High Cup Gill

High Cup Gill is an unforgettable and remorselessly impressive U-shaped glacial valley (‘gill’ is old Norse for ‘ravine’) which trends NE-SW from the top of the Pennine Escarpment down into the Eden Valley, near the village of Dufton in Cumbria. Both the Pennine Way and the Teesdale Way long-distance walking routes utilise the trail which runs along the NW edge of the feature, most closely through rocky Narrow Gate where it crosses Strands Beck near its Hannah’s Well source. 

Probably the most notable feature associated with High Cup Gill is High Cup Scar, a pelmet-like exposure of the Great Whin Sill, lining the lip of the valley. It’s easy to see how the ice has struggled against the harder igneous rock while being able to remove the sedimentary rock much more easily. The scree extending down the valley sides is dolerite from the Whin Sill. The outcrop continues along the escarpment which marks the western extent of the intrusion.

High Cup Nick forms the rocky, igneous apex of High Cup Gill, where High Cup Gill Beck runs off High Cup Plain before being joined by Strands Beck on the valley bottom, way below. Close to the Nick, the distinctive pinnacle of Nichol Chair is associated with the eponymous cobbler who, legend has it, apparently undertook his trade on the feature in order to win a bet. High Cup Plain is the flatter area east of High Cup Gill, where the Tynebottom Limestone can be seen as a kind of ‘rock garden’ approaching Maize Beck Scar

Location NY 746261 (High Cup Nick)


Geology North. The Whin Sill. Geology North. https://www.geologynorth.uk/the-whin-sill/. Accessed 12 10 2020.

Burgess, I. C., and A. J. Wadge. The Geology of the Cross Fell Area. Institute of Geological Sciences, 1974. British Geological Survey (BGS), http://pubs.bgs.ac.uk/publications.html?pubID=B01749. Accessed 12 10 2020.

British Geological Survey (BGS). “Geology of Britain Viewer.” http://mapapps.bgs.ac.uk/geologyofbritain/home.html.

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