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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Teesdale – Moking Hurth and High Force

bruno searches unsuccessfully for the snowdrift

My plan for today – up until last night anyway , was to go and bag Penyghent and Plover Hill as part of the Yorkshire Dales 2000 foot tops thing.

The weather forecast was a bit borderline for the Dales, specially late in the day, and I didn’t have any change for the pay and display, and I could have a lie-in if I went somewhere closer to home…… so I went to Teesdale. In particular, I went to the Gibsons cave visitor centre care park, which is free.

teesdale

I determined to go and have a look at a little crag on the North side of Teesdale which has some caves – and then come back to the start using the Pennine Way.

It was sublime. In fact it was very sublime. Gwan – ask me how sublime it was. It was, sublime. That is to say, it wasn’t beautiful, not in the usual twee sort of romantic green kind of beautiful. No it wasn’t that. There was lots of snow on the ground for a start. And then the sky was grey and white and heavy and, and the high moors were bright white, and maybe there was a bit of hillfog. So there wasn’t actually a boundary between the hills and the sky. The hills became the sky and the sky became the hills. There were flakes of snow and no horizon. There were deep drifts and frozen gates, impossible to open. It was bleak and tough and unyielding. It was, in fact, The Pennines. I really like it when its like this.

So, after leaving the easy lanes, we blundered into the white desert and there was hard work, for a time. And swearing.

deep teesdale snow

Bruno plunged through a soft new drift into a beck and struggled dogfully out again. There was limping for a while.

We lunched (I lunched, Bruno dribbled) on the limestone crag at High Hurth Edge. This is a fine suntrap in summer. Today there was a little shelter from the sneaking wind and a fine , if monotone view. There’s some caves in the crag – Moking Hurth, 1000 feet Grade II, and a pothole – Moking Hurth Pot, 35 feet deep, 800 feet long and Grade II. Must have a look down here sometime… there is mud and crawling to be done….

from high hurth crag moking hurth cave entrance

We descended by easy tracks to Forest in Teesdale school and crossed the river to join the Pennine Way.

high force

The Pennine Way, for some reason, was icy, and quite slippery till I reached the bottom of the snowline, somewhere just upstream from High Force. There were a few people rambling on through the juniper woods.

The juniper woods are quite remarkable. The trees are ancient and mainly sterile, so every year, as many juniper berries as possible are collected by Natural England and given to a nursery. Any germinations are shared between NE and the nursery – and quite a bit of new plantings have been done. Its a great place. It smells of gin. There are fierce suntraps in summer and its a favoured place for adders.

juniper trunk

We passed High Force and came to Low Force where we found – a pair of trainers. Just removed and left, by all appearances. I wonder if anybody is missing? Low Force would be a bad place for a dip on such a day. High Force would be more efficient if ending it all was the aim. You might survive Low Force.

abandoned trainers wynch bridge

It started snowing heavily. We left via the wobbly Wynch Bridge

Its a good walk, this. Quite easy to do. 9 Miles and 1200 feet. Which isn’t much…

Incidentally – I saw some signs of spring today – a flock of about 30 lapwings by Cronkley – and by High Force, a flock of about 50 lapwings heading West. Coming back from their hols at Redcar, no doubt. That’s a sign of spring that is…..

ettersgill

7 comments:

Phreerunner said...

A lovely walk apart from the puzzling omission of the Strathmore Arms and the nearby twee sort of romantic green splashy kind of beautiful fairy dell. Or were you just practising for walking past the Three Shires Inn on Tuesday?

mike knipe said...

Moking = Malkin = Cat/Pussy/hare/shape shifter/fairy, perhaps...
Strathmore Arms was off-route although I did see the Earl of Strathmore's "no camping" signs.
The High Force Hotel was, of course, just over the bridge.
Walked past it, natch...
I'm looking forward to ignoring the 3 Shires Inn

Phreerunner said...

That's a shame, as Graham and I may be enjoying a pre-dawdle beverage in said hostelry, who say one of our cars is probably ok there for the day; others should park by the railings just before the pub or by the phone box just beyond it, but I expect you are familiar with that, given your encyclopaedic knowledge of the area...

mike knipe said...

I'm not specially familiar with the place - I guess I'll find it, though. Bruno's driving, except on the motorway cos he hasn't got a full licence.

ukmase said...

Hi Mike, TGO route has been submitted, check my blog out for the maps of the route.

Bit of advice needed, what are the options for Montrose with camping or maybe a hotel close to the dinner event.

mike knipe said...

You'll be hard put to book a hotel since most Challengers will have snapped up the beds by now - although there may well be drop-outs....
But there's a good Council- run campsite on Montrose Links, next to the Glaxo factory - so its just like Barnard castle by the sea.
The campsite expects lots of Challengers - there's usually a lot of challenger tents there.
Its not too far from the Park Hotel and/or the town centre.
The site has good facilities.
see you in Braemar!
(also sent by email!)

mike knipe said...

Incidentally - whoever it is leaving comments entirely in Chinese characters - I've rejected your comments once again. It looks like spam anyway.....