At the head of Mallerstang lies the Source of the Eden. The walk from Garsdale goes over Blades Bridge and Hell Bridge and a search for the source. The return is via the flanks of Turner Hill on the west side of the dale.
Hell Gill lies on the watershed of England. As a result Hell Gill soon becomes becomes the River Eden on the valley floor and heads north and west eventually finding the Irish Sea near Carlisle. 100 metres to the south of the watershed the River Ure starts its long and tortuous journey to the North Sea. Hell Gill Bridge is deemed the key spot (and is in this walk).
Hell Gill Bridge is a fine place. Indeed the walk to the watershed from the Moorcock Inn is delightful on a good track with great views across the dale to Wild Boar Fell. On the return make for the faint footpath on the opposite side of the valley. From here climb steadily to the bridleway linking Garsdale with the hidden and rarely visited valley of Grisedale. It is remote place but full of interest as a result.
Legend has it that Dick Turpin leapt the dramatic gorge at Hell Gill in to Cumberland to escape the long arm of the law (the law being disinclined to follow him). Looking in to the depths of Hell Gill at the bridge and I find myself in sympathy with the law! It is a deep and sheer drop in to the dark depths with roughly a 5 foot leap. In my opinion the highlight of this excellent walk.
If you would like to find the true source of the Eden you need to follow Hell Gill uphill to where it starts! This is over access land so is perfectly feasible but it is rough. The actual point is near the summit of Little Fell, one of the Dales 30 Mountains.
Note that the blue line on a map signifying a river may vary depending on how much water was in the stream when the O/S survey was made. As a result the blue line is not always a guarantee of water on maps, particularly on mountain streams. Look for the sharp Vs of contours to find river beds (with or without water).
I think this is a good article about one of my favourite walks.
A small point I know, but picture 5 is not of Dandry Mire Viaduct on the Settle-Carlise Railway (which is just north of Garsdale station at Grsdale Head – near The Moorcock Inn) but the photo is probably of Ais Gill Viaduct just south of the summit of the line at Ais Gill.
I have enjoyed your account.
Thanks for pointing it out Ian. You are right and wrong. It is certainly not Dandry Mire but is in fact Lunds!
IVE HEARD IT WAS SWIFT NICK [ie] JOHN NEVISSON.
IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT DICK TURPIN, THE NEARIST HE GOT TO THERE
WAS THE DROP AT YORK.
The legend about Dick Turpin isn’t true – it was a local ne’er-do-well called Ned Ward (he lived in Mallerstang at around the same period) who jumped over the gorge to evade the law.
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