Canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking are thrilling outdoor activities, perfect for pushing your limits with the safety of guided support. There is nowhere quite as beautiful to participate in these activities as the Lake District. So, prepare yourself for a fantastic adventure that will have your heart racing and adrenaline pumping!
Are you looking for an exciting and unique way to explore the natural beauty of England’s Lake District? Ghyll scrambling, also known as gorge walking and canyoning, is a way to take on fast-flowing rivers through ravines, deep pools, and waterfalls, and in this post, we will cover everything you need to know.
What are canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking?
We can thank the Vikings for the beautiful word “ghyll,” meaning “mountain stream.” Ghylls are an excellent spot for adventure seekers. These three activities are similar in many ways, but you will find the terms used differently on many providers’ websites, which can get confusing! So, here’s a brief explanation of each activity.
Gorge walking – Ideal for beginners, families, youth groups and corporate groups.
Gorge walking is climbing up a gorge with no bank on either side of the water. Your only way forward is through the water. This often includes wading through the river, climbing, small jumps and slides and going behind waterfalls. Gorge walking and ghyll scrambling are the least challenging of the three activities and a great introduction to combined water and rock sports.
Ghyll scrambling – Ideal for beginners, families, youth groups and corporate groups.
Ghyll scrambling is very similar to gorge walking. It also includes wading through the river, climbing, small jumps and slides and going behind waterfalls. There is only a slight distinction between the two activities. Whilst ghyll scrambling, you will have a small bank on either side to quickly get out. This is an excellent introduction to combined water and rock sports.
Canyoning – Ideal for smaller groups and those with little experience that want a thrill and a challenge.
Imagine canyoning as the more advanced level of the other two activities. Canyoning requires a harness and uses smaller groups as it is more challenging; it may involve abseiling, big jumps, giant slides or rock flumes, and zip lines are often created to pass waterfalls safely. However, this is still a safe yet fun and adventurous activity with great instructors.
Where can I try canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking in the Lake District?
1. Path To Adventure
Path To Adventure offers canyoning, ghyll scrambling and gorge walking in the Lake District. Guided by experienced instructors, you will navigate a rocky mountain river, swim in bubbling pools, scramble up rocky climbs, and walk through flowing rapids. They provide specialist safety equipment, insurance, and your instructor. They also provide you with a wetsuit and neoprene socks. We love that they take pictures for you and send them to you after the activity. Everything you will need to bring with you is listed on their website. Path To Adventure offers activities for different fitness levels, group sizes, ages, and locations across the Lake District. You can visit the Path To Adventure website to choose one to suit you.
2. Keswick Adventures
Embark on an adventure with ghyll scrambling or canyoning in Keswick. Keswick Adventures offer a selection of activities perfect for all levels and abilities, involving venturing down a mountain stream full of natural rock chutes and crystal-clear pools, perhaps even the odd mini waterfall. Then, enjoy the breath taking beauty of the Lake District with the security and guidance of Keswick Adventures’ knowledgeable instructors.
With the minimum age for ghyll scrambling being just 7 years old and 12 for canyoning, these are activities the entire family can enjoy and make memories together. Wetsuits and quality safety equipment are provided; check their website for activities suitable for you and complete lists of what you must bring.
3. Lake District Activities with Lakeland Ascents
This provider offers 3 different gorge scrambling trips across the Lake District. They provide the necessary wetsuits and safety equipment so that you can have an exhilarating but safe experience. Don’t worry about your swimming ability, you’ll be wearing a buoyancy aid, and you can bypass any obstacles that don’t appeal to you. They offer activities perfect for groups of all sizes, including adventurous kids who need tiring-out. In addition, you can make it part of a multi-activity day by combining it with abseiling, rock climbing, or canyoning. For more information about the activities, visit the Lake District Activities with Lakeland Ascents website here.
4. The Adventure Element
You will be led by knowledgeable and friendly instructors and embark on an activity full of excitement and adrenaline. Whether you ascend or descend the ‘ghyll’, you’ll have the opportunity to swim across pools, slide down polished rock chutes, dive into deep rushing water pools, climb up waterfalls and jump into deep plunge pools! Ghyll scrambling is undoubtedly the most popular activity in Keswick, and it’s sure to provide a Lake District adventure you will never forget.
We love that there is no pressure to complete any part of the activity; they will guide you to the next part. You will receive a full wetsuit, helmet, buoyancy, and windproof jacket. Suitable for ages 8 and upwards, see The Adventure Element website for more information and booking.
