You can easily park your car somewhere near the hamlet of Knock, on the edge of the Pennines, and walk up the distinctive Knock Pike. But it’s the sort of short walk you’d do only if you were really pushed for time.
Instead, we started from the neighbouring village of Dufton and walked through some very attractive countryside to get there.
I’ve mentioned before the three distinctive pikes that you see as you drive along the A66 from Penrith to Appleby. I’ve blogged the ascents of the two highest – Murton Pike and Dufton Pike (see blogs passim). These massive hills rise along the edge of the Eden Valley like mighty guardians for the greater slopes of the north Pennines.
And it was using the Pennine Way that we left Dufton on our way to Knock Pike. (If you’re feeling energetic you can easily incorporate Dufton Pike on to this walk).
Dufton – the village of the doves – is a very pretty place. The poet W.H. Auden thought it one of the prettiest in England. In the bed and breakfasts and the youth hostel you might find ramblers doing the Pennine Way – an attractive part of that National Trail (could we rename then National Ways please? A Trail sounds something vaguely Wild West).
And this stretch of the Pennine Way from Dufton to Cosca Hill runs up a very attractive green lane of considerable antiquity called Hurning Lane. So pretty with the first shades of autumn colouring on the trees.
Along the track is the derelict farmhouse of Halsteads. I mentioned this on my blog on Dufton Pike. Pity to see it like this, though it’s the sort of place I used to spend the night in during my tramping days. It would make a splendid bothy or camping barn for Pennine Way walkers.
After Cosca Hill, the track runs downhill to a ford over the Great Rundale Beck (you can turn right here to ascend Dufton Pike, but see my blog – you get hung up with walls if you try to go up too early).
But this day we turned left, through the gate by the ford and over a lovely little clam bridge. A few yards up the track we crossed a stile over the wall (I love our old stiles) and took the footpath running parallel to the beck at Knock Gill. Climbing up through the fields we reached a track which winds up and around the eastern side of Knock Pike.
This too must be quite an ancient route, though the undergrowth is claiming it back. It really needs clearing by next year. (Duly reported to Pathwatch on the Ramblers Association website).
Mind, we collected a lot of blackberries along the way and quite delicious they were.
You need to follow the path right to the northern side of Knock Pike before you begin the climb upwards. There’s a very obvious path for the first part, leading to a saddle between Knock Pike and its spur. At the top of the saddle you make the grassy ascent to the top. There’s no clear path, suggesting that this is the least climbed of the three pikes.
It was very blowy on the top, but the views are magnificent. Excellent views of the other two pikes, the Pennines, the Eden Valley across to Wild Boar Fell and the Lakeland mountains.
We descended on to the footpath north of the Pike (mind you skirt the spur – there’s an old quarry of considerable proportions if you try to go direct.). Then out on to the lane leading down into Knock – a quiet place of attractive cottages and a rather splendid and still in use old Mission Hall.
We walked back to Dufton by way of the quiet lane, though there are footpaths to either side if you fancy a few diversions.
Knock Pike might be the smallest of the three but it has some very pleasant walking as you get there.