Aira Force

Aira Force

Route: Aira Force

Area: Eastern Lake District

Date of walk: 30th January 2020

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 2.9 miles

Ascent: 500 feet

Weather: Low cloud and constant drizzle/light rain

The Lake District was shrouded in low cloud this morning – the bases of the fells were barely visible, let alone their tops. Even a low valley route would have offered no views, so we decided on a woodland walk instead. We drove over to the east of the district and parked in the main National Trust car park near the shore of Ullswater (where there is an information kiosk/gift shop and a tea room). In fair weather conditions this walk combines well with an ascent of Gowbarrow Fell (click here for the route). There are wonderful views of Ullswater from here, but there would have been no point in doing that today

We followed the path for a short distance up the valley, passing by some wonderful old trees as we did so. In 1846 the Howard family of Greystoke Castle created an arboretum below Aira Force, planting over 200 specimen conifers (firs, pines, spruces and cedars) from all over the world, including a Sitka Spruce now 118 feet high. Our route would take us along one side of Aira Beck and back along the other

We decided to walk anti-clockwise, which would keep the beck on our left, and so crossed a bridge and continued to climb up the valley. After a few minutes a loud roar indicated that Aira Force was just around the corner, and we made a short diversion to see it. The force was on good form after much recent rain. It plummets over a precipice in a single 65 foot leap and is a wonderful sight and sound

We continued to head up the valley past a succession of smaller waterfalls, some small and some large, culminating in High Force. Just beyond this point we crossed a wooden footbridge over Aira Beck to start the return journey along its opposite bank. We made another short diversion to revisit Aira Force, which is better seen from here, and we then made our way back to the start of a short but sweet walk which had been an excellent choice in today’s miserable weather

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