Is there a more impressive glaciated valley in England then High Cup Nick? Although it is a magnificent geological wonder, not many people have heard of it and it probably doesn’t get the number of visitors it deserves due to its proximity to the Lake District.
Starting the walk in Dufton soon leads to a green lane that is the Pennine Way and the National Trail is followed to the “Nick” itself. As height is gained the views open out to reveal the cliffs that line the head of the valley with occasional detours to the very edge being rewarded with some spectacular viewpoints under the day’s blue skies. One of the group said that the views were the best they “had ever seen”; a statement not to be taken likely as they spent a lot of time walking some of the most attractive peaks in Scotland.
|High Cup Nick|
|The Cup from the Nick|
Because of the breeze at the top, we lunched just below the Nick in the sheltered gully and then headed north-west to the plateau of Backstone Edge. We should have taken a more westerly track as we soon found ourselves amongst the hags and groughs of the peat landscape but, because of a recent dry spell we were able to avoid the worst of the soggier patches by linking some drier areas. We did eventually follow a bearing to the west and picked up a faint track heading north along the edge that led us to the crumbling triangulation pillar.
Although most trig points mark, or are very close to, the summit of a hill or mountain, occasionally they don’t always mark the highpoint. The true summit of Backstone Edge is a couple of hundred yards from the trig, slightly east of north. A few of us retained the purist bagger ethic and strolled across the moorland to reach the small cairn marking the highest point before rejoining the rest of the group.
|Dufton Pike from Great Rundale|
A descent into the small valley of Great Rundale led to a good track back to Dufton and the welcoming Stag Inn, where the refreshments served were heartily enjoyed.