Galleny Force, Borrowdale


My arrival in the tiny hamlet of Stonethwaite, deep within the English Lakes, was set to the tune of the noisiest sheep I have ever heard; berating each other from opposing sides of the road with their human-like yells.

A notice inscribed on a tablet of Honister slate related the history of the village. In 1195, the monks of Fountains Abbey acquired areas of the Borrowdale Valley. In 1304, following a lengthy legal challenge from the monks of Furness, King Edward confiscated the dale and sold it back to Fountains Abbey for a mere 40 shillings.

Following the footpath past the Langstrath Country Inn and National Trust campsite, I tracked Stonethwaite Beck south-east.


The early morning cool was replaced with warm sunshine, the fells backlit by a clear blue sky.

Borrowdale is a water-lover’s paradise. Becks and gills spouted from all corners of the vale, appearing from a distance motionless, like a tableau of lightning bolts.


The recent rain ensured that every footfall was accompanied by a splash, as I traversed paths that had transformed to rivers.

In fact, the only sound loud enough to drown the rush of water was provided by a passing fighter jet, threading the space between two peaks like a giant swift.

Contained within the grey walls of a deep fissure, Galleny Force thundered as the amber water became white froth.


This is a recommended swimming spot; though today, I was exceptionally keen not to fall in.


With an eagerness to discover more, I scrambled on upstream through fresh bracken, as wild flowers buzzed with dragonflies; the beck enticing me into the foothills of Scafell Pike.


Eventually, time forced my retreat and I waded and ran along the bridleway back to Stonethwaite.


A local resident!



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