DATE                                          16.03.2014

DISTANCE                                 5.4 MILES

WEATHER                                DRY BUT WINDY

START / FINISH                       ROADSIDE PARKING AT WIDDYBANK  /  COW GREEN

 

Cauldron Spout

This is a tricky one where to start? This is going to be in two parts and has nothing to do with this walking trip so you can either carry on reading or skip to the walking bit.

Many years go when I was first starting getting out and learning to walk again; I had a trip down to cow green reservoir, I can clearly remember it was a cold windy day (hang on its always cold and windy down there) and my ability to walk was well………… pretty crap to say the least and the purpose of this walk was to have a look along the dam and of course have a look down Cauldron Spout that I had heard so much about. Like I said at this time even the walk from the car park down to the dam was really pushing my limits, it took ages with many stops for me to get my breath back and just to gather my strength plus the fact I could only walk at a very slow rate. It took us hours to get there, then after a walk along the dam we decided to look down Cauldron Spout, I couldn’t even drop down a level to get a decent view, all I remember was the smooth rocks and the ruggedness of it all and thinking “not in a thousand years” then we both started the long walk back to the car but something stuck in my mind and I remember thinking “one day”……………….. Now fast forward to today. (Well a few days ago)

A very kind and inspirational person who goes by the name Mike Knipe of the world famous blog http://northernpies.blogspot.co.uk/   who has been given me loads of advice and information over the last few years about different areas and different conditions is doing his bit for the charity mind and raising a few pounds towards this worthy cause so after a very cheeky e mail that went along the lines of:-

“Hi Mike, Nice report as normal….. I like your something for something with regards to raising pennies for Mind so how about you selling your body!!!for the day sorta pimping yourself out if you like , what I propose is you escort me from say Bowlees right along the Pennine way to cow green reservoir there we can jump in a motor and drive back to Bowlees . Conditions are! You fill my head in with what ever local knowledge that you can think of on route (doesn’t have to be true) and for this marvellous service I will bung £25.00 of my hard earned pounds into your mind fund ….something for something eh! Of course you could always try for extra brownie points for a “care in the community “type of thing. One last thing …I like coffee & if I fall in going up Cauldron spout and die a horrible death I wish you good luck getting the dosh off my better half ( she’s very mean with money) What do you think”

Well Mike Agreed times and dates where sorted and we found ourselves meeting up on a very windy car park at Cow Green. After a brief chat about what and where I wanted Mike came up with a route suggestion and that was that .Gear was thrown into mikes car for the drive to the start point at Widdybank farm and off we went , despite the strong wind Mike kept up a constant flow of information  about the area and what to expect , it appeared that there was a couple of rocky / scree sections that I had to cross before I got to the spout but other than that there shouldn’t be any problems , I also questioned him about various routes that I was interested in and once again mike filled in the missing pieces and so I now have a couple more walks sorted ready to do when I get time.

The route itself was simplicity itself , walk alongside  the river along the Pennine way , if your feet get wet you have wandered into the river and there was a steep valley side it meant you really couldn’t go wrong or get lost .

Even though I have only just done this walk, I will return again in the summer months and redo this walk, hopefully adding a bit more to it distance wise. Its brill

Distance wise it was about 5.4 miles with a few feet of the ups and downs but nothing to get excited about, the climb itself was about 96 ft. so I’m told.

A few photos from this walk

The view of Cow green reservoir, what can’t be seen is how windy it was.

 

On the track heading towards Widdybank farm, looking towards the impressive Cronkley scar

 

First sighting of the farm at Widdybank farm

 

Now on the Pennine way heading upstream, I can’t believe that I have waited this long to walk up here

 

Looking back at the scar

 

Approaching one of those tricky bits Mike had warned me about

 

Last look back before I start

 

Mike getting his camera out ready to catch the moment I fall

 

If I can just get to there I should be ok

 

But first this

 

Mike sitting and waiting for me

 

Looking back, I was feeling chuffed that I didn’t fall in the river at this point

 

Looking across to where the footpath descends down off Cronkley, its part of a future walk I have planned

 

Now on a boardwalk section of the Pennine way, again looking back, there are several sections of boardwalks along here as well as stone flags and wet boggy sections

Our route ahead, easy really with the river one side and the steep sided hill on the other, it’s hard to go wrong

 

Approaching another of the bolder/ scree sections

 

Mike leading the way making it looks easy

 

Looking towards the stone cairn where I plan to have a five minute sit down

Mike still striding on, I think that he was rushing so he could get his camera out ready to catch my fall; I am pleased to say that I didn’t

 

Its at this point I decide to throw my hiking poles in front and use my hands , it’s a much better way , in fact the poles are really useless here , something I will remember in the future , just fold them up and stow them away before I start.

 

Made it, still feeling pretty good about things, looking back at the last tricky section

 

Back on a good boardwalk section

Looking back at up at what I think is part of Falcon Clints

 

Looking towards an old stone barn (really I haven’t got a clue where I am looking)

 

Still following the Pennine way along the river

 

A bit more tricky stuff, not as bad as it was further back, but enough to remind me to take care and not gets to cocky

 

Mike setting a nice easy pace for me to follow, I did warn him that I am slow at times.

 

Not sure what I am looking at here, but I bet its good after a lot of rain

 

Looking back along our route, I think that it’s impressive, I bet its even better in the summer months or when the Heather is in flower

 

First sighting of the spout, the moment of truth is here …will I wimp out? Can I wimp out?

 

A bit closer

 

Mike taking a few photos himself

A few photos

 

Mike showing me the right way to go up with words like it will hurt if you fall

 

A few more photos as I slowly make my way up

 

Nearly at the top looking back down towards where the Maize beck joins the Tees

 

A few more (well at lot) as I make my way up

 

Made it Arty leg having his photo taken

 

Looking up at the dam at Cow Green reservoir

Looking towards what I think is the spillway or overflow pipes, apparently they control the amount of water realised from the reservoir into the tees.

 

Last look across at the fells before we get back to the car

 

 This bit a bit embarrassing to write about, I didn’t doubt for one second that I wouldn’t be able to clamber to the top of the spout……… after all thousands of people must climb up it every year but then again I should think that most of them have the use of both there legs & there was that small nagging voice that kept saying what if you fail? How would I take it?  would it send me back to that dark place where my self worth is questioned? I don’t know! I would like to think that I have well and truly put that “I’m useless” stage behind me but sometimes when things and stuff aren’t going right it doesn’t take much to push myself towards that dark place, as it was I not only clambered all the way only stopping to take photos I really enjoyed it and had an incredible buss once I was safely at the top. Now to most people this won’t mean a thing but as an amputee doing something that I once thought would be impossible is a big thing & yes I’m chuffed with myself

There are quite a few of these self imposed “test” thingy that I have set myself , no set myself isn’t the right word , its places that I want to go but haven’t been able to in the past  due to the terrain so as they say watch this space .

And finally I have to say a big thank you to Mike, who made this possible.

And finally a link to his blog on this walk:-

http://northernpies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/pimp-mah-boots-micks-climb-up-cauldron.html

 

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