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The Rothay is a spate river of the Lake District in north-west England. Its name comes from Old Norse and translates literally as the red one. This has come to mean trout river.[clarification needed] It rises close to Rough Crag above Dunmail Raise at a point about 1542 feet (470 m) above sea level (grid reference NY306108). Its catchment area covers Grasmere Common including Easedale Tarn, the southern flanks of Fairfield, and several of the fells to the east of Dunmail Raise, including Great Rigg, Rydal Fell, Scandale Fell and Heron Pike.
From its source the Rothay descends through the valley of Greenburn Bottom to the hamlet of Helmside not far from the main A591 road over Dunmail Raise. Just north of the village of Grasmere the river subsumes Easedale Gill and Sour Milk Gill, the latter flowing out of Easedale Tarn. In the village the river flows close to the churchyard where the poet Wordsworth is buried. The Rothay then flows into the head of the lake of Grasmere (elevation 208 feet/63 m). As well as replenishing Grasmere, the Rothay also drains it, flowing for just half a mile (800 m) from the southern end of the lake before replenishing Rydal Water (elevation 181 feet/55 m) at its western extremity. The Rothay drains Rydal from its easternmost point and then flows in a general southerly direction for about three miles (4.8 km) before merging with the River Brathay at Croft Lodge south-west of Ambleside. From there the rivers flow into the northern end of Windermere. In addition to those tributaries already noted, several others are subsumed by the Rothay.
About a mile (1.6 km) north of Ambleside the Rothay is crossed by a well-known set of stepping stones. Several sections of the Rothay are popular with canoeists, including the section between Grasmere and Rydal; the river is graded as 2+. The Rothay is a trout fishery where brown trout can be caught. Anglers should enquire locally about licences (an Environment Agency Rod Licence is required).
The River Rothay was wholly within the historic county of Westmorland. Since local government reorganisation in 1974 the river has been in the county of Cumbria.
The River Leven (pron. levven) is a short river in the county of Cumbria, falling within the historic boundaries of Lancashire. It drains Windermere from its southernmost point and flows for approximately eight miles (13 km) into the northern reaches of Morecambe Bay. The river and its estuary are the boundary between the Cartmel Peninsula and Furness Peninsula in the area once known referred to as Lancashire north of the sands. The upriver limit of tidal flow is close to the village of Haverthwaite. Also at this point is to be found Low Wood Bridge which, until the coming of the railways, was the first bridging point across the river.
The Leven is navigable upstream as far as Low Wood, and downstream from Windermere to Newby Bridge. Apart from Newby Bridge and Haverthwaite, the only other settlements on the Leven are the villages of Backbarrow and Greenodd. The river’s steep fall around Backbarrow allowed industrial use of the river for the ultramarine mill and also a small hydroelectric generator at Backbarrow ironworks.
The River Leven has one significant tributary, Rusland Pool, which drains a substantial part of Grizedale Forest and the Rusland Valley into the upper tidal section of the river. The Leven is a noted salmon river. At spawning time the fish can be seen jumping up the waterfalls at Backbarrow. The river is popular with kayakers due to the continuous grade III+ rapids found between Newby Bridge and Haverthwaite and a relatively stable water level sustained by Windermere.
The Brathay is a river of north-west England. Its name comes from Old Norse and means broad river. It rises at a point 1289 feet (393 m) above sea level near the Three Shire Stone at the highest point of Wrynose Pass (grid reference NY277028) in the Lake District. Its catchment area includes the northern flanks of Wetherlam, Great Carrs and others of the Furness Fells, as well as a substantial area of the Langdale Fells.
The small stream at the top of Wrynose quickly gathers pace as it descends some 930 feet (283 m) in a distance of about two miles (3.2 km), running roughly parallel to, and south of, the Wrynose Pass road. Before flowing into Little Langdale Tarn it subsumes the outflow from Blea Tarn. Little Langdale Tarn is also replenished by the Greenburn Beck. The Brathay drains Little Langdale Tarn at its eastern side. It continues in an easterly direction, over Colwith Force where it falls 40 feet (12 m), before turning north and flowing into the tarn of Elter Water at an elevation of 187 feet (57 m) above sea level. Elter Water is also replenished by the Great Langdale Beck.
The Brathay drains Elter Water and flows for about half a mile (0.8 km) in a south-easterly direction to Skelwith Force where it descends 15 feet (4.6 m). Passing under the A593 road at Skelwith Bridge, and continues in an easterly direction, to the hamlet of Clappersgate. After another quarter of a mile (400 m) it joins the River Rothay close to Croft Lodge south-west of Ambleside before flowing into the northern end of Windermere.
The stretches of the Brathay around Clappersgate and Skelwith Force are popular with canoeists. For its entire length the River Brathay forms part of the boundary between the historic counties of Lancashire and Westmorland. Since local government re-organisation in 1974 the Brathay has been within the administrative county of Cumbria.
The river also gives its name to Brathay Hall and Brathay exploration group, both of which are based just south of its confluence with the River Rothay on the edge of Windermere.