In 1854 Harriet Martineau wrote "to visit the Fall, there is a way through the gay little garden, and the orchard...and over a footbridge, and up into the wood, where the path leads to the front of the mighty chasm."
This is almost the path we took, except I doubt if Martineau passed wedding guests in sparkly dresses and Spa guests in swimsuits and bathrobes!
The Falls, descending in a wooded cleft between Gowder Crag and Shepherd's Crag, were the subject of an early sublime poem by Dr John Dalton in 1775:
Horrors like these at first alarm,
But soon with savage grandeur charm
And raise to noblest thought the mind:
Thus by thy fall, Lodore reclin'd,
The craggy cliff, impendent wood,
Whose shadows mix o'er half the flood,
The gloomy clouds, which solemn sail,
Scarce lifted by the languid gale
O'er the cape'd hill, and darken'd vale;...
I view with wonder, and delight,
A pleasing, tho' an awful sight.
Arthur Young in A Six Months' Tour through the North of England (1768) wrote " you look up to two dreadful pointed rocks, of a vast height, which almost hang over your head, partly scattered with shrubby wood, in the wildest taste of nature. Between them is a dreadful precipice of broken craggy rock, over which a raging torrent foams down in one vast sheet of water, several yards wide....Nothing can be fancied more grand, more beautiful or romantic."
Thomas West Guide to the Lakes Aquatint
Thomas West in his Guide to the Lakes (1778) called Lodore Falls "the Niagara of the lake". John Keats was somewhat disappointed with the Falls and noted the lack of water "I had an easy climb among the streams, about the fragments of rock and should have got I think to the summit, but unfortunately I was damped by slipping one leg into a squashy hole. There is no great body of water, but the accompaniment is delightful; for it oozes out from a cleft in perpendicular rocks, all fledged with Ash and other beautiful trees. It is a strange thing how they got there."
It's wonderful to gaze at a natural phenomenon which has inspired so much literary notice.