Newlands Beck Gill Exploration

11 11 2022

I’d been eyeing up the top (exciting) parts of this gill for ages during my ascents and descents from various parts of the Newlands Round.  Last year I finally got around to having an explore – I’d waited for a dry spell but it didn’t help with some of the waterfalls!

All photos:
my Zenith manual film SLR

It’s probably a couple of miles along the valley to the start of the gill where there is a huge waterfall which, unfortunately, has to be circumvented on the ‘new track’ to the left of it – I say new track as it isn’t really the route but just where people have been going wrong over the last couple of years… The real track comes down from Dale Head Tarn on a gentle rake well above the valley and is a very ancient and lovely route – I’m sure it would have been the ones used by the miners in the area.

Miners Crag and Newlands Gill

After circumventing the bottom fall, you come to what I call ‘the Water Slide’.  On looking at this in the past I thought it was best to cross the beck at a huge boulder sticking out of the water (in the photo below) but I was soon to regret doing so… From the other side, I couldn’t get back into the gill until after the whole of the waterslide so I was a bit miffed – the original side looked to have had opportunities.

For some reason, I don’t seem to have taken a photo of the main fall midway up the gill which was my primary interest.  This splits into two waterfalls either side of a rocky ridge and my aim was the easy left-hand fall, especially as this would now be fairly ‘dry’.

I scrambled up the rocky ridge until the split and then branched off to tackle my route – it didn’t have much water coming down it… However, it was solid moss and, no matter how I struggled to get my feet to stay still for the easy moves, I couldn’t.  I was actually getting better footing in the bits with running water (they are generally cleaner and less slippery).  In the end, easy scramble or not, I could see I wasn’t going to get up without a fall so I’m afraid I chickened out and climbed out up the steep rocks at the side.  I was quite miffed though… Maybe I’ll go back for another go sometime…

I had to leave the gill in a couple of places but generally only briefly.  Unusually for a gill exploration, I was on the left-hand side of the gill all the way up and only crossed (erroneously) onto the right-hand bank at the slide.  Below is a bypass fall (for me anyway…)

There was nothing of any event for a while so I’ll just let the next couple of photos speak for themselves – one is looking back down obviously…

As the route flattens out you come to a spectacular gorge! 🙂  This was so good I think I’ll nip in often when the weather is dry and I’m ascending that way.  It is very awkward though but that’s the idea really…

Not far into the gorge, there was a huge, deep pool with just rock walls either side.  I have to admit I don’t generally swim in my gorge explorations as I’m doing a round of hills afterwards so don’t want to be soaking wet even in good weather… This is where my long legs came in very useful indeed coupled with a bit of my climbing experience…

Far across the pool was a little buttress which was only around 6 feet high and had a foothold near the bottom.  I thought that, if I could stride across the pool in one move and hit the tiny foothold and then drag myself across onto my foot, I could ascend the mini buttress and see how it went from there…

After a slight hesitation I made my lunge – I was nearly at full stretch but managed to hit the foothold.  I must still have quite good core muscles as I managed to move across onto my foothold and get a couple of handholds near the top of the buttress.  It was reasonably easy to clamber up the tiny buttress and study what happens next…

Luckily there was an easy downclimb the other side and a bit more rock to walk on at the edge of the beck.  I hadn’t really worried about the difficult move as I would just have got very wet if I’d fallen off – the pool was probably around 6 foot deep – but it would have been inconvenient.

The gorge was easier for a while until another very awkward set of moves towards the end.  I was elated when I came out the other side though as it had been very interesting and definitely the best part of the gill.  I took a couple of photos looking back – the first near the end and the second after I’d exited the gill.

It had been a dull day weatherwise until I exited the gill and set off up the slopes of High Spy and then, suddenly, the sun came out.  I looked behind me to see all the Scafell range lighting up…

Glaramara and Comb Gill

I met a guy coming the other way at the summit and said he was lucky as the scenery was just improving dramatically – he grinned and said he’d noticed.

