Waterfalls are a thing I wish I could visit more of but they seem to be really good at hiding, especially in the UK. I’ve only ever seen one and that was in Bosnia. Though it was really lots of smaller waterfalls in a crowd so maybe I should count it as more than one.
Halfway between Gill Brow farm and Butermere was a great surprise, Moss Waterfall. I pulled into the small, informal car park and was only 200 metres from the waterfall. My photographer would have happily sat and watched the waterfall from the car. It had been raining quite heavily for the few days prior to my visit to the Lake District. However, I was feeling slightly more adventurous.
Newlands Hause is the pass between Newlands Valley and the Buttermere Valley. An area of beautiful views, jagged peaks and greenery. The Fell of Robinson is where the Moss Beck is located. This is the beginning of the waterfall, though I couldn’t see this from the roadside. The waterfall looked very tall and thin from the roadside and I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t more overwhelming. Moss Force is around 100 metres (328 feet) high. The beck rises at a height of 540 metres and flows through the boggy Buttermere Moss before beginning its plunging descent from a height of 420 metres. This is spread across three distinct sections. Looking back I’m not sure why I was initially disappointed.
I know I shouldn’t always believe what I see on the internet, especially on Instagram. This is often the reason I am rather negative in reviews. Moss waterfall was initially going to be in that pile. However, I found a path in amongst some overgrown ferns. Not sure how far I would get, I decided to wander along the winding path ( or make my photographer carry me if it became muddy).
The path diverged and I (as always) took the road less trodden. Please don’t take the high path if you aren’t an experienced hiker, it is very steep, slippy and is a lot longer than it looks. If you do make it up to the rocky outcrop, the views are to die for. I arrived later in the afternoon and the sun was behind the single Rowan Tree at the top of the Buttermere Moss. I have no idea how the tree balances there because it looks like it is ready to fall off. I imagine on a morning the light makes the waterfall look beautiful and cause rainbows to appear in various locations on the way down.
After a brief period of rock climbing, a very hard activity for adventursaurus’ with short arms like me! I chose to walk back down towards the first path. As I was walking the path became very muddy, so I jumped in my photographer’s backpack to save my feet from getting muddy. Halfway to the waterfall, the path became inaccessible, so sadly I didn’t make it to the pool of water at the base of the second cascade.
Back at the roadside, I looked to se if I could spot the bottom of the waterfall. I couldn’t because it flows into a small wooded gorge. Though this then levels out once it reaches the newlands valley and the Beck joins with another stream to become Keskadale Beck. A small stream which runs behind the farm where I was staying.
After the unseasonable August rain, the waterfall turned out to be a very impressive sight. I’m so pleased I was able to witness this, it wouldn’t have been the same if the water had only been a trickle. One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the noise of the water thundering over the rocks near the top. Nor was I expecting to witness my photographer getting soaked by the spray blowing sideways from the wind (a hilarious sight). Make sure you have a waterproof bag for your camera, some sturdy trainers and a towel to dry off in case you get soaked.
I would have loved to walk up the hills on the opposite side of the road to get a better view of Moss Force and Newlands Valley. But I was very tired after my short rock climbing adventure. Maybe, I should have taken a picnic, the location is not short of picturesque spots to sit.
The area can get quite busy because Moss Force is a stones throw from the only road linking Braithwaite to Buttermere. The roads are popular with cyclists, motorbikes and hikers alike. So it is best to avoid weekends, bank holidays or later in the day. Early mornings after a good rain are the best time to visit but beware, you may get soaked and really muddy.
But, then what is an adventure in the Lake District if you don’t end up muddy, soaked or lost?
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