North Pennine Walks
Date: 28th October 2007
Distance: 10.1 miles
Ascent: 2357 feet
Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY689250
A fine walk from Dufton visiting Backstone Edge via Threlkeld Side before making for the summit of Knock Fell and returning via the Pennine Way.
Route Summary: Dufton - Threlkeld Side - Backstone Edge - Great Rundale Tarn - Knock Fell - Knock Hush - Pennine Way - Dufton
1. Dufton Pike
2. Brownber Hill
3. Backstone Edge
4. Threlkeld Side
5. Looking back along Great Rundale to Dufton Pike
6. Knock Fell from Backstone Edge
7. On Backstone Edge
8. The trig point on Backstone Edge
9. Great Rundale Tarn
10. Lakeland skyline from Knock Fell
11. The top of Knock Fell looking to the Dun Fells and Cross Fell
12. The Knock Old Man
13. Knock Pike
14. Swindale Beck
Walk Detail: This was the longest, highest walk I had done since injuring my knee on Sca Fell Pike in May, by this time the physio I had been receiving had really begun to work and give me some confidence back.
The weather was fantastic with the cloud rising, first from the top of Dufton Pike before clearing Backstone Edge and eventually Knock Fell as well. An early highlight was the bridleway circling the shapely Dufton Pike and the views up Great Rundale and across to Brownber Hill.
The gradual climb along the mine track up Great Rundale beneath Threlkeld Side was fantastic and very un-Pennine like; in fact the scenery was much more reminiscent of the Lakes. The scenery changed dramatically to a more traditional Pennine one upon reaching the moorland edge which I followed south to the trig point and then to the summit of Backstone Edge.
The views from the edge were fantastic with the Lakeland fells showing up very prominently; indeed I could pick out and name most of the fells on view.
Whilst I was on Backstone Edge a patch of cloud was still covering the top of Knock Fell but the nearer I got the more it cleared. After the good path on the climb this section was nearly all on rough moorland and it is a good job the cloud had cleared otherwise navigation would have been potentially difficult.
Knock Fell, the fourth highest Pennine fell managed to improve on the view from Backstone Edge by giving distant glimpses of Criffel in Scotland and even the Cheviot to the north east. The Lakeland skyline was superb while Mickle Fell, the Dales Fells and the Howgill Fells also stood out. Nearer to hand Great Dun Fell and Cross Fell looked very inviting.
For such a major top, and one of the few in the North Pennines to be crossed by the Pennine Way I was surprised to have the summit all to myself, and indeed it was some way into my descent that I saw any other walkers.
The descent was a long extended one but with near perfect weather and the views across the Eden Valley this was not a problem. Knock Pike also looked very shapely in front as well. The final couple of miles back into Dufton got a little tedious as the path was slippy and muddy but despite that this was still one of the best walks of the year.
The fact my knee had held up so well left me feeling elated while the views and weather had been magical.