High Cup Nick is a place we have been considering for a while. It’s not a traditional Northumberland walk but it is one of those iconic Pennine locations.
The walk starts inn Dufton, Cumbria, close to Appleby. So, the first job was to find a tea room. Done, right across from where we parked. Next job was loos. Again, just up from where we parked. Wonderful, all boxes ticked.
We set off. The path starts on the road out of the village, to the South West, on the Pennine Way. We followed the Pennine Way all the way to High Cup Nick itself. It’s a pretty good route.
It’s almost two miles into the way up before we got a view of the distinctive features of High Cup. The deep U-shaped valley has a rim of dolerite (whinstone) columns, that gives it a distinctive look. This is why people come here.
The path follows the top edge of the North side of the valley along to High Cup Nick. It eventually emerges at a large flat area called High Cup Plain. It’s a lovely place for lunch but we needed to find some shelter from the wind. This is the Helm Wind, which is the only named wind in the UK.
There are several routes down from here. The traditional way is to descend into the valley, but this did look a bit steep. Martin went to check it out and it was steep but not as bad as it seemed earlier. We decided to go for it. After a few slips and muddy bottoms we reached the end of the steep bit. However, what you can’t see from the top is the boulder field. It wasn’t difficult but it was slow going. We made it though.
From here, it was just a simple walk along the valley down to Keisley Bridge. This was largely uneventful, apart from the biblical downpour that only lasted about 30 minutes but soaked us to the skin. Then the sun came out.
There was a short road section and then a walk through fields, to join the “A Pennine Journey” long distance route, back to Dufton. Along here we were lucky enough to spot a Redstart, a new one for us. The last highlight of the walk was Dufton Ghyll. This is an enchanting little wooded valley right next to Dufton village.
The path from the ghyll comes out next to the car park and only a short distance from The Post Box Pantry. This is a great place for refreshments and we had just arrived back in time.
Julie and Martin x
If you liked the sound of this walk, why not take a look at our other walks and keep an eye out for this walk, as we will be loading it onto the website soon.
Strolls with poles – Nordic Walking for Fun and Fitness