Skiddaw from High Spy summit

It’s a very easy romp along the ridge to Maiden Moor – nice views across to Greenup and Langdale (Pike O’ Stickle sticking up in the far distance – middle of photo)

Looking back along ridge to High Spy and Dale Head…

I’d been debating whether to add in Catbells – as it’s an easy walk from the col I decided I would (after all, I’m a bagger at heart – if it’s there you’ve got to do it (again… and again…)

It’s almost never completely deserted on Catbells so I didn’t stay long – more great views on the way back down to the col…

The Newlands Round Fells

Scope End always looks great from the return to the carpark

Another great day in the hills – while loading these photos I’ve seen yet another gill! 🙂

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24 responses

18 11 2022
Alli Templeton

I do love a good waterfall on a walk! What a fabulous looking adventure and your pics as always take us with you through the fabulous landscape. Love the snaking water and those very inviting paths, which I’d mostly stick to! A great read, and after your last post I have even more admiration for you (if that was possible!), scrambling, climbing and hiking out in the stunning wilderness. 🙂

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18 11 2022
mountaincoward

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve done any gills this year. Partly though because it’s been terribly wet all year up here and you can’t do gills when they’re in spate. Even the paths are ‘in spate’ now!

Liked by 1 person

18 11 2022
Alli Templeton

Oh goodness, that’s a shame. Fingers crossed that next year brings much better conditions, because it really does look stunning.

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19 11 2022
mountaincoward

I hope it is drier next year as I’ve spotted a really great gill to do!

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20 11 2022
Alli Templeton

Looking forward to seeing it! 🙂

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15 11 2022
tessapark1969

I think you need to change the name of your blog, that definitely wasn’t cowardly! Some nice waterfalls too. For me deep pool now definitely equates swim if I have my costume!

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15 11 2022
mountaincoward

It was quite an easy gill and there wasn’t really any danger of more than either bruising if you fell or getting very wet. Third Gill on Wandhope which I did a couple of years back was much more challenging (and more fun). Also, the path runs just above Newlands Beck Gill so you’re never far from other walkers and so on whereas, in Third Gill, no-one would know where you were shouting from.

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14 11 2022
surfnslide

Exploring gills was a passion for many years although I don’t get up to the Lakes often enough these days and South Wales doesn’t really have ant rocky ones like this. I’ve also done a fair bit of waterfalls climbing and canyoning style gills as well. The Esk Gorge was always a summer favourite for a mix scrambling and swimming

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14 11 2022
mountaincoward

My climbing club did the Esk Gorges this summer during one of our 3 day hot spells and they had a great time – probably the only time here you could get that wet and still stay outside for the day! Unfortunately, it being Saturday, I missed it as I work weekends.

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14 11 2022
jester1970

Those don’t look like very cowardly escapades you are getting up to there!

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14 11 2022
mountaincoward

I’ve been doing Grade 1 type gills for quite a while now. I’ve got fairly bored with the normal routes up the hills as I do them so often so these are my more exciting variations. I’ve always liked a challenge though and since I took up climbing a bit a few years back, I’ve certainly become less cowardly.

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13 11 2022
Mélodie

I like this valley. It is very nice in summer with all these pools to swim in.

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14 11 2022
mountaincoward

Most of the Lakes valleys have nice little pools in the becks higher up the valleys.

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12 11 2022
underswansea

Great post. As I know you like to challenge yourself and walking the creek skyward looks like it fit the bill. You need good boots for that trek. I used to find deep pools along tumbling creeks and would often take a swim. Not so much anymore. Wonderful photos of good looking country.

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13 11 2022
mountaincoward

If I’d just been doing the gill I would have got plenty wet and swum or waded some of the deep pools but it’s just that I’m going on the hill afterwards and it’s just too cold to be on the hill wet even in summer.

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12 11 2022
John Bainbridge

Rather nice corner of the Lakes. I think Gill scrambling is sadly now beyond me,

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12 11 2022
mountaincoward

You do have to be supple – and not mind having wet feet all day but then, with the weather we’ve been having, I’m pretty used to that anyway…

Liked by 1 person

12 11 2022
bob

No idea where you get all your energy from Carol. You are an inspiration and pin up for the over 60s. Go Outdoors should get in touch with you as a sponsor for your trips.

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12 11 2022
mountaincoward

Well that would be nice but I doubt they will somehow…

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12 11 2022
bitaboutbritain

All a bit much for me, by the look of it (probably). I should get out more – but Cat Bells is easy enough. I need to come to terms with the concept of ‘solid moss’! Wonderful photos though.

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12 11 2022
mountaincoward

Solid moss looks beautiful on waterfalls but tends to peel off and leave a slippery residue behind!

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11 11 2022
Bitchy After 60

Very beautiful and some very challenging terrain.

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12 11 2022
mountaincoward

It was a very scenic gill and I enjoyed it – was just sorry about not getting up the main waterfall. I think if I hadn’t been on my own I might have given it a go but it’s not a great idea to be falling around up there on your own!

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12 11 2022
Bitchy After 60

Wise move.

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