Gorge Walking Validation

The Gorge Walking Validation is designed to provide training for instructors to enable them to lead or assist gorge walking as a learning and/or play activity.  We have put together a dynamic programme, which will be covered over two full days’ training and includes your water safety award.

Day One: Sychryd Gorge – Introduction to delivering gorge-walking

Day Two: Mellte Gorge (weather dependent)

Is it for me?

There is no national award specific to Gorge walking or gorge scrambling.  However the Adventure Activity Licensing Service (AALS) covers this activity and they recognise the MIA as the technical expert in this area.  However, there is dispute that the training and assessment or necessary experience required is not completely relevant for gorge walking and do not fully cover water and its inherent risk.  They can also debate that most of the canoe coaching awards do not cover the different rope work techniques that may need to be employed at such venues. However with the combination of both awards we will be able to cover our syllabus.


Gorge Walking Validation is

  • Physically demanding, requiring all round use of the body
  • Mentally demanding if used with problem solving


Gorge Walking Validation requires

  • Good group, motivation and leadership skills
  • Planning
  • Concentration
  • Communication
  • Listening skills
  • Performance evaluation
  • Team work and individual achievement
  • Trust in oneself and others
  • Self confidence


You should

  • Dress for 4 hours of being wet very wet
  • Be prepared to swim and get fit
  • Have a variety of throw bags to try
  • Wear suitable footwear for running up and down a riverbank
  • Bring a willing attitude and be open to trying new things.
  • Have a sense of humour (you will need this when your friends miss with the throw lines!)


Practical sessions include:

  • Briefing
  • Throw lines
  • Ropes, slings and gadgets
  • Spotting: person to person and upstream
  • Cave or mine exploration
  • Swimming
  • Setting tasks
  • Waterfall jumps
  • Problem solving (simple common problems)
  • First aid incidents (Slips and trips common occurrences)

Site conservation and access

  • Access
  • Erosion
  • Plant and animal issues
  • Exploration

Equipment List

  • Buoyancy Aid
  • Water Helmet
  • Cag
  • Wetsuit / dry suit / steamer
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Throw line
  • Knife
  • River Screw-gate karabiner
  • Three meters of floating rope
  • Any rescue kit you have
  • Change of warm clothing

The Syllabus

  • Group and individual abilities
  • First aid kits, medical conditions (who carries what)
  • Journey: time, group, challenges
  • Equipment: who carries what and where (rucksacks, helmets, buoyancy aids, wetsuits, boots)
  • Personal and group safety
  • Assistant co-instructor
  • Leadership, first aid and life saving training delegation
  • Responsibilities
  • Briefing
  • Pairing off
  • Delegation
  • Spotting


  • Site risk assessment
  • Real risk vs. perceived risk

Judging water levels

  • Levels of water vs. time of year
  • Deep water / shallow water


  • Dry and wet rocks
  • Rock fall site
  • Jumps, traverses and lowers
  • Cave exploration

Rope work

  • Use of rope and throw line
  • Journeying
  • Lowering and abseiling


A further period of development and completing action plans is then decided with the training staff.  When this is completed and the candidates feel ready, they will be assessed, at the venue of their choice and with their group.


Like all modern assessments, this is run on a non-interventionist basis, with feedback and a written report given at the end along with the relevant certificate.

Both first and water training are required prior to assessment.

Appropriate First Aid qualifications

  • Any 16-hour two-day course (with additional water based first aid and scenarios)
  • SLSA or RNLSS pool bronze or higher

Appropriate water based qualifications

  • W.W. safety and rescue (BCU approved)
  • WW. Safety and rescue non boat based in house.
  • Swift Water rescue (1)
  • RNLSS (WSM) or activity site-specific training and assessment.

Log Book

  • It is essential that you have at least 6 logged sessions as an assistant prior to attending assessment.
  • Your Gorge-walking log book page must be completed prior to assessment.
  • Bring a completed site specific risk assessment.