High Cup Nick from Cow Green Reservoir

A Forest and Frith walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 23/03/18

This is a fairly undemanding walk through a wild North Pennine landscape. The route visits two outstanding natural features - High Cup Nick and Cauldron Snout - using a section of the Pennine Way. There are no route finding issues even in poor visibility.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h35[?]
Distance Distance : 12.96mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 902ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 912ft
Highest point Highest point : 1919ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 1496ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Forest and Frith
Starting point Starting point : N 54.671928° / W 2.292953°
Download :
Dramatic view from High Cup Nick (a different day) Whin Sill rock formations on the edge of High Cup Nick Approaching the edge of High Cup High Cup valley coming in to view along Maize Beck

Description

(D)The start is the small car park above Cow Green Reservoir (grid ref. NY810309) where you immediately get a feeling of the wild country you are about to traverse. From the car park walk back up the road and take the first path on the right (grid ref. NY812307) heading roughly south east. Reaching a cross track, turn left and continue to a tarmac track. Turn right and follow this access road to the dam to join the Pennine Way. Drop down to cross the river bridge, keeping left at the junction just over the river and continue to Birkdale (grid ref. NY804278).

(1)At grid ref. NY768267 you reach a bridge over Maize Beck. The westbound Pennine Way offers a choice of route from here, with a path on both the northern and southern sides of the Beck. For the purposes of this walk cross the Beck and follow the southern route of the Pennine Way. This will lead you without any further navigational problems to High Cup Nick. When approaching from this direction High Cup Nick is seen unfolding in a dramatic fashion and it is not until you have reached the crags at the edge of the glacial valley that you can fully appreciate this natural wonder.

(2)Until this point you are unlikely to have seen many walkers but the "Nick" is a popular destination from the village of Dufton so you are unlikely to be able to enjoy the scenery in solitude. The return route follows the outward route. However a visit to Cauldron Snout close to the dame across the outlet to Cow Green Reservoir should not be missed. After crossing the bridge below the dam, turn right and follow the Pennine Way for a short distance. The wonderful waterfall of Cauldron Snout will soon be reached. After enjoying the spectacle, retrace your steps back to the dam, bear right along the access track and you will soon be back at the start.(A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Start: Cow Green Reservoir car park
1 : mi 2.67 - alt. mi 2.67 - Birkdale
2 : mi 6.11 - alt. mi 6.11 - High Cup Nick
D/A : mi 12.96 - alt. mi 12.96

Useful Information

The North Pennines offer some wonderful walking through often wild and windswept landscapes. This walk uses a lengthy section of the Pennine Way which makes route finding much easier yet it still retains the natural characteristics of the area. The route is, in effect, an out and back walk, something I'm not usually in favour of but in this case I feel the choice is justified. The walk is not demanding with little ascent yet the length and remoteness does mean you should be well prepared and carry food and drink. If you have the benefit of two cars then the walk could be extended to the village of Dufton making it a one-way walk.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments

Average

Global average : 4/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 4/5


Moderator hiker
on Fri 23 Mar 2018 13:53:55 CET

Dear Nickb500, thank you for pointing this out. There was indeed an error in the walk track, which didn't include the return leg of the walk. This has been corrected now, so that distance and time are accurate Glad you enjoyed the walk anyway, despite the unexpected distance!!


Walker
on Mon 12 Mar 2018 16:50:05 CET

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 16/02/18
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

Being new to this site and its abbreviations/terminology and not having my own map to cover the route I was under the mistaken impression that the TOTAL distance was 6.48 miles including the return leg; in reality it was twice that distance i.e. around 13 miles. I have classed the description as 'Good' on the assumption that the mistake was mine - if the details could be clarified for the sake of others then please do so.

Having set out reasonably early and being keen to reach High Cup Nick for the first time in 20 years I persevered despite strong winds, sleet and snow and some snow drifts. On several occasions I discovered streams beneath the snow a couple of which overtopped my boots. Needless to say progress was fairly slow in these places. On the return leg I had the prevailing westerly wind behind me which helped.

Dramatic scenery and a love of the area made it worthwhile even if I did complete the final road mile in darkness, the black tarmac road showing up well between the snowy fields. Total walk time was 7.5 hours! Looking forward to repeating it on a summer's day!

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.