Just by way of a little light relief, me and Brian had a little plodge down Ashgill and bits of the Tyne Gorge near Garrigill.
There was very little water in either Ash Gill or the South Tyne, so progress was relatively dry and fairly easy.
Ash Gill is a favourite “gorge-walking” spot for naughty boys and girls having their characters built by being encouraged to jump into deep pools of cold water, so its fairly well known, but the Tyne Gorge can only be entered at certain spots – one being where it’s joined by Ash Gill – and it lies in a deep square-cut gorge and is, therefore, secluded and retains just a thin stripe of ancient greenwood.
It’s bed is carboniferous limestone and the walls are sandstones and shales, the junction between the two being sharply defined. And, due to lack of human traffic, its got lots of wildlife and flora. Its a bloody fab place, in other words. If you go, do it in settled weather as the Tyne is a spate river at this point and once you’re in the gorge, its often a long way to an exit if the stream decides to flood.
So, me and Brian plodged upstream for about a mile or so, paddling the pools and slipping on the greasy limestone. One pool was up to the naughty parts, but mainly, maximum depths were knee-level.
There were dippers and ducks – including a female with a large brood of ten or so very tiny ducklings. they all poddled off out of the way and eventually pretended not to be there, and, if you didn’t actually know they were there, you wouldn’t have seen them.
After doing the upstream bit, we retraced damply and did some downstream. Inevitably, the river is a bit more substantial downstream and it comes to pools which would have needed a more determined approach than we were willing to give it. Also the water was a bit cold…
So we scrambled out and followed the paths back to Ash Gill Force where we’d left the car.
All good clean , watery fun. Sometimes its good just to have a poke a round and see whatever it is that can be seen. Its kid’s stuff really; people our age really shouldn’t be going paddling for an afternoon. Coming back with soggy socks and undies… it’s ridiculous…… arf….