Abseiling is often seen as a standalone and glamorous activity thanks to its popularity as an outdoor pursuit, but it is actually an essential skill for mountaineering, as it usually gives climbers the quickest route off the fell side.

This is vital for those needing to descend quickly in the event of an emergency. For example, a Mountain Rescue volunteer may use abseiling to quickly reach a person who has taken a steep fall. Abseiling uses a rope and harness to descend down a cliff face, and is a great way of testing your courage.

What Abseiling Involves

In abseiling, you will usually wear some sort of harness. This is then attached to a rope that is anchored onto something at the top of the cliff. This could be a tree, a boulder, or specially designed rock climbing equipment. The rope and harness are attached through a friction device, often referred to as a belay device. This device creates tension on the rope that prevents you from simply falling. You are then able to control the speed at which you descend.

What to Wear and Bring

Most activity companies will provide all the ropes, harnesses, helmets, and safety gear required for abseiling, but it’s a good idea to check in advance to confirm if this is the case. You will need to wear a good pair of walking boots or firm trainers, and comfortable clothing. Jeans are not advisable as in wet weather they can take a long time to dry out. You should take a change of clothes with you just in case.

You will probably need to provide your own refreshments, but check with your activity company if this is the case.

Where to Abseil in the Lake District

According to the British Mountaineering Council, abseiling is the top cause of fatalities of all mountaineering activities. Therefore, unless you are an experienced climber with all of the necessary equipment and good local knowledge, we do not recommend you attempt abseiling without a guide. There are several companies in the Lake District offering abseiling, either as a standalone activity, or as part of a package. Some take individual bookings, others require groups.

Lakeland Mountain Guides

The Lakeland Mountain Guides has an Abseiling Adventure Day that lasts 3-4 hours and gives participants the opportunity to tackle 3 abseils, including one that is 40m high! You will also be able to enjoy some quarries, see some cave diving tunnels, and enjoy a woodland walk. No previous experience required!


Adventure North West

Popular yearround, Adventure North West offers various abseiling sessions, using vertical rock faces in Coniston. No former experience is required and it is suitable for people aged 10 and over.


River Deep Mountain High

Abseiling with RDMH involves a short picturesque walk and then the opportunity to choose the heights of abseil, along with the opportunity to explore nearby caves and tunnels.

  • Address: Lowick Old School, Nr Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8EB
  • Tel: 01539528666
  • Website: www.riverdeepmountainhigh.co.uk
  • Cost: From £39.50 for one half day session

Keswick Adventure Centre

Offering abseiling at various locations throughout the Lake District, including at Woden’s Face in Borrowdale, which involves a 100ft descent.


Glaramara Outdoor Adventures

Glaramara provides half-day abseiling sessions around Borrowdale and tailors day packages to suit your needs. Glaramara also have accommodation available and can arrange transport if required.

  • Address: Seatoller, Borrowdale, Nr Keswick, CA12 5XQ
  • Tel: 01768777222
  • Website: www.glaramara.co.uk
  • Cost: Prices available on application and are dependent on activity and number of people required

Adventure Makers: Dave's Adventure Company

Primarily operating out of the southern Lake District area with some activities offered in the Yorkshire Dales, Adventure Makers provides bespoke activity days for couples, families, and groups.


Lakeland Ascents

Led by a member of Kendal's Mountain Rescue Team, Lakeland Ascents offers abseiling around Langdale, as well as locations further afield, including at Cathedral Quarry where there is a 160ft vertical slate wall.

  • Address: Registered Office C/O Saint & Co, The Old Police Station, Church Street, Ambleside, LA22 0BT (Admin Office Only)
  • Tel: 07702942980
  • Website: www.lakelandascents.co.uk
  • Cost: From £35 per person when booking for two or more people; £70 per person for individuals

Distant Horizons

Based in Ullswater, Distant Horizons can provide abseiling sessions all year round, as they have an indoor climbing wall to complement their outdoor activities.

  • Address: Leeming Farm, Watermillock, Ullswater, Penrith, CA11 0JJ
  • Tel: 01768486465
  • Website: www.distant-horizons.co.uk
  • Cost: From £15 per person

Summit Treks

Based in Coniston, Summit Treks not only offer a tailored programme of activities and courses for individuals, but they also run a specialist outdoor activity equipment shop in Coniston where participants of their activities can receive a hefty discount.

  • Address: 14 Yewdale Road, Consiton, Cumbria, LA21 8DU
  • Tel: 01539441212
  • Website: www.summitreks.co.uk
  • Cost: From £38 per person

Green Man Survival

Green Man Survival offer a one-day abseiling and survival adventure. During the excursion, you will learn how to abseil, tie knots and rig your ropes, fire lighting with only sparks and a knife, emergency shelter building, tree and plant identification, water purification, navigation, and cave exploration.