Date - 6th May 2010 Distance - 7.25 miles
Ascent -
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



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.

"It will be an early start, so we had better prepare the picnic tonight and put it in the fridge", suggested Tetley.

"Good idea", agreed Shaun. "The walk will be quite arduous, so then we should have an early night, so that we will be properly refreshed in the morning."

Dad drove to Uncle Eric's, where we decamped to his car for the rest of the journey.

This took us through the heart of the Lake District, and seeing the fells and mountains we passed, Grizzly, said, "we have climbed nearly all of them. Wonderful days out and exciting adventures."

Our destination was the car park at Dodd Wood beside the A591 on the east side of Bassenthwaite Lake. Tetley said, "Bassenthwaite 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 were ready, Shaun saying, "cross the bridge beside the cafe, and follow the sign reading 'All trails'."

There are about four of these, of varying lengths and difficulty, indicated by different colours on substantial posts. Grizzly said, "we are not following any of these specifically, so we just walk the forest path that keeps 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."

There we passed through a gate onto open fell, to climbed by the fence.

At a junction, Shaun called out, "we go right. The path winds up to the ridge that is called The Edge, and going right leads up to Ullock Pike."

This we could see towering above, but Tetley said, "the plan first is to walk north so we can all bag Watches, one of our outstanding Birkett tops."

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

"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, as we were to discover, although it is the lowest fell in altitude we were to climb today, it had the largest cairn.

Looking south we could clearly see The Edge, our ascent route to Ullock Pike. "That looks long and steep", sighed Little Eric.

"The path is clear to see, and the two tops of Ullock Pike can be discerned", pointed Shaun. "Beyond, the ridge leads to Long Side and at the end enclosing the valley Carl Side that are the further summits today."

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 the right side of the land at the top of the lake.

"Breathtaking", called out Little Eric.

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 turned out to be an advantage, as apart from one shower, any rain seemed to fall on Skiddaw and its bulk kept the cloud off this ridge.

"That's the Coledale Fells", said Shaun. "They looking dark and foreboding with the clouds passing over."

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

"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. "One down", cheered Allen.

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

Shaun said, "that's Dodd below, with its bare rocky top. Our last summit for today."

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

Long Side rises to a mound adorned with an untidy cairn. "Come on pals time for our picture again", called out Allen.

Below to the left is lonely Southerndale, bathed in sunshine. "The highest fell behind is Broad End, one of the number of summits we visited last September, when we climbed Skiddaw", said Tetley.

Shaun went on, "below Broad End, we can see the ridge comprising Little Knott, Great Knott & Randel Crag. Behind it is the hidden valley called Barkbethdale. Southerndale is without any habitation and looks to be little visited, although it is one of the many routes defined by A Wainwright for the ascent of Skiddaw. Page 15 of that chapter in Book 5 Northern Fells."

As we looked at the beautiful scene, Allen said, "I can't even see any sheep grazing the valley."

Onwards now, a steady descent followed to the point where the path to Skiddaw bent away left.

"We keep on climbing that narrow path over grass until we meet the main path to Skiddaw", said Shaun. "That point is the summit of Carl Side."

Here again we jumped out and settled on the cairn. The picture illustrates how the cloud persisted over Skiddaw all day.

"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, then Shaun, instructed, "our route is right down that narrow rough and stony path."

This, in a large zig zag, descended steeply over 1100ft to the stile onto 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."

"I can heartily agree", replied Dad.

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.

"Turn right", advised Shaun. Then in yards he said, "now left on the road doubling back."

As can be seen there is no excuse for not following the correct path to Dodd. Note too the green topped trail post. We were to follow these to the summit, and then in reverse all the way back to the start.

Just round the corner, Uncle Eric said, "look a seat. Perfect place to have lunch."

"Ooh yes", cheered Allen. Then he said, "I know, I'm hungry."

The view was superb of Keswick & Derwentwater. "To the left of the lake is the beautiful Newlands Valley", said Grizzly.

He then went on, "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 the 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 in the picture].

Such was the beauty of the view we were reluctant to leave, but Dad said, "We need to get on to summit Dodd."

Following the green top trail posts, it was a steady climb to the summit, with its slate standing stone.

There are memorial plaques attached.

On one side are these two -

On the other side -

In the not too distant past Dodd was clothed in trees, these having been felled leaving it bare. The plaque shows Dodd's height as 1612ft, but it should be noted that the Ordnance Survey have in fact reassessed the height 1647ft.

"Come on pals", called out Little Eric, "time for our final summit picture of the day."

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.

"Can we descend by this path?, asked Little Eric.

"No pal", replied Tetley, "it only goes to the viewpoint."

So we just retraced 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!

"Super day", cheered Allen. "I now have just 8 Wainwrights to go to complete the challenge."

Uncle Eric had bagged all the tops too, saying, "Dodd was my 100th Wainwright."

"Truly a grand day out", said Tetley.


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