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Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.


Postby trailmasher » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:54 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Binsey, Dodd

Date walked: 15/02/2018

Time taken: 3.7

Distance: 10.7 km

Ascent: 667m

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Binsey.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


After our walk in the Howgills last Monday Chris and I decided to get a couple of little ones out of the way, they being Binsey the stand alone dome shaped hill that can be spotted for what it is for miles and along with Longlands Fell is also the furthest north of any of the Wainwright's. The other one would be Dodd under Skiddaw.

Binsey was first on the list, it's not much of a walk really if one just climbs up the green lane and back the same way so as both of the proposed hills are fairly short walks I suggested that we do a bit of a circular and drop off by the northwest facing slope just to drag it out a bit.

Chris and I met at my place at around 8:15am and then made our way over to Bassenthwaite to the furthest of our destinations that is Binsey, and as we parked up on the long stretch of dirt that acts as the car park we were met with early snow showers, cold wind, cloud with some sun around 10:15am that lasted until mid afternoon. The parking place is just south of Binsey Cottage at NY235350 just at the east end of the road to Fell End.

ImageReady for the off

As it's only a short walk we decided not to take our bags so set off through the roadside gate to enter some stock pens and then through a second one and onto the fellside where we were met with a green lane that would take us all the way to the summit. I think that the track was once used to service the now redundant quarries and pits that were scattered around Binsey the remains of which can still be seen although nature is working its magic and repairing the industrial damage of days gone by.

ImageThrough the sheep pens to Binsey

Although the ground was clear of snow it was frozen hard and wet, making for very slippery conditions underfoot. The walking was easy with no untoward difficulties apart from icy conditions as we neared the top. The wind was blowing and its usual direction can be noted by the way that the stunted trees are leaning.

ImageWind swept trees

As we progressed steadily uphill the green lane changed colour to a dirty brown but the views east towards the snow capped Skiddaw group and the Northern Fells more than made up for the dirty wet brown beneath our feet.

ImageNorthern Fells and Over Water

ImageSkiddaw and its many friends

We met a lady who was on her way down and stopping for a moment to pass the time of day established that it was the second time that day that she had been to the summit - it's only 9:30am - as she was climbing it every day for a year for charity and as she was going on holiday that evening she was getting her quota in for the time that she would be away. Fair play to her.

As we got higher so the patches of ice began to appear on the track but was no cause for concern and it only took us half an hour to get to the summit that is a small rocky outcrop sporting a cairn, stone built trig column, and a shelter scattered along its grass covered top.

ImageThe summit appears

ImageBinsey summit

For such a small fell of only 447 metres in height the views in all directions are amazing and
if the weather had been a bit clearer we would have been able to see right over into Scotland.

ImageThe Uldale Fells from Binsey summit

Once we had enjoyed the views we walked over to the northwest where there is a secondary summit with a cairn of rocks.

ImageSubsidiary summit to the northwest

ImageThe view north

Leaving the wonderful views behind we made our way off the summits to then continue along the track that continued on downwards to the northwest but on arriving at an old and unmarked quarry the track stopped and we were then reduced to a good path that continued down at a steady gradient and then swerved off to the west towards the site of an old pit. From this lower altitude we had a good view over the lowlands.

ImageThe view across Whittas Park

The next photo shows where we dropped an obvious clanger in our navigation and makes one wonder why this sort of thing happens. We should have taken the quite obvious path to the left but for some reason - probably talking and looking at the view - we carried on down the fellside.

ImageThe view south from the west end of Binsey

We didn't realise until we had nearly got to the wall but we followed some bits of paths and sheep trods slowly working our way uphill again until we reached the correct path with nothing lost and only frustration at having missed the obvious. To take our minds off the navigation error we took solace with the great view across Bassenthwaite towards the Whinlatter Fells.

ImageLong Side Edge-Bassenthwaite-Whinlatter Fells

All that's left now is the walk back along the path back to the sheep pens and car.

ImageThe path back to Binsey House and car

A little hill with big views that is often the case with the lesser fells so maybe they should be given more credit than they actually get. I've been up Binsey in summer but the snow seems to add to a picture with the definition and profiles standing out. Like many more people before me and those that will continue to wonder at Wainwright's choice of this fell being included in his great books, he was no fool and recognised the value of its position and the great views that it would offer to the many that have and will climb it.

Now for Dodd


Dodd.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Now that Chris has got that one ticked off we made our way south on the A591 to the car park at Dodd Wood where we pulled in to the side parking area and had something to eat and drink before setting off once again without bags to get this other quite small fell crossed off for my NE'ern mate. Having eaten I went to pay the car park charges and found that the payment machine was covered over and sporting the notice that as most of the trails were closed due to forestry work there would be no charges until such time as the paths were re-opened in the near future. What a bummer.

