DATE                                  02.03.2014

DISTANCE                          8.85 MILES

WEATHER                          GREY BUT MOSTLY DRY





I wasn’t really sure where I would be walking  this coming weekend all I knew is that I would get away someplace  but where I wasn’t sure , likewise I wasn’t even sure if there was anyone to go walking with . Now I don’t mind walking on my own in fact most of the time I am on my own or with the pups but recently I had been walking with a Facebook group known as ODRUS and I must admit that I do enjoy the company now, (am I starting to get a bit more sociable? instead of being a miserable old git! who knows?)  however there was nothing arranged that I could see so it looked like I was going to be billy no mates again, then right out of the blue a e mail thing came hurtling down the phone line and burst onto my Facebook page from the lovley Beryl asking about the weekend, after much (well not a lot if the truth is known) talk times and places where arranged and so I found myself driving down to Bowlees.

I had suggested that a walk along the river Tee’s, you know Low Force,

High Force,

Bleabeck force

Gibson's cave

 and take it from there , Beryl seemed to agree and despite her objections I knew that she couldn’t wait to lead the group (all two of us ) using all of her skill and local knowledge .

Once again I had to question myself over the weather, it was a clear blue sky where I live but as I drove down towards Teesdale the sky’s turned dull  and wet , Joy I picked the wrong area again still that didn’t matter .

On arriving at the car park (early I might add) I was presently surprised to see Beryl was already there, so it was a case of gear on and off we went, photos where taken, the world was put to rights and I think that we even solved the country’s dep’t crises sometime during the walk ,our route took us, over the swing  / suspension  bridge, viewing low force then along the Pennine way following the river  up to high force where more photos where taken then still following the Pennine way to , Bleabeck force . Where even more photos where taken, I explained to Beryl that this was the furthest I had been along the river and expressed an interest in mooch around a bit further along, Beryl of course being a local lass knew this area and was only to pleased to take over and lead the walk explaining about various hills and routes that are available and I have to say that I was very impressed , unknown to Beryl I had been thinking about having a mooch around further along the river when the ground dry’s up a bit and the day’s  get a bit longer and picked away at what she knew about the area

Beryl in the mean time was setting a nice easy pace that I could match without pushing myself  the only trouble was the ground was soaking and all the small streams / becks  what ever they are called down here where full  and crossing  over them proved to be ……well different .

Even at the best of times I am shit when it comes to walking over boulders / stepping stones across a stream , throw in water rushing all around and wobbly stones that are slippery and I know what’s going to happen so I tend to just step  straight into  the water and cross that way , I am used to having wet feet or should that be wet foot , Beryl on the other hand  I wasn’t sure about , I think the amount of water even caught her by surprise however being a trouper that she is  stepped up to the mark and splodged straight into the stream without batting an eye .

Beryl’s route took us up onto Bracken Rigg which I think is on the lower slops of Cronkley fell then we followed another water soaked path that would take us over a rather full Fell Dike sike  cross over a rather fast flowing Skyer Beck which proved to be fun .

When ever I go into an area that I don’t know I always feel slightly on edge, what if the ground is unsuitable for my arty leg, what about the chambers wrong what if this, what if that I guess only an above knee amputee really understands what I mean but ……………… the same time I become incredibly alive, my senses seem to go into overdrive and I get an incredible high that normally leaves a stupid grin on my face. I simply love it…………..

Going off topic slightly I can remember coming down from Easter torr in the cheviots on a cold snowy day when my arty leg simply sized up and made walking almost impossible , I only had a couple of hours  before it got dark , naturally it started snowing and the wind picked up , but as strange as it seemed the more difficult the terrain / weather become the more I liked it , I hopped, bum slid, staggered for about a mile or so , soaking wet, icy cold to touch but so alive  , my senses could almost see the wind as it blew around me , and despite not  being very agile I could almost sense where the frozen boggy ground would support my weight and where it wouldn’t , from this experience I have developed rightly or wrongly a great understanding of  myself .. On the last hundred meters downhill I remember climbing into my survival/ bivi bag and sledding down the rest of the hill screaming with joy just like a kid and even seriously had a  think about  could I get back up there and do it again ………………..may be I have a screw lose or the brain still isn’t right . So when you see me with a silly grin on my face you know now why.

