Drawing 16: Aira Force, Ullswater

Direction of view: NE

Notes: The location is obvious, but getting good lighting conditions is difficult!  Probably best in April, just before new leaves appear on the trees; or adopt the adage that photographs of enclosed waterfalls are best taken on a cloudy day.  Spray on the lens is sometimes a problem.

This scene is shown on page 161 of Wainwright in Lakeland and page Gowbarrow Fell 5 in The Eastern Fells.

Comments: I have visited Aira Force many times, most memorably at dusk on 2nd November 1975, when three cloaked and hooded figures stood on the bridge, and I hurried past in fear of sorcery.  More prosaically, I took the photo on slide film in the summer of 1977.

I first photographed the sketch on digital on 6th October 2012.  It was late afternoon, with very low light, but plenty of water in the falls.  Indeed, recent torrential rains had caused a landslide, closing the path on one side of the falls.  Shutter speed was 1/8 second, but there are railings on which to steady the camera if you don’t have a tripod.

In 2021 the National Trust planned to replace the existing viewing area with a steel platform, to be cantilevered out over the river gorge; and to enhance a section of footpath, which had become increasingly unstable, to enable better access for a wider range of abilities.  However, a large tree has fallen across the path, stopping work, and preventing access to the viewpoint for this sketch [updated October 2021].