This is the fifth of our Looking Back posts and this time we will be looking back on Low and High Force from July 2018. A walk that was great mainly because it was a fabulous day, warm and sunny, and the views over the Tees Valley were spectacular.
The start – Bowlees Visitor Centre
We arrived early, as usual. We even arrived before the visitor centre had opened, so we had to wait for breakfast. There were plenty of people there, they had been out overnight catching and logging moths and were now enjoying their breakfast.
We did get breakfast though and before everyone else turned up too. The Bowlees Visitor Centre is a great centre for walking round here. Three long distance walks pass here on the same path, the Pennine Way, the Teesdale Way and a Pennine Journey.
Once we were all suitably fed and watered, we set off.
Crossing Wynch Bridge, or maybe not
The plan was to take the normal route to the South side of the Tees by crossing the river over Wynch Bridge. However, we had heard that it was closed that day and signs on the way confirmed this. No choice but to take a diversion. It was via another bridge a little further South.
Anne was out in front, enjoying herself already. We thought this was just a couple of kilometres out of the way but it turned out to be a really lovely extra to the walk. The scenery was gorgeous and the path was good.
The view from the bridge that we crossed was only a taste of things to come. We could tell already that this was going to be a great day out.
We enjoyed the scenery as we headed back up towards our planned route. It was July and there were plenty of wild flowers out. John was called to identify them on a regular basis, while Julie took photos.
Soon we were on the other side of Wynch Bridge and next to Low Force. Whilst not the biggest waterfall on the Tees, certainly compared to High Force, it is one of the prettiest. Lots of little waterfalls stretching across a wide and shallow part of the Tees.
Along the River Tees
The three long distance paths, mentioned above, all use the same path here and we could see why. The path is lovely and so is the scenery. It’s about 3km up to High Force, so we just continued on, enjoying the sun on our faces and the fresh air. And washing our boots of course, to stop the spread of something that attacks the juniper bushes that are common in this area.
The path climbed higher and soon we reached the view point. There were plenty of other people there but we squeezed in and got a great view of High Force. There is a bridge over from the visitors car park a little down river.
It was time for lunch, so we retired to a position a bit further up river, where it was quieter. This is too far for many, who cross the bridge just to see High Force and the peace was welcome. It would be like this for the rest of the walk.
After lunch, we continued on and passed another waterfall, Bleabeck Force. This is not on the same scale as the others but, on any other walk, we’d be impressed. This is across from quite a significant stone quarry.
The path climbed up Bracken Rigg, where we got an amazing view back down the valley, the river weaving and the path alongside, where we walked.
The descent from Bracken Rigg was uneventful but very pleasant. The Forest-in-Teesdale area is very different to the dramatic part of the Tees Valley in which we had come up. It’s much flatter, as the Tees wanders among meadows. These meadows were filled with lapwings and oystercatchers. From the amount of lapwing here, you wouldn’t believe that it is actually on the UK conservation Red list.
We came out of the farmland and ascended the moor opposite. Along the way we disturbed a group of partridge, which startled those at the front. They are almost impossible to see in the grass. We went as far as we could through the fields before we had to descend through the last field and onto a road.
Back to Bowlees
This road comes out at an oddly named place, Dirt Pit. This is the place where thirsty walkers can divert to The High Force Hotel, to imbibe. Not this day though. We were keen to get back to Bowlees.
On the way back Anne found a friend. A kid goat that decided to follow her until we left the field. One Anne and her goat.
We got back to Bowlees and, after a day in the sun, opted to go inside, where it was cooler. It must have been warm for us to do that.
We hope you enjoyed looking back on Low and High Force. Why not take a look at “Looking back on Swainby to Osmotherley” or one of the previous ones from the list below. Stay safe and look out for the next one.
Julie and Martin x
- Souter Lighthouse to South Shields – 19th Aug 2023
- Strolls With Poles – Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes
- Allen Banks – 6th Mar 2022
- Souter Lighthouse to South Shields – 20th Feb 2022
- Bamburgh and Budle Bay – 23rd Jan 2022
Strolls with Poles – Nordic Walking for Fun and Fitness