North Pennine Walks
Date: 18th February 2007
Distance: 7.2 miles
Ascent: 901 feet
Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Start Grid Ref: NY867297
A fantastic walk to the summit of Cronkley Fell before returning via some lovely scenery along the banks of the River Tees.
Route Summary: Forest-in-Teesdale - Pennine Way - Birk Rigg - Cronkley Fell - River Tees - High House - Forest-in-Teesdale
1. Cronkley Fell
2. Looking east to Fendrith Hill
3. Lisa climbing Cronkley Fell
4. The tarn on the summit of Cronkley Fell looking to the trig point
5. Meldon Hill and the Dun Fells
6. The trig point on Cronkley Fell
7. Great Stony Hill and Three Pikes
8. Falcon Clints and the River Tees
9. Raven Scar and the River Tees
10. The River Tees looking back to Widdybank Farm
11. Lapwings in flight
Walk Detail:It was a really beautiful sunny day and right away from the car park there was a fine prospect across the valley to Cronkley Fell.
The walk didn't really get going though until we had negotiated some muddy fields and crossed the Tees. Once we were on the Pennine Way it did not take long to get to the bridleway heading up Cronkley Fell and which Matt and I had crossed earlier in the week.
Cronkley Fell has an undulating top and the summit is a little rocky outcrop with a tarn separating it from a lower outcrop which has the OS column sat on it. The 360 degree panorama was fantastic with Meldon Hill, the Dun Fells and Cross Fell very prominent. There were also good views of Mickle Fell to the south west and Great Stony Hill and Three Pikes almost directly north.
After exploring the top we headed down towards the Tees on a path which was slippery in places due to ice. There was a great moment when the Tees came in to view backed by Falcon Clints. We sat and ate our soup by the bend in the river where there was a little island and could enjoy the view up and downstream. In fact it was one of the best picnic spots we've been to.
The walk back along the Tees was an absolute joy. I've had some great walks but the stretch along the river here certainly ranks high in the best stretches of walking that I have done. Until recently I had hardly ever seen any dippers but for the third walk in a row I was lucky to see one, in fact we actually saw two different ones.
While I have seen quite a few large congregations of lapwings in March we saw a particularly large flock in one pasture by Birk Rigg Farm, approx 200 of them, a quite fantastic sight. Added to the snipe we saw on Cronkley Fell this fine walk was also a bird watcher's delight.