Thursday, 24 March 2011

High Cup Nick

Well what superb weather, we couldn't believe it was still March. Ian and I parked in Dufton under the Pennines and set off southeast along the minor roads past Keisley to pick up the path which would give us access to High Cup Gill. High Cup is unlike anywhere else in England as far as I know, nature at its grandest. The path marked on the map isn't the most obvious as you descend to the floor of the valley, but eventually it improves. We were checking potential camping spots as we followed the stream until it disappeared under the boulders. After a lunch stop the terrain steepened, quite soon we emerged onto the flat area which is crossed by the Pennine Way, its high point on this crossing of the Pennines.
Maize Beck was our next objective, the flat terrain made for easy walking, once beside the beck we followed it upstream until we reached the footbridge which crosses the beck at the mini limestone gorge. This was our turning point, we wanted to contour round Backstone Edge to drop back to Dufton via Threkeld Side, the path which we knew existed proved a little elusive at first. We found it eventually, after a bit of pathless heather bashing. The thin path round Backstone Edge visits several cairns and "stone men", before it reaches the despoiled Threlkeld Side, a good track led us all the way back to Dufton, passing Dufton Pike on the way. A quiet area this especially mid-week, only 1 person seen once on the hill.

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