plentyofants 8:37pm, 25 January 2008
Hi there.

I've read through your group guidelines, but I wanted to check a couple of things before adding some of my photos.

You said you were interested in rivers from spring to estuary, but would that include small, unnamed brooks that are the tributaries of bigger rivers, or beaches where the river merges fairly seamlessly into the sea?

What if such a small tributary flows through, say, an old quarry? Would that make it artificial, and therefore disqualified?
Wider World 11 years ago
Interesting questions, and not easy to answer. The simple answer is that I am happy to see how people interpret the pool description, even if the results sometimes cause my eyebrows to go up a bit.

The aim when starting the pool was to document named British rivers. There are other Flickr pools where the name of the river is of no consequence. Some members of the pool have put a lot of effort into searching for names for streams to satisfy the naming condition, and have sometimes discovered a name. One member has started to coin names for unnamed streams.

The name rule is clear and straightforward to apply; a rule which says that some unnamed water courses can be in the pool whilst others cannot would be difficult. That said, it may well be sensible to turn a blind eye to the occasional anonymous brook when there are clear signs that the lack of a name is despite some research to find one, and sufficient information is provided to link it to a named river.

When I had the thought to set up the pool (which was only a few weeks ago) I had in mind freshwater rather than salt, and photos showing both water and the terrain in which the river was set. However, there are a few photos in the pool showing no water at all, and the estuary is clearly part of the story of a river, as are phenomena such as flooding and the Severn bore.

The naming of rivers is a demonstration of the association with humans, so I was expecting some photos to illustrate that association: ways to cross rivers, boating, and fishing, and their strategic use when locating houses, castles and mills, etc., and some glimpses of the religious significance they had to our distant ancestors.

The natural/artificial distinction is a particularly difficult one. Rivers in built-up areas are piped, straightened, wharfed, dredged, etc.; there are gates, piers, jetties, barrages, weirs, mill races, etc.. The East Anglian drainage system has created something very different from the natural state. However, I think a working distinction is possible between the constructed canal network and the natural phenomen of a river even when that river has then been morphed by humans.

A river disrupted by a quarry remains a river, so that would certainly fit the pool definition, as does the image in the pool of the Irwell/Greave Clough confluence in pipes under Bacup.
plentyofants 11 years ago
Yes, that sounds fair. If the emphasis is on documenting - on the past human interaction with rivers, including the names those people gave to them.

I'll do a bit of investigating - it may be that what I thought were anonymous streams may have been named after all. Thanks for clearing up the emphasis of what the group's about.
electropod 11 years ago
Nice answer, WW. Just about everything has a name. Just look on a 1:25000 OS map and you'll see. I had to do just that for Force Gill Beck, one that I had been careless enough to wade through without knowing its name at the time.

The same shot shows the river being aqueducted (is that a word?) across a railway line, but it's still a river...
plentyofants 11 years ago
Thanks for your help and your insistence on accuracy, both of you...
After digging out the OS map (I knew it was somewhere in the house), I got the name for the stream in question and I've added it to the pool

I think I'll leave estuary photos for ones which show the river better and don't just look like the sea
lapsuskalamari 11 years ago
Yes, it is a very well-considered and comprehnesive guidence

I will stick my neck out to say that all UK perennial streams are named, whether those names appear on OS maps ( at any scale ) or not. In some cases considerable research may be required to identify the name. Most or all British and Irish rivers were sacred to pre-Christians and named more or less reverentially.

The test of whether a given watercourse is a river or not is whether its flow is energetic enough to cause avulsion at or downstream of any artificial confinement. Thus canalised rivers are rivers but canals and canopuses are not ( even when they conduct water ).
Wider World 11 years ago
I agree with you that in inhabited areas, and even seasonally inhabited areas, the rivers and streams are likely to have received names in the distant past, even if the connotation of the name was closer to 'larder' or 'bathroom' than anything more elevated. However, events like the Black Death and the Highland clearances could well have caused names to be forgotten, and I suspect that the turnover of names has been higher with smaller streams.

Presumably, also there was a process on the bigger rivers, indeed still not quite complete in Britain, when various local names for one river are over time replaced by a single one. Once a name got recorded in print, in deeds for example, this would presumably tend to 'fix' it.

There are, it seems, quite a number of relatively recent changes of name, such as the Adur in Sussex (coined in the 17th century on bogus historic principles) and back-formation names (eg. the Yare at Great Yarmouth used to be called the Gerne). With the smaller streams I find myself imagining an earnest young OS surveyor quizzing an ancient yokel, who spins some far-fetched yarn about the name of the rivulet at their feet, the invented name then carefully recorded.

The pool already shows some tantalizing examples of the sacred significance of rivers: the Roman statue of the North Tyne (with a couple of Victorian creations for the Severn and the Thames); the photo of the Kennet with Silbury Hill in the distance; two fairy dells (which might be Victorian fancy, or hark back to some early sacred assocation; some of the river names may derive from the names of gods and goddesses: the Lea (the god Lugus); Lune (a water god Lon); Dee (goddess Deva). I suspect the pool should include a photo of the warm spring, Aqua Sulis, at Bath, with its clear link to the goddesses Minerva (Roman) and Sulis (pre-Roman).
allybeag PRO 11 years ago
I am now actively seeking out rivers to photograph, because of this group! As I had to spend today in Carlisle, I made sure I got a few pics of the River Caldew which flows round the back of the building we were in. Next time I'm there I'll go further up the road and capture the bigger River Eden as well. Just one more thing to consign me to the pleasant ranks of the harmlessly eccentric . . .
Wider World 11 years ago
Is the Caldew the river near the castle? On occasional visits to Carlisle, I have crossed the bridge with little thought other than it must be the River Solway (which I now see is rubbish). I am therefore delighted that you have put the record straight.

Whilst we may all be accused of eccentricity, harmless or otherwise, the perceptive eye and photographic talents of the contributors to this pool have created something remarkable and unique. I commend you and the other contributors.
electropod 11 years ago
Crikey, lapsuskalamari! Are you going to explain some of those terms for the benefit of us non-hydraulicians?
allybeag PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by allybeag (moderator) 11 years ago
There are at least 3 rivers flowing through Carlisle: the main one is the Eden, which flows northwards through the Eden Valley and enters the Solway Firth near the village of Rockcliffe. The Caldew is one of the Eden's tributaries, and I had to look here on Google Maps to find out where it joined the Eden. It's probably the one you've seen near the castle: it's a lot smaller than the Eden (which, because it's tidal, is the one that caused those dreadful floods a couple of years ago).

The other tributary is the River Petterill which joins the Eden a little further east than the Caldew. If you're driving north up the M6, the motorway crosses the Petterill just before you reach the Golden Fleece roundabout.
gmadden 11 years ago
I took a few photos of some streams today, that eventually lead into the River Coquet. I have photos of Grain Sike and Forest Burn (it goes: Grain Sike > Lordenshaw Burn > Bog Burn > Forest Burn > River Coquet). Should I add these to the pool, and if yes, should I tag them rnbGrainSike and rnbForestBurn, or should I tag them all rnbCoquet? Cheers.

Grain Sike - Downhill
Grain Sike - Uphill
Forest Burn
Forest Burn
Wider World 11 years ago
Please tag them for the individual stream names, and I will incorporate these into the index.
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