Dove Crag

Dovedale has long been a favourite of mine, both because its steep-sided, bowl-like shape is reminiscent, albeit on a rather smaller scale, of what is arguably the best of the lot, i.e., Mosedale (Wasdale Head), but also because of its many eye-catching features (the summit crag and its Priest’s Hole, of course, but also Hogget Gill, Stand Crags, Dovedale Waterfalls, and so on.) In addition, because so many visitors coming over the Kirkstone pass head straight past it in a headlong dash to the attractions of the Helvellyn area further ahead, it tends to be quieter, and draws those who like to take things a bit slower and are also interested, in true ‘Herdwickian’ spirit, in what lies a little further off the beaten track.
The ascent was from Sykeside camp-site, then via the gently-ascending path that contours along the southern flanks of Hartsop above How to the very scenic Hunsett Cove. At this point the real work began, as the steep pull up to Houndshope Cove was undertaken (the first part greatly helped, however, by some excellent recent paving). From there over to the summit cairn, and then down shortly afterwards to the top of Hogget Gill, and then over Stand Crags to the path that led back down, via Dovedale Falls, to the start (the stretch from here to Hartsop Hall being especially scenic).
The weather held out very well all the way to the top, and then came and went somewhat, it being the time of April showers, after all. Views all the way up of the main summit area and towards Patterdale were therefore excellent, and the summit area also afforded very good close and more distant panoramas. All in all, a great round, and with my usual companion Jim Mercer unavailable, being in this dale nevertheless felt as if I was in the company of a long-standing and well-loved friend. My young and very energetic dog Sooty also provided excellent companionship as well, of course!
(Highest point (Dove Crag): 2599 ft./792 m. Distance: 5.56miles/ 8.94 km. Ascent: 2163 ft./ 659 m.)

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