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Ghyll scrambling: great things to do in the Lake District with kids

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

If you are looking for a fun activity in the north Lake District, with a bit more adrenaline than just rowing across Derwent Water or climbing a fell, we can heartily recommend ghyll scrambling – especially if you have slightly older children.

Ghyll scrambling is known as canyoning in the US, or sometimes gorge scrambling in the UK. 'Ghyll' is the particularly northern English word for ravine or mountainous stream used in Cumbria; ghyll scrambling really took off in the Lake District about a decade or so ago. It involves putting on a wet suit, helmet, walking up to the top a ghyll along a footpath, and then descending down the stream itself, via a mixture of scrambling, swimming, a small amount of abseiling and occasionally jumping off cliffs into pools. It's huge fun, especially on a hot day. Though plenty of hearty people do it in the winter. You don't need to be particularly fit, but you do need to be willing to release your inner daredevil as you take a leap off a rock into a swirling pool of water.

Most companies suggest children need to be at least 8-years-old to take part, but we've taken an adventurous 7-year-old before and they have loved it. It is also popular with stag and hen parties looking for something different.

Possibly the most popular ghyll to experience this is at Stoneycroft ghyll, less than a ten minute drive from Endymion House on the other side of Keswick. You get to experience a great bit of the Lakes from a completely different perspective. All the adventure companies that offer ghyll scrambling supply your group with an experienced guide as well as the wetsuit, helmets etc.

We've used Chase Adventures before and can highly recommend them. They charge about £30 per person and the session lasts a couple of hours. But there are quite a few other companies such as and Crags Adventures who also offer ghyll scrambling.


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