Hard Knott and River Esk Wild Swim

Wainwright No. 148 – 1,803ft (550m)

With the forecast set to be anther fine day, we returned to the Eskdale valley to tick off our next Wainwright, this time with Clare and Tony as our guides.

Our decision to have an early start paid off as we grabbed one of the last few parking spots at Hardknott Castle – a Roman Fort located on Hardknott Pass. From here we set off across slightly boggy ground until we returned to the pass for a short section until the brow of the hill.

Starting the ascent with William taking the strain.

From here our path took us between Raven Crag and Hardknott Gill, where we passed a number of wild campers who had been treated to a clear night under the stars and a gorgeous sunrise. As the ground levelled out at Border End, our efforts were rewarded with seemingly endless views of the surrounding mountains, most notably Scafell and Scafell Pike, with Broad Crag and Great End beyond.

William points out the view towards Scafell Pike

From here it was just a short hop to the summit of Hard Knott for the obligatory summit bagging photo…

Hard Knott Summit

Having sweated our way to the summit in rising temperature we continued north to gradually descend towards Lingcove Beck and the River Esk, with delighful views of Bow Fell and Esk Pike. Not being able to persuade any of us to pose for a photo Clare took matters into her own hands!!

Happy selfie!!

As the becks grew and the watefalls increased in height we passed several tempting pools of crystal clear water. However, our aim was to reach the infamous Tongue Pot – a deep pool just below Lingcove Bridge which was reportedly a wild swimming paradise.

Megan wanders as she wonders.

However, as we descended, it was apparant Tongue Pot was a tourist honey pot on this hot weekend so we stopped short at what turned out to be a perfect place that catered for all our needs…

The shallow pools were a perfect paddling spot for Megan and William
The deeper pools and fast flowing water made a natural endless pool

But the highlight of this location only became clear when a group of Gill scramblers passed through ‘our’ pool and stopped about 10 meters further on and started leaping from the sides of the Gill into a deep pool of water. Well this was too tempting to resist….

Leap of faith!!

Let me tell you, it was harder than it looks to throw yourself from the c5m high rock platform into the freezing water below, although both Lay and I managed it after more countdowns than Tony would care to remember!!

We enjoyed this spot for over an hour before deciding to continue our route. It looked set to be a busy afternoon at the Esk as we passed a steady stream of people heading up the valley.

Our route finished with a short climb back up to the Roman Fort, which is worth a visit in its own right, before heading for home. We persuaded Clare and Tony to return via the Crosby snack shed and cake cupboard on Birker Fell where we treated them to tea and cake, which was a great ending to a grand day out.

Join the conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *