My last set of Teesdale images for the time being. I’d visited the area because I wanted to shoot waterfalls, and in particular some long exposure shots that allow the spray and streaming water to blur into milky whiteness. A bit of a photography cliché but I didn’t have that particular T-shirt.

The trouble with High Force and Low Force for these sorts of shots is just that they’re too forceful! Blurring their torrents just gives you uninspiring blocks of white, whether you go for grandeur or intimacy in your framing. The volume of water passing at speed over those rocks is so great that it probably needs very little additional time with the shutter open to achieve those effects and with the weather being changeable I didn’t want to spend time exploring such subtleties.

I returned to my car then with lots of nice shots, but not what I came for, so I drove a little further to the Bowlees Visitor Centre where the much smaller Bow Lees Beck runs down to join the River Tees. Something gentler proved to be far more suitable.

Following the path upstream the landscape was a lot more shady; making for great contrast with white water, and also providing different sorts of plant life in the environment.

With plenty of places with easy access to the stream, it was also possible with some judicious choice of stones beneath the surface to make my way into the flow to set up my tripod in the stream for better angles.  Only occasionally did my choice fail me and provide a wet sock or two.

This was much more like what I had in mind but there was still a bonus in store for me.  The pathway continued to the point where Flushimere Beck and Wester Beck converge to cascade over a limestone cliff where a small cave has been created by the erosion.  Local legend has it that an outlaw in the days of the Tudor monarchs took refuge in the cave to escape from law enforcement.  Perhaps the cascade had more power then but on the day of my visit it didn’t provide much in the way of cover.  Nevertheless Gibson’s cave bears his name to this day.

The cascade itself is Summerhill Force, and despite my earlier wordplay has nothing to do with the energy within the water; force in these parts is a corruption of the Norse word “foss” which means waterfall and dates back to the days of Viking settlement here.  The numerous dramatic falls in Iceland still bear this suffix.

Finally the force was with me!


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