Wet and Wonderful Summer!
According to the radio today (bbc6music if you are wondering), June 2012 was the wettest June since records began, and the first few weeks of July are not looking much better. Well, I have had enough of the gloomy forecasts and general weather malaise; with rain like this, there is no better time to seek out the fabulous waterfalls near many of our self catering cottages!
After heavy or persistent rainfall, Lakeland’s waterfalls are simply spectacular. So rather than moaning about the weather, view it as an opportunity to see these wonders of the natural world and marvel at the raw power of mother nature!
Situated near the Jaws of Borrowdale, Lodore Falls cascade over huge boulders in the beck flowing from Watendlath Tarn. The falls are on private property and can be reached by a permissive path leads from the Lodore Hotel.
One of the most accessible waterfalls is near Ullswater. Aira Force descends dramatically, pouring under a packhorse bridge, allowing you stand right over it and watch it fall around 65 feet.
Renowned for having the longest single drop (120 feet), this waterfall is hidden away in a deep tree-lined gorge between Buttermere and Crummock and remains a spectacular sight even in dry periods. Scale Force was one of the earliest visitor attractions in the Lake District and remains popular to this day. The force is a simple walk of around an hour from Buttermere Village and it is possible to explore quite deep inside the gorge, clambering over boulders and ledges.
Dungeon Ghyll Force & Stickle Gill
Both these waterfalls can be reached from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, a popular climbers haunt. Stickle Gill is the more accessible with a good path going up to the tarn. Dungeon Ghyll flows in a narrow gorge and requires a more adventurous spirit in order to get up close.
Possibly my favourite waterfall, I first fell in love with Lakeland whilst walking uphill alongside Sourmilk Gill. The waterfall flows from beautiful Bleaberry Tarn and tumbles down to Buttermere over reddish pink rocks. A steep but steady path will take you up to the outlet at the tarn underneath the towering amphitheater of Chapel Crags.
Stanley Ghyll Force
A beautiful waterfall located near the village of Boot in Eskdale. The sixty foot falls drop through a deep narrow ravine and continues into smaller falls and pools. With plentiful rhododendrons growing on steep ledges and precipices, there is an otherworldly feel to Stanley Ghyll. The path is steep and unfenced making the walk a real adventure.
Of course this is just a small handful of the gills and waterfalls in the Lake District, half the fun is in finding them, feeling the spray on your face and the roar in your ears. My other recommendations include a different Sour Milk Gill and Taylor Gill Force. Both flow into Seathwaite with paths into the high fells alongside them. A low level walk suitable for the entire family goes up into wild and lonely Langstrath and the water thunders down the valley and over the gigantic boulders and slabs. Moss Force is easily reached from the top of Newlands Pass and when it freezes in winter, a great spot for watching ice climbers.
It goes without saying that all these falls are at their most impressive after heavy rain, which means the steep ground around these amazing falls will invariably be wet. So watch where you put your feet!