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Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick


Postby Christo1979 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:41 pm

Date walked: 06/06/2020

Time taken: 4

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 619m

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High Cup Nick is one of those places I kept on reading about, hearing about, tapping with my finger on the OS map and wondering about. The three red pins marking the fells which sit within the Warcop firing ranges have also been teasing me. They don't look exciting, they seem dangerous, they need doing - even if only the once. Lots of plotting, more optimistic forecasts, and the prospect of another walk with my good pal Laura, led to a decision to climb Murton Pike, Murton Fell, head around to High Cup Nick, then either descend the boulders into the valley, or else return via one of the high paths.

And while we're on, let's try a bit more of this trail running lark.

We arrived at Murton late morning, after driving through the ranges and passing bits and bobs of millitary paraphernalia. There's parking for a good few cars, and as soon as you leave the car you're on the good track that leads steadily up towards Murton Pike. The wind was picking up, and by the time we arrived at the trig point after a steep little climb, it was actually difficult to stand up. After admiring the brooding sky, we did an about turn and ran back down the hill until we rejoined the track that would lead us in the direction of Murton Fell, the Hewitt we'd decided to bag today.

ImageMurton Pike by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I say we, actually it was just me. Laura stayed with the main track and we agreed to meet in a little while at the head of Trundale Gill. Unless you're in the business of bagging summits, I've learned that not all hills appeal to all people. Murton Pike looked and felt like a dramatic little hill, it appeals to anybody out on a walk. The prospect of striking out across the pathless moor, going 'just as far as the danger signs then turning left' on a mission to locate a somewhat featureless summit strikes some as lunacy.

The loneliness of the Hewitt bagger.

ImageDanger ❗️ by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageSummit plateau of Murton Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I will say that I actually found the summit plateau of Murton Fell attractive, and with a spring in my step I set about jogging again, making light work of the boggy ground and skipping my way down to the rendezvous point. Reacquainted with my pal, we followed the path up the hillside and emerged above Middle Tongue. We caught glimpses of the huge valley beneath us, and of the escarpment opposite, but the jaw-dropping spectacle of High Cup Nick really did save itself until we were actually at the, well, Nick. Words failed me. I'd been missing out, and could have sat there all day admiring the view.

ImageHigh Cup Nick by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageHigh Cup Nick by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

We explored the steep boulder field that takes you from the Nick to the valley floor, but decided it might be slow going, when today was all about travelling light and trotting around in tights. And so we decided to take the path above the same side of the escarpment we had arrived on, stopping frequently to admire the views, watch streams disappear over the edge, and get slightly nervous that we might do the same.

ImageHigh Cup Nick by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageHigh Cup Nick by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageHigh Cup Nick by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageBoulder field, High Cup Nick by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Descending Middle Tongue made for easy walking/jogging, and we were surrounded by bog cotton as almost as far as the eye could see. Murton Pike looked still more dramatic from this side, and eventually we dropped down to the farm at Harbour Flatt. We somehow missed the footpath marked on the map, and so just continued to the minor road and followed it back to the car park at Murton. High Cup Nick was spectacular, this part of the Northern Pennines was spectacular, trying some running instead of walking was, if not spectacular, fun.

The sight of me in leggings was neither spectacular nor pleasant. And for that, and to those walkers also enjoying the stunning landscape that day, I apologise most sincerely.

ImageBog Cotton by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
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Christo1979
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Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
Grahams:31   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:94   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
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Location: Gateshead

Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Pointless Parasite » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:00 pm

One or two photo-of-the-month contenders in there Christo :clap: What kind of camera do you use?
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Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Christo1979 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:20 pm

Pointless Parasite wrote:One or two photo-of-the-month contenders in there Christo :clap: What kind of camera do you use?


Thanks so much! It’s just my iPhone, I’m forever telling myself to buy an actual camera yet even waterlogged iPhones never seem to get me around to doing it :shock:
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Christo1979
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Location: Gateshead

Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:00 pm

Yes great photos : High Cup Nick is very special. You can see the remains of lateral moraines left as the glacier retreated - They are not obvious everywhere, but you can see them in your 4th pic a bit below the lip.
I've started at Harbour Flatts and climbed your descent route a number of times - they're very obviousd on that
past my sell by date
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Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:21 pm

Fine report of a real jewel in the Pennines. I've done a very similar route myself and can confirm your return to the head of Trundale Gill was the best thing you could have done, the more direct route to High Cup Nick is truly awful, and that was after a dry spell.
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Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Christo1979 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:03 pm

past my sell by date wrote:Yes great photos : High Cup Nick is very special. You can see the remains of lateral moraines left as the glacier retreated - They are not obvious everywhere, but you can see them in your 4th pic a bit below the lip.
I've started at Harbour Flatts and climbed your descent route a number of times - they're very obviousd on that


Thank you for reading :) I have to admit I had to Google lateral moraines, so thank you for the information! My knowledge of geology is almost non existent, which is a shame when I spend so much time on hills and mountains :shock:
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Christo1979
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Posts: 202
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Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Christo1979 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:04 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Fine report of a real jewel in the Pennines. I've done a very similar route myself and can confirm your return to the head of Trundale Gill was the best thing you could have done, the more direct route to High Cup Nick is truly awful, and that was after a dry spell.


Thank you :) I'm glad you said that, I had read mixed reports and felt it looked 'a bit rough' so am pleased to hear that confirmed from someone who knows!
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Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
Grahams:31   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:94   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby past my sell by date » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:53 pm

You should always be thinking about how the area you are walking was formed I think - it adds interest. :)
everything in the UK has been disguised by around 10,000 years of "botany". But if you go to the Alps you can see it as it happens
fin.jpg
same place 17 years apart
past my sell by date
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Posts: 778
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Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby trailmasher » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:57 pm

Great report and photos Christo :clap: :clap: and it is indeed awe inspiring when seen for the first time 8) As I live just below it I make it one of my regular walks each year :)
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Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Christo1979 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:19 pm

past my sell by date wrote:You should always be thinking about how the area you are walking was formed I think - it adds interest. :)
everything in the UK has been disguised by around 10,000 years of "botany". But if you go to the Alps you can see it as it happens
fin.jpg
same place 17 years apart


That's unbelievable! Thanks for sharing the photos - I think it's time I tried to get to grips with the geology of it all :shock:
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Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 202
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Location: Gateshead

Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Christo1979 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:20 pm

trailmasher wrote:Great report and photos Christo :clap: :clap: and it is indeed awe inspiring when seen for the first time 8) As I live just below it I make it one of my regular walks each year :)


Thank you, sir :) You live in a beautiful part of the world :D
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Christo1979
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Posts: 202
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Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
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Location: Gateshead

Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:11 am

Wonderful photos of one of my very favourite places
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Christo1979 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:53 am

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:Wonderful photos of one of my very favourite places


Thanks for reading :)
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Christo1979
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Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
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Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Murton Pike, Murton Fell & High Cup Nick

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:45 am

Excellent report and some excellent pics. Funnily enough, I was just poring over the map of this area last night and my attention was drawn to the contours in this area, and I thought: I must visit that!!! Now I see I really really really must visit it!

The tights weren't too off-putting (that's my default lower covering in spring and autumn anyway). But if you really want to look like a wally, put shorts on over your tights! That's what both my brother and I do, and we get some lovely looks....

But there are some good underlying practical reasons for this ludicrous garb...
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