BB1031 : Nick by Haggis

Thursday 19th August 2010

Pity the poor folk who come to the Lake District in August only to discover, to their surprise, that it is one of the months in which the lakes are refilled.  On the other hand, if, like Jamie, you live in Crete there is a certain attraction to temperatures rather lower than a relentless 90°F and the nice, cool rain that we have enjoyed ever since the hosepipe ban was introduced.  Today was the day that ban was rescinded.  Would it mean the start of better weather?

Jamie’s choice of destination today, however, was not the Lake District but High Cup Nick, which he first noticed on the Wainwright map of Westmorland hanging in our loo as a remarkable geological feature on the far eastern corner of the old county.

BOOTboy have, of course, been to The Gurt La'al Canyon before, see BB0816, so this time we opted to go straight up the canyon, hoping that there would be a relatively easy escape up the nick onto the rim.

High Cup Nick per Wainwright

It was a pleasant drive over Orton Scar to Appleby and then on to Dufton but the clouds over the Pennines looked ominous.  In the village, the red flag was flying to warn folk not to stray into the military zone.  

Flags flying to warn walkers to keep out of the military danger zones

Bryan and I had both wondered if the Countryside Right Of Way act would allow access over the public footpaths shown on the map but inevitably the military legislation trumps CROW.  Except on a Sunday afternoon.  So if you want an exciting Sunday walk with the possibility of finding some live ammunition, consider Warcop Fell.  If not, stick to High Cup Nick!

In order to reach the mouth of the canyon, a longer than usual approach was required. Jamie likened it to a Haggis walk but the 2¼ miles of road pales into insignificance compared to the 14 miles that Bryan recalled trudging before being able to tackle Scotland's Ben Alder.  Still, there were points of interest en-route, including Thomas and Elizabeth Watson's 1769 home.

Thomas and Elizabeth Watson, 1769

High Cup Winery

Did you know there were any vineyards in Cumbria?  

No, nor did I, but we passed by the High Cup Winery and could see the vineyard across the fields.  Their website says that "In good sunny years grape wines are also produced from our own vineyard."  I suspect 2010 will not be a vintage to remember!  I hope there is a good enough market in Rhubarb and Damson wines.

High Cup Nick from Harbour Flatt

High Cup Gill

Shortly afterwards we left the road for the oddly named Harbour Flatt and headed for the canyon where, briefly, it rained on us.

The path climbs part way up the right hand side of the canyon before dropping to meet.  A little higher up, High Cup Gill suddenly disappears.  

Technically, that’s totally incorrect.  

Of course, being upstream, what the water does is suddenly appear, presumably having travelled through underground passages.  

The rim of the canyon looks formidable and a child with a vivid imagination would have no difficulty in envisioning the odd skyline erratic as a Red Indian Scout, summoning hordes of his tribe to pop up and fire their arrows at us. Fortunately no such problems were experienced today.

Skyline erratics or Red Indian scouts??

A river of boulders

There were (dry) rivers of boulders to negotiate (good training for Scafell) and finally a steep scramble up by the top part of the once again visible stream, which in the strong breeze was blowing water over us.  I was hoping that there would be a good crowd at the summit who would stare at us in amazement and with respect as we breasted the rim but, sadly, there was no one to witness our conquest.

Looking down High Cup Nick

We decided to have lunch at the shooters’ hut at Great Rundle Tarn which meant 2½ miles of yomping across boggy, mossy moorland.

The bridge over the Maize Beck mini ravine provided a team photo opportunity.  

Other relief from the tedium of the moor was provided by

•   a strange stone with an acorn emblem

•   a frog that insisted on having its picture taken

•   eleven fell ponies, and

•   a Siberian Husky whose owner looked as if he were dressed for Siberia

Comitibus: Maize Beck

Maize beck upstream

Maize beck downstream

The acorn stone

The foto-me phrog

The fell ponies

Eventually we reached the tarn and the shooters’ hut.  The wind was howling around so we were pleased to find that it had thoughtfully been left unlocked for us even though the bottle of Shiraz on the table had already been drained.

Great Rundle Tarn

The shooters' hut

Post lunch, we descended by the mine track, which seemed in a much better state of preservation than last time we were up there- no doubt to facilitate vehicles taking shooters onto the moor.  

The mines motorway

The Lake District skyline

As we dropped down on the long return to the village, another slice of Haggis, the Lake District skyline came into view beyond Dufton Pike.  It seemed they had had the better of the day, weather-wise, but Jamie was happy that High Cup Nick had lived up to, maybe even exceeded, his expectations.

Don, 19th August 2010


Afternote re Haggis

It transpires that I misunderstood what was meant by a Haggis Walk.  I took it to be a general reference to Scottish hill walking where there can be long off-road distances to be covered before you actually reach the start of the ascent.  Jamie subsequently enlightened me that a Haggis Walk is one where you go round in a circle- so named because the wild haggis has shorter legs on one side than the other, causing it to walk in large circles.

Which ever definition you choose, it was definitely a Haggis Walk!





19th August 2010

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

High Cup Nick, Great Rundle Tarn

Wainwright Countdown:

Don & Stan: 6, Bryan: 7 (all unchanged)


Bryan, Don, Jamie


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1031.

To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.



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BOOT boys

This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as often as possible!

As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.

As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an item of footwear but is in memory of Big Josie, the erstwhile landlady of the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day 1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!

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2010 Outings

BB1001 :
The Most Perfect
 Winter Day
Thursday 7th January

BB1002 :
 Potter Fell
Thursday 14th January

BB1003 :
A Snowy Equipment Test

Thursday 21st January

BB1004 :
Leave It To The Professionals

Thursday 28th January

BB1005 :
That's A Lyth Record
Sunday 31st January 

BB1006 :
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February

BB1007 :
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February

BB1008 :
In Memory Of
Thomas Williamson
Thursday 25th February

BB1009 :
Almost a Mountaineer!
Wednessday 3rd March

BB1010 :
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March

BB1011 :
The Free Men on Tuesday
Tuesday 16th March

BB1012 :
We'll Get Them In Singles,
Thursday 25th March

BB1013 :
The Fools on the Hill
Thursday 1st April

BB1014 :
The Windmills on the Moor
Wednesday 7th April

BB1015 :
By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright
Sunday 11th April

BB1016 :
The Ten Lake Tour (+5Ws)
Thursday 15th April

BB1017 :
The BessyBOOT
Thursday 22nd April

BB1018 :
The Kentmere Challenge
Saturday 24th April

BB1019 :
Winter in Springtime
Thursday 14th May

BB1020 :
Red Screes and Sausages
Thursday 20th May

BB1021 :
The Mile High Club
Thursday 27th May

BB1022 :
What A Difference A Day Makes
Thursday 3rd June

BB1023 :
Something Brutal
Thursday 10th June

BB1024 :
Rendezvous on Haycock
Thursday 17th June

BB1025 :
The Men of Gragareth
Thursday 24th June

BB1026 :
The Smardale Round
Thursday 1st July

BB1027 :
Don't Shun The Shunner!
Thursday 8th July

BB1028 :
All Around the Edge
Thursday 29th July

BB1029 :
The Return of Uncle Jamie
Thursday 5th August

BB1030 :
The Examination Results
Thursday 12h August

BB1031 :
Nick by Haggis
Thursday 19th August

BB1032 :
And Then There Were Two
Thursday 26th August


BSB2010 :
boys in Zillertal
Saturday 30th January
to Saturday 6th February

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or related large picture.



To see which Wainwright top was visited on which
BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?.

To download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys
click on BB Log.

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!