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" Laudable Lodore "


Date & start time: Saturday 4th October 2014, midday start.

Location of Start : The Kettlewell NT car park, Derwent Water, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 267 195 )

Places visited : Lodore, Hogs Earth, Watendlath Cafe and back via High Lodore.

Walk details :   7.8 mls,  975 feet of ascent, 5 hour  25 mins.

Highest point : Watendlath, 860 ft - 264m

Walked with : Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather : Raining overnight and showers to start, but clearing nicely after midday.


[ Click here or on the image opposite for a larger version ]

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Dictionary definition . . .  Laudable  . . . an adjective . . . deserving praise and commendation.

Synonyms: praiseworthy, commendable, admirable, meritorious, worthy, deserving, creditable, worthy of admiration, estimable, of note, noteworthy, exemplary, reputable, honourable, excellent, sterling; hence the word ... applaudable.

- - - o o o - - -

Most of September's missing rain fell yesterday. 

When Neil suggested going for a walk a visit one of the famous Lakes waterfalls it seemed an obvious choice. 

It turned out to be a brilliant day in many respects.

We met him at Kettlewell car park on the shores of Derwent water, just a few miles out of Keswick.

[ Free to National Trust members but it's not very large, so late arrivals may need to park in Great Wood further up the road.]

A quick look at the lake while we prepared for the walk.  A small group of canoeists had just arrived.

They were enjoying a trip with Steve of Chase Adventure one of our local outdoor adventure companies.


Despite living here for the last fourteen years

and visiting the Lakes regularly since the 70's,

we had never yet seen the Lodore Falls.

Today was our opportunity to put that right.

We check the map (yes we really didn't know the way to the falls)

and headed out on the woodland walk towards Lodore Hotel.

On cue, as per the forecast, the sun came out and the woodland walk alongside the road was a delight.

The path naturally heads towards the falls.  We follow the roar of the water and meet the river as it passes the Lodore Hotel.

First sight of the river but not the famous falls . . .
. . . but with so much water the real thing should be impressive !

Round the corner we are greeted with the real thing . . . the Lodore Falls in full spate.

A roaring mass of water cascading down from on high . . .

a sight which so impressed Robert Southey, one of the classic Lakeland poets, that he wrote a famous poem about it.

It was a sight that impressed us equally today . . . as the water roared so loud it made conversation difficult.

The top of the main falls . . .
. . . and a close up of the middle section.
Down below us the water was peaty brown . . .
. . . as it raced away towards the lake.

A conveniently placed seat meant we could relax and take in the view a little while longer.

Recall if you can the poem "The Cataract of Lodore" by Robert Southey (1774–1843)

[ If not there's a link at the bottom of the page . . . it is worth reading.]

Laudable Lodore . . . you don't want to take your eyes off it . . .
. . . but we can't stay for ever and so take our leave.

We take the path up through the woods which climbs to the left of the waterfalls.

- - - o o o - - -

The path climbs away to the right as the direct climb alongside the falls is totally inaccessible.

From a gap in the canopy (posh or what) we get a view out over Derwent Water as the Keswick Launch approaches the Lodore jetty.

A smart turn brought the boat alongside the pier.

Last week the water was so low they were not able to use the jetty due to the shallow water.

What a difference a few wet days can make.

Below us the Lodore Hotel and the view over to Catbells.

Ahead of us, on our walk, was the wonderfully named Hogs Earth, a region of deciduous woodland above the main falls.

A few zig-zags later and we reach the river again.

There's no hint of the turmoil lower down for this gently flowing river.

The damp woodland is home to a lovely bracket fungus . . .       

 . . . seen from below and now above as we climb past it.

We are now entering the main Watendlath Valley, a classic 'U' shaped glacial hanging valley.

The humid conditions over the millennia has allowed trees to grow and the outline of the valley is therefore hidden.

Current climate has allowed these pristine dark fungi to grow.

After a short, sharp shower, the sun bursts through and is reflected in the turmoil of the water.

Level ground now and we leave the woods and find a footbridge.


Decision Time . . .

Do  we head back to towards Keswick and visit Surprise View,

. . . do we head for (High) Lodore and cut our walk short

(as Neil needs to drive home tonight)

. . . or do we take the Watendlath path

as it is such a nice day and there's always the chance

of a cup of tea at the National Trust tearooms at the farm ?


Neil says that there's no rush and we have time to extend the walk . . . so there's no contest.

Watendlath here we come.

Just as we had never seen the Lodore Falls before, we had never walked the Watendlath valley path either.

