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Exploring Deeper into the Gills and Canyons of England

Posted on: January 31st, 2014 by Lost Earth Adventures

Scrambling, Climbing and Walking through the Rivers, Gills and Gorges of Yorkshire and the Peak District

Climbing a water fall in the Yorkshire Dales
At Lost Earth Adventures we like to start the New Year right. This usually means an adventure – something different, exciting and new! Whether it’s a new spot for gorge scrambling or crag to climb at, we’re always on the hunt for new locations so we can expand on the experiences we can give you.
gorge walking peak district
As outdoor professionals we also get asked from time to time to test various outdoor products for retailers as lots of our working week is spent out in the elements. Retailer, Silver Fox recently asked us to test the Lowe Alpine TFX Kibo rucksack. Never one to just merely “test” a product in a run of the mill way, we took this request as a challenge! We were determined to put this rucksack through its paces; putting it through the harshest test we could while having a banging good time.
Gorge Scrambling
No good review (or adventure) would be complete if we hadn’t swam down rivers, climbed steep rock faces, abseiled down water falls into canyons, scrambled through gorges in fast flowing water and waded through swamps. All of these adventures happened while carrying very heavy kit over a bitterly cold couple of days in January.

First we headed to one of our favourite places in the whole world, the Peak District National Park. We’d had a tip off that there was a great river flowing down the side of Kinder Scout. Now any Boy Scout, Girl Guide or D of E participant knows the vast, boggy landscape is one hell of a laugh and possesses enough issues to cross at the best of times. Kinder Scout in all its glory is a giant, swampy, huge muddy mess… perfect!

Gorge Scrambling
We got our wetsuits on and headed for the hills. The adventure began scrambling up a clean, peaty gill. We swam under fallen trees and climbed up steep waterfalls and jumped from the cliffs. Superbly refreshing, this was a true delight. The gill is located in a stunning area of upland meadows, a peaceful, natural place. In the summer it’ll be the perfect spot to enjoy a BBQ, while spending the day exploring and scrambling. We’re looking forward to bringing people here in the warmer, sunnier months.

Next up on our quest was Strans Gill, a limestone canyon in the Yorkshire Dales that is not for the faint hearted. In the winter the gill is full to the brim with water, making us very grateful for our 5mm thick wetsuits!

The gill involves hard rock climbing up a fast flowing, full waterfall, after a few hundred metres of exposed (but fun) scrambling. To make this adventure even more interesting we took a swim up the River Wharfe towards the start of the gill, much to the amusement and bewilderment of onlookers watching from the bank. The first dip in always takes your breath away, but as we started swimming and moving, we stayed quite warm in our wetsuits. The gill is where the scrambling starts and the real fun begins.

Scrambling up a gorge in Yorkshire
We hurried up the grassy moorland to the mouth of the steep sided gorge and began climbing up the many steps and slippery problems that make this gorge scramble so much fun. We managed to move quite swiftly through the gorge heading higher and higher without any problem until we were faced with the crux – a steep wall known as the waterfall pitch. In summer conditions it is climbed without much problem, as it’s normally dry, but we were faced with a powerful torrent of bitterly cold water.
Canyoning Yorkshire
Knowing how easy it is to get cold, fast in these conditions I quickly un-coiled the rope and headed into the flow. As soon I started climbing the water hit me and I realised I had to climb fast. I was quickly beginning to lose feeling in my fingers and it wasn’t getting any warmer!

The climbing was actually quite pleasant, big juggy holds which were pleasing to numb fingers and the final move was a fun flop onto a slippery platform into the middle of the river, just steep enough to get the blood pumping. After we’d finished exploring the top reaches of the gorge we decided it would be fun to abseil back into the waterfall and also attempt to retrieve a piece of protection that Sarah found hard to extract on the way up. It was a large climbing hex that was slotted into a crack that had the rope clipped through in order to limit the distance I would fall if I lost my grip.

The hex had got twisted in a crack and would not budge. There was only so long I could stand in the flow before I’d had too much, the speed of the water really intensified the coldness and it was starting to get dark. It seemed prudent to leave a relatively inexpensive piece of kit to be found another day. This is certainly an adventure for those that want some excitement whilst doing something a little different. To keep updated of future trips like this check out our canyoning, gorge walking and gill scrambles page. There will be more additions throughout the year as we delve deeper and deeper into the surrounding hillsides.

So how did the rucksack cope? In a word, great! We couldn’t fault it. It has everything you’d need in a rucksack and is comfortable to carry. If you are into lightweight gear and saving grams is quite important to you then this should be your first port of call if you need a decent expedition pack.

It has clean, expanding side pockets so it is good for climbing, has a big top pocket for all your bits and pieces and a little pocket on the front for safe storage of phones and keys. There are some pockets in the hip strap for keeping a GPS or snacks handy and Sarah especially thought the colour was quite cool.

The only downside is that, as you’d imagine in a lightweight bag that it seems as though the material is not that robust. Saying that we beat the hell out of it over a couple of days, dragging it down rivers and up gorges and there isn’t the slightest bit of damage or wear. We ran this test for our friends at Silver Fox, a superb Yorkshire company based in Leeds. They have a fantastic selection of outdoor kit at great prices.

You can buy the Lowe Alpine Kibo and plenty of other outdoor equipment on the Silver Fox website.

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