20 miles, 3 waterfalls and one epic river walk – Pennine Way day 9

“A wonderful place to be a walker”

I was grateful for cloud when I rose this morning, although its still quite warm and humid. I trudge on, nursing two huge blisters from racing yesterday section in the blazing hot sunshine in inadequately thin socks, I’m indifferent to the prospect of walking over the moors in the mist. Anything is better than the baking sunshine of yesterday. However, it would be nice to have a view of High Cup Nick when I get there.

Day 9 – Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton – 20.6 miles/ 32.8km

The walk along the River Tees is beautiful, through fields of wildflower meadows and through Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, the largest in England.

The walk today is long and most people break this leg in two, but its worth doing as one to see the changes in the landscape from the wildflower meadows, to well managed farmland in the National Nature Reserve, to a river walk up the valley which reminds me of the long walk ins to munros in Scotland, to finally reach an 8 mile walk over the moors to reach the geological feature of High Cup Nick. I don’t recall any leg so far on the Pennine Way having such changes in the landscape type.

Its worth a walk to Low and High Force waterfalls in their own right and I’d certainly explore this valley again.

low force

As you approach Holwick Head Farm the valley opens up to reveal the walk ahead, heading up the valley and around Cronkley Scar. In the humidity this felt like a long trek to reach Cauldron’s Snout waterfall, lots of midges and horseflies. And I was desperate to reach the waterfall as a spot for lunch.

41 river tees
more river

There is a steep scramble up Cauldrons Snout which I can’t imagine doing with a trekking pack but then maybe I’m just knackered after being loaded with sugary sweets and walking 11 miles. I’m grateful of the weir at the top to sit and have lunch.

57 Cauldrons Snout

From Cow Green Reservoir dam the route heads West passing Birkdale Farm and a sign letting you know that Dufton is 8 miles away. Walking across the moorland  the route reaches Maize Beck, which you then follow, crossing a large bridge built by the Pennine Way Association as a memorial to their former chair.

68 bridge over river

Finally, after more moorland in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) you reach High Cup Nick, a great climax to the day’s walk. The Pennine Way heads around the northern rim of the steep valley side and provides a great way to view the amazing geology of this area.

75 high cup nick
77 high cup nick

Dufton lies around the bottom of the valley to the right of the valley. After 20 miles in just short of 9 hours, I’m dying for a cold bucket for my feet and a cold beer!

4 Replies to “20 miles, 3 waterfalls and one epic river walk – Pennine Way day 9”

    1. Thanks, glad you like the posts and happy to hear you plan on visiting the yorkshire/ north pennines area soon.

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