My first trip to the head of Weardale, starting at the pretty village of Cowshill. From Brampton you drive through Alston and over the highest classified road in England, over 600 metres. The scenery is superb, changing from bleak moorland to meadows as you lose height.
The day started fine and bright and finished the same way but in between I was almost chased off by a huge cloud and some good heavy rain.
From Cowshill take the minor road south-west, across the bridge, that climbs up to the dam of Burnhope reservoir. After half a mile or so there is a "wow" moment as the whole sweep of the dale comes into view. Cross the dam and turn left and you can wander through a variety of paths back down to the village of Wearhead and then climb up the west side of the dale for more big views.
It had been sunny for much of the way. I stopped for a sandwich in Wearhead and looked with some worry at the giant cloud that had been engulfing the hills westward for some time. It had that misty look of rain falling in the distance. It came on slowly so I was almost back at the car before it set in.
I ate another sandwich in the car and decided that was that. However, that wasn't that. It started to brighten and I only drove a hundred yards until I saw another tremendous view, this time north up the valley. The light was changing and I thought I should stick around. Ten minutes later the rain stopped and the sun came out for a glorious golden sunset.