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What is Ghyll Scrambling

What is Ghyll Scrambling? And where you can have a go when you're in the Lake District?



The word Ghyll (or Gill) is word used in northern England, most notably Cumbria, to refer to a mountain stream. A ghyll scramble is an adventure which will see you ascend or descend the stream bed, taking on obstacles as you go. Some areas will refer to this as gorge walking and possibly even Canyoning - although that tends to involve ropes to make a descent or ascent of a deep gorge or ravine.


The ghylls we have in the Lake District tend to involve rock obstacles, plunge pools, natural slides, waterfalls and of course, jumps!


As a company we tend to operate in four different ghylls in the Lake District, all of which have their own charm and suit different people - here's a summary.


Stoneycroft Ghyll

This ghyll is based in the Newlands valley just 15 minutes or so from the popular town of Keswick. After kitting up we walk uphill for about 10-15 minutes before getting ready to get in the water and descend the ghyll. The ghyll involves slides, small plunge pools and one bigger jump. It is great for people of all abilities and from the age of 8+. The only requirement is the fitness to get up the moderate hill to the start whilst wearing a wetsuit!



Stickle Ghyll

This is in the Langdale Valley and just 20 minutes from Ambleside. This is an ascent and so you get in the water just 2 minutes from the car! In this ghyll you'll scramble up rocks, climb waterfalls (on a rope) and jump / fall backwards into plunge pools. It's an awesome challenge and again suitable for all abilities and ages 8+.


Church Beck (Upper Section)

Based in the centre of Coniston, Church Beck is ideal for those who are feeling a bit braver. Much like Stoneycroft you tackle an uphill walk to start, and then descend the ghyll. After a short scramble you then get lowered down a crashing waterfall. Some plunge pools follow, and then another waterfall to be lowered down. There is then a 5m jump down into a narrow slot which takes some bravery, but is great fun! The final obstacle is a natural rock slide which then drops you into mid-air before splashing into the water! We will accept people of young age on this ghyll, but 10+ is advised.




All of the above experiences will last 1.5-2.5 hours depending on group size.


Esk Gorge

This is classed as the ultimate Lake District Ghyll scramble and is a whole day event! The Eskdale valley is lovely and one of the more secluded. We need to walk an hour to get to the point where we kit up (so you need to be able to carry a big bag with all your kit in it on undulating trails) and then we get stuck in. The ghyll itself is an ascent, but we essentially journey from one set of ledges to the next. The great thing about this ghyll is there are jumps of all sizes throughout - from 1m to 8m!!! So, if you're super brave, or just fancy bobbing around whilst your mates have a great laugh, that's cool!


Again, this is good for ages of 8+, and those able to walk to the kitting up point.



For all of our ghyll scrambling experiences we will provide wetsuits, helmets, boyancy aids, and if requires, harnesses.


For more information on Ghyll Scrambling in the Lake District with Lakeland Mountain Guides please click here

We have scheduled dates you can join, but we can also do bespoke trips to suit. Ideal for families, friends, stag and hens, and work days out! It's awesome fun and something you should try at least once. Get in touch with us to host your awesome Ghyll Scrambling adventure!

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