Ghyll Scrambling adventure

What is Ghyll scrambling?

In todays post we look at exactly what is Ghyll Scrambling in the Lake District and what it involves. 

The Lake District is home to some of England’s most stunning and picturesque views. However, it is also home to the best outdoor adventure you could wish for.

Activities like Rock climbing and abseiling as well as the obvious mountain walking. Unlike some places, you don’t need to always walk for hours to get to the best beauty spots as they can be very accessible for people.

Other than the mountain’s and Lake District Outdoor activities the Lakes are also known for its rain!!! That rain falls on top of the mountains and then follows a course down the side of the mountains before heading into the valleys and into the impressive Lakes you see.

In the Lake District we call those streams that the water falls into “Ghylls” – The word ghyll is a Norsk word we inherited from the Vikings and therefore it simply means “mountain stream”. These Ghylls are the best place in the Lake District for a great adventure.

Generally speaking, there are two types of this kind of adventure that you could have.

  • Ghyll scrambling or sometimes known as Gorge walking – which involves going up stream. Climbing up waterfalls and jumping into pools of water.
  • Canyoning – which is the opposite and involves going down steam often abseiling into the canyon as well as sliding and jumping into pools of water.

It is not uncommon to mix the two up and be doing a little of both in a session.

Because of this the great thing about Ghyll scrambling is that it can be mixed up and tailored for any age group or ability. Above all, this is a popular outdoor activity in the Lake District and rightly so, because it is super fun and a real Lake District adventure.

What is Ghyll scrambling? Adventuring
What is Ghyll scrambling? Adventuring
What is Ghyll scrambling? Adventuring

Lake District Adventuring offers two venues. Lets have a look at the difference and what each has to offer.


The location-

Stickle barn Ghyll scramble is located in the South of the Lake District National Park. The stream runs down the side of the Langdale Pikes. The water comes from Stickle Tarn at the top of the ghyll. This tarn (mountain lake) sits in the hanging valley at the base of the popular climbing crag called Pavey Arc. 

The start point of the ghyll scrambling lake district is accessed via a massive 1-minute walk from the Sticklebarn Pub Car Park (National Trust Car Park).

What’s involved –

Sticklebarn Ghyll scramble is a great venue to come and visit. Along the way up the ghyll you will come across a variety of challenges including 2 water fall climbs and a small jump. Although it is steep at times, as you’re climbing up the rocks you’ll hardly realise.

However, all of the obstacles and challenges you will face are avoidable and you do not have to do anything you do not want to.

Sticklebarn Ghyll is a great option if it has been raining a lot and the other ghylls are out. Meaning that we can’t use them because of high water. It’s at this point that this often over looked ghyll can turn into one of the most action-packed venues in the Lake District.



Who would this ghyll scrambling be suitable for?

In a nut shell anyone! If it is your first time doing it and you just want a flavour of what it’s about or you have young family. Lake District Adventuring generally offers this to anyone who has children between the ages off 7 – 11.

 You do not need to be a swimmer or have a great level of fitness to be able to do this ghyll scramble.


What is Ghyll scrambling? Adventuring

The location-

Church Beck Canyon is located in the South of the Lake District National Park. It runs from the foot of a local mountain called “The Old Man of Coniston”.

The start point of the canyon is accessed via a 15-20 minute moderately steep walk from the meeting place in the car park on Old Furness Road located at the top of the town of Coniston.

*** It’s worth mentioning that there are no changing facilities on this venue and changing happens using a pull over towel.

What’s involved –

Unlike Sticklebarn this is very much a canyon experience in the Lake District. There is a range of big jumps where you will not touch the bottom, slides and 3 waterfalls to abseil. You’ll need to do to be able to do these to complete this canyon.

In other words this is very much a wet session from the get go and full of adventure from the start.

The nature of this ghyll means that it can have high water very quickly and become a dangerous place to be. Because of that we watch the water levels and the amount it has rained to be sure that it’s safe to go into.

Unlike Sticklebarn you do have to do some of the challenges along the way and the options to get out are limited. That said you don’t have to do them all, however sometimes the other option is not always the easiest option.

What is Ghyll scrambling? Adventuring

Who would this ghyll scrambling be suitable for?

Our Lake District Canyon is fine for any first timers or people with children 12 years old or over.

You do however need to have some water confidence but being a strong swimmer is not essential. 

A word about kit and equipment.

All of our Lake District outdoor adventure activities come with modern, up to date and well serviced equipment.

All of our gear is regularly checked to meet the high standards we have set out for ourselves.

Unlike some company’s we will not cut corners on kit or compromise on safety

For the ghyll scrambling session you will receive the following:

  • Full body fitted wetsuit – 3mm thick
  • Fitted Cag to go over your wetsuit which helps to keep heat in.
  • Harness with lanyard attached.
  • Helmet – Which comes with Go Pro mount if you want to bring one.
  • Buoyancy aid – fitted and checked.

Lake District Adventuring is ranked #2 on Trip Advisor for outdoor activities in the Windermere area as well as taking 100s of people out into the ghylls over the last 3 years since we have been operating.