Canyoning, or Canyoneering is a popular outdoor activity amongst a wide range of people. From teenagers with no fear, to adults learning to face theirs, Canyoning is a great way to experience the local mountains and gorges in your own towns and abroad.
Although mostly used now for entertainment purposes, Canyoning once had a more functional history that led it to become the adventure sport we know it as today.
Where did Canyoning begin?
The first recorded instances of Canyoning can be traced back to the late 19th Century in France where the “father of modern speleology” Edouard Alfred Martel used techniques like those used today to navigate into hard-to-reach spots of these gorges in order to conduct scientific testing and exploration of the areas. He is best known for his studies and documentation of caves throughout France and other nearby countries.
Speleology is the study of caves, and gives its name to Spelunking, the exploration of caves for entertainment.
These first expeditions only used very basic equipment, and those taking part were experienced climbers first and foremost, relying largely on their own ability to navigate the cave and less on the equipment for protection, a world away from the practise today.
Modern Equipment and Enhanced Safety
As we mentioned, the first Canyoning expeditions used very basic forms of safety equipment. Due to increasing popularity in the sport in the 20th Century, a need for more advanced and reliable safety equipment became a prominent focus.
The first ever harness was created by the British company, Troll Climbing Equipment, who created a harness with plastic protection that was worn as shorts and was mainly used by speleologists and canyon explorers.
“Troll is a company synonymous with climbing and mountaineering history. In the late 1960s we developed the world’s first sit harness; the Whillans Harness. We also developed other innovative products that helped some of the best climbers in the world push boundaries in alpine climbing.” – Troll Climbing Equipment
Canyoning in the 70s and 80s and Dennis Turville
Dennis Turville was a professional photographer and climber who rose to prominence in the 70s through his daring pictures of his expeditions in areas such as the Zion area in southwest Utah. His photography has become renowned worldwide due to his ability to capture images of parts of the world relatively unseen to most, due to his Canyoning abilities.
Some of the most famous routes Turville brought to light are Heaps, Keyhole and Pine Creek – all explorable in Utah.
Modern Day Canyoning
Canyoning is one of Nae Limits most popular activities, offering multiple trips at various destinations in Perthshire, Scotland and for all ability levels.
We provide the latest in safety equipment and risk assessments to ensure every activity is carried out as smoothly as possible. All of our guides and instructors are trained regularly in First Aid Outdoors, White Water Rescue and Canyoning Safety, ensuring every trip has been property assessed before taking any groups out.
Canyoning today is a fun, exhilarating activity that can be enjoyed by all the family. Grab a wetsuit and get ready to splash, slide and play in some of Scotland’s best locations.