Getting back to this walk, which I was thoroughly enjoying by the way

After a brief stop for me to empty all the water out of my foot  Beryl (now fully in charge)  lead us up White holm bank, where we met up with some other walkers coming the other way, they informed us that the Bleabeck was in full flow and the crossing point was a no go and suggested we head up to the bridge, we of course feeling very confident of our river fording technical skills thanked them and carried on to have a look for ourselves , however on reaching the crossing point we both knew that it was far to deep for us to cross and so we started off to the “bridge too far “ it wasn’t far away and soon we where on a solid /dry track .

Lunch was had in the comfort of what was a shooting lodge? Then it was a simple case of following the track back to Howick where we cut down to the swing bridge and crossed the Tee’s. Once again we where lucky, despite the grey clouds and threating weather we didn’t actually get rained on ……… lucky are we?

The newly refurbished visitors centre was open and to be honest I was dying for a coffee so it seemed rude not to call in, Beryl agreed and so we paid it a visit, coffee and walnut cake was thrown down our necks very nice it was too (the cake we both agreed was a bit on the dry side but that really didn’t matter) ……… Beryl very generously paid.  thank you Beryl  (my turn next )  then it was off for the final section which involved a wander up to Gibson’s cave for the last waterfall of the day , I’m pleased to say that we both managed to stay on the footpath and didn’t have to cross over the stream at any point . But at one stage I did notice that beryl was getting very close to the waters edge and believed that she was going to splodged across , you know how it is with some girl’s  you just cant keep them out of the water but it turned out that the artist in her was looking for the best photo shot .

ALL walks are good BUT some are brilliant, todays walk was one of those brilliant ones & I didn’t want it to end.

And of course I now know what to expect when I return and have a mooch around further up the river  something that I am really looking forward to ………….i know I’m a bit sad at times .

We wandered about 8.85 miles according to my GPS with about 1139ft. of the ups and downs a very enjoyable day ……Thank you Beryl.

As normal I will now bore you with a few photos

Low force


The sheep, this time I was good normally I climb up behind them for a photo


Slightly above low force


Despite all the rain we have been having there was no water flowing over this section  

Another “dry” section of the river


High force


Close up


On top of high force looking down


Bleabeck force


Same again taken from the bridge on Zoom


Skyer & dry beck our first two easy crossings


Our route now started to climb slightly

Looking back towards the old quarry and a barely visible Bleabeck force


Looking down at the river


Looking towards Cronkley fell, a place that I have never been to but hope to get up thee soon


Looking back down towards Dine Holm Scar?


Beryl showing how to cross Skyer beck

Honestly I wasn’t waiting for her to trip I had the camera out just in case


No problem for an experienced walk leader


Looking back, it’s deeper and flowing faster than it looks


Beryl showing how to cross over Dry beck without getting wet feet


Now starting to head up a bit looking back


Stopping to get my breath back, looking back down at our route


Even though we haven’t really gained much height the views start to open up


Again looking back, I can now see a track that will take me up to Cronkley fell so come the warmer weather I will be looking for volunteers to join me


Same again


Beryl taking a photo

Shooting stell


Looking back


The Blea Beck ,at  the crossing point it was far to deep and flowing to fast even for us to splash threw so it was a case of heading upstream to cross at the bridge , looking at the well used path running along side the beck we aren’t the first people to have to use this


Small water fall near the track / bridge


Approaching Holwick scars and even more concrete sheep


Heading down towards Holwick


A bit closer


Looking back at the scars


Now back at Bowlees on our way up to Gibson’s cave, I don’t know if this waterfall has a name or not


Troll hole?


Looking up the beck towards Gibson’s cave


Beryl leading the way , there has been a few mud slides up here , so Beryl was checking out the path ………….what a leader eh ?


The water fall at Gibson’s cave


Beryl showing off the last waterfall of this walk, feeling very pleased that she didn’t lose anyone on this walk.