WATCHES, ULLOCK PIKE, LONG SIDE, CARL SIDE & DODD
from DODD WOOD

 


Summary

Date - 6th May 2010 Distance - 7.25 miles
Ascent -
3750ft
Map - OL4 Start point - Dodd Wood car park (NY 235281)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Watches 1093 333 NY 2406 3039
Ullock Pike 2270 692 NY 2444 1287
Long Side 2408 734 NY 2488 2844
Carl Side 2447 746 NY 2549 2808
Dodd 1647 502 NY 2444 2734

 

Preface

Grizzly & Tetley were sitting quietly dozing, when Allen came storming into the room shouting, "great, great great."

Startled out of their reverie, Tetley said, "whatever is going on!"

Rather breathlessly Allen managed to get out, "Dad has just spoken to Uncle Eric and we are walking on Thursday."

Grizzly interjected, "before you tell us any more, just sit a minute and get your breath back."

Calmer now, Allen continued, "the good news is that we are going to the Lake District again at last, and we will be doing the ridge that includes Ullock Pike, so I will tick off four of my outstanding Wainwrights leaving me with just eight to complete them all."

As he had been talking Shaun had trotted in with Little Eric as usual hitching a ride on his back.

"Our pal Fletcher said that, that was the hill he could see from Armathwaite Hall, where he and some of our other pals holidayed last week with Uncle Brian and Dad", he said.

"Yes I remember now that Dad had told Fletcher that he was hoping to climb it this week, so our wishes have come true", replied Allen.

"Roll on Thursday", said Little Eric, "and lets hope that the views are good and we can try and pick out where Armathwaite Hall is."

 

The Walk

Recently we had been concentrating on those hills in the Howgill Fells that we had not climbed, but they are by nature of mostly grassy terrain, so it was a great feeling to be returning to our beloved Lakeland Fells, climbing the rocky paths. Uncle Eric, Allen & Little Eric had never climbed these fells before. Allen was particularly grateful to Dad, as he would complete one third of his outstanding Wainwights today.

We knew it would be an early start and that it would be quite an arduous walk, so to save time we prepared our picnic and put it in the fridge, before we went off to have an early night, so that we would be properly refreshed in the morning.

Dad drove to Uncle Eric's then we went on in his car driving through the heart of the Lake District, passing many hills nearly all of which we were all able to say we had climbed before. Our destination was the car park at Dodd Wood beside the A591 on the east side of Bassenthwaite Lake. This is truly the only "lake" in the Lake District, as all the others are either meres (e.g. Windermere) or waters (e.g. Wastwater).

Uncle Eric and Dad got their boots on etc, and we settled in the rucksack eager to be off, especially Allen. Soon after 10.00 we crossed the bridge beside the cafe, following the sign reading "All trails". There are about four of these, of varying lengths and difficulty, indicated by different colours on substantial posts. We were not following any of these specifically, so just took the forest path that kept us heading north through the woods called Old Plantation and Rabbit Warren, to eventually meet the path coming up from the road by the Ravenstone Hotel. Here, passing through a gate we gained open fell, climbing by the fence and then taking the path right that wound up to the ridge. The Edge, as it is known that leads to Ullock Pike, towered away to the right, but our first objective was to walk on north for a short distance, so that we could all bag one of our outstanding Birkett tops called Watches.

"I wonder how it got it's name", mused Tetley.

"I had a look at the book that Dad has on Lake District place names, and it seems it relates to a place providing a good look-out position for warning of border raiders, in the times of those troubles up to the middle of the 17th century", replied Grizzly proudly.

We were soon at the cairn, and ironically although it was the lowest fell in altitude we were to climb today, it had the largest cairn.

Looking south we could clearly see The Edge, which we were to ascend to reach Ullock Pike's summit

If you look carefully you can just discern the two tops of Ullock Pike. Beyond, the ridge leads to Long Side and Carl Side, the succeeding summits we were to reach. The outcroppings of igneous rocks in the foreground give the impression of a stone circle, but in fact the formation is natural.

So, we returned along the path, and then commenced our ascent of The Edge. Numerous rises were ascended, and we had the first of many fine views of Bassenthwaite Lake below. Dad and Uncle Brian's luxury retreat of Armathwaite Hall is amongst the trees on right side of the land at the top of the lake.

The wind was strong as we climbed, and the sky was dark overhead. To the left the mighty bulk of Skiddaw towered about 1000ft higher its summit ridge enveloped in cloud. This we thought was an advantage, as apart from one shower, any rain seemed to fall on Skiddaw and its bulk kept the cloud off this ridge. Away south west we could see the Coledale Fells looking dark and foreboding as the clouds passed over.

