Esk Gorge - a tale of 2 halves
It’s with a heavy heart that we announce the discontinuation of weekend Esk gorge trips. Weekdays are not affected by this. More about why later in the post.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of sharing this wonderful place with 11 lovely people. We met near Brotherikeld early and took a leisurely 3km stroll to the sheepfold, where all the fun begins.
The weather was very hot, oppressively so, so we waited until the last minute to get the wetsuits on and it was then straight in the water to cool down.
There were a lot of sunbathers around Tongue Pot and a fair amount of unruly behaviour going on, so we decided to steer clear of that pool, which is our usual starting point. Just a few metres upstream is the next beautiful pool and in we went, swimming, jumping and scrambling. Generally having a ton of fun.
There were a few in the group who were feeling nervous so we spent plenty of time calming nerves and allaying fears so that everyone felt comfortable. This proved to be time very well spent.
On such a hot day it felt impossible to do anything quickly, so just didn’t try. Instead enjoying a very chilled out ascent, spending additional time in each pool, doing extra jumps and just playing in the water.
As we scrambled higher so the jumps became higher too, some up to about 10 metres. Despite some of the group starting out thinking they might not even jump anywhere, all managed the biggest of the jumps. This makes us as guides incredibly happy. To see those smiles of satisfaction and achievement, is a big part of why we do this.
With a sense that tiredness was descending, we ended on a high with a massive jump into a deep pool. This got the adrenaline pumping and cooled us all down before it was time to think about heading back to the roadside.
Now for the other half of the story - just before we finished, Sophie (I think it was Sophie) handed me a broken can of pop that she had picked out of the river. With sharp edges this posed a danger to anyone in the water, very sad to see in such a beautiful place. I added it to my growing collection of rubbish that had already been removed from the river bank. Litter has become a major issue at this venue and we are removing at least a full bag worth on each visit. This is tainting the beauty of the area and is totally unacceptable.
There is very limited parking for the Esk gorge area, pre-Covid this was never an issue. When we left yesterday there were vehicles strewn everywhere. Blocking farm gates, parked in passing places, blocking other vehicles. Sadly it has become a shambles. Having spoken to the farmer, he is clearly fed up of seeing the place in such a mess. This negatively affects his working day and our working day. Having now to negotiate the Hardknott Pass (a road of incredible steepness) with virtually no passing places, so only a matter of time before we have a major mechanical with the car. For this reason we will no longer be offering weekend trips to Eskdale. Midweek trips are currently unaffected.
There appears to be no action currently being taken by the Lake District National Park Authority or the National Trust (this comes from my discussion with the farmer), which is a poor show and we very much hope this situation changes. If you would like to see these beautiful places staying beautiful, please consider contacting either LDNPA or the National Trust to voice concerns.
For more information about midweek Esk Gorge trips please click here
Thanks for reading
Waterfall action in - Esk Gorge
Jump time in - Esk Gorge
Esk Gorge - another brilliant trip