The source of the Gelt is close to Cumbria's border with Northumberland, where it rises (as New Water) at Butt Hill. The stream runs down Geltsdale Middle in the direction of Cumrew Fell, before turning northwards.
After a short while, New Water is joined by Old Water in the King's Forest of Geltsdale. Old Water runs from Crookburn Pike. After the two streams combine, the river continues flowing to the northwest, passing between Talkin Fell and Castle Carrock Fell, then the villages of the same names.
Having flown through Greenwell and under the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, the Gelt continues through Gelt Woods, overlooked by a Roman inscription dating from 207 AD and known as "the written rock of Gelt". Other stories and legends are associated with Abraham's Cave. In 1570 it saw the Battle of Gelt Bridge, when Leonard Dacre and his forces were defeated by Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, cousin of Queen Elizabeth I.
The Gelt joins the River Irthing at Edmond Castle, about 10 miles east of Carlisle.
- Legends Flow Freely in the Valley of the Gelt, The Whitehaven News. Retrieved 12 September 2006.
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