ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
[personal profile] ilanarama
You are probably looking at this post's subject and thinking, "huh, she misspelled 'Air Force', and what does that have to do with hiking, anyway?" And that was my thought when I noticed those words on the map of hikes around Glenridding (same map as linked from the previous post), as Britt and I planned what to do with our second free day.

Over the past several days we'd noticed various 'forces' mentioned in our guidebook and on signs. It turns out that just as 'fell' is lake-districtese for 'mountain', 'force' is lake-districtese for waterfall, from the Old Norse fors. Aira Force is in fact a waterfall formed by Aira Beck; 'beck', I may have mentioned, is lake-districtese for 'stream', and is incidentally a word I learned from reading Rosemary Sutcliff's book The Shield Ring, which is set along Derwent Water, a nearby lake. 'Aira' is also from the Old Norse, meaning 'gravel-bank stream'. So there is the long explanation for the post title, and here is the short one:

Aira Force, and bridge

While waiting at the bus stop - we'd start out by taking the regional bus to the trailhead, just a few miles but it would save us walking on a narrow road - we met up with a group led by National Trust volunteers who had nearly our exact itinerary in mind. They invited us to join them, which turned out to be a lot of fun, because they told us stories about the waterfall and the area. Aira Force was apparently a popular Victorian picnic destination, due in part to the picturesque forest which is made up entirely of replanted exotics - the original trees were logged long ago for charcoal used in lead-mine processing. The poet William Wordsworth visited it often, and it's mentioned in three of his poems. And of course there was the apocryphal story of the young lovers who were kept apart by their parents; the boy went off to make his fortune as a soldier, and on returning too late in the evening to visit his sweetheart, wandered near the waterfall instead; the girl, out for a walk, saw him in the mists and, thinking him a ghost, dead in the war, threw herself off the cliff over the falls; in the morning he discovered her body and heartbroken, went off to live as a hermit, or possibly threw himself off the cliff as well.

starting up the trail looking down the waterfall

We parted ways with the group at the tiny hamlet of Dockray (really no more than a crossroads) as they had all brought picnic lunches, and we had plans to eat at the Royal Hotel. The food was okay, not great, but it was vastly improved by being eaten at the picnic tables outside the pub, and accompanied with delicious local beer! (Britt had the Black Dub and I had the Derwent Dark Mild.)

Lunch al frescoMmm, beer.

The National Trust group leaders had given us directions on how to find the next part of the trail, which were quite useful as otherwise we would have gotten much more lost than we actually did. But eventually we found ourselves high above Ullswater, amid stone walls and sheep.

Sheep photobomb over Ullswater stone wall

view down to Ullswater on the trail

Total distance was 8.5 miles, with a total elevation gain of nearly 1500 feet - this is where I start having data again, hooray, so you can see our GPS track overlaid on the Google Earth image if you like. (Where you will notice the little blue tail just after stopping for lunch, indicating our small episode of being slightly lost.)

Just the 11 photos at Flickr

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-04 08:38 am (UTC)
luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)
From: [personal profile] luzula
Oh, that's cool with the language stuff. In Swedish "fors" means white-water rapids rather than waterfall (which is instead "vattenfall"). We also have "bäck", which means a small stream, and "fjäll" for mountan. Can't think of an equivalent for "aira", though.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-06 12:18 am (UTC)
just_ann_now: (Default)
From: [personal profile] just_ann_now
Beer beer beer beer BEER. You are a woman after my own heart!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-07 11:04 pm (UTC)
just_ann_now: (Food & Drink: Happy World of Beer)
From: [personal profile] just_ann_now
I am SO with you. Life's too short to drink insipid beer! And I shall definitely check out that community. Thanks!


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

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20212223 242526

My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @


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