As well as being a haven for hikers and walkers, the Lake District is one of the UK’s most popular destinations for rock climbers, treetop climbers, scramblers, cavers and gorge walkers. Not only does the area offer a vast range of climbing opportunities from beginner to expert level, but the views at the end of each climb are spectacular and unlike anything else in the British Isles.
Discover the best places in the Lake District for rock climbing and find the perfect location for your skill set. Whether you’re looking to practice for a few hours, want periods of hiking with sections of climbing in between, or you’re an experienced climber looking for a challenge, the Lake District has over 900 square miles of mountains (or fells), lakes and grassy valleys to create the ideal climbing trip for you.
For those who love the adrenaline and challenge of rock climbing, the Lake District offers an experience for beginner, intermediate and expert climbers. You can go on introductory and guided climbs with rented equipment, or plan out your route and discover new crags with spectacular views on your own.
There are a number of different companies in the area that offer both in and outdoor climbing, including: ‘More Than Mountains’ at Langdale, ‘Joint Adventures’ at Coniston, ‘Path to Adventure’ at Coniston and ‘Lakeland Climbing Centre’ at Kendal.
With stunning views to look forward to (and plenty of Kendal mint cake packed to give you energy), rock climbing is a challenging and immersive activity that visitors to the Lake District can enjoy all year round, although the spring and summer months will tend to be dryer and therefore safer.
As well as rocky crags, the Lake District offers woodland and forests with opportunities for treetop climbing, abseiling, zip wires and walking along wooden bridges strung between the trees. There are a number of companies providing the treetop adventure experience. Whether you’re an experienced climber, or simply an adrenaline junkie who wants a challenge, you can easily spend days on end exploring the Lake District’s forests from amongst the treetops.
There are plenty of different companies and places to hire equipment across the Lake District, including Hawkshead, Windermere and Kendal. From aerial walking to treetop trampoline nets, zip trekking to low rope courses, stay active with treetop climbing and enjoy seeing the Lakes from a whole new perspective.
Scrambling & Gorge Walking
Scrambling is a notch down from rock climbing, but nevertheless requires a lot of stamina, determination and enthusiasm. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s the best way to reach the uppermost Lake District crags and includes a balance of walking with climbing. Scrambling in Cumbria can also involve gorge walking where you can climb into waterfalls, wade through streams and jump into shimmering pools. A great activity for families and groups, this activity is particularly popular during the summer months, as it means you can cool off after working up a sweat.
‘More than Mountains’ at Langdale and ‘Joint Adventures’ at Coniston are two of the most widespread companies providing scrambling and rock-climbing expeditions in the Lake District. Whether you want to hire gear and set off on your own, or have a guided experience at some of the area’s most popular scrambling and gorge walking locations, with dozens of different routes to take, there’s no end the adventures you’ll have.
How to Stay Safe While Climbing in the Lake District
As with any outdoor activity, safety precautions must be taken when enjoying rock climbing, scrambling and treetop climbing. If you’re on a guided tour of the Lake District mountains, the company you are going with you should give you all the information and equipment you need to avoid any accidents.
If you’re going it alone, or considering trying one of these climbing activities for the first time, there are a few things to keep in mind – the most important of which being wearing the right gear and being prepared. Safety equipment that is essential includes wearing a helmet, waterproofs and wetsuits if you’re gorge walking, adequate drinking water- especially when the weather is hot, water-purifying chemicals, a laminated map and a compass in case of navigational problems.
Due to the remote locations of many Lake District climbing and scrambling trails, you may need to call for help and find you have no signal on your phone. For this reason, it’s advisable that you travel in a group, especially when making your first excursion in the Lakes.
There’s something for everyone at the Lake District, so whatever your level of climbing expertise, make sure you stay safe and find a route that fits with your abilities.