Friday 6 June 2014

Ghyll Scrambling In The Lake District. The Esk Gorge. Saturday May 31st 2014

Last weekend Iain ran a Gorge Walking Session in The Lake District at the Esk Gorge. The Esk Gorge is undoubtedly the best venue in The Lake District for this exhilarating fun activity; although, unlike our other Gorge walking (also known as Ghyll Scrambling ) venues which can be visited during one of our half day (four hour) Outdoor Activity Sessions, the Esk Gorge is very much a full day out.

These sessions start (if you are coming from the south east) with an exciting drive over Wrynose and Hardknott Pass - equally as exciting & challenging as the ghyll scrambling session itself! Once arriving at the foot of Hardknott Pass in Eskdale, travelling in to the start of The Esk Gorge is a 3km, 45 minute walk! It really is an all day adventure - in every sense of the word.

On this occasion, Iain was running the session for a long time friend and old college chum - Robert McGregor. Left to right in photo one are Robert's son Will, Robert, another of Roberts old mates - Chis & his son Sam; and Robert's other son Tom.

Upon arriving at The Esk Gorge, we had lunch at the sheepfold and then got kitted up in walking boots, wetsuits, cagoules, helmets & harnesses and then set off up the gorge. Within a minute of getting in we were swimming before scrambling up a few low falls to arrice at the first deep pool (in the background in photo two).

This pool is at least 5 metres deep and about 15 metres long. On it's right hand bank looking upstream there is a cliff from where one can do either a 5 or a 6 metre jump into the pool. It is quite safe but really challenging - the bigger jump feels a lot higher than 6 metres! Everyone had fun testing their "bottle factor" by trying these two jumps although not everyone had it in them to do "the big one".

From the back of this pool there is more scrambling up some more waterfalls and a roped climb (often necessary) to gain the next pool in photo three.
There are two jumps into this pool - one above the lads in the foreground left and one to the right of the waterfall.

Again, the pool is deep but one has to jump right out to avoid the sloping rock shelf below the right hand jump and whilst it's not hard only a few of today's Ghyll Scrambling group were prepared to try it - despite Iain's demonstrations! However, they did all swim across as you can see.

Aove this point there is a less exciting walk up a gorge to a deep pool where high on the right bank is a 9 metre jump; supposedly known as "Lemmings Leap". This is the highest of any jump on The Esk Gorge and Iain has done it once. Whilst not dangerous, the impact of hitting the water from such a height certainly stung! so we don't offer this one to any of our clients!

Continuing on with our Gorge Scrambling ascent of The Esk Gorge, there is yet another roped climb to be done past the highest waterfall and another challenging jump just above. Further on the gorge becomes very narrow and quite demanding with a further roped climb to be done up greasy rock at the back of a narrow slot (photo four).

This brings us out at our next deep pool - quite a large one, with 3 jumps ranging between 4 & 6 metres in height - great fun!

On this particular day, we had started the session late not arriving at the gorge until around 1pm when, on one of our all day Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Sessions, we expect to arrive here no later than 11am. By now, it was almost 5pm with a one hour walk out and at least another hour to get back to Kendal so we called time and headed back down to the sheepfold and our well hidden packs. It only took 10 minutes to walk back to them after our 3 hours in the gorge!

Coming from a relatively flat Norfolk, doing the Esk Gorge Ghyll Scramble was probably the most challenging thing Robert and the others had done for many years. They all found it great fun!

And you can too. For the price of only £75 per person (minimum of two persons) we are happy to guide you on this, the best Ghyll Scrambling experience of it's type in The Lake District (indeed - in North West England!) and you'll get all of the equipment you see everyone wearing as part of your fee. Contact us now to arrange your Esk Gorge Ghyll Scrambling Session. We love doing it as much as you will and can't wait to return.

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