26th July 2008

An invite to walk outside the Lakes - High Cup Nick


Walk Overview
Time 09.35 to 14.45
Duration 5 hr 10 min
Distance 10.25 mile
Ascent 1550 ft
Walking with Andrew and Anne Leaney
Dufton - road - Harbour Flatt - High Cup Gill - High Cup Nick - Maize Beck - Pennine Way - Dufton
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Route Map

Regular visitors to the site will know that for me, walking outside the Lake District usually coincides with the proverbial blue moon. With this in mind I was pleased on Thursday when Andrew suggested that I joined Anne and himself for a walk to High Cup Nick, in the Pennines.

It was so hot and humid when we set out, so adding this fact to the low cloud, I had visions of doing a long tiring walk without the reward of a view from the higher sections of the route. Thankfully the cloud did lift, the sun came out, the humidity went and the views were indeed worth the walk.

Looking back through the valley of High Cup Gill.

That's better, now we can see there we're heading.

The northern side of the escarpment showing the stone pillar known as Nichol Chair. (this wasn't our route up, although it does look like a possibility)

As seen as though the cloud was starting to lift we decided to have an early lunch. This would delay us just enough so that we could enjoy a cloud free walk out of the valley and around to the 'nick' in High Cup Nick.


Looking up to High Cup Nick; the gap at the far end on the right.

The final steep climb out of the valley. Not somewhere I'd fancy walking down in the wet.

An extended view into the long High Cup Gill; a lovely quiet valley, even if it was full of man (and woman) eating insects.


An impressive show of nature to say the least.


Did I mention that it was steep?

Notice the group of horses / ponies on the (lower) skyline. They help give some scale to the picture.

We were almost at the top of the climb now.

If you're of a certain age then you may be able to remember watching black beauty on TV. If this is the case please feel free to start la, la la'ing' the tune now. Doesn't time fly !


Looking through the 'nick'.


Heading across country to reach Maize Beck Gorge. You'd hardly think it was the same day.

And now walking through the gorge itself.


The footbridge across Maize Beck and our joining up with the Pennine Way; which crosses the bridge. Our route took us out of the left hand side of the picture, although we did briefly cross the bridge to take some pictures and to read the sign.

PS Next time Anne and I sit down for a rest we'll try not to get in the way of a photo opportunity.

Looking further up Maize Beck / Gorge from the footbridge.

Shortly after leaving the gorge we passed this stone marker for the Pennine Way.
What a fantastic area I should add.

More like Limestone stepping stones than a Limestone pavement, as areas such as this are often called.

Nichol Chair seen from above. Needless to say, if it had been windy I wouldn't have taken this picture !

And a view back across to High Cup Nick.


Looking down into High Cup Gill from the path along the top of the northern side of the valley. The pointed fell in the picture is Murton Pike.

As we continued to follow the Pennine Way back to Dufton we passed this limekiln, which judging by the cleanliness of the stones may have been restored / rebuilt recently; I may be wrong though.

Dufton Pike.

A final look back along the track we'd been following.

After a cup of tea and an ice cream in the village tearoom there was just time to take a picture of the fountain found in the centre of the lovely village of Dufton.
I know I say this every time I walk somewhere outside the Lakes, but I really mustn't leave it too long next time.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks