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Monday, 15 January 2018

High Cup Nick and Backstone Edge by GPS

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Langstrath pools will have to wait a little bit longer for a blogpost because, in the meantime, me and LTD did this one:

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The idea was to bag two fairly diminutive Tumps at Dufton – Harthwaite and Keisley Bank. Harthwaite is not open access and bagging the summit is a trespass, but, as there was no stock on the hill, and nobody to witness my ascent, I considered it fairly harmless to visit the top. It’s a lovely, green hill with a small disused quarry on the top and a gate at the bottom gives access to a lane which, in turn gives access to the open access land on which stands the slightly higher Keisley Bank.

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Keisley Bank has a steep scarp facing the Pennines, at the foot of which is a small but bijoux tarn, – Studgill Tarn -  hidden away and, probably, not very well known.

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The plan was to bag these two and then head up to High Cup Nick via the Pennine Way and getting there involved negotiating a series of broken walls, gates, frozen bogs, unfrozen bogs and some sheep pens. When we arrived, the results were disappointing. The fog was down, the wind nithered through the nethers and the ground was frozen hard, so we retreated inside our big orange group shelter for a chicken salad butty, a Coopland’s curd tart (don’t mention this to the cardiac nurse or, indeed, the dietetic nurse). In the comparitively tropical climes of the big orange bag, we (that is to say, me) consulted the Howgills and Eden Valley OS map for a continuation of our adventures.

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A traverse of Backstone Edge was the decision. This involved switching on the Garmin, selecting the trig point on the summit as a target and heading off up the steep and rocky edge into the feeezing misty murk of Backstone Edge. Almost immediately, we put up a large male (? dog ?buck ?bull) hare who hared off into the glaur. Everything was well iced and it took us a good half an hour to get to the trig point. The trig point is about to fall over. A second target, just 200 metres away, was the high point, at 699 metres. We found a cairn quite close to this point, but not quite at the point marked on the map.

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Next, was a “mine”, about 700 metres away and down a steep slope. This marked the start of a bridleway whioch eventually leads back to Dufton via Great Rundale. Great Rundale is a huge gash in the hills with mines in the crags at either side and a very large area of industrial devastation at it’s head. This is not pretty, but lower down, the valley becomes deep and impressive and the track leads easily back to Dufton.

We did 10 miles and 2600 feet of ascent. I was quite glad I had the Garmin too. I don’t use it for seriously all that much although I do like to watch the distance to target numbers decreasing…  The back country behind Backstone Edge is quite rough going and a bit flat, so navigation can be tricky, although, in practise, the numerous ponds and tarns provide good targets, and the edge overlooking the Eden Valley is pretty distinctive.

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5 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

An enterprising round. I reckon about one in a hundred of photos I take are passing good just by law of averages rather than my skill. Here is a link to one such in Dropbox. It was taken from Dufton Pike looking north east up the Rundale valley you descended.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/517ktft8eiu00fv/Dufton1%20copy.jpg?dl=0

Mike Knipe said...

Ecky thump - that's a good picture Sir Hugh

Dawn Linney said...

That is an impressive day's walking Mike.

Alan Sloman said...

I'll second that, Mike. Blown up to full size it's magnificent, Conrad (but I bet that's what all the girls said when you were young...)

I do hope you've printed that at full size and that it hangs on your wall, Sir!

Michael - you're a braver man than I. That all looks needlessly perishing when you could have been tucked in front of the fire in the pub at Dufton with some Blacksheep balanced on your knee.

Bangkok.Ian said...

Sir Hugh: that is indeed a great picture. Not often does the weather cooperate like that. I too hope it's on your wall to remind you of the day.

Mike: That looked like a great day out, I particularly like the tarn pic.