Rivers, Becks and Gills
Cumbria is a county of variety with the Lake District covering 1/3 of its area. Mountains, high fells, and steep sided valleys contribute to the formation of fast flowing rivers, becks, and waterfalls. The 90-mile long River Eden, which flows north, is Cumbria's only “home-grown” river. It's a perfect example of the landscape's influence-in this case 2198 ft above sea level on moorland-providing a source to collect water that grows from a beck into a substantial river.
Cumbria's becks received their name from the Vikings who invaded and settled in the area. A beck, in old Norse, is a brook or stream with a stony bed. A gill (sometimes spelled ghyll) is also an old Norse name for a swift mountain torrent or deep mountain ravine, but is in common use today to name any mountain stream.
Many rivers and becks played their part in Cumbria's small scale industrial development by serving as power for local mills that ground wheat and corn or manufactured cotton, linen, wool, and bobbins.