Grisedale Pike is in the foreground, with the clouds catching the tops of Sail and Crag Hill.

"Those are some of the ones I still have to do", said Allen.

"Yes, and I hope that we will get there during the summer", replied Dad.

The going steepened on the final push to the shapely dome of Ullock Pike, which had dominated the scene from below, as we ascended The Edge.

"Are we there", called out Little Eric.

" No, not quite ", replied Dad, "as we have to go to that second top just ahead, which is the highest point."

This was quickly achieved, and we leapt out of the rucksack and settled on the small cairn for our picture.

As well as the superb views over Bassenthwaite Lake, there was to the south a dramatic view of Derwentwater and its surrounding fells. To the left is the town of Keswick and to the right the village of Braithwaite. Just breathtaking.

Views like this were to be the order of the day, even when we were climbing to Dodd. That was to be our last summit of the day, its rocky bare top clearly in view below.

The next summit was Long Side, reached by a short descent then gentle climb on the clear path along the ridge.

As we walked along, below to the left was lonely Southerndale, bathed in sunshine. The highest fell behind is Broad End, one of the number of summits we had visited in September last year, when we had climbed Skiddaw. Below this you can see that there is a rising ridge comprising Little Knott, Great Knott & Randel Crag. Behind this and below Broad End is the hidden valley called Barkbethdale. Southerndale is without any habitation and there did not even seem to be any sheep grazing there, as we looked down. It looks to be little visited, although it is one of the many routes defined by A Wainwright for the ascent of Skiddaw. See page 15 of that chapter in Book 5 Northern Fells.

After a quick stop here to have our picture taken at the cairn, it was onward again along the ridge. A steady descent followed to the point where the path to Skiddaw bent away left. Here we kept ahead on a narrow path over grass climbing steadily to meet the main path to Skiddaw, at precisely the point that is the summit of Carl Side. Here again we jumped out and settled on the cairn for our picture.

"That's three ticked off", called out Allen. "Just Dodd to go."

So, that was our next objective. To get there we first had to make the long steep winding descent to the forest road. The main path was followed down for a while on an easy gradient, before we took a narrow rough and stoney path right, that in a large zig zag descended steeply over 1100ft to the stile to the forest road.

As we all looked back where we had descended, Uncle Eric remarked to Dad, " I would not like to climb up that path.

It is not a particularly stylish, stile (sorry about the awful pun), but we include the picture, because unlike some walks when we have to climb fifteen, twenty, or even thirty, today this was the solitary one we encountered.

It was along the road right for a few yards before we took the well signposted road doubling back left. Note the green topped trail post. We were to follow these to the summit of Dodd and then in reverse all the way back to the start.

Just round the corner a seat provided a perfect place for a late lunch, and with that superb view of Keswick & Derwentwater. To the left of the lake, we had a quite wonderful view of the beautiful Newlands Valley.

Surrounding it on the left is Catbells with Maiden Moor rising behind. At the head of the valley the dominant fell is Dale Head that has a tall shapely cairn on its summit. To the right the highest fell is Hindscarth with in front Rowling End rising to Causey Pike (summit out of view).

Such was the beauty of the view we were reluctant to leave, but we needed to get on to Dodd. Following the green top trail posts, it was a steady climb to the summit, with its slate standing stone with memorial plaques.

On one side are two plaques reading -

1. In Memory of John Lole and Ian Sandelands. 1st Seaton Scout Group 1980
2. In Memory of "Mac", Malcolm MacDougall

On the other side the plaque reads - Dodd Summit 1612 feet. In Memory of Ian & John.

It should be noted that since the plaque was placed there, the Ordnance Survey have in fact reassessed the height of Dodd to 1647ft.

Naturally we had jumped out to have our picture taken and here we are in close-up by the standing stone.

A path led north from the summit for just a few yards, that provided a superb view of Bassenthwaite Lake, and our last picture today.

"You have just got to take that", cried out Allen.

"You bet", replied Dad

Following this path down was considered, until Dad remembered that it only went to the viewpoint. There is no alternative but to retrace the ascent, passing the lunch stop, and then on along the forest roads following the green topped trail posts all the way to the car park. It was quite late and rather surprisingly the cafe was still open. However in view of the lateness, it was decided to just head on home. That was some sacrifice on Dad's part!

A really great walk, and Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly and Dad enjoyed doing it again. Uncle Eric bagged all the tops today and Dodd was his 100th Wainwright.

back

shopify analytics