DATE                            13.12.12

DISTANCE                   JUST OVER 6 MILES

WEATHER                   COLD AND BRIGHT


The weather had been  playing around with strong winds, snow showers then wet rain  so as far as walking went I was stumped , I know where I wanted to go but the weather gods  where busy playing silly buggers and just wouldnít let me. after one last look at the weather forecast I decided to play it safe and do a nice safe easy walk, something that my better half approved of, I think that she is starting to get a bit concerned about my buggering off into the hills someplace, not so much when its summer or I am with someone but as you know the nights are really drawing in now and my walking partner Carey Burn couldnít make it some excuse about work or something like that. So Yvonne was doing her concerned wife bit or was it because Christmas was coming and she wasnít sure if I had got her a present or had I changed my secret cash point number without telling her. What ever the reason she seemed much happier when I told her of my intended route.

This was as the title suggests a waterfall walk down at High Force in Middleton in-Teesdale.

As normal got all my gear sorted out the night before , and even packed some spare gear in the boot if the car just in case ÖÖÖÖ..Donít ask just in case of what coz I donít really know , it just seemed the responsible thing to do .

And come the morning off I went, I was greeted by a glories day, bright sun but bitterly cold ÖÖÖ..just how I like it.

Driving across the high Pennines was a joy, lots of white stuff and ice to watch out for on the edge of the road and a tempture of -3. being old and sad I have recently switched radio stationĒ s to smooth radio and had a very load sing song as I drove along  with me having to turn the radio up as even I cant stand my singing  and all to soon I arrived at the free car park at Bowlees .

Coffee on and gear sorted (or should that be the other way around?) and I was soon off , the first thing I noticed was the toilets where shut , the amount of yellow stained tissues blowing around confirmed that before I read the notice on the door. Not really sure if saving a few £s is worth the mess that is being left hereÖÖ..but hey what do I know.

A small detour off the footpath was in place it would seem that the visitors centre is getting a face lift or something (maybe there are going to be toilets in there).

May be this is going to be the new public toilets


Anyway my first stop was the waterfalls at Low force, where I intended to take a few photos, I had just discovered how to use a function on my DSLR camera and wanted to have a play with it, after buggering about with various knobs and buttons a few photos where taken and off I went, my route was to follow the river up past High force to Bleabeck force then snap a few more photos and head back. First thing I couldnít help but notice was how cold it was and how slippery the path was, it was covered with a coating of frost that hid the black ice under it, which made life fun and after my arse hit the ground for the second time in less that five minutes out came the micro spikes, I will admit to feeling a bit of a wuss when I put these on but as I hadnít seen a single person I didnít really care.

The rest of my walk went without any more slips or falls so I will mark this up to a success, and after a brief lunch stop at Bleabeck force where it was that cold that my mat stuck to the ice on the ground I decided to head back ,on the spur of the moment I decided not to retrace my steps back along the river but head back along a slightly higher farm track to Hield House, I think I was really looking for different routes up into the higher fells  , a place where I havenít done much walking before , and I am pleased to say that I found a couple of routes that I will return to when I have got a bit of time on my hands .

But all too soon I was back at the Wynch bridge where I snapped a few more photos, just point and press this time I couldnít be bothered to muck around with the camera settings.

Looking at the sky I guessed that I had an hour of daylight left so a quick trip up to Gibsonís cave and its waterfall, as soon as I entered the wooded valley boy was it cold and even the old snow was frozen solid.

Yep very cold in here.

But much to my surprise it gave good grip, not that it mattered as I still had my micro spikes in the rucksack. A few more photos where taken, (far to cold to bugger about with the setting) then back to the car for coffee.

Driving back across the fells I was hoping for a good sunset photo.

Not much of a sunset.

But unfortunately it didnít pan out and stopping to answer a call of nature was well a very quick affair with a very cold wind and a reading of -7 according to the gadget thingy in the car.

Believe me its cold.

So all in all a good day.

As normal a few photos, canít say that I could see any difference between my normal point and press and the other stuff I tried.

Taken at Low force.


Now on Pennine way looking back at low force.


A few photos taken as I wander along the river.


looking back.


High force.

Just above high force looking down.


Still heading up stream. A few photos, itís a lovely area.


The working stone quarry looks so wrong in this area BUT also adds something to the view.


A few of Bleabeck Force.


icy cold.


Looking up along the valley.


Same again, I really wanted to go exploring.


Heading back down now.


Quick look over the top of High Force.


The path back, itís very icy.


Old ruin, I was sorely tempted to try to get to the top of the fell behind it ÖÖÖone for another day.


Looking back.


All too soon back at low Force and a few more photos. (Note my boot in one.)


One of the small waterfalls on my way to Gibsonís cave.

Cave (not Gibsonís)


First sighting of the waterfall and cave.


A few close up and a few that are a result of me playing with the camera.



  Day after thoughts.

With just over 6 miles mostly flat walking I didnít really expect to have any soreness or stiffness and I am pleased to say that I didnít.

My stump still isnít right , but at least its not painful so thatís good , walking on ice is something I will have to practise on as I didnít even realise that I had slipped the first time till my legs went above my head , then to get up and slip over straight away is just plan carelessness.