The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 1 June 2008

Day 48 - Langdon Beck to Dufton

1 June
Distance: 12.5 miles
Number of killer dogs thwarted by their cages: 2

It was a day that made no sense in the context of a walk from the south of the country to the north, for we have ended the day some 3 miles further south than we started.

There are two reasons why we made the detour south rather than heading straight up towards Alston.

One thing is my wish to walk the Pennine Way, and whilst we've not been entirely true to it to cut off a day and a half would have been a step to far (or not far enough, I suppose).

The other reason is the features on this leg of the route - which also explains why the Way takes this detour.

First up this morning, after a delightful walk along the river and then a beck, was Cauldron Snout, which ranks up there as one of, if not the, most impressive waterfalls I've seen. It's not a high fall, but it's quite long and it contains an immense quantity of water. The scrambly bit up the side just added to the experience.

The only 'ordinary' part of the day (except nothing is really that ordinary up here; the space and scenery are noteworthy in and of themselves) was the walk along the track, past the army range, between Cauldron Snout and High Cup Nick.

High Cup Nick is the feature to which I've been most looking forward on the England/Wales leg of the trip, so I was rather disappointed last night to learn that today's forecast was for lots of rain.

We managed to get ahead of the rain. It didn't start until we were past Cauldron Snout. However, by the time we got to High Cup Nick we were being hit full force by the wind (which for the first time on the trip was mainly behind us - only at the head of High Cup Nick did it come from the side, trying to whip us down into the valley) and it was lashing it down.

How to describe High Cup Nick to those who don't know it? Well, it's a valley, but it has the shape of a snowboarding half-pipe, with steep sides at the top with a layer of rock before giving way to scree and grass. Of course there's also the winding stream running along the bottom of the valley. If you've not seen it then google it and find a photo - it's very impressive.

It would have been a fine place to spend half an hour, maybe have elevenses, but the weather dictated that all we did was take a quick photo (justifying the water-resistant camera) and then hurry on.

We managed to get the tent pitched in Dufton before the worst of the rain hit (just 1pm we arrived) and then retreated to the pub for a humungously large roast dinner and a pint of Black Sheep's finest ale.

Mick will now be nursing his feet for the rest of the afternoon and having trepidatious thoughts about tomorrow's mileage. His feet are still not happy. He is not happy that they are not happy. But, for now, he is managing to soldier on.


  1. Cross Fell tomorrow - visibility likely to be nil and lashing rain (if you're lucky). Could even be worse!

  2. Just took your advice and Googled for photos of High Cup Nick. Very impressive. Hope the boots and feet improve soon, Mick.