Monday, April 25, 2011

High Force

When I was fourteen, we went on holiday to Northumberland.

One of the places I liked, and which stuck in my memory, was a walk along a steeply wooded valley to a huge waterfall.

Apart from that, I couldn't remember a thing about it. Over the years, I've tried a few times to find where it was but never managed it.

Last weekend, when we went up to Northumberland, on the Friday evening we just wanted to get there as fast as possible. So we went up the A1 and turned left - - there wasn't too much traffic and we made good progress.

However, coming back on Sunday we weren't going to be so pushed for time. Realising this, Silverback, sitting under a palm tree in Florida, worked out a route for us.

He suggested we should try the B6277 - a much smaller road. He had looked at it on Streetview and it looked very scenic.

We decided to try it.

The scenery was indeed beautiful, verging on the stunning. We came out of Northumberland and into Teesdale, a part of the country that I don't know at all.

Then, driving along, I spotted a car park and a big sign "High Force". I didn't know what it was but it looked interesting: I knew it must refer to a waterfall.

"Stephen, can we stop?"

We parked the car, crossed the road, and headed down the path through the steeply wooded valley with the fast-flowing River Tees below:

And then, there it was. High Force. The highest waterfall in England.

Beautiful in the evening sunlight.

Apparently you used to be able to walk to the top of the waterfall but Health and Safety have stopped that in case you are too stupid to realise that the top of a waterfall can be really rather slippy.

And we also had to be told that if you decide to swim at the bottom of such a big waterfall, it won't be so much swimming, as drowning:

Sighhhh. Sometimes I wish we could replace all such notices with "Go on! Show off to your mates! Have a swim! Byeeeeee!"

It's a beautiful spot with huge cliffs too. If you click on the photograph below to enlarge it, you'll see some people sitting right at the top:

It's a fine balance, isn't it, this Health and Safety lark? As long as they were careful, they were perfectly safe. If they weren't careful, it was a long way down.

We were very grateful to Silverback for working out the route for us - it made me realise it's a part of the country that I really want to go back to.

But still the penny didn't drop.

The following day, I was telling my mother about High Force and how lovely it is.

"Ahhh yes," she said, "now you say the name, I remember it. We went there on the way back from Northumberland, when you were a teenager."

Yes, my glorious waterfall. Found it at last.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you were going to tell us you'd been wild swimming.

10:25 pm  

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