DATE                                    11.06.2005

DISTANCE                           ABOUT 4.4 MILES

WEATHER                          BRIGHT AND DRY



High / Low force

Todays walk was going to be someplace different, we had found a small free booklet showing several walks in the Northeast of England and decided to give a few of them a try, not only was the booklet free each walk had a few photos and a small rough map of the route plus a description, this walking booklet was going to be my main source of walks for the next six months or so but at the time I didn’t know this.

After reading the book, I realised how little I knew about what is in “my back yard” and so with this book guiding us we would start to explore our area a bit better, our first walk was going to be down Teesdale to see the waterfalls known as High force and Low force. It’s a lovley area and a place that we have returned to every year since, normally once in the summer and once in the cold winter months, there are also loads more stuff to see and even now ten years later there is still places that I have still to visit. But today I would be doing a small walk following the map that was in the book.

I took extra care in getting ready; we had already checked the weather forecast and had a good forecast of bright, sunny (& dry) the gear was sorted and packed into my new rucksack along with all my lotions and potions, I had took extra care with my preparations for my stump, but because I hadn’t been out walking for what seemed like ages I was very nervous and the “what if’s” where rolling around in my head , the reason I hadn’t been out walking was mostly due to the poor fit of my socket and my general crappy state , I had been feeling extremely tired and suffering from a bad back / neck / shoulder , my Limb centre had (eventually)  re lined my socket which made the fit much better along with the better fit my back ache etc. seemed to clear up overnight so another lesson learnt the hard way , get the socket lined straight away don’t put it off for weeks on end , its bad enough waiting weeks  for an appointment when you do ring .

But the lack of walking had given my stump and the weak skin spots around it time to fully heal which can only be a good thing, and I had spent ages each day working / stretching my good leg and its muscles so maybe it wouldn’t develop that burning sensation or even the shakes and as for my shoulder I was really hoping that “it” was a thing of the past. As for my walking style I had spent ages practising walking up and down the main control room at work using the reflection from the glass to see how I looked and did my best to keep upright and straight rather than wobbling along swaying from side to side like a drunken sailor but it one thing to walk correctly for a short distance on a level flat floor it something totally different out in the real world.

So that was it , my stump was sorted with its normal amount of padding and creams my mind was in the right place , both Yvonne and I was looking forward to this walk but we both agreed that we would take it nice a slow , gear was thrown into the car and off we went .

The starting point was at the free car park at Bowlees , which just happens to have a lovley tea room in the old converted church and …………well it would be rude not to call in for a cuppa and slice of cake .

Anyway our route for the day (copied straight off the page)

 From the car park, cross the bridge over Bowlees Beck, up some steps and into the garden of the

Visitor centre. On leaving the garden, immediately turn right and pass through a gate onto a track. The track passes through a number of gates, which should be left as found. Follow the track past Ash

Head Farm. From this point there are lovely views both up and down Teesdale, ahead of you and in the distance below is the wooded gorge. Continue down the hill into Dirt Pit hamlet (derived from ‘deer path’ which links it with the ancient forest of Teesdale) ignoring any public footpath signs along the way. Continue along the track through Dirt Pit, to where it divides at a road junction. Take either divide and cross the road to a stile and public footpath sign. Cross the large field, using the duck boarding provided to cross over a small stream, and follow the way-marker posts to a gate near a small stone building on a small hill. Pass around the building to the right and head diagonally across the top of the hill to a gate next to a second public footpath sign. Pass through the gate and cross the stile on the left to go down to the picnic area and car park next to High Force Hotel. The entrance to High Force waterfall is on the opposite side of the B6277 and there is a small entry charge payable at the kiosk, if you wish to visit the falls. Return to the road at this point to continue your circular walk. From the hotel walk along the footway on the south side of the road for a few yards to a public footpath sign fixed to a road sign reading no footpath for 550 metres. Go through a gate onto a downhill path which soon joins some steep stone steps with a chain link handrail, down to the River Tees. Follow the riverside path downstream to Holwick Head Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn immediately left to follow the Pennine Way past Low Force to Winch Bridge. There are lovely flowers along this section of the river bank, including the yellow Globe Flower and the delicate pink Birdseye Primrose. Cross the Winch Bridge and follow the path across two fields between trees and a stone squeeze stile to the B6277. Cross the road and join a lane which leads easily back to the visitor centre and the start.

We mostly stuck to the route, of course we stopped and got an ice cream at the High force Hotel and paid to go down to the falls, all I can say was wow we where gobsmacked it was huge, not only that we both climbed up the stairs and went out onto the rocks above the falls it was breath taking (sadly they closed access to the top some years later due to a fall and death ) but even though it was a struggle for me to get up all the steps and over onto the rocks above the falls it was well worth it and the memory has stayed with me for ages .

 The walk back the Tee’s was a joy, the Tee’s is a delight to walk along and we stuck to our plan of taking it slow and easy with lots of rest stops which made the day even better, then of course we came to Low force and that set of falls are well you will just have to go there and see for yourself.

Over the bridge and into the tea room a perfect way to finish the walk.

A few photos:

A very young looking me taken on the way down to High force

A gap in the trees and the river Tee’s


My better half Yvonne


A gap in the trees and our first sighting of High Force …….WOW!


At the bottom looking at the waterfall


Looking down the river


Me at the money tree (I can’t believe that I was ever that young)


High force


Now on the rocks above the waterfall


Looking  down

Looking upstream

A few photos taken from up here


Now walking down the Tee’s a few photo’s


Stone sheep

Yvonne at low force

us :- same place


Without any one ruining the view


 Day after thoughts.

Neither of us could believe that we have lived up in the North east for years and have never taken the time to visit these falls and it got us thinking of what other “gems” there are dotted about this wonderful country of ours , something that caused us to start hunting out other  peoples walk reports and other local attractions .

As for my stump, it got hot today and I had to stop and do a couple of stump breaks today, but it was nothing compared to what I put up with only a weeks / months ago. The fluffy stump socks where soaking wet with sweat so another lesson was learnt carry some clean spare ones in the rucksack for when I get hot and sweaty so I can change them.

My good leg still had that burning / shaking feeling but nowhere near as bad as I had been getting it, I put this down to the slower pace and plenty of rest stops , no problems with my shoulder , so hopefully that will be a thing of the past .

My mental state ……………….err! That was good today very good in fact it was a brilliant day all round.

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