16th August – Dufton to Alston

20180816 Looking back at Cross Fell
Cross Fell

Thursday

Today was a big day, over 20 miles and 1070m of ascent, to get over Cross Fell, at 893m the highest point on the Pennine Way.  Yesterday walkers had turned back because of the high winds.  Luckily, thanks to Alan and Katy providing up to date weather forecasts, I found that there was a window of opportunity between 10-12 before 40 mph winds and rain arrived.

I left Dufton at 7.10 and almost immediately began the first climb of the day.  I crossed Great Rundale Beck, via a clapper footbridge and came upon a large black bull which took rather too much notice of my progress, but eventually decided he would let me pass unmolested.

20180816 Swindale Beck
Swindale Beck

The way continued up to cross Swindale Beck, before arriving at Green Fell (794m).

20180816 Looking west from Green Fell
Looking west from Green Fell

From here the path crossed a bog, before reaching a flagged path leading to the road to the radar station on Great Dun Fell.  By this time the wind was getting up and storm clouds were racing in from the west.

20180816 Approaching radar station on Great Dun Fell
Approaching the radar station on Great Dun Fell

I had left Dufton following an Australian lady, and we had swapped places throughout the morning, as one or other of us stopped for a rest.  She led over Great Dun Fell (848m), and having crossed a col, stopped at the shelter on Little Dun Fell.

20180816 Little Dun Fell with Cross Fell on skyline
Little Dun Fell with Cross Fell on the skyline behind it

By now it was raining so we donned our waterproof trousers and decided that it would be sensible to keep one another in sight until we reached the track, leading to Greg’s Hut bothy, on the other side of Cross Fell.

Heading up into the mist we reached the intermediate cairn and followed a bearing to find the summit cairn.  Another quick bearing led us safely out of the murk and the crossing was complete.  In truth it had been quite easy.  I have to confess that this is the first time I have climbed Cross Fell.  10 years ago I could not find the summit, in much worse conditions, and must have traversed round until I picked up the path down.

 

20180816 Moors beyond Greg's Hut Bothy
The moors beyond Greg’s Hut bothy

I stopped for a while at the bothy and then walked down the track to Carrigill. The track was being remade, to allow vehicles to access the moor for shooting, and the walk out was long and tiring.  At Carrigill my colleague and I were looking forward to some tea, so it was a disappointment that the pub was closed.

A quick look at the map enabled us to follow a parallel track and we arrived at Alston at 4.45.

20180816 Dufton
Alston

Once again I was the only person in a dormitory for eight.  After a shower and sorting out all of the wet kit, I went to the Cumberland Hotel which provided a substantial meal.  Then I had an early night.

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