Dufton Weekend 2014

Dufton Weekend 2014

Friday 30th May - Sunday 1st June 2014

Dufton Youth Hostel, 
(Ordnance Survey Map Number: 91 Grid Reference: NY 688 251)

The Fabulous Eden Valley
The Ladies Weekend 2014.

I have left it until the end of the year before I got round to writing this - so I will put my photos in and explain myself as I go.

This year, we took over the whole hostel at Dufton, near Appleby-in-Westmorland, about a week before the horse fair.  It is a lovely village, with a smashing pub, and the most wonderful countryside in the Eden Valley.


People arrived at different times; I quite like to make it a longer weekend so a few of us made our way to meet at Dufton by late morning, and set off to Appleby in search of lunch. 

A suitable cafe was duly located just over the bridge.  

We walked up the main street, called Boroughgate, which is wide and has marvellous old houses which only walking past allows you to really see them.

At the top of the hill is one of two Market Crosses, or High Cross, dating from the 17th Century. 

This is by the gates to the castle, not open at the time we visited (apparently opened in June!) but a fantastic looking place.

We followed route 71, which took us up and along some fantastic country lanes, and through Kings Meaburn.

The unusual name comes from Henry II who confiscated half the manor from the Lord of the Manor, after he ordered his soldiers to murder the Archbishop of Canterbury in Dec 1170.

I love a bit of history!

Still early in the year, cow parsley adorned the road side.

I have visited this area before (which is how I knew it was lovely) - and also where a nice cafe lurked.  National Trust properties nearly always have good cakes and scones- and Acorn Bank is no exception.

It has a lovely walled garden, and extensive herb garden.  Someone said there was a bee swarm in the orchard, so I popped down to have a look (before the bee keeper came to take them away!)

The bee swarm was large, and they had settled near (or not gone far from) a collection of hives , all different styles.  I will have to bring my husband back!

Following the stream back, I took the ladies to Milburn where I had seen a maypole on my last visit, but I could not spot it.

Milburn, like Dufton, has a very wide main street, with large grass verge and central grass areas.

I note it is a medieval fortified village, only accessible at the four corners.  The link above shows some striking aerial photos which show this.

Anyway, we could not find the maypole, which I discovered later that night in the pub had been taken down. (We met a chap who had helped some ladies out with mechanics, and lived in Milburn. His love is mountain biking)

The weather on Friday was just glorious, and many photos were taken!

...rounded off by a meal at The Stag


The morning just looked fabulous out of the window.

 We assembled (eventually) outside the hostel.

No-one else had planned any routes, but 26 cannot ride in one group.

So we decided to follow on but leave enough gaps and space between groups.

As I said, we were there a week before the horse-fair, and so there were a few unusual characters around - take this cowboy, for instance!

 A few of us took a little detour to Rutter Falls, a very pretty mill and falls, and a great opportunity for some photos.  

And a hill back out!

Returning to the road (following route 68) we came near to Great Asby,and another tiny deviation.  

After this, we deviated right to cross Crosby Garrett Fell (or near enough). 

Great swathes of limestone pavement and escarpments, lakes and sheep.  All things Cumbria (with a smattering of Dales).

And a farmer herding his sheep!

We were heading to a cafe in Orton (of which there are actually several!) but there are also quite a few little roads in the village - so I enlisted the help of a local.  She told us there had been a 'scarecrow' competition and invited us to see her entry (OK, I asked her to show us!).

Quite impressive - if not entirely scarecrow-y!

The Cafe welcomed us - but battled valiantly against technology - the tills were not working, and service was unfortunately slow.  But the ladies were quite hungry and it was good food,so worth the wait.

Leaving the cafe I announced we were going to ride up the M6.

No-one believed me!

But crossing the cattle grid took us under the Southbound carriage way, turn right...

...and voila!  Lorries and cars heading north and south, and us in between with a few sheep.

You could hardly even hear the traffic!

That is something to look out for/ point out on you next journey up to the Lakes and over Shap.

Talking of which..

The Greyhound at Shap.  Looks like my doggie!

Must be time for another cafe...

Abbey Coffee Shop - another very friendly cafe,with a unique tea cosy on each table!

We filled the cafe!
In case you are wondering - this is a bee hive tea cosy with bees and flowers.

Of course!

When I was taking the cafe shot, I met this rather marvellous if not quite eccentric (and a little inebriated) local character, who was carrying a toaster box.

When I asked what was in his box, he showed me this delightful gypsy caravan model....no reason other than Appleby Horse Fair!

As you do....

 Passing Shap church, we then climbed up and out of the village

...And then had a fan-tas-tic descent into Crosby Ravensworth.

...and it's sheep!

From here we climbed from Mauds Meaburn to a great viewpoint (by a rather smashing house with views both sides)

Down again to Appleby, where some went straight back, and some of us lingered to explore the church

The Norman (in parts) St Lawrence's Church, dating from 1150.

Bridge over the River Eden


Sunday was as beautiful as the pas two days - what lovely weather we had!

We headed north, through Knock, Milburn, Blencarn and Kirkland, skirting the fells to our right.  

When we got to Melmerby there were two cafe's to choose from, we picked the bakery and were able to sit outside in the garden 

We continued on our way through Gamblesby, just such lovely lanes.

No doubt this family were heading to Appleby for the horse fair, they gave us a cheery wave as we came past.

Sometimes you just have the most magical moments when out on your bike!

I love looking at maps, and then when I see something that looks interesting, that is where we head.

I saw 'Long Meg and her Daughters' at NY 571 372 and so we had to investigate these ancient standing stones.

Long Meg herself

You can read more about the legends and stories here, but as with most stone circles we really do not know why - Long Meg stands outside the circle and is sandstone, with concentric circle pattern you can just make out on this pic.

Plenty of opportunity for photos and exploring, and some chanting but no naked dancing.  

Not our first stone circle on ladies weekend, if you recall 2010 near Montgomery.

Group photo before jumping back on the bikes.

Sometimes a lovely view is glimpsed and I have to stop and take a photo (or several usually in my case).  Here we can see a viaduct on the Settle - Carlisle railway line.

...and there was a scarecrow/cyclist waiting for the Tour (due in July) so I took a selfie ha ha!

We returned via Acorn Bank again - this time I was able to have a plain scone cream tea - yum!

...and we had a little line up by the gate.  There are lovely gardens here, with walls and secret gates.

Finally, finding just a few more hills we had missed earlier, we headed back to Dufton, and our cars, to head back home.

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