Total so far: 735.5 miles
Percentage Completed: 44.0%
(Click map to enlarge)
I left it until 10am to leave the hostel, as the cloud was down low but likely to improve slightly. I started in very misty moisty weather with two coats on and made careful progress following the pretty good waymarks, which makes a startling change in these parts! It was as well, as visibility was about 100 yards.
Working my way up Holmwath the cloud seemed to lift as I walked up the valley, so by the time I reached Falcon Clints I could see pretty well okay. Cauldron Snout impressed and I picked my way carefully up the slippery rocks to cross the bridge - a slip here would have pretty horrible consequences.
The route up to High Cup Nick is an absolute delight; good paths and a wonderful feeling of remoteness, even though you pass Birkdale Farm (now, there's a place if you want to get away from it all!)
I met a chap with two artificial hips who was getting along pretty well (he got down to Dufton before me, but that's not saying much!) and a couple who were trying out a route for their rambling group from the North Lakes who had just clambered out of the Nick of High Cup.
They were friends of Rowland Bowker, who has done the Challenge quite a few times and so I felt embarrassed in not knowing him - I shall make an effort to find the chap one day - as he has charming friends and so can't be all that bad himself!
The view from the Nick is quite splendid - you can almost see the glacier that carved its way down the valley. The Whinstone dolerite cliffs frame the view from every angle as you walk along the northern rim of the abyss. The scenery changes from wild moorland to pastoral beauty very quickly, with just Dufton Pike to remind you you are in hill country.
I am having my day off in Dufton and not Alston as it is far more sensible for Lynnie who is coming up for the weekend as I get to see her all of Saturday instead of half of Sunday which would have been the case if I had taken it at Alston.
Lynnie is battling her way up the M6 in my car as I type this and I am freshly bathed and handsome once more. How can she resist me?