30. High Force Hike
Meeting Point: Bowlees Visitor Centre, Newbiggin, Barnard Castle, DL12 0XE
One of our favourite Big Smile Walks, we leave Bowlees visitor centre and follow the mighty River Tees past two of the region’s most distinctive and picturesque waterfalls. First, we pick up the Pennine Way footpath at Low Force, beside the broad and rocky waterfall as it gushes over a layer of hard dolerite rock. Then we continue on to the spectacular High Force - one of the country’s most dramatic waterfalls - watching as the water roars over the top, dropping some twenty metres to the plunge pool below.
We continue upriver following the Tees as it meanders through the valley. We stay low before rising up over the fells then dropping down between the river and Noon Hill. Then we head towards Holwick, before looping back to Low Force and finally returning to Bowlees. This stage is part gentle river walk and part fell walk over rugged terrain. It is challenging in places but well worth it. A real gem of a stage.
Distance: 20 km (12.43 miles)
Difficulty Rating: ★★★★☆