The day after my birthday, back in January (I know, I’m a little late with this), we decided to take a trip to Cow Green reservoir. The area is home to one of my favourite waterfalls: Cauldron Snout. The only times I’d seen the fall was on a 6.5 mile hike that gives a stunning view of it as you reach the bottom and then scramble up the side. Given our current fitness, I decided this might be a bit ambitious but dimly remembered emerging at a car-park that might allow us a shorter walk whilst still getting a glimpse of the waterfall.
There was just a couple things I hadn’t counted on. The big one being snow. This was a few days before snow had hit England more generally: we’d had a very mild December and hadn’t seen any hint of white in Newcastle. That’s right, folks, we saw snow before it was.. uh.. cool..
Anyway. There it was. I might have been a little more clued-up if I’d actually dug out the description of the hike before suggesting and/or embarking on the trip:
Upper Teesdale has 20.8 days of snow in an average January and its summer temperatures are akin to those of Reykjavik
I would have also realised that the waterfall is actually still a fair distance from the car park.
Still, it was a very picturesque drive and, after getting very lost, we stopped next to a village pub for a coffee and toilet break. Sadly, the pub was closed. So was the other one. And the public toilets were locked.
Still, it wasn’t that long before we found somewhere that was open. It was getting a little late by this time, however (did I mention we’d got lost?), so we headed back to Alston for lunch and to find our bearings again.
On entering Alston we noticed a shop named The Moody Baker; we giggled for a few moments and speculated about the goods on offer. Then, parking near a promising looking cafe, I spotted a sweet shop. ‘Ooh,’ I enthused, mouth watering as I pictured fudgy delights, ‘I might have to pop in there afterwards.’ We peered in the window only to be met with this sign:
Cue an extensive dialogue (in a broad, depressed, Yorkshire accent) that began:
‘I don’t do January. Not since the great bon bon disaster of ’92…’
‘The liquorice fire of ’87 should’ve been a warning..’
Etc. We were laughing so hard and gasping for breath between lines that, if the shop owner had seen us, they could have added ‘all the idiots come out in January’. Sometimes I wonder that we’re allowed out without supervision.
Eventually, we did find our way to Cow Green Reservoir. But the Alston sweet shop seemed to have set the tone for the area:
Bus times from this stop
Effective from 17 April 2011
Monday to Saturday (until further notice): No Monday to Saturday Service
Sunday (until further notice): No Sunday Service.
I had hoped to impress Camo with Cauldron Snout but mostly he was impressed with the cold. To be fair, there was an awful lot of it.
The times when you have seen only one set of footprints.. that’s when I stopped to throw a snowball at you..
As if distraught by the lack of buses, the road itself had given up:
Still, it was good to see that someone, somewhere, still cared:
Hello? Is that Batman..?
All in all it was a successful trip out; if not necessarily for the intended reasons.. Laughter is always awesome and the scenery was beautiful, if a little.. blue (no filters were used in the making of these photos, kiddywinks).
We’ll return one day and do the walk. But not in January. We don’t do January..