Scrambling UK

Scrambling UK

All locations are the rough start locations of the scrambles as per a six figure OS grid references listed in the referenced guidebooks and/or other sources. Some locations may be ‘off’ (misplaced) so care needs to be taken to cross reference them to the relevant guidebooks and/or other appropriate sources. Gradings are as per the listed guide books and generally speaking the highest grading is used. For example, if a scramble is graded as a 2/3 in the guidebook it is usually listed as a 3. However, if in doubt the lower grade or middle grade is sometimes taken. For example, some routes can be varied and may be a 1, 2, or 3 depending on which line is taken. Please make sure you reference the listed guidebooks properly.

Before doing any scrambling you should be aware of the basic principles and your own competence. These can be referenced in any of the guidebooks listed below. You should read at least one, preferably all, of the guidebooks to familiarise yourself with the ethos, traditions, and principles of scrambling.

At the very least you should know the equipment you need (including clothing), basic rope work (above ML standard), how to keep safe in the mountains and how to contact emergency services, navigation skills (true navigation using a map and compass), and some relevant and appropriate experience with exposure on rock. You should always have at least one other person with you.

Any scramble is only ever graded in principle as the difficulty and risk varies with experience and with weather conditions. Also, most scrambles can vary in difficulty and risk if you change route sometimes by as little as a couple of meters. A grade one scramble can become a grade three scramble needing ropes and proper kit without noticing.

Brian Evan’s books on Lake District scrambles gives probably the best written introduction to scrambling along with the best written explanations of routes and examples. (Scrambles in the Lake District – North. Brian Evans. Cicerone. Scrambles in the Lake District – South. Brian Evans. Cicerone.)

A little time spent reading either of his books on Lake District Scrambles will stand you in good stead no matter how experienced you are. Also, cross referencing the scrambles with some of the routes and climbs listed in Dan Bailey’s books will show how some scrambles are listed as climbs by the rock climbing community. (e.g. The Ridges of England Wales and Ireland. Dan Bailey. Cicerone.) Although no one can match Steve Ashton for ascerbic and witty insight (Scrambles in Snowdonia. Steve Ashton. 2013. Cicerone.).

Scrambling is a ‘summer’ activity. Under winter conditions all scrambles become winter climbs requiring the necessary skills and equipment.

The classic guidebooks on scrambling in North Wales, The Lake District, and The Dark Peak are given below. (I am still waiting for Scotland to grant permission.) It is advised to read them before setting out. While these guidebooks give all the ‘top’ and ‘classic’ scrambles three things quickly become clear:

  1. Most ‘good’ scrambles need good rock and there is not much of it about (much more of it in Scotland)
  2. There are many ‘undiscovered’ scrambles waiting to be found
  3. The only certain grade in scrambling is a Grade 3 or above. Anything below that can quickly become a Grade 3 if you go ‘off piste’ by as little as a few metres. That is, a Grade 1 scramble can become a Grade 3 in a few meters if you miss the route whereas a Grade 3 scramble is not, in principle, if ever, going to reduce to a Grade 1.

Scrambling is increasingly popular which means many routes now resemble motorway service stations on busy days – crowded, noisy, and dirty (litter strewn). It also means contact with large numbers of ill prepared people lacking the basic skills, competence, and kit and they can be a danger to themselves and others. Be aware of the risk that other people can pose to you and you to them.

Other Sources

North Wales

All GPX files below have a six figure OS Grid Reference either taken from source or estimated. Gradings are as per Smith and Ashton and generally speaking the highest grading is used. For example, if a scramble has been graded as a 2/3 in the guidebook it is usually listed as a 3. All starts should be referenced to the relevant guidebooks as listed below.

North Wales Recommended Guidebooks

North Wales Maps

  • OS Explorer OL 17, OL 18 1:25
  • OS LR 115 1:50
  • Harvey Snowdon North XT 1:40
  • Harvey Snowdon South XT 1:40
  • Harvey Snowdon North Superwalker XT25 1:25

North Wales All Locations

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North Wales All Locations (start) GPX

North Wales All Locations (start) Excel

North Wales Grade 1 (as Graded by Ashton and/or Smith)

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North Wales Grade 1 Locations (start) GPX

North Wales Grade 2 (as Graded by Ashton and/or Smith)

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North Wales Grade 2 Locations (start) GPX

North Wales Grade 3 (as Graded by Ashton and/or Smith)

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North Wales Grade 3 Locations (start) GPX

The Lake District

The Lake District is renowned for its scrambling but whether or not it rivals North Wales is a matter of opinion. What The Lake District does have to offer is a range of Ghill scrambles, scrambles up stream beds. The co-ordinates given below have been divided between North and South and by grade. There is no separation of Ghill scrambles from dry rock scrambles. They are intended to go with Brian Evans’s excellent books on scrambling.

All GPX files have a six figure OS Grid Reference either taken from source or estimated. Gradings are as per Evans and generally speaking the highest grading is used. For example, if a scramble has been graded as a 2/3 in the guidebook it is usually listed as a 3. All starts should be referenced to the relevant guidebooks as listed below.

Lake District Recommended Guidebooks

Lake District Maps

  • OS OL 1 & 24 1:25
  • OS LR 110, 118 1:50
  • Harvey Maps Peak District North, South, and Central XT40 1:40
  • Harvey Maps Peak District North, South, and Central Superwalker XT25 1:25

Lake District North All Locations

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Lake District North All Locations (start) GPX

Lake District North All Locations (start) Excel

Lake District North Grade 1 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District North Grade 1 GPX

Lake District North Grade 2 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District North Grade 2 GPX

Lake District North Grade 3 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District North Grade 3 GPX

Lake District North Grade 4 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District North Grade 4 GPX

Lake District South All Locations

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Lake District South All GPX

Lake District South All Excel

Lake District South Grade 1 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District South Grade 1 GPX

Lake District South Grade 2 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District South Grade 2 GPX

Lake District South Grade 3 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District South Grade 3 GPX

Lake District South Grade 4 (as Graded by Evans)

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Lake District South Grade 4 GPX

The Peak District

The Peak District is seemingly easy to overlook and for those who don’t know better it is not considered Mountain Country, which is quite frankly ridiculous given it has mountains. It is famous for its bouldering and for being one of the busiest National Parks in the UK with the highest numer of Mountain Rescue call outs. However, as Corker and Sleaford demonstrate in their excellent little book it has some surprisingly interesting and overlooked features.

All GPX files have a six figure OS Grid Reference either taken from source or estimated. Gradings are as per Corker and Sleaford and generally speaking the highest grading is used. For example, if a scramble has been graded as a 2/3 in the guidebook it is usually listed as a 3. All starts should be referenced to the relevant guidebooks as listed below.

The Peak District Guidebooks

Scrambles in the Dark Peak. Tom Corker and Terry Sleaford. Cicerone.

The Peak District Maps

OS Explorer OL1, OL24 1:25

The Peak District All Locations (as per Corker and Sleaford)

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The Peak District All Locations GPX

The Peak District All Locations Excel

The Peak District Grade 1 (as Graded by Corker and Sleaford)

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The Peak District Grade one GPX

The Peak District Grade 2 (as Graded by Corker and Sleaford)

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The Peak District Grade Two GPX

The Peak District South Grade 3 (as Graded by Corker and Sleaford)

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The Peak District Grade Three GPX

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