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Dufton Pike, Meldon Hill & High Cup Nick from Dufton

Dufton Pike, Meldon Hill & High Cup Nick from Dufton


Dufton village is situated to the north of the A66 road from Scotch Corner to Penrith.  It lies almost due north of Appleby and is signed off the A66.    There is a small car park with toilets in Dufton. If full then some on street parking is available but do not park where residents will be inconvenienced.


19 km        About 7 - 8 hours


Dufton Pike, 481 m, NY 700 267.

Meldon Hill, 767 m, NY 771 291.       OS 1: 50 000, Sheet 91.


This is a mixed walk.  There is a good track from Dufton to the building near Great Rundale Tarn.  The diversion, en route, over Dufton Pike is steep.  The section from Great Rundale Tarn to Meldon Hill is mainly pathless and over tough ground of heather and tussocky grass which is often boggy.  Progress will be painstakingly slow here.  The section from Meldon Hill to High Cup Plain is almost as bad.  High Cup Nick is a deep river valley with cliffs either side.  From High Cup Nick to Dufton, the Pennine Way is followed but this has some quite stony sections!  Views are excellent especially to Cross Fell and Mickle Fell as well as the distant Lakeland Fells including Helvellyn.


(1) From Dufton car park, turn right on to the main street and follow this around a left hand bend.  On the next bend which is right hand, go ahead on a track between two houses where there is a sign for High Scald Fell.  Follow this track, which is fairly straight, past where it separates from the Pennine Way.  Continue to a metal gate where there is an access notice.  Dufton Pike is above.  Go through the gate and pick a way across wet ground towards a lone tree, aiming for the top of a walled field.  There is no stile so the wall has to be climbed over which is not too difficult.  On 4/3/15, there was a broken section of wall over to the right which might be easier to cross.  Look for a gravel path going up a narrow band of scree which should have been visible on the approach.  The path is steep and loose so ascend on one side of it until the angle eases.  Continue up to reach a small grassy plateau where there is no cairn but this is the summit of Dufton Pike, 481 m.

(2) Turn right and follow a path down a grassy ridge to reach a gate on to the track left earlier.  Continue up the track to pass an old lime kiln after which the track deteriorates but continues to reach a building just to the NW of Great Rundale Tarn.  Opposite the building, a track goes to the tarn then goes along its N side.  Follow this E until it starts to go SE then leave it and head E across the rough and pathless ground towards Meldon Hill.  Progress will be slow and this 4 km section may take up to 2 hours.  Following shallow gullies may ease progress especially if the ground is frozen.  Eventually, the ground rises and the going eases a little leading to the summit plateau where a broken down trig point marks the summit of Meldon Hill, 767 m.  There is a broken cairn about 20 m to the SE.

(3) In clear weather, the gap which is High Cup Plain will be obvious to the SSW.  It does not look far but the ground, again, makes for slow progress.  Heading slightly W of due S takes one, eventually, to Maize Beck.  This is usually easy to cross but stay on the N side and follow the stream up as it goes through a wide, “square cut gorge”.  Beyond this, there is a footbridge across the beck.  Cross over and walk roughly S to reach the top of High Cup Nick.  Walk along the top of the N side heading SW.  There is a faint path along the top of the cliff and this joins the more prominent Pennine Way later on.  Follow the Pennine Way down, passing several cairns until it reaches the top of a lane below Peeping Hill.  The lane leads down a road on  the edge of Dufton.  Turn right and walk back into Dufton.


(a) This walk took place on 4th March, 2015.

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