ghyll scrambling, canyoning & gorge walking...
what is it...?
Splashing and scrambling up rocky mountain streams. Climbing cascades and sometimes waterfalls, traversing pools and enjoying some stunning scenery in inaccessible places that few ever get to see.
the nature of the adventure...
... is dictated by the individual gorge or ghyll. Some lend themselves to swimming and pool jumping others can be done keeping largely dry perhaps as a sporting alternative to ascending a mountain by the path. Some streams in ghylls or gorges are better done in descent, this generally involves sliding and jumping rather than climbing and scrambling. Descents can also be referred to as canyoning, a term that generally describes a more serious undertaking usually involving ropework/abseils and a greater level of commitment where you cannot get out of the ghyll if you change your mind half way!
ghylls v. gorges...
The word ghyll comes from the Vikings and describes a stream cut into the hillside with steep sides over at least part of its distance.
A gorge generally describes a larger stream or river in a sheer sided cut. In general higher mountain streams are refered to as ghylls and those sometimes called gorges tend to be closer to the road. Although the terms are often used interchangeably.
Gorges and ghylls can be great fun; however they are also changeable, delicate and hazardous environments. For this reason we always recommend going with an activity provider. They know the best sites, have the necessary equipment and waterproofs for you to use, and have the experience to make it a fun and safe day out.
We do not recommend going it alone but if you do want to go out independently careful planning and sensible precautions are essential.
Have the appropriate equipment which could include waterproofs or a wetsuit and consult a Lake District scrambling guide. Access varies so you must check with landowners before setting out.
Consider how you will stay safe and protect you and your party from many risks including (but not limited to);
banging your head
stone falls from above
deep or swift, fast flowing water
getting cold - you could go into shock
changing weather conditions
pool jumping hazards - cold water shock, submerged rocks, shallow pools etc.
Accidents do happen so you also need to make adequate first aid provisions for yourself and your party and be aware of what you will do in an emergency.
These activities do carry a risk, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area, the ghylls, and the weather conditions, so please research your day carefully, make adequate provisions or best of all consider going out with an experienced provider.
Pool jumping is a very popular activity but it is also extremely hazardous. All pools should be inspected for depth, submerged rocks or objects, and entrapment risks before jumping and the risk of unknown undertows should also be considered. Remember the higher the jump, the faster it is, and the plunge into the pool will be deeper. It is also harder to control, if miscalculated it can be very dangerous and may result in injury. Jumping in to cold water can result in shock (particularly on a hot day) and this activity should never be done under the influence of alcohol.
Please think very carefully, and assess the risks properly, before attempting an unsupervised pool jump.