Maybe it’s because I’m a leo and leo’s are naturally fans of water, or maybe it’s thanks to Kevin Costner getting his bum out in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but I’m always been a fan of a waterfall. I’ve need lucky enough to go to Niagara Falls twice and I find it completely mesmerising; something I can sit and watch all day long if I were allowed.
I’ve fancied going to High Force for a while now, since it’s just over an hour away from where we live, but we never made it for one reason or another. We were driving back from a wedding in Shrewsbury in July and decided to stop off whilst it was kind of on the way back. As a complete aside, on the way to High Force we passed a farm shop near Richmond which had camels, camels!! You bet your ass we’re heading back there one day to have a look. I love a camel.
Anyway, I digress. High Force is located near Middleton in Teesdale and despite rumour that it’s the highest waterfall in England, Hardraw Force (which, incidentally, is the waterfall Kevin Costner gets his bum out in) has a longer unbroken drop. So there you go!
It’s relatively easy to get to although probably best not to set your sat nav to the falls themselves, since you can’t drive right up to them (would kind of ruin the ambiance if you could). Instead, direct yourself to the High Force Hotel car park, which is huge, and where you can park for £3 all day. One thing to note about the parking though, is that it one of those machines where you need to input your car registration, so you can’t just give your day ticket to someone when you’re leaving. Also a reminder to memorise your car reg before you get to the machine, which I didn’t do, and looked like a wally having to go back to the car to remind myself. Alternatively there’s an app you can download to pay via so might be worth doing that being you leave if time is of the essence or you don’t like queueing, or remembering stuff.
The falls themselves also have a very small entrance fee of £2 each, which is exceptionally reasonable for a tourist attraction which is class as an AONB (Area of Natural Beauty). There’s a ticket booth at the car park to to buy tickets but if you want to skip the queues you can buy tickets online and just have the QR code on your phone to show the nice man on the gate.
The walk to the falls is really gentle and I reckon until you get right up to the falls, would suit most if not all abilities. And only takes about 10 minutes to get to. You’ll hear the falls before you see them and once you do it’s pretty breathtaking, particularly bearing in mind how close you’re able to get to them.
For those steady on their feet, you can walk down over the rocks to sit and watch them or dangle your feet in the river, like we did. And as it was a hot day when we were there, there were people swimming right up to them. Even though I’m a strong swimmer, I don’t think that’s something I’d really want to risk; one, the water is bollock shrinkingly cold, and I’ve always read a lot about the under currents that waterfalls produce and two, I’d hate to be one of those idiots who gets injured, or worse, just trying to get the perfect Instagram shot.
What more is there really to say about a waterfall? The pictures kind of speak for themselves and High Force is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. Although we got an all day parking ticket, we were probably only there 90 minutes or so. There’s plenty else to do in the area though, longer walks and we saw lots of people with tubing paraphernalia, which I imagine is amazing fun if you can get over the cold water issue and the fact it’s only sunny 4 days a year in the North East of England.
North East Family fun also do a good write up about visiting the falls if you happen to be going with kids which may help more than mine does!
Now it’s on to planning a trip to Hardraw falls and trying to convince Dave to recreate that Kevin Costner scene…