Distance: 14,5 km (9 mi) for a total of 1224,1 km (760,7 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 405 m (1325 ft)
Weather: Sunny and warm
Yes, this looks more like a rest day than a proper walking day, but that was intended for several reasons. First, I thought that squeezing Low Force, High Force, Cauldron Snout and High Cup Nick into one day and rushing along wouldn’t do them justice. Second, I have some time restrictions regarding Alston which let me come up with an absolute weird plan for tomorrow, requiring an easy day today. This stretch of the PW is quite level, so length and profile allow for a gentle stroll which even with a lot of admiration for the landscape, taking pictures and a lunch rest took me less than four hours. I had expected that and treated myself to a late rise and a breakfast in a cafe in town.
I had been told before that this part of the PW is a highlight and that certainly was no exaggeration. It definitely was the most beautiful section of the Pennine Way so far and will be hard to beat. And even looking at my whole trip it ranks very, very high. The fine weather surely helped as well.
Walking up the river Tees I met nobody for a long time, quite surprising for a Saturday and the good weather. But I was sure that this would change at Low Force. Along the river beautiful views were to be had at every bend, it was tempting to stop for pictures over and over again.
As expected at Low Force the number of people increased significantly. But I took the chance of the combination of having fine views in the sunshine and good seats to have my lunch break.
A bit further up the river I saw these people in the river for some kind of rafting. I’m not sure whether I would have liked to join them.
It didn’t take long to reach High Force where less people were assembled, certainly because not as many nice places to rest were available. But it was impressive.
There were warnings about a disease affecting juniper, so everybody leaving the area of High Force was asked to wash all debris and earth from the shoes and disinfect the soles, special basins were provided for this task. I didn’t see anybody else using these, perhaps I would have ignored it as well if I’d been wearing flip-flops …
Beyond High Force the path soon emptied, which was good as it spared me sharing brilliant views with hundreds of people. The scenery reminded me of western films. It might look kitschy, but that’s not my doing, it really looked like that.
As soon as I was checked in at the youth hostel and had had a shower I set off to Langdon Beck for a meal. What a good decision! I had just started eating when Peg and John turned up who are staying here in the hotel. But as they are going to have a rest day in Dufton this now will have been the very last time we bumped into another. Good luck on your further walk!