If you’re a canoeist, the half-mile of the River Kent that descends, thunderously, through the limestone levels of this part of Cumbria is well known as an extreme test of skill… but there are other reasons to visit…
(400 words; a five minute read)
Our village, Sedgwick, owes its existence to the River Kent, which rises in the southern Lakeland mountains around Kentmere and flows out into the northern end of Morecambe Bay. The name derives from the ancient Viking language, meaning ‘Place of the River’. The Kent has many faces; some deadly, some beautiful.
For me, the river is at its most beautiful in the autumn. The gradual fading of colour is nearly complete by the early days of November; but the mists have just begun.
I was lucky with this shot, which wasn’t planned beforehand. I had taken Tess, our collie, for an early morning walk before I had to leave to visit my mother, sixty miles south in Lancashire. I didn’t really have the time to take a photographic diversion, especially with the dog in tow, but the sight of mist over the river drew me down from the frisbee-throwing fields to stand at the only road bridge across the Kent.
And there it was… the hint of faded autumn colours in the pale light; the dark waters surging with their overfilled load from nearly two weeks of rain. The silvery flow of streams pouring into the main channel added to the magic, as they joined the thunderous flow a scant few metres before the whole waterway drops by a good ten metres and brave canoeists risk their lives in the ‘white water’ descent.
There weren’t any canoeists. It was still early morning, and I suspect that even the most skilled would have been imperilled by the torrent of flood-water.
I’ll stick to photography, I think.
Here’s the other side of the bridge, for completeness. For all the noise of millions of gallons of rushing water, there was nothing but beauty in that place.
©Stephen Tanham, 2020.
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, which offers a distance-learning program to deepen the personality and align it with the soul.