Nonetheless we made our way over to a small crowd of people who were stood by the barriers of the footbridge across Skill Beck and the path into the forest. I was here at about this time of the year of 2017 with E and we found similar such things but as we progressed into the trees there was no sign or sound of any works going on so we did the walk without any problem at all. Today Chris and I are hoping for a similar situation as then as we could neither see nor hear any signs of labour going on. We had a chat with the group of people and Chris and I decided to go for it as on three past occasions I have come across this before and not once seen any signs of work going on.

ImageAll tracks and trails blocked by the Forestry Commission

We walked through the cones and walked along the path that follows Skill Beck for quite a way without seeing any signs or sounds of tree felling…

ImageThe path alongside Skill Beck

that is until we arrived at the place where we would have turned to our right and gone up to join the main forestry track that runs straight up to Long Doors and the path to the summit. The way was blocked by lopped of branches so numerous that we would have had no chance of getting through them in any event and then the silence was broken by the sounds of an excavator on the forestry road way above and the sound of one of their tree lopping machines circular saw cutting away, Lunch break must be over.

What to do then was the question? Should we turn back and retreat? Not an option really as Chris has driven a long way to get a walk and only has limited time on shore so I suggested that another option was to cross Skill Beck and climb the opposite bank until we reached the metalled forestry service road that would take us all the way to Long Doors from where we could then pick up the track and path to the summit. It's not the circular that we had planned, only a straight up and down now but as there was no work going on in the Longside Wood area it was a safe option and Chris would have got his quota for the day. The total mileage of the two walks is not much and it would have been a shame to drive 130 miles for a 3 mile walk on Binsey, so crossing Skill Beck it was. There is a narrow path leading down to the beck where it was easy to cross over without getting wet feet with a fairly steep climb up the opposite side. There is no path at this point but someone else had obviously used the same spot to do what we were doing as the boot marks were clear to see. A bit of a rough scramble over soft ground, fallen branches, and rotten tree stumps soon had us on the road…

ImageWe crossed over the beck to the metalled road

and we now had a steady walk up hill on the steadily rising gradient.

As we walked on we saw some forestry workers on the other side looking down on us but they did not challenge our progress that endorsed our opinion that there was no work activities on this side of the beck. There was much water running off the fells and passing through the pipes set under the road. At one point the road had been washed away by one of the watercourses running down the fellside and had been reinstated by a large diameter pipe with a stone covering instead of tarmac. Sonny managed to clamber down one sump for a play about.

ImageSonny taking a drink

At about the 300 metre height there is a path leading down to a footbridge over Skill Beck and this also had a barrier across the path.

ImageBarriers between barriers

Before very long after some steady walking we arrived at another barrier set up opposite Gable Gill that runs off the west face of Long Side…

ImageBarrier at Gable Gill

and soon after that left the tarmac to now walk on a snow and ice covered stoned up track that put us at the log stacking area at Long Doors where the track that we were going to use and comes in from the right was also blocked off.

ImageThe two tracks either side of Skill Beck at Long Doors

Up to this point all we could see was trees, albeit handsome trees but it was better as the ground opened up to reveal a glimpse of the snow capped mountains away in the distance.

ImageA mountain view from Long Doors

ImageKeswick-Derwent Water and mountains a plenty

Leaving the views to themselves for a while we set off along the gently rising track from where the summit soon came into view.

ImageThe summit is in sight now

As we got higher the track became snow and ice covered but caused no untoward difficulties, and then as we arrived at the point where the track ends and the path starts off to the summit the views are indeed spectacular over and across Keswick. There is a bench seat set up on top of the knoll that is facing south.

ImageLooking south from Dodd

ImageCarl Side and Skiddaw

ImageCarl Side and Long Side Edge

After the photo shoot we turned our attention to the short climb along the path to the summit.

ImageDodd summit monument in view

Like Binsey this underrated 'mountain' has superb views across the Lake District mountains and although Chris got in the way a couple of times he couldn't spoil the beauty that lay before us.

ImageA surfeit of mountains around Keswick

ImageLatrigg-Clough Head-The Dodds and on to Helvellyn

ImageChris in usual summit pose on Dodd

ImageBassenthwaite from Dodd

ImageBarf-Lords Seat-Grisedale Pike etc to the left

It has been mostly cloudy this afternoon but suddenly a shaft of sunlight shone down like a spotlight to brighten up the green pastures that are just behind Braithwaite.

