Explore the gorge on Via Ferrata
If you’re the sort that trips over guy ropes on a campsite, you might want to think twice about having a go at one of the latest outdoor activities.Via ferrata involves traversing natural obstacles like gorges and waterfalls using a series of cables and fixed ironworks to remove most of the risk. It’s not a million miles from the treetop traverses that have become so popular in recent years, but make the most of natural rather than artificial obstacles.
How Stean Gorge is the UK’s latest venue for this ‘clip-on’ adventure, although for some of us it might be better described as a cling-on experience.
This week the North Yorkshire location opened three new via ferrata routes to extend its existing course through the landscape known locally as Little Switzerland.
The new high level cable walks enable visitors to test their nerve and balance by traversing from one side of the gorge to the other at heights of up to 9m. Burma Bridge involves two hand cables and one foot cable, while Postman’s Walk has one top cable and one to walk on. The third route is the Tyrolean Traverse, with one overhead cable and a seated pulley system (not a zipwire).
Via ferrata is named after the Italian words for ‘iron way’, referring to the metalwork employed but equally applicable to the nerves needed to take part in this contemporary adventure sport.
How Stean has the added attraction of a campsite, with 30 tent pitches (no caravans or motorhomes) and basic facilities. There is a newly-built block housing toilets and showers, and a café open 10am-6pm in the summer.
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