"A Walk on the Moors" - John's Pennine Way Ramble, Day 10 - July 10th 2000, Baldersdale to Langdon Beck
|Day||Date||Start||Finish||Approx. Miles||Hours Taken||Accommodation|
|10||Mon. 10th July||Baldersdale||Langdon Beck||13.75||7||YHA - Langdon Beck YHA, Forest-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, DL12 0XN, Tel. 01833 622228|
Click on any picture to go to a larger version. to go to the full set of Pennine Way photographs for this day.
Day ten started as day nine had left off. It was raining! The four of us set off together after the traditional YH porridge and full English breakfast start. As I said, it was cold, wet and windy to begin with and it quickly got worse! We passed around Blackton Reservoir and up across a road. Over a few fields I was allowed to lead the way down a rushy meadow and momentarily got us lost. Walking I can do. Navigation is something altogether different.
The wind became stronger and the rain changed from 45° to coming at us horizontally as we headed for Lunedale. Just before crossing Grassholme Reservoir we first smelt and then saw our first dead sheep of the walk. How pleasant! We walked along a road and, by Grassholme Farm, we turned into a farmyard and then across more fields eventually going around Harter Fell and following a pleasantly easy downhill until we reached the high point looking down to Middleton-in-Teesdale. The wind, if anything had become stronger and was keen to blow us all the way back to Baldersdale.
We clambered down the hill, onto the road and along to the town where we met Noelene and sheltered in a café for tea and toasted butties. The lady who served us seemed rather surly but later on, turned out to be the landlady of Harry and Elaine's B&B and quite a treasure. We had a look around the town and Elaine bought a waterproof jacket (having dropped hers some days earlier) at the small but well stocked outdoor shop. Later, having reached our destination, I drove back to Middleton-in-Teesdale and I can confirm Noelene's opinion that the people there are amongst the most friendly that we had met so far, but also the most garrulous. The Chemist almost persuaded me to join the bellringers! It was quite nice to take a proper lunch break but we were getting cold and there was some way to go. So we set off along the River Tees.
Now, I've only seen the Tees at Middlesborough and there it's full of ICI's chemicals, fumes like acid, smells like you know what and almost certainly doesn't contain a single living thing. But up here, fairly close to the source, it's a very beautiful peaty brown river, flowing very fast when we saw it as a result of the uncommonly seasonal weather. I fell for the Tees (no, not in it) and took loads of pictures.
The Way followed the Tees for the rest of our day's walk to Langdon Beck. It was gentle at first with the path rising above it. Where Rowton Beck and the Tees meet we began a long and familiar association with the river. We came across Wynch Bridge, a small foot suspension bridge, originally built in 1704 for the local miners to get to work. It collapsed in 1820 and was rebuilt about ten years later. We crossed it to the other bank for a quick photo opportunity (yuk, did I really just write that!) and found that it sways a hell of a lot when there are just a couple of people on it. Apparently bridge builders have learned little in the intervening three centuries as I understand that the London Millennium Bridge, a modern suspension bridge, sways so much as to make the effete Londoners sick (shame!).
Just above Wynch Bridge we came upon the first of the major waterfalls of the Tees, Low Force. The walking was easy and, in better weather, would have been very beautiful. We crossed into the Teesdale National Nature Reserve and the scenery immediately changed. There were wild flowers in profusion and an abundance of juniper bushes (they must drink a hell of a lot of gin in Teesdale!). Low Force was well worth seeing but the 21 metre High Force was the really spectacular one, especially with so much water flowing over it. I wanted to take a photograph but, disaster, my not so trusty Pentax Zoom 105 packed up and you'll have to imagine the rest of the day. For the remainder of the walk I had to make do with Kodak disposable cameras, but they take quite a good photo so all was not lost.
After High Force there was a sharp uphill climb and we left Peter munching a butty (or something that he'd managed to get hold of) at the falls. The Way then descends to Cronkley Farm and from there across a bridge to the north bank of the Tees. Eventually, just beyond the confluence of Harwood Beck and the Tees we walked up a road and to Langdon Beck YH passing a sign by the side of a farm track in the usual northern welcoming spirit!. Uncle and Auntie B&B'd just down the road but joined us for dinner.
Noelene and I drove back into Middleton to get a few things, including some disposable cameras and then it was back to the hostel for a well earned shower and rest before dinner.
Langdon Beck YH is a modern, purpose built hostel, constructed when the original building burnt down. The food was only average and it was full of a noisy party of school kids. Later, Noelene just about stopped me hollering at them to "shut up and go to sleep" with her genteel "would you mind being a little quieter please?". The next day, at breakfast, the very attractive, blond, twenty something female teacher said to one of the boys "And Stuart, if you misbehave tonight, you'll be sleeping in my room"! This is the sort of trendy teaching method I never got at my all boys grammar school in the 60s (more's the pity!).
Day ten was another good day despite the weather. The first part of the walk wasn't especially memorable, other than for my poor navigation and the dead sheep. Middleton-in Teesdale was a welcome and pleasant stopping off point, convenient for lunch time. But the afternoon is memorable for reconstructing my view of the Tees from a stinking sewer to a very spectacular river with an abundance of flowers and plants that we hadn't really seen so far on the Way. The low point of the day was my camera packing up when there was so much left to photograph. I guess that we were spoilt by Baldersdale YH and that made Langdon Beck seem rather mundane but the teacher's comment to her charge was a classic that had us chuckling and retelling the tale for days after.
Chicken casserole and vegetables
Chocolate pudding and (very runny) custard
to go to Day 11, to go back to the itinerary or to return to the starting page.