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]

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Monday - Appleby to High Cup Nick

Monday 20 June (1735-2020)
Distance: 7.5 miles
Weather: mainly dry
Number of hares seen: 3
Number of near-burning-down-of-tent incidents: 1

It was sunny when we got off the train in Appleby. It was also 40 minutes later than it should have been, thanks to a 'mechanical issue' that caused us to have to await a replacement train in Skipton. It was always going to be an unreasonably late start (surely it's more normal to be stopping rather than starting at 1700?), but the delay made it more so. It also meant that we finished in the rain.

Field paths and tracks, all of which were easy to follow, took us from Appleby to pick up the Pennine Way east of Dufton. We could, of course, have diverted to Dufton and spent the night there, but we stuck to the plan - to see High Cup Nick in today's fine weather.

It had clouded in by the time we reached its head, and even though I'd seen it before (albeit in pretty awful weather) I was still awed at how spectacular it is. We considered how cheeky it would be to pitch on the edge, looking down its length. The time of day would suggest that it was unlikely anyone would see us, but we resisted the temptation. Maize Beck and a much more discreet pitch was only half a mile away.

We had barely got twenty paces when the first spots of rain were felt and furtive glances over our shoulders confirmed that some significant rain was on its way. We had timed our view of High Cup Nick well to enjoy it before it became obscured by the weather - but if only we had been 10 minutes ahead of ourselves!

The rain was really setting in by the time the tent was up and as I type this, whilst waiting for my tea to rehydrate, there is still a pitter-pattering.

In such weather it could have been extra-disasterous if I had burnt down the tent. Fortunately, I noticed that I'd set the J-cloth on fire (by virtue of the fact that it was burning my fingers) before the flames spread to our nylon home! Ooops!

(Those who have walked past the head of High Cup Nick and seen this stunning half-pipe shaped valley will appreciate that the phone-camera snapshot above doesn't even start to do it justice.)

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  1. There seems to be a few 'Firestarters' around, what with the Gelder Shiel Incident, the Shielin' of Mark Incident (which I've kept quiet about so far as the perpetrator turned out to be one of our heroes on That Monday...) and yourself.

    I'm staying well clear.

  2. The cat's out of the bag now, Louise: What's that about the Shielin of Mark?

    Gayle: That *is* a dreadful shot of High Cup Nick!

  3. Ah, well, these two chaps came into the bothy as we were having our soup and proceeded to light their stoves for a brew, as you do.

    One of them was using a meths stove and lit a match to light the meths, then managed to light all the matches he'd put down on the wooden bench and didn't p'raps put them out as quickly as I'd've liked! I'm sure he'd rather we forgot that bit.

    These two chaps turned out to be our river crossing heroes, Lee and Tony. Can't imagine why I felt so safe in their hands...

  4. (Not nearly so exciting as yours though Al)

  5. Ah, Messrs Bowe & Wells, eh? You won't meet better blokes on the Challenge.They enjoy the odd drink or two... You know why he takes meths, don't you?....


  6. He won't have minded about losing all his matches.

  7. I'm not usually so careless with fire - honest! It was that new stove that did it...