The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Day 47 - Brown Rigg Moss to Langdon Beck

31 May
Distance: 16 miles
Number of other people seen: about a million
Number of other people seen other than by Low Force and High Force: 5

I stand at risk of sounding like a cracked record, but what a fantastic day!

We awoke to the sound of curlew and lapwings and to the far reaching views of the moors with the dot of a hot air balloon drifting across the sky in the distance.

Having rescued a sheep whose curly horn was stuck fast in a fence (didn't even get a baa of thanks) our morning started with a decent down to Baldersdale. It was something of a novelty to be starting the day down-hill.

By the time we'd passed the reservoirs and started up the other side of the valley the sun was winning over the clouds and a suncream faff was called for.

It was with views extending all around us, getting more impressive the higher we went that we made our way over to Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Given that we're staying in a Youth Hostel tonight there was no value in an early arrival, so a good hour and a half was frittered away in Middleton (where apparently the womanin the Tourist Info Centre didn't know there was a large co-op just around the corner), before we set out along the River Tees.

The river was unremarkable along the first section, but then suddenly became something more impressive, with its hard rock bed and tumbling shelves.

As it became more impressive, so things started getting busy. Low Force is indeed a set of small waterfalls worth seeing and it seemed like today was the day when people had chosen to go there. However,that was nothing compared to how busy it was at High Force (a 70 feet high fall, but in my opinion not that much more impressive than Low Force), although the vast majority of people were on the other side of the river where the guidebook says that you have to pay to see the falls. I guess that people would prefer to pay and not have to walk any distance than park somewhere on the other side of the river and take in all of the spectacles that the Tees has to offer.

Taking a ten minute shoe-off break (the day was hot by this time and my feet needed to breathe) Mick decided to soak his in the river. He reported that it was quite bracingly cold. We couldn't believe when Sarah and Eddie caught up with us (they're the couple walking the Pennine Way) that Eddie had actually taken a swim. Refreshing was the understatement he used to describe it.

Doug (the most recent End-to-Ender we've met), Sarah & Eddie and Mick & I all arrived at the Youth Hostel within five minutes of each other, and not long later they let us in, whereupon we all made a bee-line for the kettle.

The Youth Hostel here at Langdon Beck is a nice building and the views are first rate. I can't complain about the facilities either: we have our own room, have had a hot shower and the washing is drying in the nice warm drying room. However, at £50 including an evening meal for Mick (but he has to wash his own plate!) but no breakfast for either of us, there is the feeling that if there was a B&B then we may just as well have stayed there. For an extra £10 we could have had a double bed and a breakfast. Mind, there's not many a B&B that will sell you a bottle of organic wine for under a fiver. Now if only there was a bath to go with it...

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