Posts

Grand Canyon of the North

One of the many reasons people visit the Eden Valley is for the peace and tranquility away from the crowded Lake District.  Whether walking or cycling you will find the lanes and footpaths much less trodden in this part of Cumbria.

The walking may not be quite so high, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular.  Probably the most famous example is the renowned High Cup Nick, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the North of England with its magnificent bowl shape carved out of the Pennines by ancient glaziers. It’s also on the Pennine Way and is a wonderful sight after a long trudge across from Middleton in Teesdale, and signifies that a well earned pint at the Stag in Dufton is soon to be enjoyed.

However, the beauty of staying in Dufton is that the 4 mile walk to the Nick is easily accessible from Shepherds View without taking the car, as the route up to High Cup starts in the village.  It is a popular but not crowded walk, particularly in the summer, and it is well worth the effort as the view, which you only get near the end, is stunning.

As an alternative our favoured approach is from Murton, the next village on from Dufton.  You can park in the village car park and follow a well marked route up the edge of Murton Pike before eventually bursting out on to High Cup itself.  Returning back down the eastern shoulder the overall route is a lot easier and less trodden than the Pennine Way and you enjoy stunning views of High Cup and the Eden Valley seemingly for far longer.  Round trip of c.8 miles in less than 4 hours including plenty of time to rest and enjoy lunch and the views!

High Cup Nick

Perfect getaway holiday in the valley of Eden

Ask most holiday makers to point to Cumbria on a map and they will inevitably pick out the Lake District. But the Eden Valley? That’s another matter and much less well known, which is its great appeal.

The Eden Valley has all the green valley charm and the cutesy cottages of the Lakes, but without the main holiday detractor of hordes of people. It is also the ideal holiday destination to slow down the pace and explore locally, or a perfect base to make the short trip to the North Yorkshire moors or the North Lakes region. To those that have discovered this little known tranquil and peaceful paradise it is a favourite place visited time and again.

The Eden Valley takes its name from the River Eden that follows a meandering 80 mile route from its source at Mallerstang to the Solway near Carlisle, close to Wallsend and the end of Hadrians Wall. Along with dramatic scenery, pretty market towns persist with Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, and Penrith along the route. The Eden region includes the Pennines to its North and East, including an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is bordered by the Western Lakes fells, Ullswater and the Howgill fells to the South.

There is plenty to do and explore, many jewels to discover and memories to make. Take a relatively gentle (by Lake District standards) hike up High Cup Nick described as the ‘Grand Canyon of the North’ and featured by Julia Bradbury in her walking series. Search out some history – castles abound or visit one of the finest stone circles in the North, Long Meg and her daughters, or the Nine Standards Rigg, or even Shap Abbey. There are event venues like Rheged, Acorn Bank, Lowther Castle and Dalemain to visit, or let someone else take you on a trip on the Carlisle to Settle railway, or Classic Coaches tour or a cruise with Ullswater Steamers. Bring your bike and cycle along the quiet lanes of the Upper Eden – visit the chocolate factory at Orton – or simply find a coffee shop to while away some time and enjoy the Cumbrian Crack!

What about the weather, after all you are in Cumbria? In fact, due to its position surrounded by fells the Eden has a microclimate of its own. If its raining with you then it could still be dry 5 miles away, and it’s not unreasonable to chase the good weather. In truth, whilst Keswick averages 58 inches of rain a year, Penrith and Appleby match the same level of rainfall as Cornwall at around 36 inches!

As the Cumbrian’s say, why not take a ‘Deekabout’ at the Eden for yourself and find out what it has to offer – answers on a postcard!