wet and windy day we went scrambling. I was frankly terrified. No head for heights.

Overall Value for Money

5 We're happy with what we got for our money.

And finally, any other comments

We enjoyed ourselves immensely. Everyone is very impressed with all my bruises. The children want to do it again ! They particularly loved the Gorge Walking, mainly jumping into pools of water.

Your name: Paul, Douwe and Lieke Blok-Biesma Activity Date(s): 19 July 2014

Activity(s): Gorge walking, Stickle Ghyll No in Group: 3

Booking Process and Information

5++. Beth was very VERY welcoming and friendly on the phone and Emma seems to be an organiser pur sang. You are both very good at providing what we needed to know with a personal, human and still professional touch. And of course we are extremely grateful that you allowed us to climb with Seb and Toby on Johan's day off. Thank you for this again.

Meet and Greet

5++. You can tell Johan is a very experienced guide. It felt very safe while the boys could still find out for themselves how to do things. And Seb and Toby's presence certainly gave an enormous boost and much pleasure.

Just for your information: we weren't sure at what parking area to wait for you, the small one across the road from the Tavern, or the big one to the side of the Tavern. It all worked out though, but just so you know.

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)

5++. It was our son Douwe's favourite activity by far in a 3-week holiday. We loved it enormously as well. We appreciated the wetsuits, harnesses, changing booth and of course.. the hot chocolate.

Overall Value for Money

5++. We can see that you are committed to quality. Thank you!

Hello Everyone

Thank you for a truly amazing adventure holiday!  We enjoyed every moment and Henry would like to come back in a couple of years and have each day filled with an activity!  He has reconnected with his bicycle and over our week away I saw him transform into a young man, quiet, strong, determined, competitive.  I couldn't believe that he volunteered to swim around the raft, - this the boy I struggled to get in the swimming pool and he described himself on the gorge walk as the pathfinder!  But professes - mountain biking was his thing.

Lizzie even since a baby has always been the funl over of the family and she was exuberant on holiday, chatty, happy and up for the challenge.
Once again Thank You.

Hope to see you all again in the future!

Sally x 

Your name: Craig Ford
Activity Date(s): 27th & 28th August

Activity(s): Gorge Walking & Full Day Canoeing No in Group: 3 (2 Adults and 1 Child)

Prepare to have fun!

From the beginning communication with River Deep Mountain High was excellent, whether this was by phone or email.  Information was always friendly, descriptive and very well explained.  If you're trying to book through the RDMH website and it crashes or you click back, you will then need to phone them as the site (at July 2014) has an issue, which RDMH acknowledge on their site, so I knew what to do.  This happened to me so I phoned to book our adventure and felt like I was their most important customer and treated as an individual. Everything was fully explained and followed up with the promised email.  Approximately a week before our activities RDMH sent (again as promised) a kit list and very comprehensive directions to the start point.

Our activities were the Tilberthwaite gorge walking (Day 1), more accurately called scrambling, and the full day Brown Howe at Lake Coniston canoeing (Day 2). 

For both activities the RDMH instructors (Alex on day 1 & Will on day 2) were friendly and knowledgeable.  Their pre-activity briefing covered everything you could think of and there was no need for those "any questions?" Full kit was provided by RDMH, which for gorge scrambling is a wet suit, helmet and life jacket and for canoeing a canoe (yes, I know!) and life jacket. Waterproof jackets and trousers were available but as the sun was out we didn't need them.

So not to spoil either adventure for those looking to partake in the future, they were so much fun and full of games which kept the children entertained.

In summary every part of the RDMH experience was pleasurable and our thanks go to everyone involved especially & Will. Would we return and book through them again? - Absolutely, yes and to give a score 5/5.

Your name: Rachael Duff
Activity Date(s): 4th to 8th August

Activity(s): Canoeing, Sailing, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Abseiling

No in Group:1

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:

Website (Information and Navigation)

5 - Full of information, easy to navigate, attractive

Booking Process and Information

5 - OUTSTANDING - Emma and Beth in the office were so truly helpful and easy to communicate with.  I missed a rock climbing session and they re-arranged for me so I did not miss out  I was going to pull out of the Eskdale gorge walk but Emma encouraged me to go telling me if I did not want to jump off rocks I didn't have to but would find the day a memorable experience, I went, and it was exactly that!!  and I jumped off the rocks into pools so conquered that fear too. WE always forget the people turning the cogs in the office, but they made it for me with helpful, complete and flexible, simple to understand instructions, fantastic. I met Emma too, great kid.

Meet and Greet

5 - Fantastic, instructors always gave good clear instructions, made everyone welcome.  I never once felt uncomfortable, everybody got on from the start and left me feeling like I wanted more.

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)

5 - As above fantastic.  A small group of instructors, all easy to talk to too and understand.  They balanced the activities with the right level of both knowledge and fun.  Everything I needed to stay safe was supplied, I never once felt at risk, not even in the midst of the Eskdale gorge facing raging waterfalls and god knows what else.  Brilliant time.