Adventuring offers ghyll scrambling across the Lake District. Depending on the ghyll you visit, you will either complete a descent or accent of the gorge of your choice. You will get kitted out with a waterproof wetsuit, buoyancy aid and harness to tackle waterfalls safely, abseil down inclines and take on some mega slides and other obstacles. The instructors will show you everything you need to know – including demonstrations on any jumps – so you can enjoy the experience like a pro. You can make a full day of it with rock climbing or abseiling. Ghyll scrambling makes the perfect addition. With options suitable for an extensive range of ages, group sizes and abilities, you can find more information about ghyll scrambling with Adventuring here.
Safety for canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking in the Lake District
Most providers will also give you safety briefings before embarking on your activity. They will also provide you with a list of what you must bring. We have included a few essential tips for you to consider so that you get the most out of your experience.
- Wear appropriate footwear – sturdy shoes that offer plenty of grip and support.
- Wear a wetsuit – this will keep you warm as you scramble through cold water.
- Bring spare clothes and a towel – so that you can change out of wet garments afterwards; remember your provider may not supply changing rooms.
- Remember sunscreen – rocky surfaces and water can reflect the sun’s rays, so it can be easy to get sunburned without noticing.
- Take a first-aid kit – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Pack enough snacks and drinks – you’ll need the energy to climb over rocks and jump into pools.
- Bring a waterproof bag – to keep your valuables safe and dry.
- Be aware of safety risks – some areas may have strong currents or slippery rocks, which could cause accidents if you’re not careful; always scout out potential hazards before attempting any route.
- Follow directions from experienced guides – they help ensure your safety and ensure everyone has a great time while scrambling.
- Respect wildlife – ghyll scrambling takes place in an environment rich in plant and animal life, so pay attention to your surroundings and respect nature during your adventure.
- Have fun – finally, remember to enjoy yourself in this exciting outdoor activity!
Canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking FAQs
What equipment do I need for canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking?
Essential equipment includes appropriate footwear, a helmet and buoyancy aids if you plan on swimming. Other items like wetsuits are also recommended depending on weather conditions. Most activity providers will provide you with these items and a list of what you must bring. So, make sure to check with your activity provider before booking.
How long do canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking activities take?
The length of an individual session will depend on the route chosen, but generally, a session can last anywhere from 1-4 hours. Some providers offer day and half-day excursions. The more challenging courses may require longer timescales due to increased navigation difficulty.
Are canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking activities suitable for beginners?
Yes! Different routes offer different difficulty levels, so there’s something for everyone regardless of their skill level. Beginners should always start with more accessible ways to get accustomed to the activity before progressing to more difficult ones.
What ages can participate in canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking activities?
Ghyll scrambling is typically suitable for children aged 7 and up, depending on fitness level and weather conditions. Canyoning, on the other hand, is a little more complex, and the minimum age is usually 13 years and upwards, but please check with your activity provider beforehand. An adult must always accompany children under 18 during the activity sessions.
What clothing should I wear when canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking?
Essential clothing includes appropriate footwear, a helmet and buoyancy aids. A wetsuit is excellent, depending on weather conditions. Wearing comfortable clothes that won’t restrict your movement is essential.
What footwear should I wear when canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking?
When going canyoning, ghyll scrambling, or gorge walking, it’s essential to wear the correct type of footwear. The best choice is a pair of closed-toe shoes that are well-fitting, light, and not heavy once wet, waterproof and have good grip. Also, ensure they are comfortable before your trip.
Are there any dangers associated with canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking activities?
While risks are associated with any outdoor activity, these are minimised when following appropriate safety advice provided by instructors and guidebooks before starting your adventure. However, you should always be aware of slippery rocks, strong currents, and deep pools, which could cause injury without careful consideration – general caution is always advised when participating in any activities involving water.
Before starting my canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking activities, is there anything else I need to know?
Before commencing any physical exercise, it’s essential to warm up first – stretching beforehand helps reduce stiffness later in the day. In addition, it’s advisable to remember snacks and drinks, too – ensuring you stay well fuelled throughout your time outdoors is essential for maintaining energy levels and remaining safe from dehydration.
Finally, please choose the right activity provider to suit you, listen to their advice and have lots of fun.
Canyoning, ghyll scrambling, and gorge walking are great ways to explore the Lake District outdoors. With so many different places to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for your group. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your gear and head out on an adventure! You can tell us about your own experiences in the comments.