Force is with historic Yorkshire waterfall as snow departs

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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The recent snow may have caused inconvenience for some, but also provided plenty of stunning wintery vistas of the Yorkshire countryside.

And even its recent departure has a positive natural side-effect, as the thawing snow melted and made its way down river to create an impressive effect at East Gill Force in Upper Swaledale.

This picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe, one of The Yorkshire Post’s award-winning team of photographers, captures passing walker George Rigby admiring the waterfall, which is a few hundred yards outside the village of Keld and is surrounded by woodland.

It is one of several waterfalls in the local area and is among the most popular with walkers and visitors thanks to its impressive torrents. The upper falls have a 15ft drop, while the lower section of stepped cascades drop 9.8 feet as the water enters the River Swale.

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The 73-mile long river – said to be the fatest-flowing in the whole of England, starts above Keld, flowing southwards through Richmond and Catterick and joining the River Ure at Myton-on-Swale in the Vale of York.

According to a spokesman for the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Swale’s name is from the Anglo Saxon ‘Sualuae’ meaning rapid and liable to deluge.

And just like the river which it feeds, East Gill Force’s name also has historic origins.

The falls in this area are called “forces” after the Norse word “Foss”, which means waterfall.

One of the reasons for its popularity as a location is its proximity to Keld, which is the crossing point of the well-travelled Coast to Coast Walk and the Pennine Way long-distance footpaths.

In common with the River Swale and East Gill Force, its name highlights its long history – deriving from the Viking word ‘Kelda’, meaning a spring. It was once called Appletre Kelde – the spring near the apple trees.

The area undoubtedly has a rich past – and the enduring beauty of its natural landmarks such as this waterfall means it seems certain it will be treasured for generations to come by those who visit or are lucky enough to live nearby.

Technical details: Nikon D5 camera, 24-70mm lens, exposure of 1/15th sec @ f11, ISO 400.