Romaldkirk 23 July 2020
Romaldkirk and the Teesdale Way
Six of us followed the Teesdale Way (Dipper emblem), initially downstream passing through some lovely woodland with a few slippy tricky paths for a coffee stop at Cotherstone. We then turned upstream to Eggleston Bridge. Passing up through the village we took a path out onto the former Medieval Middle Field. Its remarkable staircase of terraces, called side riggs, each up to half a mile long, were created to allow for easier ploughing on the steep valley slope. These are clearly seen from the other side of the dale.
On from here we rejoined the Teesdale Way to fords with footbridges over Blackton Beck and Eggleston Burn, once the route used by teams of up to 20 packhorses carrying lead ore from the local mines to the smelt mill higher up Blackton Beck. We passed the Saddle House used to store the tack for the Galloway pack horses and a bit further on Egglesburn Baptist Chapel of 1872 with its bold “British Workman” carved over the entrance. The views opened up and we eventually crossed the impressive Beckstones Wath Bridge and continued into Mickleton to the site of the old railway station. Opened in 1868 the line took over the role of the packhorses in transporting lead from the dale. A victim of the Beeching Plan, it closed in 1964. Easy walking with a variety of wild flowers returned us to Romaldkirk where, sadly, the very special pub does not reopen until August 1st.
We were lucky not to get too wet on a day when the forecast had been for heavy rain.