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Doing the Dodds over a couple of days

Doing the Dodds over a couple of days


Postby malky_c » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:26 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Clough Head, Great Dodd, Hart Side, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson's Dodd

Hewitts included on this walk: Clough Head, Great Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd

Date walked: 21/09/2020

Time taken: 7.7

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 840m

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Hewitts: Clough Head, Great Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd.
Date: 20-21/09/2020.
Distance:19 km.
Ascent: 840m.
Time: 7 hours, 40 minutes.
Weather: Sunday - warm and sunny. Monday - sunny and hazy with cold breeze on summits.

We finally managed to escape the Ullswater chaos up at the carpark at High Row, where there were a couple of spaces left. We planned to camp on Clough Head tonight, and we were hoping to add some more hills onto the route the next day if Jackie was still up for it. We were in no rush to get going as it was only lunchtime, so we spent a good hour packing up and relaxing before heading off just after 2pm.


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Great Mell Fell

We followed the old coach road towards St John's in the Vale, meeting lots of groups of 4x4s on the initial section and the odd motorbike later on. It was pretty hot today and by the time we reached Mosedale Beck it was time for a quick paddle and wash.

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Great and Little Mell Fell

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Blencathra from the coach road

Next we had to hop over a fence to pick up a faint path up Clough Head. This was fairly unremarkable but straightforward, with views of Blencathra improving as we got higher. Things got steeper for a while which killed Jackie off so we stopped for a short break at the tiny knobble of White Pike for some water and a break.

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Clough Head

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Wolf Crags

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Blencathra

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East to the Pennines

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Blencathra from White Pike

A bit more ascent, less steep now, and I moved to the right slightly, suddenly finding myself on the edge of Red Screes with a view across Derwent Water to the NW Lakes. This was going to be a pretty good summit!

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Derwentwater and the NW fells

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Keswick and Skiddaw

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Skiddaw and Blencathra

Once at the top, we were able to set up camp just to the NW of the trig point right on the edge of the corrie. In terms of sunset potential, this was much better than Place Fell the night before as we could see right out to the west past Skiddaw.

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Camp spot on Clough Head

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Blencathra from Clough Head

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Skiddaw with Scotland beyond

There was also less wind than the night before, so it was great for sitting out. As the sun dropped and the light left, the lights of Keswick looked pretty impressive, and we could just make out the Galloway coast and Cairnsmore of Fleet beyond (which had been part of an alternative plan if we had decided to head north sooner).

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Central fells of the Lakes

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Light going

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Coledale hills

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Sun setting over the Coledale hills

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West at sunset

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Sun has disappeared
__________________________________________

Next morning dawned clearer of cloud than the previous one had done, but much hazier. The wind had increased during the night and changed direction by 90 degrees, showing up the shortcomings of our tent. It isn't really designed for wind but isn't too bad if pitched nose into the wind. However once that shifted, the sides really struggled to cope. It wasn't much of an issue this morning, but it made us aware we would need to use one of our smaller, more inferior tents if we were expecting breezier conditions.

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Sunrise over the Mell Fells

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Hazy morning over Derwent Water

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Morning brew

We weren't up particularly early, but managed to finally get packed and moving by 10am. Today if Jackie was up for it, we would attempt to head south as far as Stybarrow Dodd before turning east to come down over Hart Side.

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Newlands and Coledale hills

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Blencathra

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South towards Great Dodd

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Across High Rigg to the Newlands hills

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Back to Clough Head

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Skiddaw from Great Dodd

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South to Helvellyn

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East from Great Dodd

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Scafell Pike and Great Gable across Watson's Dodd

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Thirlmere

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Towards Bassenthwaite Lake

Things worked out pretty well as the walking was straightforward and on good paths. We stopped on the short diversion to Watson's Dodd for a break as it stood away from the ridge a bit, and was good for views down Thirlmere. These were some of the busiest hills we had been on all week - not in a queues-for-the-summit kind of way, but even on a Monday lunchtime, there was a steady trickle of people in ones and twos. Not that this was a problem, but it was somewhat unexpected given that these are less interesting than many of the Lakeland hills. Possibly the combination of easy walking and good scenery makes them popular.

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Watson's Dodd

We had another break on Stybarrow Dodd, and again on Hart Side -the luxury of starting high and not being in a hurry. While we lost the views westwards, Helvellyn and Ullswater opened up instead. By the time we came to descend Hart Side, Jackie was tiring so we looked for the shortest way down. A faint path led down the slopes east of Birkett Fell - not the most common way off by the looks of it, but one that suited our needs today.

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Looking back along the route from Stybarrow Dodd

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Stybarrow Dodd from White Stones

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Across Sheffield Pike to the Far Eastern Fells

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Ullswater down Glencoyne

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Mell Fells from Hart Side

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Ullswater from Hart Side

Things got a little boggy before joining the footpath crossing the bridge over to Dowthwaitehead, but soon we were on tarmac. Down here, the wind cold wind that we had been walking in was negligible and it was really hot and sunny. The slight ascent back to the car was a bit of a struggle for Jackie, but before too long we were there.

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Dowthwaitehead

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Dowthwaite Crag

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Dowthwaite Crag

...and that was the end of a great week in the Lakes. The weather had been kind to us and the choice of easier walks than in the Scottish Highlands had been extensive. Not to mention managing to fit in a couple of summit camps at the end. We now had no time left to do anything in the Southern Uplands so instead we headed back to Inverness, stopping for a quick overnighter at Jackie's place on the way through Glasgow. We had fully expected to be back in Glasgow at this point, but with Jackie's ongoing fatigue problems after COVID, we were both still working from home and therefore keen to avoid the stricter restrictions that had come in recently in the Central Belt.
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 6031
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:278   Hewitts:268
Wainwrights:122   Islands:36
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

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