You can see from the group photo above that the sun was out and it was going to be a hot one from the start. We had checked out this walk in June and we knew it was a good one.
We arrived early, as usual. We even arrived before the visitors 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.
While we were here we learned that Wynch Bridge, the suspension bridge close to Low Force was closed for maintenance and we had to take a diversion. We took a map of the diversion and set off.
Not expecting much, we walked down the lane and across the road. It was pleasant enough walking through the fields but spotting the bridge made us wonder what was really to come.
The short walk up to Low Force was a real treat, seeing parts of the River Tees that only Pennine Way walkers see.
Flora and fauna
From the outset one of our customers, John, was very impressed with the flora and fauna along the banks of the river. Some of the plants he spotted were the Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Sneezewort and Bog Asphodel. He also spotted a Spotted Flycatcher, a Dipper and later a small flock of Grey Partridge. There was even a Painted Lady butterfly. The whole of this walk was filled with flora and fauna.
Low Force and High Force
This area was new to many of our group. So, the highlights were the beautiful waterfalls at Low and High Force. We had seen some lovely features in the river, on the diversion, but Low Force is bigger and an indication of what is to come. We spent a little time here to ensure everyone got the obligatory photographs.
The closure of Wynch Bridge had the added benefit of putting off tourists from crossing the river. This meant that the South side was relatively quiet.
We stopped again at High Force. The view on this side is from an elevated position, to give the classic panoramic view up the valley.
Again we stopped for photographs, ensuring that everyone had enough time to enjoy the view.
The unusual peacefulness allowed us to stop for lunch just above High Force. Even though the day had been hot, a cloud kindly came over for lunch and the cooling breeze by the water provided some welcome respite.
Further up the Tees
As we went further up the Tees, following the Pennine Way, the walking became a lot quieter. This wasn’t the group talking less of course, but the lack of other walkers. It did make it easier to listen to the birds though.
Near the furthest point up the valley we saw two stone marker posts. We weren’t too sure what they were for until we saw the PW on them. They were Pennine Way markers at a junction in the path.
One Anne and her goat
On the way back to Bowlees we passed plenty of the local farm animals, cows, a few bulls, aswell as plenty of ewes and tups. More unusually we met a goat. This one took a shine to Anne, one of our walkers. It followed her right along the edge of a field, but got bored when we got to the gate and wandered off.
Before we knew it we were back in Bowlees and into the visitors centre. Normally we’d welcome the chance to sit outside. However, it had been a very warm day, so we sat inside, where it was cooler. After various sandwiches, cakes, scones, teas and coffees, we said our goodbyes.
Another great walk. See you at the next one.
Julie and Martin.