• Bowlees to Bleabeck Force, Upper Teesdale

    In January there are few guarantees regarding the weather. It can be blinding snow or even Spring like pale sun... today was thankfully the latter. Though a multitude took advantage of the conditions, the opportuniy to simply stretch the legs and be amongst such grand scenery is always welcomed.

    Crossing the Wynch Bridge to the southern bank of the Tees affords further views of the wonderful Low Force, skipping over yet another rocky outcropping of the Whin Sill before walking upstream to the sound of rushing water and high birdsong. At the bridge below Holwick Head farm, the route ascends via man made steps to the natural wonder of a Tolkienesque juniper 'forest' - the largest in England and one that is protected by the use of chemical boot washing facilities to prevent the spread of the fungus phytopthera. Weaving through these strange contorted trees and bushes along Keedholm Scar, the sound of High Force increases in volume until a small sidetrack through black metal gates allows the first view. A stunning aspect on this the largest waterfall in England.

    Proceeding further to the open landscape around the top of the fall, the aspect is less significant but it does reveal the deep gorge below the fall. Bleabeck Force is a further half mile along the Pennine Way and worthy of a visit though it is faced by a dolerite quarry on the opposite bank where roadstone is ground.

    The way of return is by the outward route.. not a mere retracing but a further oppotunity to revel in such glorious surrounds.

Photo crop (passport)

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