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"  Aira Force with Jenna  "

Date & start time:    Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Location of Start :   The National Trust car park Aira Force, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 401 200 )

Places visited :         Aira Force, Bernard Pike, High Force, then Patterdale & Grasmere.

Walk details :            3.2 miles, 650 feet of ascent, 2 hours 20 mins for the walk.

Highest point :          Bernard Pike, 1056ft - 325m.

Walked with :             Our daughter Jenna, Ann and the dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather :                    Bright and breezy.

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Our daughter is with us for the week of her half term, but unfortunately so is the poor weather.

The start of the week was rather misty and damp and a shopping trip to Keswick involved a few quicker walks between shops.

Thursday was forecasted for Storm Doris, but before that we managed a walk over at Aira Force which was delightful.

The skies were cloudy but there was sunshine about as we visited the falls and climbed part way up Gowbarrow.

We parked at the National Trust car park which has been improved in recent years and facilities now include

a small National Trust shop as well as the good toilet block and a rather nice cafe.

The Trust has also been very active in improving paths to the falls, maintaining the signposts and upgrading the bridges.

The gate at the top of the car park leads into the woods and where you find the first of several "money trees"

where people have hammered old coins into the wood and "made a wish."

[ It's a bit like the Trevi Fountain in Rome except that here the coins are not collected nor used to feed the poor !]

Now a choice of which side of the river to walk up . . .

This side climbs up the valley side and your first view is a distant one of the main falls from above.

Crossing the bridge means that you can take a lower path and the falls come as more of a surprise . . . that was our choice today.

The tree seats as seen from the path on the other side of the river.

A giant monkey puzzle tree close to the path.
The lower bridge of Aira Force waterfall.
Round the corner and over to the lower viewing platform.
Jen wanted a photo in front of the waterfall !

Photo left is the falls and the upper bridge from the lower one

without that grey-haired chap in the foreground.



The bridges and the falls were dedicated to the memory of

Cecil Spring Rice, who lived locally at Old Church, Ullswater

and was an ambassador to the United States

during the Great War.

By the look of the 1931 dates that will be the First World War.

The view after climbing half way up the steps opposite.
A close up as the water cascades out of the upper part of the waterfall.
The same waterspout from the top bridge looking down . . .
. . . and here looking across at the steps we had just climbed.

Jenna requested a walk part way up Gowbarrow to get a wider view of Ullswater

so we left the valley paths and headed up and across the face of the fell.

The view up the Aira Beck valley towards Dockray.

The river collects the waters from the eastern slopes of Helvellyn (Stybarrow Dodd)

before starting its 6 mile journey down over the famous waterfalls and finally into Ullswater.

Winter grazing for these locals as we look across to Place Fell's High Dodd and the climb to High Street behind.

A good path leads up the fell and Jen chooses the rock outcrop ahead as a target for the top of the climb.

Bernard Pike conquered . . . even if she didn't know the name at the time !

The view from the Pike looking south west up Ullswater towards Glenridding and St Sunday Crag.

Do take a minute to catch your breath and look around at the view.

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama.

Dylan and Harry adopt their usual pose . . . virtually without command !

Looking down on the rear view of Lyulph's Tower . . . from the main road it's a fortified castle !

Very few if any boats on the lake today and the mild but steady breeze is forming small waves on the water.

Having dropped back down the valley we re-join the path that has climbed up from the main falls.

Ann is either pointing out the way we would have come . . . or balancing as she crossed through the last of the bracken.

The path up the right hand side of the river leads on past the middle bridge and more small waterfalls.

Ahead the sound of the (Ullswater's) High Force waterfall encourages me down to the water's edge.

A quiet pool at the edge of the river gathers some of the natural foam and swirls it around in never ending patterns.

Closer now with care as the rocks and banks are wet and slippery.

Above the main falls the river has cut a zig-zag route down from the upper bridge . . .

. . . before it tumbles over the edge.

Jenn's photo of Ann sitting enjoying the riverside . . . as we walk round and take pictures.

One last one before we move on.

New natural wood signposts are quite in keeping.
The top bridge was rebuilt a few years back and blends in well.
Here tree roots spread out across the rocks . . .
. . . but some trees must have their roots below the water.

Back down by the cascades that we first walked past on the way up the valley.

Middle bridge . . . over a deep ravine.
Now back down at the top bridge overlooking Aira Force.
The winter view from the top of the big steps . . .
. . . but signs of spring are on the way.
The common yew with branches growing horizontally . . .
. . . the Irish yew with vertical branches from the base.

The second tree is also recognisable from the drunk policeman resting at its base . . . muttering "Irish yew in the name of the law" .

So much for humour . . . time for a brew.

We called in to the Aira Force Cafe, now complete with a new bio-fuel central heating and water system.

They were shutting today at 4pm so we quickly purchased a mixed selection of (the last) soup, a toasted tea cake and a cream tea . . . delightful.

While we were there a new mountain rescue helicopter flew by . . . hope there wasn't a problem.

We finished the afternoon off with a visit to the new jetty at Aira Force.

Across the road from the cafe and down the new path and you are at the foreshore . . . the rest is plain . . . walking.

Note: the jetty is not a regular stopping point for the lake steamers due to the water depth within the bay.

Regular trips calling at the new jetty are restricted to the smaller boats that ply the lake so check the timetable if you want to embark or disembark.

The new jetty taken through the bars of the entrance gate.
The view back across the beach . . . time to be going.

- - - o o o - - -

Jenna requested the scenic route home via Ambleside . . . so she can enjoy more of the sights that the Lakes have to offer.

A quick stop at Glenridding to check on the flood prevention work.

They've rebuilt the wall alongside the river and made it higher at the same time.

The Visitor Centre is still abandoned by the look of it and there's more to do on this side of the river.

The river has been dredged and they are still clearing the stones away from the foreshore . . . still plenty of work to do.

From Glenridding we headed up and over the Kirkstone Pass,

where we were buzzed by a fast jet flying low through the pass,

so fast that I couldn't pull over and get a picture in time.

- - - o o o - - -


. . . through Rydal and past Wordsworth's Dove Cottage,

then an executive decision found us parked outside

The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

[ After all Executives do have to make decisions . . . some times.]

The shop is next to St Oswald's Church and Wordsworth's Daffodil Garden, in the centre of the village.

Just one last shot before we leave for home with replenished supplies.

You'll be please to see that I did manage to catch a shot of THIS low flyer before he disappeared over our heads.

Cheers  !!

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Compact System Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a bowl of warm soup from the Aira Force and Gingerbread from Sarah Nelson's.

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Previous walk - 14th February 2017 - Harrot Fell from High Armaside

A previous time up here - 14th February 2009 An OFC Walk around Gowbarrow

Next walk - 24th February 2017 - Knott Rigg and Ard Crags with Jen