With all the rainfall we have had lately I am sure many of our waterfalls are in full spate so against this background, I thought it may be an opportune time to share with you some of our wonderful waterfalls that I have managed to visit and photograph.
We start off in Cornwall at Golitha Falls, a famous beauty spot on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor. It is an area of woodland occupying a steep-sided valley gorge, with the River Fowey flowing through it in a series of spectacular cascades. Although a small fall in relation to its height its wonderful location more than makes up for it. I was fortunate to visit at a particularly quiet time of day and therefore gained the maximum benefit from its peace and tranquillity.
And now one from Wales and the “Waterfall Country” of the Brecon Beacons. The famous waterfall Swgwd Gwadalus or Lady Falls is in a tributary stream of the Neath river and is formed where the Afon Pyrddin drops 20 feet over the lip of the “Twelve Foot Sandstone”. The lady concerned was one of the many daughters of Brychan, the 5th Century King of Brycheinog. The sandstone tilts gently to the south so forcing the waters of the Pyrddin up against the foot of a high cliff of mudstone and over the left-hand side of the rock lip when viewed from below. In high water conditions, which I was fortunate to have on my visit, the fall gradually extends further to the right. The upper surface of the sandstone is roughly patterned with the fossil roots of trees. A rocking stone, now dislodged, sits on this bench some 150 feet to the north of the falls.
Now to the hanging valleys of North Devon. Speke’s Mill Mouth waterfall, where Milford Water enters the sea, is magnificent. The first and highest at 54 feet of the five waterfalls in the locality it is the highest in Hartland. The origin of the name Speke’s is unknown but has been suggested to be connected with the African explorer of that name John Hanning Speke (1827-64) who lived at Buckland Brewer.
Scotland next and firstly the Isle of Skye. The Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock, South of Staffin on the Trotternish Peninsula coastal road. The distinct rocky cliffs were formed during the Jurassic era, with horizontal sills of volcanic material pushed between older strata. The disintegration of the cliffs originates fragments with a peculiat cylindrical shape. The falls come from Loch Mealt nearby which passes under the road. Here the Loch cascades down into the sea entailing a drop of 250 feet to the inaccessible shoreline of caves and arches.
And finally, we visit the Isle of Mull. Eas Fors waterfall is one of the most spectacular on Mull and is situated on the Ardow Burn south of Dervaig with captivating views across Loch Tuath to the island of Ulva. The place name is tautological as all three words are synonymous. This often occurs when a name from one language is imported into another and a standard descriptor is added on from the second language. Eas is Gaelic for a waterfall, Fors is Norse for a waterfall so it could be said that Eas Fors Waterfall is labouring the point slightly! Eas Fors consists of a series of three waterfalls, the Upper Falls being above the road, and the Middle Falls just below the road. There is a lovely pool below the Midde Falls. The final fall plunges 100 feet over the edge of the cliff to the sea below.
2012 was the second wettest on record in the United Kingdom, only being beaten by 2000 and England suffered the wettest year on record. It was also the third wettest year for Wales, the 17th wettest for Scotland and the 40th wettest for Northern Ireland. With the prediction of future years continuing to be plagued with the wet weather there are sure to be plenty of opportunities to visit and photograph many more of Britain’s wonderful waterfalls.