Leader : Ian Bagshaw. Distance : 6 miles.
The plan was to undertake a 6 mile walk around Crathorne and Hutton Rudby but following a recce our leader got cold feet mainly because of a rather slippery ravine which could have led to a broken ankle. The alternative was to travel to Bowlees and undertake a 6 mile circular walk down The Pennine Way taking in High Force and Low Force.
8 of us set off from Bowlees and followed the bridleway north westerly to Ash Hill, White Hill and on down to Dirt Pit. Then South West to High Force Hotel which looked absolutely deserted with an empty car park (most unusual !!). We crossed the main road and then descended the steep steps to reach the north bank of the River Tees, following the direction of flow we soon reached the first bridge near Holwick Hill House. Having crossed the River Tees we now walked upstream to get a fine view of High Force. Actually High Force was not as stunning as I have seen it in the past but it was still worth the detour. It was now full steam ahead back down the Pennine Way stopping for lunch at a spot where we had previously left Gillian whilst we detoured to High Force. Lunch over we made our way down the south bank of the river soon to reach Low Force which was really quite low and onwards to Newbiggin Bridge. We crossed Newbiggin Bridge where a woolly bull was drinking from the river and showed little interest in us although we were careful to avoid his wife and daughter. Onwards and up to the road (B6277) which we managed to access despite some rather difficult rubber gates to the stiles.
Newbiggin Methodist Chapel looks quite smart and one of our group reported that it is to be made into holiday accommodation. Afternoon tea on The Green in Newbiggin was a welcome break before the steep ascent up the Westerdale Road to reach the track which connects up to the Bowlees Car park via Hood Gill.
We did toy with the idea of visiting Gibsons cave but it was getting dark and the consensus was that we would just go home.
It was a dry day , not too cold and we enjoyed each others company.Maureen was with us for the first time and was a source of many tales about her early life in Hawes.