North Pennine Walks
Date: 13th February 2007
Distance: 10.7 miles
Ascent: 1483 feet
Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Start Grid Ref: NY885286
A varied walk visiting one of the more remote tops in the North Pennines and returning via High Force one of Teesdale's finest spectacles.
Route Summary: High Force Hotel - Pennine Way - Low Force - Holwick Scars - Rowton Beck - Bink Moss - Hagworm Hill - Howden Moss - Bracken Rigg - High Force - High Force Hotel
1. Matt stood by Low Force
2. Matt on Wynch Bridge
3. Holwick Scar
4. Scar Beck and Holwick Scar
5. Harter Fell and Rowton Beck
6. Bink Moss
7. Standards and Iron Band from Bink Moss
8. The Ordnance Survey ring on Bink Moss
9. Matt on the top of Bink Moss
10. Matt crossing Skyer Beck
11. Blea Beck Force
12. High Force
Walk Detail: What promised to be a long slog over empty moorland to only my second North Pennines Nuttall proved to be a surprisingly varied walk.
The initial stretch along the Tees was very pleasant with the whin stone rock breaking through impressively in places. Low Force was a nice little spot and what is more we had it to ourselves, close by we also saw what seemed to be a stoat in winter raiment. The Wynch Bridge was also quite interesting but the highlight of the early part of the walk was undoubtedly Holwick Scar which was quite dramatic.
From the top of Holwick Scar we began our traverse over the sweeping moorland that I had been expecting. The initial stretch to Rowton Beck was along a fairly clear path but after crossing the latter using a plank of wood and the wire fence for support we began our climb across the pathless moorland using, first the wall, and then the fence as our guide for the next couple of miles. It was by no means a dull plod and we were kept occupied by avoiding bogs and higher up by picking our way through hags and groughs.
The top of Bink Moss had a few features including what must be a temporary tarn in a large grough, a post marking the summit and, a bit further to the east, a small pile of rocks next to an old OS stud.
The weather had not been as good as expected but we still had some good views with Mickle Fell and its east ridge Long Crag dominant to the west. Also looking quite shapely to the south west were Standards and Iron Band. To the south we could make out Selset Reservoir and the summit cone of Shacklesborough.
As there was no shelter we headed on to Hagworm Hill, passing some impressive shake holes on the way, where the shelter there gave us some cover to eat our lunch. According the Nuttalls book there is a magnificent cairned path heading north from Hagworm Hill though if there was we never found it.
The next few miles crossing Howden Moss were very bleak and this would have been a very bad place in mist. There were numerous streams and ditches to cross and the only guide were the widely spaced posts and the outline of Noon Hill ahead. Eventually we arrived at Skyer Beck where numerous little islets allowed us to hop across the other side from where we finally rejoined the Pennine Way.
The final walk along the Tees was pleasant with the horrendous sight of the whin stone quarry offset by the impressive Blea Beck Force. The best was left until last with High Force the truly impressive sight it promised to be, it really was quite awesome.