DATE                                            18.02.06

DISTANCE                                  ABOUT 4.7 MILES

WEATHER                                  COLD BUT DRY

START / FINISH                         CAR PARK AT COW GREEN


Todays wander was going to be another walk taken from the free booklet that we found on the world wide webby thing, and once again we where heading down to the Teesdale area, where if all go’s to plan we would have a short wander down to Cauldron spout or should the top of the spout then along to the dam at cow green reservoir then back to the car park, not a big walk but it had been a while since we had got out for a wander.

Naturally I had been out practising but it wasn’t all good news my stump had shrunk a bit and I had to go back to the limb centre to get the socket realigned with leather only this time it still didn’t feel right and as daft as it sounds , because I didn’t feel that I was sitting correctly in the socket I couldn’t get the “cleaver bit” of the micro knee to do what I wanted it to do , I could of course start from scratch and set it all up again , but something kept me from doing anything like that and I kept thinking if I kept on at it long enough it would sort itself out , it did, in the end I put a bit of weight on and I had to remove the leather lining in the socket and so things went back to normal , this wasn’t the first time this had happened , over the months I had to pad out the socket one day only to remove the padding a couple of days later so I guess the lesson learnt was time give every thing a bit of time before rushing out and altering things .

 Even now some ten years later I can get up and really struggle  to fit into the socket one day only to find that It  feels  that its totally lose the next day ….weird eh?

Anyway as my better half was with me today I had no plans to get an early start, just as well really because trying to get her up in the morning is something that shouldn’t be done, plus she is like a bear with a sore head first thing, no today was just a chance to get out into a new(ish) area and have a mooch around.

Eventually we loaded up the car and off we went , the first thing we noticed was how different the weather was , living right on the coastline we tend to be protected from the extremes  however on parking up at the free car park at Cow Green we soon realised that it was cold , there was a small covering of snow  and ice on all the hilltops and the wind had a very cold feel to it , good job we packed lots of warm gear , not that I needed any simply because I don’t really feel the cold at the moment but I knew my better half  would .

At the car park there was many free information leaflets, we naturally had a quick read and I have to be honest and say its nice when you can see stuff and read about it at the same time, so our little trip turned out to be quite educational as well, the following is taken from the leaflet about our little walk:-

Far to the west are the distinctive peaks of Great and Little Dun Fell and Cross Fell. Their bulky form and flat tops, especially Cross Fell, reflect the almost horizontal layers of sandstone, limestone and shale of which they are built .About 100 metres on from the viewpoint, to the right of the road, is a conspicuous area of flat grey rock. This is the Smiddy Limestone, one of many beds of limestone of which the North Pennines are built. These limestones’s were formed as layers of soft limey mud on the floor of a shallow tropical sea, about 330 million years ago during the Carboniferous period of Earth history. At this time the area that was to become the North Pennines lay almost astride the equator. Small white fragments of shell and pieces of coral can be seen within the grey limestone.

Looking back from the gate you can see a line of low crags. These are outcrops of the Smiddy Limestone. The narrow area of ground beneath the crags marks the outcrop of the beds of sandstone

And shale which separate the Smiddy and the Peghorn Limestone (which you are about to cross).

During Carboniferous times layers of mud that accumulated on the sea floor became the shale’s we See today. Beds of sand, washed in by ancient rivers, are preserved today as sandstone. Rocks like

These, formed from ancient sediments, are called sedimentary rocks. Much of the North Pennines Consists of regular alternations of beds of limestone, shale and sandstone.

As you continue along the narrow road, notice how limestone beds form low lines of grey crags Separated by gentler slopes on the outcrops of shale’s and sandstones. Notice too the sharp

Contrast between green grass on the limestones and the heather on sandstone or shale. Mineral veins are vertical bands of mineral which fill fissures, usually faults, within the surrounding rocks.

The old spoil heaps contain fragments of the minerals found in the vein. White barytes is most Abundant, with traces of grey metallic galena, the main ore of lead. The veins at Cow Green contained insufficient lead to be workable, but the barytes (Barium sulphate) was mined for use in the paint and Chemical industries until 1952.

These mineral veins formed about 290 million years ago, as warm waters rich in dissolved minerals flowed through cracks in the rocks, driven by heat deep beneath the surface. As these solutions cooled, the dissolved minerals crystallised on the walls of the cracks, gradually building up the vein.

The rusty brown rocks over which flows Red Sike and which gives the stream its name, is known by geologists as dolerite. Unlike the limestones, sandstones and shale’s, dolerite was not

Formed from ancient sediments, but formed by the cooling and crystallisation of molten rock. Such rocks are called igneous rocks.

The rock at Red Sike is at the top of a huge sheet of dolerite known as the Whin Sill. 295 million years ago, this was injected into the layers of limestone’s and other rocks as a hot liquid at over 1100°C. Here in Teesdale this layer is almost 75 metres thick. As it cooled it baked the surrounding rocks, turning the limestones near to it into marble, or ‘sugar limestone’.

You may notice that the dam wall is actually in two parts. The part nearest to you is a solid concrete wall built on hard Whin Sill. The other part is an earth bank built where the dam crosses the old river channel that is filled with boulder clay.

Here the River Tees flows across the very hard outcrop of the Whin Sill dolerite. Notice the well-marked vertical cracks or joints in the rock. These are known as columnar joints and they formed during the very final stages of cooling of the dolerite. Giant's Causeway and Fingal's Cave are well known examples of more regular columnar jointing.

Well I don’t know about you but most of that went straight over our heads but that didn’t matter, our walk for today was along a very good path down to the head of Cauldron spout, I would have like to climb all the way down but sadly I just wasn’t up to it, plus it was very icy in places, from there it was up to the top of the dam then a slow wander back.

Even though it was very cold day we both really enjoyed our little stroll and made planes to return again when the weather was better.

A few photos enjoy:-

The view from the car park looking towards a cold Meldon Hill


Yvonne pointing out that it was cold


Nice frozen boggy bit, fortunately we stayed on the small track


Looking back at Cow Green reservoir

Some sign of the mining past


Me walking very straight (Yvonne just shouted at me to lift my shoulder a few seconds before)


First sighting of the dam


Getting closer





Looking back / up at the dam


Same again

Looking down the beginnings of the river Tee’s?

Yvonne having a pose at the top of Cauldron Spout


A few photos of the spout


The path heading down (far too Icy for me today)

 Looking down towards the Maize Beck


A good place to have a sit down


Yvonne standing on the bridge


At the base of the dam


At the top of the dam


Looking down


Looking down towards the spout


Old mine entrance?


Yvonne (note that she nicked my coat)

Day after thoughts

I had no problems at all with this walk, but saying that it was short and easy, I was very impressed with the dam and the spout and we both decided that we would return when the weather was better and I was a bit more abled.