It’s Mandatory, Isn’t It?
What? Going to Aira Force. That’s what. Well, it might as well be. Probably. I’ve been here several times before. Most recently in 2002 and 2016, but I think there were earlier ones in the days before the internet. And the days before I had a camera to record it. So anyway, our plan for the day was to go to Aira Force, but with the twist of going by boat from Glenridding.
We set off fairly early in the morning for the drive over the Kirkstone Pass and past Brotherswater and Patterdale to Glenridding. The drive was spoiled somewhat by the roadworks on the pass, but to be honest, the tarmac is in dire need of replacement and it has to be done some time.
We didn’t book tickets for the boat – we just parked up at the jetty in Glenridding and got tickets for the next one. That was at 11am, and left us some time to grab a coffee/hot chocolate beforehand. We also had a bit of a wander on the little beach, but that experience was spiled by the smelly toilets at the cafe/ticket booth.
The boat itself was a pleasant little chug along Ullswater. The weather was decent but we sat inside anyway, for some reason. All the boats here are run by Ullswater Steamers. There’s seemingly one one route from Glenridding, but boats run it both clockwise and anti-clockwise. So we took the route that goes direct from Glenridding to Aira Force. Well, not to Aira Force itself. That would be difficult, what with it involving a lot of climbing. The boat goes to a jetty on the lake at the bottom of the hill below Aira Force.
Up We Go
This had been designated a non-climbing day, I think, all though we’d toyed with the idea of walking up to the pub in Dockray. Anyway, we started in the National Trust car park at the bottom and picked our way up the eastern side of the stream. It was a harder walk than it should have been. The weather felt a bit oppresive, so it was a bit sweaty and fly-ridden when walking under the trees.
At Aira Force we paused for a while so I could attempt a virtual geocache. I couldn’t find the necessary information, so we took a few photos and moved onwards and upwards.
At High Force we decided to sit for a while on the rocks and watch the world go by. It was a very pleasant experience. The rocks here are out of the trees, so the sun could get to us. It was warm and really rather nice. While we were sitting here we decided that continuing on to Dockray wasn’t really necessary, so we just headed back down the west side of the stream.
When we got back to Aira Force the kids sat on a bench while me and Kas went for another go at the virtual cache. We still couldn’t find the information. When we got home I checked with the owner, and they said there was a possibility it was missing, so I should go ahead and just log a find. I’d clearly been to the location and attempted to find it, so they were happy.
We got to the bottom of the hill and retired to the National Tust cafe for some lunch. We felt we’d earned it. And anyway, being a non-walking day, none of us was carrying much to eat. I went for a cornish pasty, which was pretty good. So good that I can’t remember what anyone else had.
Anyway, we finished up in good time for the 3pm boat home. Ami had wandered off down the hill somewhere and we weren’t quite sure where she was for a short time. But as we all left, hoping she was somewhere nearby, I spotted her and all was good.
The boat back was uninspiring but still good. The car was where I’d left it, and it was in good enough condition to get us back to Ambleside.
It was quite early when we got home, so there was some snoozing before deciding it was “everyone get your own” night for dinner. I went for some chili/tomato/bacon sauce on pasta. It hit the spot nicely.
And that was about it for the day.