As a family, we’re all keen on getting out and about in Cumbria more frequently. After purchasing a National Trust family membership, we figured that we had no more excuses. You know what it’s like, sometimes you’ve more month left than money but you still have the kids to entertain. We live in the optimum place to get out in nature having cheap days out.
On Friday, we had a spot of warm, beautiful weather so we packed up the car and headed out towards Ullswater. Just 35 minutes from our house, we found the Aira Force car park easily. We were instantly impressed with the facilities here- tearooms, toilets and a snack kiosk. We got there a bit later than planned, around 11am, and the car park was almost full. Noted! I can imagine you’d need to arrive nice and early in the height of summer.
The walk up to the falls was easy enough. We did take the wrong path, going left towards the viewing point instead of right. This was a bit too difficult for Mini Guru so we turned around and took the path to the right. This path was much more accessible for younger kids.
The waterfall is spectacular. I found the walk to it to be filled with anticipation. You can hear Aira Force before you can see it, and that built our excitement. After taking in the views, we debated climbing the steps to go to the top bridge (Mrs Guru is fairly terrified of heights). It was decided that fears were too be conquered and we’d head up. At the top of the steps there’s plenty of benches to rest, or to have a snack break.
The four of us had the bug and just wanted to keep going. We followed the path (all footpaths are incredibly well maintained) up to Gillbarrow Fell and climbed up there. Mini Guru had claimed his first fell walk, we were a proud Cumbrian family.
Descending down to the car park gave us spectacular views of Ullswater. Mini Guru didn’t even complain about his hunger! The parklands by the carpark are pristine and there were plenty of picnic benches. We took our own hamper, but there are the facilities to buy your own lunch in the tea room. We’ll just have to try that next time!
For our first “hike”, we think that Aira Force was the perfect choice for a family of three and our old Labrador!