Friday 21 August. Middleton to Langdon Beck

Miles walked: today 10.3 cumulative 763.6

When I planned the walk I imagined a short day, meandering along the Tees in sunshine and sunbathing on the rocks above Low Force. I mean, it’s August. Instead I had the tail of Storm Ellen. Heavy rain and gusty wind. I thought back to when I was meant to do the walk in May. The driest spring on record. Then, as I relaxed in the hotel this afternoon, I ruminated about COVID. None of my extended family have died, all my ex-colleagues have survived and they were working in the hot weather in full PPE. Not a bad trade for a few days rain.

The next three days are fairly remote so I stocked up with food. I accidentally pocketed the room key from the Board in Hawes. I thought that I would be able to post it back from Middleton but the post office is only open on Friday afternoons. I went back to my room, donned my wet weather gear and set off.

Even in the rain Upper Teesdale is delightful. The path partly runs by the river and partly through fields.. I made good progress and soon reached the high point of the day, the waterfalls Low Force and High Force

Low Force
High Force

High Force is said to be the most powerful waterfall in England. Above High Force the valley opened out with fine views to the adjacent hills. There was then a very windy ascent over a small hill. I crossed the river and the PW was then meant to pass between the river and a cliff. The path was submerged in the Tees. The only alternative was to follow a farm track up to a road which led to the Langdon Beck Hotel.

Angela downloaded “Walking Home” by Simon Armitage, the poet laureate, which describes his PW walk. I cannot compete with his use of prose, metaphor and use of adjectives. I think the main use of this blog will be for me to look back at this adventure in the years to come.

His book informs me that Peg Powler is an old hag who lives in the Tees and grabs people who walk too close to the river by their ankles and drags them down to her lair. The foam on the water tells you she is around an is called Peg Powler’s suds. I am amazed in these days of health and safety that there were no warning notices by the path.