After the Deluge

Aira Force

It rained. Rained again. Paused. Then rained some more only heavier and with added spite. On Saturday afternoon X-Ray called in to pick me up and drive us both to CJ’s in Keswick. CJ’s house is beside the river Greta which rolled by brown and quick and threatening. On Sunday morning it continued to rain torrentially so we nursed our hangovers and watched the end of the one-day international. Cricket doesn’t do much for me and I was beginning to get twitchy when it finally stopped raining at around noon. With limited daylight left we decided to head for Gowbarrow.

This had the added spice of an ascent beside Aira Force.  Spray was rising off the falls like smoke which obscured the view to a certain extent but still it was most impressive.

Just beyond the falls we turned right to climb towards Green Hill. This route gives great views along both arms of Ullswater. CJ and X-Ray had climbed Gowbarrow together before. As we approached Green Hill summit X-Ray came over all Captain Oates: “I’m holding you boys up. You’ll get cold. I’ll add an hour to the walk.” He turned back for the car and the National Trust tea-shop. To be honest – I’m not sure that his heart was really in it.

 CJ on Green Hill

“Are you recording my Birkett’s?”

I suspect that CJ is beginning to crumble – he’ll be ticking off the Birketts with me before he knows it. Green Hill isn’t really a summit at all, but it is a fine view-point and CJ opined that it perhaps shouldn’t have been omitted by Wainwright. I think it’s helpful to think of Birkett’s list as summits and notable viewpoints. With added pointless humps.

I’m not specifically recording CJ’s Birketts but I can probably work it out from my blog posts. I did point out that it might be harder to work out which tops CJ had decided to dip on any particular day – giving the example of Broad Crag back in October. I might have added Great Knott in November.

Anyway, to keep my records straight and indisputable I’ve started to take summit photos…

 CJ on Gowbarrow.

From Gowbarrow there were views northwards along a ridge of fairly indeterminate lumps (all Birketts) leading to Little Mell Fell…

And further west the distinctive shape of Great Mell Fell with a hint of blue sky behind…

All for another day. We turned south and back to Aira Beck, which has more to offer besides Aira Force.

High Force for instance…


Or this fall, unnamed on my map, where the beck piles into a narrow rocky trench…

…turns through 90 degrees and then churns and boils in the tight gorge…

When we reached the car-park X-Ray was deep in his book.

A short outing but it will have to suffice as my January fresh-air fix.

After the Deluge

4 thoughts on “After the Deluge

  1. beatingthebounds says:

    Hi Alan,
    I seem to have spent a lot of wet days in the Patterdale area and a visit to Aira Falls is something of a ritual in those circumstances. I have seen them running even higher than this when the water seemed barely to have sufficient space to flow under the bridge below the falls. Quite scary in fact in a thrilling sort of way.

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