Saturday, 14 April 2018

Langdon Beck, Widdybank and Cow Green.. (Durham) April 13th
Warning: Very muddy and some rather large boulders to cross
 Having been away  in Czechia for two weeks I am rejoining the team today for a walk in Upper Teesdale, County Durham. A sextet of sixty/seventy year olds out on a day the forecast has promised to be miserable; cold, misty and with the possibility of drizzle. (Brian, Harry, Dave, John C., John H., and me)
The walk starts at the Langdon Hotel: A69 west, A68 south, turn right for Stanhope, turn right for Middleton in Teesdale and keep going to the hotel. It serves tea and coffee early in the morning but, sadly, no bacon sandwiches.
The map to use is OS OL31 North Pennines and the Langdon Hotel is at NY853312, approx
We parked on the side of the road by the hotel and headed off south west alongside the Langdon Beck.
               Geared up on a damp morning
                              Langdon Hotel, real ales, fish and chips. I could have stayed all day.
We left the track and walked across very muddy fields, with the Harwood Beck on our left, before heading uphill across fields so muddy they were slippy to the farm track (not the road) that took us to the farm at Greenhills.
                         One misty moisty morning, with lambs. The Harwood Beck. 
The track goes through the farm yard and across a number of muddy fields to Lingy Hill where we chatted to a cheerful farmer who admitted the miserable weather of the last two weeks had hindered lambing and caused a rise in the price of straw.
Here we turned just west of south along a metalled road to Marshes Gill, passing a nicely converted old Methodist Chapel.
                        Not the best of days for a walk.

                  Would Wesley have approved ? There are a lot of Methodist Chapels in the northern valleys, not all converted.
The original intention at Marshes Gill was to take a path over fields to Cow Green Reservoir but we were all so fed up of plodding through mud we kept to the road, heading south east to Peghorn Lodge then west to The Knott and onward to the car park and picnic spot overlooking the reservoir, where we called a Herbie Spot.

            There is a rather large panoramic information board at the picnic spot
                 John H., Brian and Harry at the second class table. Dave, John C. and I sat close by. 
Still a season for soup, I used my new hot food container, a birthday present from a daughter. We shared lime cake from Mrs A., cookies, caramel slice and almond roca, birthday present from other daughter. This is not fighting the six pounds I put on in Czechia.
Herbie time over we took the track back for a short distance before joining the track that follows the shoreline, almost, to Cow Green Reservoir Dam. Not the most picturesque of area, flattish moorland and the water. Maybe on a bright sunny day it looks better.

                              Cow Green Dam, 
               Not surprisingly the reservoir is full. The overflow.
Just beyond the dam is Cauldron Spout, a picturesque waterfall. The path beside it is rocky, the rain has made it slippy and the lichen doesn't help. We descended with care, passing several smaller waterfalls.

Cauldron Spout and the River tees below it. Not the easiest of paths.
Once we had reached the river side, below Falcon Clints we joined the Pennine Way, long distance footpath. The footpath here is a boulder field, to be crossed with care. At one point I fell and the bottom half of my body slipped gently into the water. Feet and bottom soaked I bravely went on my way. In places the footpath has been improved using good old Yorkshire flagstones from closed mills, and in some places there are duck boards.
But eventually the valley flattened out and widened out. We stopped for a mini herbie not far from Widdy Bank farm which seems to be used as an office for the Teesdale National  Nature Reserve.

           A patch of snow on Fox Earths and a mini herbie.
From Widdy Bank we followed the road to Intake farm, nearly and then returned to Langdon Beck on the road we had started off on.
On a day like today, damp and after  a week's rain this is a tough walk. I think it would be better done in a clockwise direction, scambling up the side of Cauldron Spout would have been easier than slipping down.
Walk over we headed to the good old Boathouse at Wylam which had its usual selection of a dozen beers and some tea for the driver.

Matrix MMXVIII   A1
                                                               steps                                     miles
NAK                                                    33095   (?)                                   12.53
iPhone                                                 25723                                       11.2
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                  11.1
Dave's 3D                                           25987                                         12.21
""" USB                                              24344                                         11.91
 "" NAK                                              23701                                         11.59
Sylvia's mother                                   24954                                          12.21
John C.                                                                                                    11.5

Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018
And a few more misty pictures: