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A Dodd-le of a walk with E.

A Dodd-le of a walk with E.


Postby trailmasher » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:17 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Dodd

Date walked: 02/12/2016

Time taken: 1.58

Distance: 7.3 km

Ascent: 432m

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


E has never been to the top of the small hill that sits below its neighbouring giant that goes by the name of Skiddaw, but today she did climb it. The small fell of Dodd is in plain sight when driving down the A66 or walking the fells that lay across from it on the opposite side of Bassenthwaite Lake. It now has an exposed top but quite a good number of years ago when it was thick with pine trees from top to bottom it always made me think of a dark haired Bart Simpson as the trees on the summit looked almost level from a distance. It's a short walk and easily accessible as the tracks and paths are very well graded, firm and level making for a nice walk through the Dodd Wood pine plantation that opens up as height is gained giving views across the valley over Bassenthwaite Lake, the Whinlatter Fells, Braithwaite, Keswick, the fells from Clough Head to Helvellyn, and all the fells encircling Derwent Water plus the ones of the Coledale Round and a few behind. This is a great little hill.

We arrived at the Woodland Trust car park with its tea room - now closed until the 18th February 2017 - and public toilets - open for business - at around 10am on a cloudy but fairly bright day, a cool breeze was obvious but it was dry as I put my £4.90p into the machine in exchange for a ticket that would give me 4 hours of parking time. Three hours would have been ample time but with the only options being 1, 2, or 4 it seemed better to take the longer option in case something went wrong. Note the tariff of £4.90p. How many people I wonder have the exact change, and with no change given how much more is the WT surreptitiously making with this policy especially when all the other tariffs end with a .90p. In spite of being a Yorkshire lad I'm not tight by any means but I do wish that they wouldn't take us for idiots and man up and charge the full pound instead of me having to have a gripe about it.

Now that the moans are over and we've got our boots on we set off with drinks but without bags and left the car park by the northeast opening through the trees that put us straight onto a good wide track…
1 - From the car park.JPG
From the car park.

that runs alongside Skill Beck…
2 - Skill Beck.JPG
Skill Beck.

that has its head somewhere just past Long Doors below Carl Side and is also fed by Gable Gill that originates somewhere on Long Side and can be recognised by the wide gully that sort of splits Carl Side from Longside Edge.

The track starts off nicely as it gently rises by the beck but after a short time it quickly steepens as it swings sharply around to the right and then back again after a short, sharp pull before once more becoming a well graded track. The only trees bearing greenery are the pine trees the other deciduous ones having lost their leaves many days ago with the evidence lying beneath our feet. Some of the trees are marked by having a light green line sprayed around their circumference whilst others have bird or squirrel feeders attached to them. The pine trees that I presume are Scots Pines are the straightest that I've ever seen and must be 30 metres or more in height.

In the past I have walked all the way along this track right the way up to, and past Long Doors to where the path for the summit begins.
3 - The track to Long Doors.JPG
The track to Long Doors.

But not today as the track was blocked off by the Forestry Commission telling us that tree felling was going on although there were no signs of it at all.
4 - The Long Doors track blocked.JPG
The Long Doors track blocked.

There were the sounds of excavators coming from amongst the trees on the other side of Skill Beck in Longside Wood where the FC was constructing new access roads prior to tree felling on that side, but nothing on this side of the beck. I was game to continue on but I was over ruled by E so we walked back for a few metres to then take a narrower track that runs above Watch Crag and passes along the west and then the south side of Dodd passing through Dodd Wood and over the top of Brock Crag.
8 - Elevated track through Dodd Wood.JPG
Elevated track through Dodd Wood.

As we walked easily along the well graded track the tree began to fall away on our right as the track gained height by about 60 metres before it started to descend slowly towards Ivy Crag and a junction.
13 - A cut through the rock above Ivy Crag.JPG
A cut through the rock above Ivy Crag.

As the trees to our right fell away the views opened up towards Whinlatter, Braithwaite, and Keswick giving us great views of a multitude of fells ranging from Barf in the west to the Dodds in the east and too many in between to mention here.
12 - Keswick-Derwent Water-Walla Crag-Bleaberry Fell-Cat Bells-Dale Head.JPG
Keswick-Derwent Water-Walla Crag-Bleaberry Fell-Cat Bells-Dale Head.

Upon reaching the junction we continued on around the northeast corner of Dodd from where the track then turned north as it headed back towards Long Doors. We passed a lady with a dog walking in the opposite direction to us, away from Long Doors, and then a couple of fell runners passed us on their way to Long Doors. Well that made my mind even before we had climbed to the top of Dodd, we were going back by Long Doors.

Just as the track began to move around to the east we took a barely noticeable path that went up onto the fellside through the rough of the grass, moss, and heather, first of all rising slowly then steepening as we reached some small pines.
15 - The path climbs up through Thornthwaite Forest.JPG
The path climbs up through Thornthwaite Forest.

From the pines the path now did a sharp turn uphill and got quite steep giving E some cause for concern but with a little help with the branches and the steepest bits we soon arrived at a more open and level area of dead bracken with just the odd pine tree growing here and there.
17 - Keswick and the snow covered Dodd's to Helvellyn.JPG
Keswick and the snow covered Dodd's to Helvellyn.

18 - Cat Bells to Grisedale Pike from Thornthwaite Forest.JPG
Cat Bells to Grisedale Pike from Thornthwaite Forest.

