Monday, 1 August 2011

A visit to Cumbria and a walk from the village of Dufton to High Cup Nick

Dufton is a very lovely little village in the Eden Valley, just a short distance outside Appleby.   Peter had planned a walk where we followed Pennine Way which travels through the village to make our way up the hill and to the tip of the glacial valley called High Cup.  Apparently, "High Cup Nick" is the "pointy" bit at the very tip of the valley (I think).  
View from Dodd Hill half way up the path.
Peter described the walk up the hill as a gentle climb -  or a long slog!  For the unfit such as myself, you can add the words very and hard, but it is well worth it.  It's not long before you reach a height where the views expand out below you and it just keeps getting better from there on. 
The path going up was quite busy, and the first couple we met coming down asked if we were going to descend into the valley.  When Peter said yes, they commented that they had been unable to see how it could be done, which is why they were coming back the way they had came.  Ooooer!  Seeds of doubt planted! 
Moving onwards and upwards, we eventually made our way through a few hillocks and over the grass to the edge of the valley.  Fantastic views of steep cliff edges giving way to the classic U of a glacial valley.  A geography teachers dream!  This is where we sat down to have a bite to eat, overlooking this awesome sight.  Admittedly, at that vantage point, and bearing in mind the comments of the earlier walkers, we couldn't see how we were going to descend into the valley either.  But Peter was confident there must be a way, because the path along the valley floor was plain to see.
View from High Cup Nick

Then, a bit more walking and we got to High Cup Nick.  There were loads of people there, and it was obvious why, the views down the valley are magnificent. 

We managed to climb down the cliff (easy),
and then the slope (not easy)

Now, to get down......  Me n Peter had a good look and decided that despite first appearances, it would be quite easy to get down the cliff part of the descent. From there though is a very steep grassy slope.  Peter had brought walking sticks for this very reason, and we used them to keep us upright as we carefully stepped down. I would say those sticks were absolutely essential for this part of the walk.

Onwards and downwards, across the scree into the valley bottom.  We had seen rain water collect into little waterfalls and streams at the top, but it disappeared into sink holes and underground streams.  Here at the bottom, springs appeared all over, and the cool fresh flow hurried off to join the gill. It becomes quite a stream by the time it leaves the valley.  Peter said he wouldn't fancy being at the bottom in wet weather.  Actually, being at the bottom in dry weather wasn't that good either, the ground was soaking and our feet kept sinking into it.
I'm always on the lookout for new birds and bees to learn about, but it is Peter that always sees them first.  Particularly herons it seems - the one he spotted this time it was very large and darker than most.  Lovely. 
View of High Cup Nick from High Cup House
Eventually we got to High Cup House (or farm) at the entrance to the valley.  Even from there the views were wonderful.  A lovely place to live I should think.  Tired and footsore, we made our way from there past skittish young beef cattle (which always make me nervous) and settled Fresian dairy cattle through fields to eventually arrive back at Dufton and our car.  

Another lovely lovely day.  Info from Peter:  Route & directions.       and Peter's journal entry

1 comment:

  1. Great read. We're planning on doing this walk next month. Hope we get good weather like you had.

    Best wishes - Paula (OneGirlandherDog)