: Brief but Intense Moments of Serenity
8th August 2019
you heard about Toptà? No?
Nor had I but we discovered it today
and then realised that we had known its
meaning for years. Where it was found
was quite unexpected.
objective was simple enough, the remarkable
High Cup Nick which several of the party
had not previously visited. I had
hoped that we would be able to approach
over the Ministry of Defence’s Danger Area.
That might sound rather rash but it
is actually open to the public a few days
each year. Had we gone last
weekend we would have been in luck but not
today. The red flag was flying. We
could have been mistaken for a group of
geriatric terrorists prodding for mines
or otherwise up to no good.
was to be a linear walk from Murton to Dufton
which inevitably meant a degree of car shuffling
before we could set off.
gave Tony the opportunity to
describe to the non-shufflers
his recent traumatic experience
when heading for a blood-biking
driver in front had found the
lane too narrow and her campervan
too wide to allow an approaching
motorist to pass. Consequently
she put her vehicle into reverse
to go back to a wider part of
she didn’t realise that behind
her (at what he had thought
to be a safe distance) was Tony
on his motorbike. Despite
horn hootings and shout shoutings
she kept on coming until the
inevitable happened. And
then she stopped.
Tony was unhurt but significant
damage was done to the bike.
A happening that was relatively
brief, certainly intense but
definitely not a moment of tranquillity.
He was in full flow regaling
his audience with the tale when
we returned, now with just the
one car, to the start point.
hindsight this was probably not the best
way to approach High Cup Nick. It
meant traversing round the bottom of Murton
Pike, seeking (and failing) to find a way
to cross Trundle Gill legitimately, then
rounding Middle Tongue before joining the
normal track up the valley. Mike spotted
what might have been Merlins? Or were they
Kestrels? They weren't hovering so
we opted for Merlins.
us, we could see the Lake District panorama,
albeit from an unfamilar perspective.
is dramatic. As you walk up the valley,
the cliffs on each side close in on you.
have to cross a couple of steep, boulder
fields and then make a decision as to which
way to scale the final barrier. We
chose the sharp climb up the left hand side
as on BB1513.
I wouldn’t want to go down that way.
It is about on the limit of my exposure
threshold. Relatively brief, certainly
intense but definitely not a moment of serenity.
made it safely to the top where we looked
over the rim to admire the spectacle of
this V-shaped valley. There were others
up there admiring Stan and I in our complementary
retro Rohan tops, circa 1980
our lunch stop (not brief and I am not sure
about intense but definitely serenity) where
the stream enters the chasm (actually probably
the easier way up) we decided to take the
loop that explores the eastern side of the
Nick then return at a higher level to the
was there that we discovered Toptà.
are quite a few marker posts in that area,
usually with a yellow path pointer or comment
about the Pennine Way or similar. This
one was different. At first I couldn’t
make out what it was saying. All we
could make out were the letters “top” and
“ta” and what looked like a collapsed chef’s
hat on top.
there was little more that we could do other
than to conject. We soon forgot about
it as we returned to the rim and circled
round to the west side of the Nick.
there it is a long, pleasant descent off
the fell to the village. We did wonder
about tackling Dufton Fell looking entrancing
across the fields but we had had enough
excitement for the day. Dufton is
a lovely little village with a nice pub
on the village green.
sat outside, reliving the experiences of
the day. Thoughts turned to the strange
"top ta" sign. Uncle Google
led us to the explanation:
was born in Montecarlo [Lucca,
2016 from the passion of the
two friends and partners Luca
and Nicola, who after years
of drinking and home brewing
decided to dedicate their lives
at Toptà create our beers
as we like them and we want
to get closer and closer to
good drinking. We produce our
beers with the best raw materials,
but above all with an infinite
passion; we are small independent
artisans and we have the chance
to always try new things.
want to bring into your glasses
the emotion that we try to create
our beers: a brief but intense
moment of serenity.
another round of brief but intense moments
of serenity please!
Thursday 8th August 2019