On Location 25th December 2020
Parking at the road end, Holwick.
Route map: click on the arrow to play the route. GPX route available by clicking in the Plotaroute.com link at the bottom right .
Every Christmas day we like to head out early for a good walk. So it was for this day. We stayed fairly local this year, heading over to Holwick near Middleton in Teesdale. A short but interesting circular route to take in Low Force and then High Force was on the agenda. A touch of winter with even a bit of snow on the ground added to the atmosphere.
What a glorious start to the day as we drove across Cotherstone Moor, the colourful sky reflected in the frosted pool.
Parking up at Holwick there was a soft glow to the light as we headed down towards Low Force.
A long band of cloud filled the winter sky.
The familiar viewpoint of Low Force waterfall from the south side of the river.
Behind us the sun was bursting through the trees. Not enough warmth in it yet to take away the chill of the morning.
We were now on the Pennine Way route which passes by Low Force falls.
The air may not have been warm but the colours of the early sun certainly were. I love the silver birch trees along here.
The path continues through a section of woodland. Passing through a couple of gates and past Holwick Head footbridge we stay on the south side of the river and head uphill.
Its a sound footpath and continues along towards High Force. You are likely to hear the waterfall before you see it.
A side path leads you through a safety rail before you get a full view of the falls.
These days a fence on the cliff edge prevents and accidents as you peer into the gorge of High Force.
This was a good spot for a Christmas day selfie.
We were the only ones around and the weather conditions were perfect so I took the drone up for an aerial view of the force.
I am particularly pleased with the black and white version of the image. The light dusting of snow picks out the shapes on the buttress of rock.
After a good look we headed back the way we came.
Winding our way back on the icy path.
At Holwick Head house many walkers just head back down the pitched steps to re-use the outbound route. We didn’t, we walked on the footpath that goes right in front of the house.
Below is the Holwick Head bridge that crosses the Tees and the path that we walked on earlier.
This old shed caught my attention, I always see these as a potential painting subject.
The farmer had just been on his rounds, providing hay for the sheep. They were tucking in with vigour.
The footpath continues along the track. Here we look back at the house that it services, it must be interesting in full winter conditions.
Across the valley there is a good covering of snow on the high ground of the dale.
Swaledales are a hardy breed and are the most common sheep found in the north pennines.
They are particularly attractive to draw and paint so I take plenty of reference photos whenever I can.
It is simply a case of following the track past Hield House farm and then past this, Low Pikestone. A short walk back up towards Holwick brings us back to the start.
For our Christmas Day brunch we sat in the campervan in the sunshine and has bacon, brie and cranberry sauce croissants with coffee. Not a bad way to start of our Christmas day.
Its a route which I have done many times and I can recommend it as a change from a “there and back” route to High Force. Let me know if you have done it or have varied it in any way.
Thanks for reading.