From here it was a lot easier walking as the ground had levelled out quite a lot and it was just a case of making our way through the bracken on any of the two or three beaten down bracken paths that wound its way between the odd young pine tree. Within a couple of minutes we came upon a log bench perched at around the 420 metre contour and sat at the end of a well made path that would take us north in a zigzag pattern once we had left this marvellous view point.
19 - A seat with a view in Thornthwaite Forest with Dodd summit behind.JPG
A seat with a view in Thornthwaite Forest with Dodd summit behind.

It allowed us to the views from the northeast to the southwest and covered what we had seen from a lower altitude although of a more open aspect with the bonus of whilst we had been climbing up the south face the sun had gifted us with a surprise appearance through gaps in the cloud that gave a somewhat spotlight effect on the valley and the fells across the way.
20 - Grisedale Pike to Barf and Lord's Seat.JPG
Grisedale Pike to Barf and Lord's Seat.

Whilst having a drink we gazed about for a while and then took to the path that led to the autumn coloured summit that we could see above us. From the bench seat the summit is way marked, although it is not really necessary as the well stoned up path is the only obvious way up to it.
21 - Elizabeth approaching the summit of Dodd.JPG
Elizabeth approaching the summit of Dodd.

The going is very easy as it twists its way upwards; passing a few small pine trees as we gained the summit with its precariously mounted monument dedicated to the scouts and is very different from the cairn of a few stones in grass decorating the top that Wainwright describes in his 1962 Book Five: The Northern Fells. It looks as though a few bad bouts of weather would soon have it lying prostrate on the ground.
22 - Elizabeth at Dodd summit monument.JPG
Elizabeth at Dodd summit monument.

It is said - and I agree - that some of the lesser fells have better views than the giants, and the ones from this minor summit are no exception to that. Bassenthwaite Lake is in full view as are a great number of surrounding mountains, the valley with its farms and pastures, Keswick, Derwent Water, Braithwaite, they're all there to present a glorious panorama of Lakeland.
23 - A multitude of fells around and behind Keswick taken from Dodd summit.JPG
A multitude of fells around and behind Keswick taken from Dodd summit.

25 - Bassenthwaite from Dodd summit.JPG
Bassenthwaite Lake from Dodd summit.

Leaning back and looking north, Longside Edge and Ullock Pike can be seen, with Gable Gill separating them from Carl Side of which the bracken and scree covered slopes rise slightly higher than the former ones mentioned.
26 - Ullock Pike and Longside Edge.JPG
Ullock Pike and Longside Edge.

29 - Carl Side with  Little Man behind.JPG
Carl Side with Little Man behind.

There is a path showing the way down the northwest ridge leading into the trees far below and is one that I went down a few years ago. At that time the path ran out to nothing and it was a battle of wits and stamina to make a way through the dense undergrowth until eventually reaching the forest track that lies below the north face. During the intervening years it could possibly have been extended to now make for a quicker descent but I don't wish to drag E down there on an assumption as I want to see Christmas at home, and not from a hospital bed.

So we reversed our route and upon reaching the main track we turned left to follow it around to the FC prohibited area at Long Doors where strangely there was no barrier set up to prevent access. Since I was last here the area has been widened to accommodate the stacking of a great number of logs, there is no one about and the ground is safe to walk on.
27 - Fruits of the recent logging operation.JPG
Fruits of the logging operation.

28 - Fruits of the logging operation.JPG
Same fruits different view.

Okay, there could be a problem if anyone decided to climb around on the logs, and although there are lots of irresponsible prats about why would anyone want to endanger life or limb to do that?

As we walked through the area we could hear the sound of the machines working on the other side of Skill Beck in Longside Wood but we continued on our eventless stroll ever downwards on the good and wide track to return back to the car park where we 'borrowed' one of the cafés tables to have a picnic even though the sun had gone and hidden itself once again.

This has not been a long walk but it is a decent one and good enough to fill in half a shift. If a linear and not a circular walk is planned then the anti-clockwise direction that we walked is the best option as there are views over to the mountains giving some interest whilst walking opposed to going by the Long Doors track that is enclosed by trees all the way up until leaving it to start the climb to the summit. I also favour the narrow track that climbs up the south end as it makes for a bit of an adventure as the climb is made through the rough vegetation and pine trees until it arrives at the much easier area of bracken.

Sometime along the way the sun got through the clouds making a not quite mild day a bit more pleasant with the snow on the far mountains reminding us that winter had indeed arrived. And I get to have Christmas at home.
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trailmasher
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Re: A Dodd-le of a walk with E.

Postby ChrisW » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:48 am

That's a little cracker TM, as you say the views are often better from the smaller hills, I think it's because when you get to the top of the big stuff everything is below you or level with you making a sort of flat mountain area (if you get what I'm saying)

I'm with you on the 4.90 charge too, it's an unnecessary lark and an insult to the intelligence :roll:

Great stuff as always mate :clap: :clap:
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ChrisW
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Re: A Dodd-le of a walk with E.

Postby trailmasher » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:36 pm

ChrisW wrote:That's a little cracker TM, as you say the views are often better from the smaller hills, I think it's because when you get to the top of the big stuff everything is below you or level with you making a sort of flat mountain area (if you get what I'm saying)

I'm with you on the 4.90 charge too, it's an unnecessary lark and an insult to the intelligence :roll:

Great stuff as always mate :clap: :clap:


As the photos show Chris, an abundance of big hills seen from a little 'un 8) and I totally get what you're saying :) I'm going to make sure that I have plenty of change in future :wink: Yorkshire rules OK :clap: Thanks very much for your comments :D :D
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trailmasher
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Posts: 1102
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Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

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