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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Aira Force and a host of golden dafodils

Aira Force is one of the Lake District's most visited destinations. As popular today as it was in the Victorian times, it attracts hundreds of visitors each weekend, as can be seen by the fullness of the car park on sunny days!

Don't let this put you off though, it's popular because it's so lovely. The waterfall is spectacular, as are the wonderful trees surrounding it including monkey puzzles and the most enormous sitka spruce ever seen; and the walk up along good paths and steps is highly enjoyable.

It's great as an adventure walk for young tots - you need go no further up than the viewing point this picture was taken from (in 1890!!), or if they are feeling more energetic head up to the bridge and beyond - the rocks along the babbling river higher up make excellent picnic and stick throwing-in spots. It's a great walk for grown up visitors to the lakes too, the pub up at Dockray making a perfect stop off spot for lunch or much needed refreshments!

We make the walk longer by heading off to the right and following a track parallel to Ullswater to the summit of Gowbarrow. A walk mapped and described perfectly in Striding Edge our absolute favourite guide to all things Wainwright
The views along the length of the lake are well worth the extra effort and the walk back beside the waterfall makes a perfect ending.

Which ever way you decide to go, don't miss the fabulous money tree on the way down. We have no idea why there are thousands of pennies hammered into this old log but we do know that they're sure as heck not coming out!

BTW The National Trust own the land around the waterfall and while you don't have to pay to walk there, you do have to pay to park. There are ways to get round this, ie by parking in one of the laybys on the road up to Dockray but actually we reckon that the Trust do a great job and we prefer to start at the bottom.

Will leave you with this wonderful picture of spring daffodils taken gratefully from The shores of Ullswater are where Wordsworth wandered lonely as a cloud, and now is the perfect time of year for seeing hosts of golden daffodils in all their glory.

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