We started a few miles outside Middleton on Teesdale with a gentle walk over the hills down towards the Teesdale River. For the next seven or eight mile on good paths, past a series on increasingly impressive waterfalls until we got to High Force.
Swollen by the recent rain, High Force was amazing. Although the scenery was great, Andy’s ankles were suffering and we showed whilst we negotiated rocky paths, undulating around both sides of the river.
Following the Tees for mile after mile, through rolling countryside with barely a person in sight, whilst the sun beat down, must be about as good as it gets.
We passed falcon Cliffs, we then scrambled up Cauldron Snout to the damn on the south of Cow Green Reservoir. Where we’d arranged to meet the camper. No camper though even though there was a road, turns out you can’t use it.
We’d done 14 miles and we still had 10 more to do. Andy needed water and I needed new socks, having got a boot full of water earlier on. And I even had high hopes of a stolen sandwich. No chance. So we ploughed on. The paths were good, we passed a farm where sheep dogs and their masters busied themselves herding sheep into pens. We continued on into the wilderness. We where heading for a ridge walk down into Dufton and suddenly the ground fell away before revealing an amazing glacial valley. who knew High Cup Nick existed. Sheer Cliffs off basaltic columns, framing an extensive view across the lower land of Cumbria, out towards the Lake District.
We skirted around the northern edge of the valley onto the ridge and then the long gentle route down to Dufton. To the north we could see tomorrows rout. Over 850m of climbing across Cross Fell to Alston. Only 4 more days to go but they are not going to be easy.