Pennine Way memories pt. 7

Day 11: Deepdale Beck to Middleton in Teesdale, 8.5 miles

This was a short day as we reached half way. It seemed like a good idea to have an easy day. The walking was mainly through fields and I don’t remember anything particularly exceptional. The weather was cloudy but dry. Kirkcarrion just before Middleton looked a bit spooky and you could see why people thought it was haunted. Like Wainwright, we spotted no ghosts.

The camp site at Middleton was well appointed with shower and a wash room. We washed our clothes, using the afternoon to dry them off. With the afternoon to spare, we had the opportunity for a leisurely shop for provisions for the next three days. I guess that I must have paid a visit to the petrol station to fill up my 1 pint Sigg bottle. In those days, you could get less than a litre of petrol if you wanted. My Primus petrol stove was a constant source of pride and comfort. It never failed, heating up food or water rapidly and was surprisingly good at simmering. It was quite frugal, but roared like a jet aircraft. Great fun on a camp site!

After a leisurely day, we went to the pub in the evening. Again, from what I remember, it was an old style boozer, which looked more like someone’s front room. We went to bed in eager anticipation of the next two days as we were revisiting parts of the ground we covered two years previously on our epic daunder around the dales.

Day 12: Middleton to Maize Beck, 15.25 miles

Today was a lovely day, warm and mainly sunny. The next six days would be high mileage days (over fifteen miles) to keep us on course to finish on time. The walk up the Tees is beautiful especially on a lovely sunny day. Two years previously, we had walked down to Middleton from Langdon Beck on the northern bank. The southern bank is so much better.

There’s something magical about following a river. For some reason going upstream is more interesting than going downstream. Perhaps it is because the water is coming towards you and you see the waterfalls from a more impressive angle. On this stretch of the Tees, you get three great waterfalls.

Low Force is an attractive aperitif to the mighty High Force. High Force is truly impressive and we were blessed with a good torrent cascading over the seventy foot drop. Unlike last year, we saw it for free, as on the other side you have to pay a toll to use the path to the fall. Moving upstream, the woods of the Tees give way to rougher ground with Cronkley Scar rearing up impressively on our left.

After crossing two bridges, you walk into back into the wilderness by Falcon Clints. Turning the corner, we saw Cauldron Snout, an angry, foaming cataract, tumbling down from the Cow Green Reservoir. It is much more impressive approaching it from the bottom than from the top, which we did two years ago.

Proceeding up to Birkdale and beyond, cuts off a loop of Maize Beck. Not long after rejoining Maize Beck, we decided to call it day. Although not a perfect pitch, it certainly felt as though we were in a wilderness. The vast bulk of Mickle Fell dominated the South East and all around was desolate moorland. Mickle Fell has a load of “Danger Areas” around it marked on the map. I’ve often wondered whether it is possible to climb the highest peak in Yorkshire safely.

Fortunately there was no army activity that day to disturb the peace. The weather had been kind to us all day. In many ways this was the best days walk. The Tees is both beautiful and rugged. High Force and Cauldron Snout are both sights well worth seeing. The next day would see us on the highest point on the Pennine Way, something to look forward to!

Pennine Way memories:   part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11

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