The Dodds

This was yet another of the recommendations in Mark Richards’ first-rate ‘Great Mountain Days in the Lake District’ (see also, e.g., here), this time Walk no. 35. ‘The Dodds’ refers to the main set of peaks between the north-western end of Ullswater and St John’s in the Vale (near Threlkeld), that is, Great Dodd, Watson’s Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd. These were extended in this outing so as to also comprise Clough Head, Green Side, Hart Side and Birkett Fell. Although on paper a long walk over some reasonably high peaks, the nature of these fells - more like overgrown moors, and with relatively gentle slopes and straightforward paths - plus the c. 1000ft/300m elevation of the start and end point means that the going is in fact comparatively easy, and so even an unfit, overweight 64 year-old such as myself managed it in just over 6 hours.
Once Clough Head has been attained, the chief glory of the round is revealed: as Mark Richards puts it, ‘the view south extends to the Conistons and Scafells and almost all else that is grand and noble in Lakeland, with the majestic facade of Blencathra to the north reigning supreme’. Similar panoramas, especially to the west, continue on for much of the rest of the walk, which maintains a ‘roof-top’ elevation for most of its course, giving it a very wide-open and spacious feel.
The start was from the Old Coach Road near Dockray, along it to the flank of White Side, up from there to Clough Head, and then from Calfhow Pike to Great Dodd, on to Watson’s Dodd, then Stybarrow Dodd, turning east here to Green Side, Hart Side, Birkett Fell, and back down from there to the start via Dowthwaitehead.
As should by now be clear, this was yet another great day out - highly recommended!
(Highest point: Great Dodd, 2812ft/857m. Distance: 11.2miles/18.1km. Ascent: 2712ft./827m.)

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