This was Matt’s idea – and I discussed it with the Pup and he agreed to come along providing he could have a chew stick and a nip out of the cat when he got home.
And so it was – in a bit of drizzle and a breezy ..er….breeze that we set off from Hanging Shaw, along the riverside path for a bit and then up and over what might be a lateral moraine to the foot of Cronkley Scar – to be climbed by a steep and shallow gully with huge lumps of dolerite scree and a little beck in it to an airy sort of perch high above Teesdale. Quite good fun so far.
Lucky had just the one moment of indecision and was sent out onto the heather at the side to be retrieved from above. The gully is steep but without much difficulty but could be really interesting when the beck is frozen or under deep and hard snow. (Made a note of this!)
We crossed the wall and found a comfy spot on a heathery lump sheltered from the wind and spent some considerable time lunching and watching the view.
But all good things come to an end and eventually we set off to bag the trig point and find the path down to White Force where there’s an interesting waterfall in a fenced-off enclosure in a rocky amphitheatre – the fall is often dry and seems to disappear into a crack, or maybe a suspended pool – and , somewhere in there,there’s a lead mine.
The geology seems complex with a layer of shales and dolerite capped by limestone, some of which seems to have been cooked into a blue kind of marble-like rock. There was a fair amount of water coming over the fall, so explorations were confined to the foot.
A root-about in the bracken revealed the mine entrance, right at the head of the spoil heaps (where else would it be?). The entrance is small and has a metal gate a couple of yards inside and, like most other gates of a similar design, it responds to a tug at the top and swings open on a hinge. A wet crawl underneath would give access to the mine level.
On the way out, we found some large pieces of iron slag – tipped out of a rabbit hole. There was quite a lot of it. Iron smelting went on in this area in mediaeval times and a pile of stones near the wabbit holes was likely to be the remains of the bloomery, I would have thought. The slag is in large pieces and is quite heavy. I retrieved a couple of small samples as souvenirs
And so, we left and repaired to Weardale for coffee. Lucky took over a dog bed…..
The walk was about 5 miles altogether.
Its nice to go exploring sometimes – too many walks are overplanned, I think. (Lucky agrees with this by the way and I’ve not bribed him in any way at all to declare his support for my view…)
Many of the pics are Matt’s by the way. I don’t think Lucky took any pictures….