River Esk, Cumbria

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For similarly named rivers, see River Esk (disambiguation).
Coordinates: 54°20′17″N 3°25′42″W / 54.33806°N 3.42833°W / 54.33806; -3.42833
Esk (Cumbria)
Wha House Bridge, Eskdale.jpg
The River Esk flows under Wha House Bridge in Upper Eskdale.
Country United Kingdom
Part England
 - location Esk Hause
Mouth Irish Sea
 - location Ravenglass
 - coordinates 54°20′17″N 3°25′42″W / 54.33806°N 3.42833°W / 54.33806; -3.42833

The River Esk is a river in the Lake District in Cumbria, England. It is one of two Rivers Esk in Cumbria, and not to be confused with the River Esk which flows on the Scottish side of the border.

It rises in the Sca Fell range of mountains at a height of 800 metres, just below Esk Hause, the mountain pass between the fells of Great End and Esk Pike. The infant river then flows southerly through wild and picturesque countryside making the leap over several waterfalls before being joined by its first major tributary Lingcove Beck at Lingcove Bridge. Within a few miles the Esk passes Brotherilkeld Farm, which formerly belonged to the monks of Furness Abbey, at this point it is joined by Hardknott Beck and the river now flows westerly through the farmland of Eskdale and is accompanied by the motor road which goes down the valley. The Esk continues past the small villages of Boot and Eskdale Green before joining the Irish Sea at Ravenglass.


In his book "The Origins Of English Place Names" (page 77) P.H. Reaney says that the rivers name is derived from the British word "Isca" meaning "water". This also applies to the similarly spelled rivers Axe, Exe and Usk with the changes to the name evolving over ten centuries of usage.[1]


The Esk has a reputation as a very good fishing river, it offers fine angling for sea trout and salmon being made famous by the writer and broadcaster Hugh Falkus who lived in the Esk valley and used the river as a basis for many of his books and films.[2]


  1. ^ A Survey of the History of English Place­names Gives details of etymology (second paragraph).
  2. ^ Angling World Wide Gives details of Angling on the Esk.