For the first time in fourteen years, or should it be forty years, we head head off, following the path upstream.

Quite a bit of work has been done on this path over the years.

Close to the river, there are signs of recent floods covering the path in the last few days.

A board-walk crosses a particularly marshy section

where a small tributary enters the river from the slopes of Ether Knott, high up on the right.

The water rushes around  the bend, cascading over the boulders as it flies past.

- - - o o o - - -

Contrast this to the picture just a week or so ago . . . courtesy of Maggie Allen's Picassa web photos

- - - o o o - - -

Watendlath is famous for its lake . . . or more correctly Watendlath Tarn.

Holding back the water is a band of high ground of hard rock that didn't succumb to the glaciers.

Our walk involves a slight uphill climb in order to reach the village.

The view from on high . . . looking back down the valley from the slightly higher ground before the village.

With a sudden drop of level the river develops a series of rapids

or even a waterfall or three.

We reach the highest rock and find another great view.

Down below us a series of waterfalls that would gain respect

in any other valley, but are often overlooked in this one.

We are nearly three hours into our walk

so this would be a great place to put our feet up and eat lunch.

Time to explore while we let our lunch settle.

This waterfall is about fifteen feet high, if not more.

Above it a wild cascade . . .
. . . and in the ravine the water rushes through.

Hold your cursor over the right hand picture to stop time, if only for an instant.

It seems my arrival back at the lunchtime rock has been anticipated !

Time to move on and visit Watendlath itself.
One last fine set of rapids leads us to . . .

The bridge at Watendlath . . . with the tarn beyond.

Someone said the cafe may be open . . .
. . .  for an after-lunch cup of tea.

An advertising slogan could have promised . . . " music, refreshments, entertainment . . . a knock-out sort of place "

Well . . . it had a singer at least.
A hot steaming mug of tea classes as excellent refreshment.
You have to make your own entertainment . . .
. . . and watch out for those apples up there.

They were so big that if they dropped on your head they would be a real knock-out !

 - - - o o o - - -

The local bird life was a real joy to watch . . . here a hungry chaffinch.

. . . and a greenfinch high in the apple tree awaits his turn at the crumbs.

Time to be heading back

otherwise Neil is never going to get home in the light.


We re-cross the bridge and reverse our route

in order to avoid the narrow road walk on the opposite side of the valley.


On the way over the bridge, try and avoid tripping over royalty.

We reverse our route, the sky lower in the sky, the shadows spreading further across the valley floor.

Back to the bend where Maggie took her picture of the Yew tree last week.

The river gate keeps the sheep from changing fields via the river bed.
Back to the footbridge where we started our valley walk.

Neil and I check out his new Garmin Gps . . . for information rather than for navigation.

We take the left hand path of the three on option and head down towards High Lodore.

Following the river down the slope gets steeper

and the river begins its headlong race to the main Derwent Valley floor some 600 feet below.

The first of the many cascades.

Here the river boils as it crashes over a rock in the middle of the river bed.

Ann and Neil stop and watch the water from below.
Around the bend we say goodbye as the water heads away to Lodore.

Looking carefully you may be able to see the weir and the square outline presumably a take-of point, the map calls it a sluice.

There's no way to follow the water down and we head off left for High Lodore.

The Borrowdale Valley and Maiden Moor opposite.
The Chinese Bridge, the crossing point of the Derwent lakeside path.

A steep descent through the trees and we meet up with the main road close to the Borrowdale Hotel.

The High Lodore (Shepherds Crag) Cafe

If we had not dined at Watendlath we could have stopped here for a cuppa.

Soon the "Round the Lake path" joins the road after crossing the Chinese Bridge.

The recent rain has caused river levels to rise

and there's now plenty of flooded marsh land alongside the river.

To avoid more road walking than necessary

we diverted on to the footpath behind the hotel and re-crossed the river below the main falls.

The roar of the water from the hidden falls was as evident now as it had been earlier.

A walk back along the woodland path we started out on and we were back at the car.

It had been an amazing and very enjoyable 5 hour walk

where both Neil and ourselves covered new ground, despite walking in the Lakes for all these years.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Nikon P520 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . .a sense of awe and a good poetry book.

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Previous walk - 2nd October 2014 - Reflections of Angler's Crag

A previous time up here - 10th Nov 2007 Great Crag and Grange Fell

Click here for a link to Robert Southey's famous poem 'The Cataract at Lodore'

Next walk - 6th October 2014 - Low Fell Backwards with Finlay