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North Pennines Walk
High Cup Nick from Dufton

Outline Route Map Walk Grading

Region - North Pennines

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 10.5 miles / 17.1 km

Ascent - 1400 feet / 424 metres

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NY689249
Lat 54.618284 // Long -2.483119
Postcode CA16 6DE (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - High Cup Nick from Dufton Photo from the walk - High Cup Nick from Dufton Photo from the walk - High Cup Nick from Dufton Photo from the walk - High Cup Nick from Dufton Photo from the walk - High Cup Nick from Dufton Photo from the walk - High Cup Nick from Dufton 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This is a "five star" route that includes interesting geology, wild moorland and fantastic views all contained in a few square miles of the North Pennines. One word of warning is that the section from Great Runsdale Tarn to the bridge on the Pennine Way over Maize Beck could be very wet underfoot after rain with an added risk of flash floods. Care is therefore needed. Despite this warning, crossing this desolate moorland is easy from a navigational point of view provided you do not stray from the beck.

High Cup Nick from Dufton High Cup Nick from Dufton High Cup Nick from Dufton High Cup Nick from Dufton High Cup Nick from Dufton High Cup Nick from Dufton 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The start is the attractive village of Dufton (Grid ref. NY689249) a few miles north along a minor road from the A66 at Appleby-in-Westmoreland. There is a small car park, a pub, village store and tearoom together with public toilets. Exit the car park and walk back towards Appleby (south) following the road around to the left. Where the lane turns right walk straight ahead along a lane. Keep to the right where the track divides (Grid ref. NY 691 252) and with improving views ahead climb steadily with conically shaped Dufton Pike to your left.

Having reached a col due east of Dufton Pike the track descends slightly before entering a deep steep sided valley where evidence of former mine working can be seen. The track continues to climb but never steeply into the narrowing valley. Stay on the track past a section that has seen recent reconstruction towards a shooting cabin. From here the northern shore of Great Runsdale Tarn is just over a hundred metres south.

Turn left along the shore and locate the outflow. This is Maize Beck and needs to be followed downstream for approximately 2.5 km. There is a path of sorts and it will probably be fairly damp underfoot so be prepared for some "bog trotting". The view ahead across some of the wildest moors in England is dominated by the whaleback of Mickle Fell.

Reaching a footbridge over Maize Beck means that you have reached the Pennine Way. Turn right (southwest) to follow this National Trail, which is marked by posts, across a limestone pavement to reach spectacular High Cup Nick. This is where the Whin Sill, which is formed of blue-grey dolerite, has provided extra resistance to glaciers and formed one of the most spectacular natural features in the UK.

After spending some time taking in the view, which on my last visit included every peak in Lakeland, follow the wide path along the northern rim. This is again the Pennine Way and is followed all the way back to Dufton. On reaching the road through the village, turn right and follow it back to the start.

Go to full list of North Pennines Walks

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Ordnance Survey Explorer OL19Sheet Map1:25kBUY MAP
Anquet OS Explorer OL19Digital Map1:25kBUY MAP
Ordnance Survey Landranger 91Sheet Map1:50kBUY MAP
Anquet OS Landranger 91Digital Map1:50kBUY MAP

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

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OS Map showing start

Ordnance Survey Map showing starting point of walk - Click Here

Recommended Reading

Pennine Way Map Booklet

Pennine Way Map BookletMap of the 270 miles (435km) Pennine Way National Trail, between Edale in the Peak District and Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail, and shows the full route on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps. This popular long-distance route typically takes three weeks to complete.
More information

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