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A carbohydrate-heavy brunch and some strong coffee was just enough to get us into the car and onto the road on a less than inspiring New Year’s Day. But the promise of a raging river Tees and some stunningly raw scenery, all followed by a pint in one of my favourite pubs ever, kept us motivated as we drove to our destination.
As we got out of the car at Holwick, County Durham we were struck by the amount of water around. This was a continual theme of our New Year’s Day Walk, as we encountered a significant number of impromptu streams and waterways carving their way down the slopes and over walkways. One was particularly problematic and caused much amusement (especially to those with wellies) when a couple of us (myself included) slipped on take off falling in knee and elbow deep!
The Tees was magnificent and High Force (not quite the highest waterfall in England) was thundering! Totally worth dragging four hungover walkers out on a rather grey and wet day. The pace quickened with the thought of real ale and an open fire at the Strathmore Arms. As our return route drifted away from the torrential Tees, we made our way back on higher ground through rugged and ancient looking farmland.
There are clearly a variety of ways to walk this stretch of the Tees with several opportunities to cross the river (including a rather fun “one at a time” hanging bridge). We stuck to the footpath that keeps to the left of the river and then takes you up a hill, and onto heathland which in turn leads to an elevated view point opposite High Force. A little futher up there is another viewpoint right next to the Waterfall which is equally dramatic. This is a relatively short walk of around two hours (at hangover pace) and could be longer if you are a photography enthusiast as there is plenty to point your camera at, even on a dull day!
We made it back to a warm, welcoming Strathmore Arms in Holwick. With one wet leg from a misjudged leap over a stream making the chip butty and pint of Black Grouse (Allendale Brewery, Northumberland) all the more tasty!