ImageA little ray of sunshine picks out Braithwaite

After enjoying the views for a while we simply retraced our steps back to the car park where we had to stride over a few discarded branches and pass through a log stacking area that is more or less redundant…

ImageForestry debris left behind as per usual

ImageAnd a bit lower down the track

but instead of crossing the beck again we walked down to the footbridge near the car park and simply crossed at the weir where the water barely covered the shingle.

Despite the change of route it has been a good walk and whichever way we had gone we would have been surrounded by trees until we had got to Long Doors. As mentioned we had no hassle from the forestry workers as we were well away from their place of work but I suppose that they could have insisted that we return, but the suggestion was never made. There was the same cold wind as there was at Binsey once we had got to the summit but nothing like it was when we was in the Howgills. There is a sign up indicating that most of the trails, paths, and track would be open by 12th February and as we were there on the 15th and work was still going on it looks like they have missed their target date. We just felt sorry for the numerous other visitors who had turned up for a walk - many with children - who could only do a lap of the car park before leaving and missing the great walks around Dodd.
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trailmasher
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby Broggy1 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:08 pm

Nice duo but it's a complete faff on Dodd at the moment isn't it?

I fell into this trap recently when I thought I could just easily add it onto a Skiddaw day and descend to Millbeck. Ended up doing a full lap of the hill and climbing back to White Stones on Carlside!

I think there's but one way to get to and from the summit at the moment.
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:49 pm

I was just up Binsey at the start of the month and the views were as good as I remembered, well worth a place in the books IMHO, one day I'll make a proper walk of it as it certainly deserves it. Glad I stayed clear of Dodd on the same day, looks a right pain.
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:21 pm

Well persevered, and nice account of risk v good sense! I thrashed about through Dodds wood in Sept 2016 too, but I think that was my fault. Finally headed over to Carlside, and like you, really felt that lovely lift at suddenly being out in the open with a view of the hills.
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:45 pm

Broggy1 wrote:Nice duo but it's a complete faff on Dodd at the moment isn't it?

I fell into this trap recently when I thought I could just easily add it onto a Skiddaw day and descend to Millbeck. Ended up doing a full lap of the hill and climbing back to White Stones on Carlside!

I think there's but one way to get to and from the summit at the moment.


A fine pair of hills indeed B1 :) and I remember reading your report of having similar problems that don't seem to have eased any for the better :crazy: We met an elderly couple who had walked up from the Lyzzick Hotel so well done them :clap:
Thanks for your comments :D
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:48 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:I was just up Binsey at the start of the month and the views were as good as I remembered, well worth a place in the books IMHO, one day I'll make a proper walk of it as it certainly deserves it. Glad I stayed clear of Dodd on the same day, looks a right pain.


Aye JK it's a bit far out but as you say, worth the drive over and short climb for some big views :D
I feel sorry for the people who arrive at Dodd expecting to get at least a stroll through the woods :? :(
Thanks for your comments :D
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:54 pm

EmmaKTunskeen wrote:Well persevered, and nice account of risk v good sense! I thrashed about through Dodds wood in Sept 2016 too, but I think that was my fault. Finally headed over to Carlside, and like you, really felt that lovely lift at suddenly being out in the open with a view of the hills.


Thanks very much for your comments EKT :D and with Chris driving so far we had to form a plan B that was both safe and quick to avoid any confrontation with the authorities :wink:
BTW, it's quite a pull up to Carl Side from the forestry road so well done you for going that way :clap:
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby MiniRambo » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:34 pm

Well done TM for getting out on the hill again. I remember with a smile our route off Dodd a few years back - I seem to recall that a rope and machete would have been handy :lol: :lol:
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby trailmasher » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:36 pm

MiniRambo wrote:Well done TM for getting out on the hill again. I remember with a smile our route off Dodd a few years back - I seem to recall that a rope and machete would have been handy :lol: :lol:


I remember it well :? a rocky and jungle like route down the northwest ridge with track shown on the map but actually none existent apart from the top few metres from the summit. It surely is MiniRambo territory :lol: :lol:
Aye it was good to get out again after six weeks of feeling sorry for myself 8) but then again we can't help sickness :roll:

Thanks for your comments :D and nice to hear from you again :clap: . Maybe walk a hill together again sometime 8)
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby MiniRambo » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:43 pm

I would like that very much. Let's try and get something organised for April? :D :D
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Re: Binsey and a sneak on to Dodd.

Postby trailmasher » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:05 pm

MiniRambo wrote:I would like that very much. Let's try and get something organised for April? :D :D


Okay, :thumbup: :) I am maybe a bit more flexible with my time than you are MR so make a plan and I'll check that E hasn't got anything planned. Preferences :?:
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