Great Force is a high but little known waterfall situated on Great Gill, a mile or so south of the village of West Scrafton in Coverdale.
There are no obvious paths to Great Force although it is fairly close to the indistinct path following Lead Up Gill upstream. Depending on how many leaves are on the surrounding trees it is possible to get a view of the waterfall from above. However, to get a decent view of it requires a careful scramble down a steep and slippery bank, if visiting this waterfall care must be taken!
It is definitely worth the effort for the secluded spot where the waterfall is located is quite lovely. In the springtime clumps of yellow primroses can be found growing on the grassy slopes below the waterfall. The steep rocky sides of the gill add to the atmosphere.
I first visited Great Force on my way down to West Scrafton from Great Roova Crags. Leaving the bridleway I dropped down to Lead Up Gill where a faint path followed the east bank of the stream. Along the way I passed a nice little waterfall which is not marked on the map. Less pleasant was the stinking carcass of a sheep just metres away from this waterfall which as a result I’ve named Rotting Force.
Of course I wasn’t entirely sure if ‘Rotting Force’ was in fact ‘Great Force’. Surely not, I thought, it is a nice waterfall but not ‘Great’. Continuing on downstream the sides of the gill suddenly got steeper and then suddenly I looked down and there was an obvious drop in the height of the stream. It is this sudden plunge at Great Force that Lead Up Gill presumably changes its name to Great Gill.