For me, Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton is the best part of the Pennine Way. What’s more, it’s also one of the flattest days on the walk which gives you more energy to concentrate of the beautiful sights. You begin with a beautiful river walk before passing 3 stunning waterfalls including High Force Waterfall which looks like something from South America. Finally, you’ll pass the most beautiful sight along the Pennine Way, High Cup Nick. Let’s begin.
Middleton in Teesdale
Before you begin, fill up on goodies in Middleton in Teesdale as there are no more real shops until Alston in 2 days. Accommodation in the town is excellent value with B&B’s under £50 a night. For camping, you’ll pass a campsite as you enter the town. If you’re looking for a good wild camping spot try heading on the river towards Low Force Waterfall.
River Tees Walk from Middleton in Teesdale
Todays walk from Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton is 19 miles and mostly follows the River Tees. Did you know the source of the River Tees is Cross Fell? Cross Fell is the highest point in the Pennines and you’ll ascend it tomorrow. For this reason, appreciate the flat river walk today.
Low Force Waterfall
Low Force Waterfalls are a stunning collection of small falls. As a matter of fact, you’ll certainly hear the crashing water long before you see the falls themselves. Lastly, although these are stunning falls, the sights will become better and better as this day goes on.
Bridge at Low Force Waterfall
If you’re on the look out for an Instagram worthy spot then the bridge at Low Force Waterfall doesn’t disappoint. Furthermore, the area around this bridge is flat and perfect for wild camping. If you arrive late, leave early and don’t leave any mess then I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful wild camp here. Again, don’t forget to visit the supermarket in Middleton in Teeside which is a 4 mile walk.
High Force Waterfall
High Force Waterfall is more like a section of Iguazu Falls, Brazil than Northern England. Maybe this is a good place to sit for a break and enjoy a sandwich?
High Force Waterfall Facts
High Force Waterfall drops 21 meters and boasts England’s largest volume of water in a single drop. You can visit both the top of the falls as well as view them as a panoramic. Finally, if you walk in the water at the base, legend has it that a ghost called High Green Hag pulls you down from your ankles!
Wildlife Along the River Tees
Expect to see waterfowl as you walk alongside the River Tees. In addition, maybe you’ll see a kingfisher sat on an overhanging branch. Pictured above is a Meadow Pipit which I would say are the most common bird on the Pennine Way.
After passing Low Force and High Force Waterfalls you’ll head into more remote areas. It’s highly likely that you’ll pass through cow and sheep fields. I was lucky enough to see a field full of young Highland Cattle.
Falcon Clints is yet another stunning part of the Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton route. As the name suggests, there have been Peregrine Falcon sightings in this area. I didn’t see one but maybe they saw me! Nonetheless, this is a truly beautiful part of England. Lastly, the Pennine Way route is partly destroyed here so you may be skipping along fallen rocks.
Cauldron Snout is yet another stunning waterfall on todays Pennine Way experience. What’s more, Cauldron Snout marks the border of County Durham and Cumbria. It’s claimed at 180 meters long that this is the longest waterfall in England. However, as you walk up beside the waterfall you may decide that 180 meters is a little exaggerated. Finally, don’t forget to turn left and cross the bridge when you get to the top.
Pennine Way Route from Cauldron Snout to High Cup Nick
Pray for good weather as you cross the moors from Cauldron Snout to High Cup Nick. On a clear day which I almost had, it’s a pleasant walk. However, the weather can be brutal up here on a bad day, even during the summer. What’s more, you need a clear day to take in the beauty of High Cup Nick which is just around the corner.
High Cup Nick
Whenever someone asks me what the most beautiful part of the Pennine Way is, I tell them without a doubt, High Cup Nick. As a matter of fact, the day I passed High Cup Nick, it was exceptionally beautiful. I witnessed a combination of sunlight and moody skies. Some Pennine Way hikers decide to wild camp up here. It could be cold and windy but certainly an awe inspiring sight to wake up to. As you head down to Dufton, there are some more sensible places to set up a wild camp if needs be.
There are no excuses for getting lost on your descent from High Cup Nick to Dufton.
Dufton is a small hamlet, around 4 miles from High Cup Nick. There’s very little accommodation in Dufton and no supermarkets but you’ll have already stocked up in Middleton in Teesdale.
Enjoy the Pennine Way Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton Stage
This is definitely the best day on the Pennine Way. Take your time to take in each of the natural wonders I shared and enjoy the relatively flat walking day. Tomorrow you’ll be heading straight uphill to the highest peaks of the Pennines.
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