Overall Value for Money

Again excellent value, great choice, great mix

And finally, any other comments

I have said it all.......I just cannot wait until next year and a few weekends in between.  Loved this company, I would not even bother looking anywhere else.
Your name:Kevin Jackson

Activity Date(s):01/08/2014 - 03/08/2014 Activity(s):Gorge walking; canoeing No in Group:8
The staff at RDMH were all very helpful and friendly with the booking process. We stayed in the bunkhouse. The information sent about the bunkhouse and kit needed for the activities was accurate and relevant. The bunkhouse was ace. The drying room was much needed and very effective. The showers were hot but perhaps could do with a bit more power. The guide who took us for the activities was excellent. We all had a great time and a good laugh. I would really recommend it.
Your name: Paul Nelson
Activity Date(s): August 12 & 14th 2014

Activity(s): Mountain Biking & Gorge Walking No in Group:3

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:

Website (Information and Navigation)

 5...Easy to use...not dis-similar to Ronseal...

Booking Process and Information

 5...Easy, helpful and supportive detail and discussion with personnel

Meet and Greet

 5...Both Matt our MTB leader and Alex our Gorge walking leader were Happy, Helpful, and engaged with the groups needs, cannot fault, advice, safety and thoughtful considered approach.

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)  5...Excellent, both experiences perfectly pitched at our needs, given we were a group of 3 and only one of us was an adult...The bikes were excellent and in fine working order and the Gorge Walking suits, Helmets, and cagoules were perfect.Both of the Children really enjoyed their activities with RDMH

Overall Value for Money

All three of us were delighted with our experiences, from initial booking and discussions with your office based team, through to the completion of the experiences, I have to say RDMH personnel were 'Spot-On' Would we book with You again? YES...Why? Because it's clear that you care, you considered ages, provided clear advice, took no unnecessary risks...and delivered great fun with intelligent, articulate, experienced knowledgeable staff! Does it get any better than that? Thanks for the laughs...we will certainly be re-visiting RDMH in the Lakes!

Your name:Mike Fincham

Activity Date(s):11-14th August

Activity(s): Gorge Walking/Mountain Biking/Scrambling/ Abseiling/Climbing No in Group:4

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:

Website (Information and Navigation). A score of 4. Slightly more info about the time it takes to travel between destinations would be good. We had climbing booked on the Monday morning (Newby Bridge)and gorge walking (Coniston)booked in the afternoon with only an hour in between. With no local knowledge we had no idea how long it would take to travel through Ambleside/Windermere and consequently were nearly late for the first activity and were rushing to get back for the second; even on the back road after advise from Alex.    


Booking Process and Information. A score of 5. V straight forward and particularly accommodating when it came to our requested itinerary.


Meet and Greet. A score of 5. Alex and Matt, top blokes, a real plus.


Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content). A score of 5. A week of activities that  were professionally presented and well organised throughout. We laughed, we nearly cried and most of all we came away with a huge sense of achievement. The activities took us completely out of our comfort zone and considering the range of ages/fitness levels within the group were pitched at just the right level; although the mountain biking may have high-lighted a personal need to return to the gym before I try something similar again!! :-) The instructors were clearly capable but also extremely amiable and enthusiastic; they were patient and encouraged where it was required (the abseiling in particular, thank you Matt!)without ever being pushy. They were a great source of local knowledge and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. As 'the face' of the company you couldn't have made better choices.       


Overall Value for Money. A score of 5. Excellent.


And finally, any other comments. We'll be back!!


Thank you for the return of the swimming shorts. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Matt for a couple of fantastic days. He manages to get exactly the right balance between hands on and relaxed. Our lot are already eyeing up mountain biking for next time.

Thanks again for two highly memorable experiences.

Richard Baxandall 

Your name: Jo Howard

Activity Date(s): 21.8.14

Activity(s): gorge walking at tiberthwaite No in Group: 6

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:

Website (Information and Navigation) 5- website clear and easy to follow


Booking Process and Information: 5 easy booking process- and very helpful with a rapid response to my queries- could my 13 year old come etc. comprehensive instructions on location and equipment.


Meet and Greet 5 - great. Despite the awful weather Alex our guide was cheerful and helpful and got us all into out gear and explained really clearly what we would be going


Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)5, really great. Despite having two teenagers who wanted a challenge and their very cautious clumsy 40 year old (me), Alex made it very fun but also very safe. There were lots of fun extra activities for the boys-jumping off rocks, swimming under waterfalls but there were safe alternatives for me.


Overall Value for Money yes 5.


And finally, any other comments. This was one of the highlights of our holiday despite pouring rain. Sitting in a pool by a waterfall in a gorge we could not have reached in any other way but by clambering up rocks, drinking hot chocolate from a thermos was a moment that will stay with me for a long time. One more point- there were 2 other parties climbing the gorge that day- neither was having as much fun as us! Lastly it commend Alex- he was really great and made the whole experience even more enjoyable