High Cup Nick
3 December 2000

Great RundaleWe met at Dufton, north of Appleby in the Eden Valley, which only took about an hour and a half from York on the A1 & A66, although it is nearly 90 miles. Our aim was to walk up to High Cup Nick, north west across the moor to the next valley, and back to Dufton, enjoying magnificent views of the Lake District in glorious sunshine. In the event it was mostly in cloud, and we didn't see the Lake District, but we weren't soaked either.

We left the village along the Pennine Way path towards Teesdale: a green lane becoming an ill-defined track across moorland. Eventually it became a better path along a rock terrace in the hillside. After a navigation crisis, we arrived at some spectacular rock pinnacles just as the cloud lifted high enough for us to see High Cup Nick itself at the head of a sharply-defined V-shaped nick in the line of hills. Well worth seeing and all the better for some swirling cloud to add drama. Peter thought that there might be some routes up the pinnacles and hopes to add an entry or two in the forthcoming guide book "Short Wet Routes with a Long Walk-in".

We left the Pennine Way and turned back to return over the moorland. After a few navigational challenges, triumphantly overcome, we got up onto the moorland path, which runs along the Pennine watershed - anything to the left drains into the Irish Sea, and anything to the right eventually reaches the North Sea. We enjoyed traditional Pennine views until eventually we emerged from the cloud at the head of Great Rundale, an interesting valley, scarred by mining, but with lots of different minerals in the rocks, including very heavy lead ore.

We walked down the valley, which appears to be plugged by Dufton Pike until it lets you out at the last moment, and back to Dufton, where we found welcome cups of tea at the Post Office. It was a well worthwhile short day walk, and Peter is planning to transfer our summer camping meet, which was to have been in Teesdale, over the watershed into the Eden Valley. Perhaps we will see more view then!
(or perhaps it will be cancelled due to foot and mouth disease - ed).