Dufton Good, Duff Weather Bad…
Dufton Good, Duff Weather; Not so Good…
Our friend, Simon, occasionally abandons work for a while and takes off in his van, Skooby, on a UK adventure, so we were very lucky to join him in Absinthe for a few days, near the start of his latest trip. He chronicles his adventures in a photo rich Blog which you can find here: Skooby Blue
We met him in the lovely Cumbrian village of Dufton, which lies 3 miles from Appleby, in the foothills of the Pennines. Appleby is famous for the Horse Fair held there in June, when Gypsies, Romanies and Travellers from all over the UK and beyond, meet up to trade and catch up with their friends and relatives. We visited the Fair in 2008 and you can see my set of photos here: FLICKR
The main reason for this trip though was to tick something off my bucket list. Since my mountain biking days, I’ve always wanted to get to High Cup Nick, but didn’t realise that you could get to it via the Pennine Way rather than via Cow Green reservoir in Teesdale.
The walk up from Dufton featured in a recent TV programme with Julie Bradbury and reminded me that I needed to do it sometime. Knowing that Simon planned to stay in the village and complete the walk, led me to ask him if we could join him and, so, we drove up to Cumbria on a Wednesday morning, stopping at the cafe in Orton for soup and a sandwich on the way. This was the cafe that I’d visited with my daughters, Jodie and Lindsay, when we’d passed through the village whilst walking the Coast to Coast walk in 2012.
Simon had booked us in to the Grandie Campsite in Dufton – a decent enough site but one that is full of seasonal tourers, so there’s not much room for people staying a few days.
We arrived before Simon and had a wander around the village, which was looking glorious in the sunshine. It was unseasonally warm for September – as it happened the last day of sustained warm, dry weather for our trip.
Simon arrived shortly afterwards and we headed out later to the local pub, The Stag.
Thursday was the day to walk to High Cup Nick but, unfortunately, we had to wait until 10.30 for the rain to ease off. Even then we were hit with frequent squally rain with ominous thick, grey clouds on the hill tops.
We took the sensible option and decided to leave the summit of HCN for another day. It didn’t stop us from walking though, as we diverted via a bridleway and eventually ended up at a Winery of all places. We all had a sample (some of us may have had more than one: Alison), bought a couple of bottles and sat on a picnic bench to eat our lunch.
The weather had started to brighten a little after lunch, so we picked up the reverse HNC route to see if we could at least get a glimpse of the ridge and maybe a photo or two.
We walked back down the road to the village having had a great day’s walking, albeit without reaching our goal – we’ll definitely be back.
After a shower and a chill we ventured out to the Stag again, this time to eat. The pub staff made us very welcome and the food, oh, the food…
Simon and I had the pie of the day – chicken and stuffing, and if I say it was a proper pie, I hope you’ll know what I mean. It was superb and the chef/landlord obviously has some serious cooking skills. If you’re in the area give it a go – although you’ll probably need to book in advance, as it seems very popular.
The rain arrived overnight on Thursday and whilst Simon went walking we packed up and left for home, after a brilliant few days.
You can follow Skooby’s Adventures (and marvel at Simon’s photos) here: http://skoobyblue.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/almost-high-cup-nick.html
THINGS WE’VE LEARNED:
East Cumbria and the Eden Valley is a beautiful, unspoiled part of the north
Bad weather doesn’t mean a bad day
Boris can manage 7 miles and still be fit to go another day
If the scenery is full of beautiful vistas, Alison will take photos of cows (see below)
You can take the boy out of Wigan, but you can’t take the pie from the boy