Getting Started with Gorge Walking and Ghyll Scrambling in the UK

For those who love the outdoors, gorge walking is a fantastic activity to get stuck into.

It keeps you active, connected with the great outdoors and challenges you both physically and mentally.

Gorge walking groups, societies and clubs are popping up all over the UK so there’s plenty of opportunities to give it a go. It definitely sits in the more adventurous types of walking groups.

But unlike other outdoorsy activities, like hiking or kayaking, gorge walking is less common and many don’t know exactly what it entails.

We’ve outlined everything you need to know about gorge walking below.

What is Gorge Walking?

Gorge walking is the activity of traversing gorges. This is likely to include making your way through rivers at the bottom of them, as well as walking over rocks and boulders within the ravine. It includes walking (as the name suggests) but is equally likely to incorporate some type of scrambling, sliding, swimming, bouldering and stumbling your way through the area.

A gorge is a steep river between rock formations. Water erodes the sides, creating these stunning geographical features. Some gorges will have flowing water, while others may not – each gorge will be unique and offer up its own challenges.

This means its an activity that all levels can enjoy – it’s just about finding a gorge route suitable for your level.

Gorge walking is for the adventurous, who love to explore nature. You’ll get to experience a place from a whole different angle. While others walk nearby on smooth roads and paths, you’ll be battling through water, rocks, narrow gaps, and whatever else nature throws your way.

Gorge walking will reveal unique and magical areas, hidden from the modern world.

Gorge walking celebrates the natural pathways the water has formed in the rock formations over thousands of years.

Each gorge walking experience is different and unique. The make-up of geology and local materials will define what the gorge is like and thus the walking conditions. The season will also impact the conditions, such as depth of water.

Beginners can get started with the help of guided instructors on easy routes, while more experienced gorge walkers may find themselves travelling the world to find new gorges to explore.

What is Gorge Scrambling?

Gorge walking is sometimes referred to as gorge scrambling. Any adventures in a gorge is likely to involve both walking and scrambling so the 2 terms can be used interchangeably.

Scrambling describes a more holistic approach to manoeuvring through the gorge. It involves doing anything you can to get through the gorge, whether that’s by walking, or using your hands as support to clamber up a steeper area.

Nevertheless, if something is promoted as a “scramble” instead of a walk, this may indicate it is perhaps more suitable for intermediate/experienced walkers.

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What is Ghyll Scrambling?

Ghyll scrambling is another term you may hear when researching gorge walking.

A “ghyll” is a narrow-wooded stream.

Ghyll scrambling involves adventuring through these ghylls. Again, it is very similar to gorge walking, but the main difference is that you can get out of the ravine. This differs from gorge walking, in which the steep sides keep you in the ravine.

Therefore, ghyll scrambling may include less time in the water and more time scrambling on the banks and surrounding areas.

Regardless of whether you go gorge walking, gorge scrambling or ghyll scrambling, you’ll likely to be to be climbing through water and over rocks.

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Getting Started with Gorge Walking and Scrambling

For anyone looking for a bit of an adventure, gorge walking, scrambling and ghyll scrambling will undoubtedly offer up a unique experience.

Not only will it be memorable, but it is also a great way to stay fit and healthy. It will develop functional strength and mobility, and you’ll improve useful skills like balance and grip.

Outdoor activities are also proven to benefit mental health and wellbeing.

To get started, join a taster session at your local outdoor centre and begin your journey into the world of gorge walking.