We set off from Dufton to do the recce for the “A” party. The walk was listed as 10 miles, but Les decided to climb Dufton Pike (1578ft) to add on a bit of extra effort.
It was a hard climb but well worth it for the views over the Eden Valley towards the Lake District. We had a very steep descent to re-join the main track, an old lead-mining track climbing up the grassy slopes of Great Rundale. We passed by many spoil heaps to reach a stone shelter at 2230 ft where we stopped for lunch.
We walked round Great Rundale tarn to reach its outflow. Our route then was across heather moorland with lots of bog cotton. There was no real path, we just needed to follow Maize Beck. There was plenty of rock hopping as we continually crossed and re-crossed the stream to find the best route.
Eventually we reached a footbridge to join the Pennine Way which runs along the rim of High Cup. This extrordinary valley has sheer colonnaded cliffs on either side formed by the Whin Sill – a resistant layer of igneous rock sandwiched between layers of limestone. Superb scenery and an ideal place to stop for a tea break.
The final couple of miles were straightforward as we followed the Pennine Way back to Dufton.
The going was tough, especially across the moor and we made slow progress, not getting back into Dufton till well after 5 o’clock. On the day we will NOT be climbing Dufton Pike, saving us a lot of time and effort.