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What is the difference between gorge scrambling and canyoning?


This has to be the most frequently asked question we get, so let’s answer it right here and right now!

Gorge scrambling

Gorge scrambling, or ghyll scrambling, or occasionally ‘gorge walking’ usually involves ascending a mountain river (a ghyll). Sometimes you descend, but it’s less common. Gorge scrambling will see you climbing small waterfalls, scrambling up others, swimming through pools, playing silly games and taking on lots of water based challenges. There will probably be some jumps on your gorge scrambling trip, but they’ll not be big and scary – just good fun and very wet!

Gorge scrambling works well for families just as it does for groups of adults. It’s best for those who want a taster of ‘gorge based’ activities, knowing that all the obstacles can be missed out if you don’t fancy them.

Examples of amazing gorge scrambling in the Lake District venues are:

Stickle Ghyll, Langdale – great for ages 8+. An awesome intro to the activity.

Stoneycroft Ghyll, Keswick – ages 8+ again and one of the rare gorge scrambles that are done in descent.

Church Beck, Coniston – ages 12+. The best in the Lakes and justifiably popular, mainly for the epic water slide that provides the grand finale of the trip!

So what about canyoning?

Canyoning is like gorge scrambling, but on steroids. It’s for adults only due to the more serious nature of the activity. Usually canyoning is done in descent and will use various rope techniques (such as abseiling) to descend big flowing waterfalls. The jumps on a canyoning trip will be bigger so will require commitment, a ‘can do’ attitude and some courage!

Canyoning is great for that group that want to experience water + adrenaline! A heady mix!

Awesome venues for canyoning in the Lake District are:

Church Beck, Coniston – the upper section of the same venue used for gorge scrambling. Abseils, jumps and slides await.

Esk Gorge, Eskdale – a remote setting and jumps that even our instructors have to push themselves to do!

Extreme Canyoning – a full day in a big inescapable canyon. Big abseils, big waterfalls and big slides. We’re not telling you where it is – it’s a secret! (but a clue is about 15 mins from Keswick and about the same from Grasmere).

So what are you waiting for? Get your adventure booked now!

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The Lakeland Challenge! A great day out with Si and John completing the Lakeland Challenge. Both instructors were helpful and encouraging and provided a relaxed atmosphere. Would definitely recommend!

Association of Mountaineering Instructors   Tripadvisor Travellers Choice 2023