As a geekish teenager I immersed myself in Road & Track, Motor Sport and Autosport – the racing journalists Denis Jenkinson and Pete Lyons achieved hero status alongside the drivers and cars they wrote about. I became saturated and obsessed by the hunt for the perfect racing line.
This went on for years until a bright young lass widened my literary horizons and my brief practical encounter with racing failed miserably. Then, on 6th October 1973, forty years ago this week, François Cevert came to grief at Watkins Glen – enough was enough. For a good many years other interests took hold.
That same year I became immersed in the William Morris saga, The Well at the World’s End, an epic tale of a knight who goes in search of a well that bestows immortality on all those who drink its waters. This convoluted set of interconnected topics brings me to a waterfall.
Thirty miles south west of Hexham and four miles beyond Alston is the old lead mining village of Garrigill. From here it is a short walk and modest climb to Ashgill Force, an impressive 50 foot waterfall beneath the B6277 road bridge. The major attraction of these falls is that it is possible to walk behind them and take photographs through a curtain of water without getting entirely saturated although I imagine that in flood or icy conditions this could be treacherous. It seems just the sort of place that Ralph of Upmeads would have encountered on his quest for The Well at the World’s End:
(click on the images to enlarge)