The River Greta underwent significant change as a result of Storm Desmond in December 2015, which caused severe flooding in many parts of the UK, particularly in the Lake District.
Ray Goodwin, Paul “Spoons” Nicholls and I were running two week-long Expedition Canoeing Skills Courses in the Lake District. On our day off in between courses, we decided to go out canoeing (of course)…
In this video blog we canoe down the classic Thelkeld to Keswick section of the Greta. The modern road bridges of the A66 road, which share this river valley, perch loftily on reinforced concrete fins, a long way above the river bed. The 19th century bridges of the old Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith railway, the route of which criss-crosses the River Greta as it meanders, were built on a much lower level. They’d survived 150 years but Storm Desmond took its toll, demolishing two of them and inflicting severe structural damage on others. The trackbed of this disused railway has latterly formed a very popular walking and cycling route. At present it is impassable along much of its length.
The evidence of the colossal force of nature was not limited to the bridges. Uprooted trees lay strewn on river banks, marooned on rocky islands, and wedged in the river itself. On the outside of several bends, where the river cuts deep into the terrain, the water has cut through the earth like a knife through butter. In slack sections of river and in the shadow of solid impediments to the water, new deposits of silt and gravel have formed.
The name of this river derives from an Old Norse name that literally means “stony stream”. At the level we paddled it, this stream certainly lived up to its Norse reputation, despite the shaping forces of nature on this landscape in recent times. Rapids range up to grade 3 and it’s a route which makes for a lively mixture of paddling and lining. A real mini-adventure….
Let me know what you think. As always, I’ll read every comment and reply personally…
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