Devil’s Canyon – ‘The COLOSSAL One’

Location: TBC (secret location) Time Taken: 5-6 hours (from meeting to leaving) Price: From £115 (per person)
What’s involved?
This is proper canyoning. A full descent of the Lake District’s biggest and best canyon – This is a very aquatic outing that involves abseiling down some truly colossal waterfalls, a couple of natural slides and a small jump. 
Who will it suit?
Although there is no previous experience required – it is beneficial to have previously abseiled. This is for adults only. You must be fit and able as this is a very strenuous outing that requires mental toughness, endurance and a level of self reliance. You must have no fear of water or of being fully submerged and you must be OK with heights. The obstacles are unavoidable and once you start you are committed. This really isn’t a good option for those who have never done anything outdoorsy in the past, those who are inactive, those who do not like water or getting their face wet or people who cannot endure the cold.

The location:

Devil’s Canyon is found in a secret location known only to Crags Adventures. It is quite central meaning it’s quite easily reached from most popular areas such as Windermere, Grasmere, Langdale, Coniston, Ambleside and Keswick. This imposing canyon quite literally falls down the side of a valley with some monstrous vertical drops. Parking is in a lay-by (free). Changing will take place at the cars prior to setting off.

Whats involved?

This is a “proper” canyoning experience and we use skills and techniques learnt from UK Canyon Guides courses. These are the same canyoning techniques used throughout Europe and America by canyon guides. Not many UK companies even know about these techniques – instead using climbing techniques that work to a certain degree but are not best practice or deemed suitable for use in a wet canyon environment by the professionals.

From the cars we have a steep and gruelling 40 minute walk-in to the canyon entry point wearing and carrying all of our kit. We walk up with wetsuits only half-on (up to waist) as it is a hot walk. It is advisable you wear a rash vest/base layer/gym top (no cotton) for walking up and for wearing under the wetsuit during the canyon descent for extra warmth.

Before we enter the canyon you will first be taught how to use the canyoning equipment and how to abseil. We will then enter the canyon and descend it, doing battle with its truly colossal waterfalls and vertical drops. Its abseils and slides are the BIGGEST the Lake District has to offer and are guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. It really is epic amounts of fun. However, be warned; this ghyll has a dark side – its dangers are ever present, lurking in its depths trying to catch you off guard. Its water will try to pound you into submission weakening your body and mind, its cold will quietly rob you of what little heat and rational thinking you possess and its doomed depths will try to ensnare you. It is a real test of endurance and will power. Do you have what it takes to attempt ‘The COLOSSAL One’?

   

The nature of the canyon:

It is a very aquatic outing that takes place in and around both fast flowing and deep water. The canyon isn’t easily escapable once we enter it,  making it a committing outing. Due to the steep terrain surrounding the canyon you cannot simply walk around obstacles if you decide you have bitten off more than you can chew. If one person wants to leave then we all must leave – this isn’t a “dip your toes and see how you feel” activity, therefore please choose your team wisely.   The canyon doesn’t flood as easily as other canyons and will be ran in times of moderately higher water levels (group dependant), however there is a fine line between “exciting” and it being “dangerous”.

We have found both in times of drought (usually May/June) and in times of prolonged rain that the water level isn’t affected much due to recent human interventions upstream. However, we have built up a lot of experience over the years in all conditions in this canyon and we will make the right decision of whether or not to run your session. There are other options/locations available to us if the flooding is too much.

Who does it suit?

This canyon is strictly for adults (over 18’s) only. There is no previous experience required, however, you will find it beneficial if you have previously taken part in abseiling and/or canyoning prior to coming out. You must be fit and able as this is a very strenuous outing that requires metal toughness, endurance and a level of self reliance. You must have no fear of water, being inside a waterfall or of being fully submerged and you must be OK with heights.

So to reinforce the point – this really isn’t a good option for those who haven’t done anything outdoorsy in the past, those who are largely inactive, those who do not like water or getting their face wet and people who cannot endure the cold.

You will be constantly on the move over challenging terrain in cold, deep and fast flowing water for up to 6 hours. Additional qualities you must posses are determination, a positive attitude, a strong mind and lots of will-power, as well as a head for heights and confidence in water. If you don’t possess these qualities then it WILL break you. Maximum group size of 7.

Please let us know of any medical, physical or mental issues including allergy information for anyone of your group at the time of enquiring as we may need a conversation, a bit of information about your condition or enough time to put additional measures in place. We also may need a doctors note confirming you are fit and able enough to participate.

What’s provided:

  • Full wetsuit with hood (5mm)
  • Additional wetsuit jacket (4mm)
  • Wetsuit gloves
  • Wetsuit socks
  • Helmet
  • Canyoning harness & cowstails
  • All canyon equipment
  • Two canyon guides
  • Medical kit
  • A group bag with a dry storage container for personal medication and food (for your group to carry)

 

What to bring:

  • Old trainers – no wellies, sandals, crocs or slip-on type shoes
  • Socks (optional additional layer)
  • Swimming costume/trunks/underwear
  • Old shorts for over the wetsuit (no shorter than mid-thigh)
  • Rash vest/base layer/gym t-shirt (not cotton – its cold when wet) – for walking up and wearing underneath wetsuit
  • Personal food and drink (keep it compact as you will have limited space in the dry containers – and you will be carrying it)
  • Personal medication (i.e inhaler, insulin etc)

Please ensure you bring the old shorts for over the top of the wetsuit. Failure to do so will result in not taking part in the activity.

Typical timeslot

  • 9.30am – 3.30pm

How long will it last?

The activity will last no more than 6 hours from the point we meet to the point we say goodbye. The exact time depends on group size, the confidence and ability as well as the fitness of the participants and also the water conditions.

   

What time of year?

We start the season in roughly March and end it in November (depending on how cold the spring and autumn have been). Please be aware that the sessions go ahead even if it is cold, windy and/or raining. Please have this in mind if you book for the colder months as there is more chance of poor weather and you need to be up for it.

So to reinforce the point further – please expect for the canyon to go ahead even in poor weather and if you are not keen on this idea then don’t book. The only time we cancel this activity is if the conditions make the activity unsafe – and this decision is made by the instructor and is usually due to dangerously high water levels.

Meeting location:

Secret location – to be confirmed once payment has been made in full. Very central and easily reached from Windermere, Grasmere, Ambleside and Keswick.

   

Pro’s: 

  • Suitable for “first-timers”
  • Free parking (limited)
  • Safe bet in most weather
  • Very aquatic canyon
  • Lake Districts BIGGEST & BEST waterfall abseils and slides
  • You will learn “proper” canyoning skills and techniques
  • Jump can be avoided
  • Near a pub
  • Bus transport links
  • Easy to find

Cons:

  • No toilet or changing area where we park (we use cars and towels)
  • Not suitable for people that do not like to get fully submerged in water
  • Not suitable for spectators
  • Very remote and inescapable
  • Committing
  • Tiring
  • Not for all levels of fitness or abilities
  • Limited free parking
    
   

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