Go scrambling

Ramblers. They do easy walks that take in some nice views and end in a pub, right?

Wrong. Across Britain, Ramblers groups take on all sorts of adventures, including some of Britain’s best scrambles. 

In fact, there are opportunities for all abilities, from fun weekends away to more challenging scrambling trips that take you off the path well-trod and into the adventurous realm of the climber. It’s literally a hands-on approach to scaling a peak. 

What is scrambling?
A scramble is any ascent that involves using your hands as well as your feet. But the hands-on stuff isn’t usually sustained throughout, which differentiates it from climbing proper. 

What kit do you need to scramble?
Grade 1 routes shouldn’t need any more than you’d take on a hill walk, though you’d be well advised to go light and wear protective, rigid-soled footwear. Harder scrambles might require the occasional precaution of a rope belay and even a helmet to protect against possible rockfall. A good guidebook is essential for outlining the often vague routes in detail and warning of potential dangers.

What are scrambling grades?
Scrambling grades are subjective and vary with the seasons. The grades mentioned here refer to summer conditions only.
Grade 1 Walks with elements of clambering, within the capability of experienced hill walkers. Routes can be exposed, but you shouldn’t need technical equipment.
Grade 2 Some technical pitches, longer and steeper stretches and easy climbing. Only suitable during better weather. Some rope techniques might be useful.
Grade 3 Likely to involve elementary rock-climbing sections demanding proper protection. Tackle only in dry conditions, when you’ve learned a few basics of rope protection, belays and abseiling. 
Grade 4 or Grade 3S The domain of confident, equipped climbers. 

Get Involved
Find your nearest young walkers group at ramblers.org.uk/groupfinder Search for the best technical scrambling routes at ramblers.org.uk/go-walking

MATT JONES is editor of Walk, the magazine of the Ramblers – Britain’s walking charity. A keen climber and walker, his favourite scramble is Tryfan’s North Ridge in Snowdonia.