Saturday, 1 April 2017

The Highs and Lows of Teesdale (Yorks/Durham) March 31st. (Sprechen von Brexit ist verboten!!)
  It is a while since we visited Teesdale. Six gadgies out today, John H., John Ha., Ben, Harry, Dave and me, walking along the river to escape the Brexit argument which will now rattle on for several years making money for lawyers.
We are off to Bowlees, a village on the Tees north west of Middleton in Teesdale, reached by us via the A69 west, A68 south B6278 to Stanhope and a minor road to Middleton in Teesdale and Bowlees, which has a picnic area, a visitor centre and parking. Like many a good walk it crosses OS maps, the ones I have used are OL31 North Pennines and OL 19 Howgill Fells. (Copied and laminated of course, got to keep the daughters amused)The car park is at  GR NY907282 On OS 31

     The car park is free but there is a very polite request for a donation of £2

                   Visitor centre, inside and out. Looks like it was built as a Methodist Chapel. Nice staff, good coffee and tea but nobody had a bacon sandwich. I wonder why.
Morning tea/coffee over we walked across the village road, through a field and arrived at Wynch Bridge, a narrow footbridge over the Tees with a notice advising only on person to cross at a time.
Before crossing we stopped to admire Low Force, one of the falls on the river. A group of amateur artists, under the supervision of a young teacher, were busy sketching or painting the fall, several young men in wet suits and helmets were practising life saving beneath the bridge.
                                    Low Force
                                                 Take heed.
                   Somebody is breaking the rule.
                                   Welcome to the nature reserve
Once safely across we turned right and headed west along the footpath next to the river. It is part of the Pennine Way, the longest footpath in the UK, somewhere in the region of 212 miles from Derbyshire to the Border with the referendum seeking Scots. The path is narrow and stony in places but at least it was mud free. On one section we walked through a wood where we were required to wash boots in some killer liquid as there were tree killing bugs in the area. Shortly afterwards we arrived at High Force, another waterfall and more impressive than the first. And it started to rain, and the wind got up, blowing into faces.

OK, so it isn't Niagara, we're only a little country.
Beyond the cataract, on the north bank of the Tees there is a large working quarry. Along the walk there are several no longer working quarries.

                           Working quarry. It produces road stone apparently
Some way beyond the quarry, having crossed boggy fields we turned south (about 3.5 miles) towards Noon Hill on a barely visible track. Once through the first gate we came to we turned east. Skyer Beck was deep and wide, we had to walk some way upstream before we found a safe crossing point, at least I did, not being the greatest of swimmers and wearing new boots. We continued east, the rain having ceased and now the wind was at our backs.  At Blea Beck we walked upstream to find a crossing point, this time a bridge carrying a Land Rover track built with crushed stone. There were two rough sheds, obviously for the use of grouse shooters but for us they made a luxurious Herbie Spot.

                                            Herbie's halt and café
Lunch time for gadgies. Note the delicious piece of sticky ginger cake that Ben will be enjoying shortly. It is my signature dish. We also had home made peanut biscuits, Snickers, Ben's ginger biscuits and PORK PIES.
After lunch we continued east along the track, pleased not to be crossing boggy fields. Approaching
Holwick Scars we turned off the track and walked down a grassy path. The scars are part of the great Whin Sil, an igneous rock called dolerite. It forms in columns, a bit like the Giants Causeway, he said, donning the tweed jacket of a Geography teacher.
                                           The dolorite scars of Holwick
I took a fancy to this little cottage. An ideal spot for sitting in the evening, rereading War and Peace and drinking tea from a samovar.
Beyond the cottage we turned left down a road, crossed fields full of sheep and a few early lambs and were soon back at Wynch Bridge.
                                  Mint sauce
At the falls two men were using kayaks to do some white water kayaking over the fall. Not for me.
Kayaks at Low Force
Changed we drove part of the way home, stopping at The Punch Bowl in Edmundbyers for refreshment, the choice being Wainwright or Golden Plover or coffee. Then we went home. Another good walk even in the rain and wind, the views in upper Teesdale are well worth a bit of damp.

Contains OS Data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017
And I couldn't cut the bottom off without starting again, hence the gap

The Matrix MMXVII NN

                                                    steps                             miles
NAK                                          22673                         8.58
Dave's 3D                                  20123                         8.86
"" USB                                     18182                         8.6
""  NAK                                   17888                          8.46
 iPhone                                     22377                          9.7*
Etrex 20                                                                        9.32*
Walking time 3 hours 31 minutes. Talking time 1 hour 15
*I walked further upstream at Skyer Beck (And did you notice the streams are now becks, not burns)

The gallery;