logo Walking Britain

North Pennines Walk
High Cup Nick from Dufton

Region - North Pennines

County/Area - Cumbria - North Pennines

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 10.5 miles / 17.1 km    Ascent - 1400 feet / 424 metres

Time - 6 hours 40 minutes    Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NY689249
Lat 54.618284 // Long -2.483119
Postcode CA16 6DE (approx. location only)
what3words start trace.flamingo.giraffes

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

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

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

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.



Other walks nearby

Walk 3011 Dufton Pike from Dufton - easy/mod - 5.5 miles/8.9 km

Walk 3070 Knock Fell & High Cup Nick from Dufton - mod/hard - 12.0 miles/19.5 km

Walk 3421 High Cup Nick from Dufton via Middle Tongue - moderate - 9.3 miles/15.1 km

Walk 1715 Dufton Pike and Dufton from Knock - easy - 5.0 miles/8.1 km

Walk 1784 Rutter Force & Hoff Beck from Appleby - easy/mod - 8.0 miles/13 km

Walk 3071 Cross Fell & Great Dun Fell from Kirkland - mod/hard - 12.0 miles/19.5 km

Walk 3274 Cronkley Scar & Cauldron Snout from Cow Green - moderate - 8.0 miles/13 km

Walk 1683 High Cup Nick from Cow Green Reservoir - moderate - 12.8 miles/20.8 km

Walk 3336 Cauldron Snout from Cow Green Reservoir - easy - 3.6 miles/5.9 km

Walk 3593 Meldon Hill from Cow Green Reservoir - moderate - 9.2 miles/15 km

Recommended Books & eBooks

Great Mountain Days in the Pennines

Great Mountain Days in the PenninesAn inspirational guidebook to 50 classic walks on the rolling Pennine landscape. The graded routes, between 6 and 13 miles in length, cover classic Pennine fells and moorland such as Whernside, Ilkley Moor and Pendle Hill; exploring the North and South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, Howgills and Dark Peak. Many routes are also suited to fell running.
More information

Walking the Lake District Fells - Mardale and the Far East

Walking the Lake District Fells - Mardale and the Far EastPart of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 36 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from the Ullswater, Haweswater, Troutbeck, Kentmere and Longsleddale valleys, with highlights including High Street, Place Fell and the Kentmere fells. Suggestions for longer ridge routes are also included.
More information

Map and Compass

Map and CompassAn instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

CBD For Walking & Hiking

Discover the benefits of CBD for walkers and hikers. More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.