Church Beck

Location: Coniston Time Taken: 2-3 hours (from meeting to leaving) Price: From £40 (per person)
What’s involved?
A ghyll scramble (ascent) of Church Beck – This is an aquatic outing that involves climbing waterfalls, a tiny jump, a roped lower down a cliff and a natural slide. Our “standard” version is everyone else’s “canyoning” version. We don’t do the really tame outing other companies do that involves charging you extra to enter the gorge lower down and then stopping you and getting you out before all of the fun bits start (like the slide). 
Who will it suit?
No previous experience required. This is for adults and families with children of 10/11 years and above (140cm). All that is needed is a realistic level of fitness, no fear of being fully submerged in water and an adventurous nature. All of the obstacles are avoidable, however, if you miss everything out then you are just basically going for a walk in a stream in a wetsuit. This really isn’t a good option for those who do not like water or getting their face wet.

The location:

Church Beck  is located in the South of the Lake District National Park. It runs from the foot of the mountain called “The Old Man of Coniston” just below the “Coppermines”.  The start point of the ghyll scramble is accessed via a 5-10 minute moderately steep walk from the meeting place in the car park on Old Furness Road located at the top of the town of Coniston. This location has no changing facilities. Changing will take place behind a screen.

Whats involved?

It is a great little ghyll scrambling experience that involves ascending the ghyll known as Church Beck. There are a variety of challenges you will encounter along the way such as – falling and being lowered on a rope into pools of water, climbing waterfalls and a slide. If you want jumps or something a bit more adventurous or with better jumps then choose the “Canyon Version” – it is more expensive but definitely worth the money.

The nature of the ghyll:

It is an aquatic outing that takes place in and around both fast flowing and deep water. The ghyll can 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” – this is due to the ghyll being very “river-like” rather than “stream-like” due to many mountain streams feeding into it. When the water level is high the stream can be very fierce – however, we have built up a lot of experience and clocked up years of experience in all conditions in this ghyll and we will make the right decision of whether or not to run your session – A safer bet in times of flooding is Stickle Ghyll in Langdale (we tend to default to this ghyll when Church Beck is too dangerous to enter).

The “Standard Version” of Church Beck used to have a lot of jumps, however, the pools have been filled with rocks from the floods over the years and as a result they are no longer deep enough for jumping. The “Canyon Version” has been unaffected by this.

A positive thing about Church Beck being “river-like” rather than “stream-like” is that it doesn’t run dry/low in prolonged spells of warm dry weather that we tend to get during May/June.


Who does it suit?

This is fine for “first-timers” – no previous experience is necessary. The ghyll is for adults and families with children over 10/11 years of age (140cm).

Although all obstacles are avoidable it is recommended that participants should be confident in water, not scared of getting their face wet and be happy being fully submerged as this is a very aquatic outing (all obstacles are wet ones) and if you miss everything out then all you will be basically doing is going for a walk in a stream in a wetsuit. All participants would benefit from being comfortable being both in and around fast flowing and deep water. The ability to swim is useful but not essential as the buoyancy aids will keep you afloat when necessary.

If you still want to do a ghyll scramble but you don’t like water and want the option of a less aquatic outing then choose Stickle Ghyll in Langdale as it can be ran to suit everyone.

A realistic level of fitness is required for this as it is a physically demanding activity.

All under 18’s must be accompanied by their OWN parent or LEGAL guardian.

This is the standard version used by all. Its great fun, however, I recommend the “Canyon” version if you are after a more adventurous outing and some jumping.

What’s provided:

  • Full wetsuit (3-5mm)
  • Additional wetsuit jacket (3-4mm)
  • Buoyancy aid
  • Helmet
  • Canyoning harness & cowstails
  • All ghyll equipment & guide
  • Medical kit with a dry storage container for personal medication

Note: We also have special winter kit for the winter months!

What to bring:

  • Old trainers – no wellies, sandals, crocs or slip-on type shoes
  • Socks
  • 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)

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 timeslots 

  • 9-12
  • 12-3

We try to time our sessions so we experience the ghyll at its quietest times during the day. This version of Church Beck see’s a lot of traffic – especially in the busy months. The morning slot is almost guaranteed to ensure we miss everyone else.

How long will it last?

The activity will last no more than 3 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 February and end it in November. Please be aware that the sessions go ahead even if it is cold, windy, raining and even snowing to a point. 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 ghyll scramble 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:

The meeting point is Old Furness Road, Coniston, LA21 8HU. This is an industrial estate with parking. There are free spaces to park here but have change handy in case these are taken and you have to use the Pay and Display area. You are looking for a silver logo’d van parked up on the road. Please leave enough time for travelling as there is no refunds for people who turn up late.


  • Suitable for “first-timers”
  • Free parking (limited)
  • Safe bet in most weather
  • Aquatic ghyll with a nice mixture of a small jump, a rope lower, waterfall climbs and a slide
  • Near plenty of coffee shops, pubs and shops
  • Bus transport links
  • Easy to find


  • No decent jumps on the standard version
  • No toilet or changing area where we park (we use screens to change)
  • Not suitable for people that do not like to get fully submerged in water
  • Not suitable for spectators
  • Very busy
  • Limited free parking

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Please contact us for further details