Sunday 14 August 2016. I started this walk yesterday but had to call it off after less than a mile as the light drizzle developed into more steady rain. I’d driven to the Bowlees visitor centre where I had my customary “holiday bacon sandwich” and a pot of tea whilst the weather made its mind up as to what it was going to do. There was more low cloud and clag on the hills as I set of more in hope than expectation of a fine day. I was soon disappointed by the rain but at least I wasn’t too far into the walk to be able to turn back without getting a soaking.
Today was overcast but there was no rain forecast so I thought that I’d give it another go. I’d done this walk before with Bea but went the opposite way around this time. I passed on the bacon sandwich today and was soon heading towards High Force but on the north bank. There’s a car park just a couple of hundred yards away from the falls but the footpath must pass over private land a charge of £1.50 was being levied for each visitor. The Yorkshire man in me wouldn’t allow me to pay for something that I could see for free later on in the walk. It isn’t the money but it is the principle of charging to see a natural feature that bugged me.
Having made a needless detour I was quickly back on track and passed a small chapel on the minor road near Forest-in-Teesdale. The last time that I was here it was boarded up but now looks as if it has been renovated as a holiday cottage. The halfway point of the walk came as I crossed the River Tees and joined the Pennine Way heading east. I stopped for lunch along this section of the walk and before reaching High Force. I suppose it could be called Durham’s Niagara Falls but it would be stretching it just a tad.
Low Force, as the name implies, doesn’t have quite the same drop but is still impressive and was just half a mile or so from Bowlees so is popular with the tourists. The walk was 8.4 miles with just under 1,000ft of ascent.