Scale Force from Buttermere
OS grid reference NY 150-171
Scale Force is the highest waterfall in the Lake District. It has a single drop of 170 ft and two others of about 20 ft. It is hidden away in a deep tree-lined gorge
You can reach Buttermere from Keswick by either Newlands pass or Honister pass or from Cockermouth by the B5289 via Lorton
There is a LDNP car park is in the centre of the village behind the Bridge Hotel and beside the Fish Hotel at NY 172-169. There is also a National Trust car park at NY 172-172. Both are pay & display.
Take the path from the Bridge Hotel signposted Scale Bridge and Scale Force. The path splits just outside Buttermere and you need to take the fork towards Crummock Water. You will soon cross Scale Bridge, an attractive old hump-backed bridge (another opportunity for a photograph maybe). Follow the path parallel to the shore of Crummock Water. You will eventually come to a stone wall. Follow the path uphill to reach the falls.
What to Shoot
Within the deep tree-lined gorge there are two main falls. A tall, thin upper fall, and a wider, lower fall. Whilst it is difficult to see the entire main drop at first, access to the falls is easy and the lower waterfall is reached by just walking into the gorge. To get to the base of the upper fall requires a small climb up a 10ft slab of rock. There are plenty of hand holds, but be very careful though as it can be extremely slippery. From here you will get a good but wet view.
Lighting can be difficult as the gorge is deep and shadowed by trees particularly in summer when they are in full leaf. Mid to later in the day is the best time to visit as the sunlight then shines into the gorge. You will need to take a tripod and a set of ND filters if you want to capture silky smooth water. This is a good place to use that Lee ‘Big Stopper’ if you have one. As the waterfall is so high a wide angle lens is a must and you will also need to take a cleaning cloth to wipe the spray off your lens.
Despite it being the highest waterfall in the Lake District, Scale Force is quite remote and you can often have the place to yourself. It takes a little effort to get there but is well worth it.