So after numerous 'recce' trips to this most fabulous of gorges, today we were in here with a group of 8.
Since moving to the Lakes 8 years ago I have spent much time researching gorges, some good, some not so good, but without any doubt none come anywhere close to the experience offered by a visit to the Esk Gorge. Looking at photos, reading about it, watching videos, it's all very well, but to know what this is about one needs to get into the water, jump into the pools, feel the force of rushing water, and scramble up the cascades.
An experience like no other, quite possibly.
This day began quite some time ago with a booking from previous client Maria. This began to spiral with Andzelika joining in, and finally Illy and her friends making up another four.
To ensure the day flowed well (and I could spend some time taking photos) I asked ace instructor Paddy to join us and thankfully he was available.
Having two instructors definitely made the day move with more pace and help keep everyone warmer on what has been a fairly chilly day.
The walk in from Brotherikeld takes about 45 minutes and really helps to set the scene as we gently follow the river Esk upstream amongst increasingly beautiful surroundings. The incline is never steep but upwards enough to keep everyone warm.
Arriving at the confluence of the gorges Esk & Lingcove we found a quiet spot in the sheepfolds to 'gear up' and have some lunch before the main event.
Rather than going for the gentle entry, we decided upon a jump straight into a deep pool. This definitely woke everyone up with a bang!
The water was on the chilly side but the wetsuits were soon doing their job and with some swimming against the flow, warmth was being felt.
We enjoyed much swimming in deep & clear water pools, jumping, scrambling through cascades and even some sliding into the pools.
Our entry and exit points were probably only around 500 metres apart, but this took us two and a half hours of intense activity. This goes to show the level of energy required and the intensity of this incredible gorge.
We'd brought a full change of clothes with us, so were able to enjoy the walk back down the valley in the comfort of dry clothes. Flasks of hot chocolate added to the comfort and felt like a fitting celebratory drink.
Really hope to have this as a regular activity for the summer months (May - September). It's a full day, it's off the beaten track, involves a 45 minute walk to get to, but is it worth it? If you like adventure, this is most definitely worth it, one of those 100 things to do before you die type worth its.
Thanks to everyone who joined us today and especially to ace instructor Paddy for adding so much to the day.