Date - 5th June 2016 Distance - 13 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL5 Start point - Red Moss, Dockray (NY 3799 2189)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Clough Head 2381 726 NY 3339 2254
Calfhow Pike 2175 663 NY 3307 2133
Little Dodd (St John's Common) 2575 785 NY 3380 2042
Watson's Dodd 2589 789 NY 3357 1956
White Stones on Green Side 2608 795 NY 3536 1875
Stybarrow Dodd 2766 843 NY 3429 1892
Great Dodd 2811 857 NY 3419 2055
Randerside 2391 729 NY 3487 2106
High Brow 1886 575 NY 3678 2141
Low How 1631 497 NY 3744 2151



The tea and cakes had arrived, courtesy of Shaun, Grizzly & Little Eric.

"Ooh great", cheered Allen, "I was gasping for a cuppa."

"My tummy is rumbling", said Southey, "so the cakes are very welcome."

He and Tetley went to get the mugs and plates, Tetley then helping Shaun pour the tea.

Grizzly announced, "Little Eric has made chocolate caramel shortbread, and from me there are fruit or cheese scones."

Little Eric then proceeded to pass the tins round, while humming merrily.

"You're happy pal", remarked Tetley.

"Yes. I am still feeling so euphoric about finally getting Book 2 completed. And, there is perhaps every chance that I will get Book 6-North Western Fells, completed too."

"Uncle Eric has those fells to climb too", said Shaun. "I think Dad is hoping that he can get Uncle Eric to agree to do them at the same time, so it might be a few weeks."

"I have waited for two years, so I can be patient a little longer."

With Dad not being at the Lifeboat shop now there is more flexibility at weekends", said Grizzly. "So hopefully we will get out this coming weekend."

Allen got the iPad and looked at the weather. "Sunday is the best day."

"So, where to go", mused Southey.

"I have quite a number of summits to do in Book 1, so perhaps we could do some of those?" mused Little Eric.

"There is the Dodds", replied Tetley. "When we did them originally it involved two walks. However during the Birkett campaign we had to climb Birkett Fell, and in doing so we also climbed Hart Crag, so those are two you have already done."

Shaun had been and got the map and spreading it out, pointed saying, "The start point is Red Moss at Dockray and along the Old Coach Road to climb Clough Head. From here we cross towards Great Dodd. This however will have to be left for later as Watson's and Stybarrow need to be done first, and also a spur out to White Stones on Green Side. This really is what is going to make it such a long walk. You will have to be at your persuasive best Allen."

"I'll do my best", he replied, draining his mug and trotting out map in paw.

"I'll refill his mug and put another scone on his plate, as he will deserve it if he can convince Dad", said Shaun.

"The cakes are quite delicious pals", commented Southey, as he helped himself to another piece of caramel shortbread.

It was a little while before Allen returned, and Little Eric said, worriedly. "I don't think he has agreed."

A few minutes later Allen trotted into the room. "Sorry about the delay, but Dad was on the phone. He has agreed to our idea. Yes it will be a bit of a long slog, but he wants to get them all done in one go. Also it will be a good test of his fitness for tackling the Fairfield Horseshoe, that will be one of the then two remaining walks to complete Book 1."

"Yippee", cried Little Eric, doing somersaults round the room.

"Roll on Sunday", cheered Southey, "and here's to the best dad in all the world."



The Walk

In view of the length of this adventure, Dad said that he wanted to start walking at 09:00. Now bearing in mind it was quite a drive to the start, we had to be up very early to get the picnic made and stowed in Allen's rucksack.

"The early start is like when we walked with Uncle Bob", remarked Tetley. "In the winter there was many a time that it was still dark after a good hour or more of driving to meet him in the Yorkshire Dales."

"Aye pal, they were good times", replied Shaun.

The drive took us north on the M6 to junction 40 and then west on the A66 to turn off left and eventually reach the village of Dockray where a narrow road goes off right to the rough parking area at Red Moss. There were just two other cars, when we arrived.

The day was to be hot with strong sun at times, so shorts were the order of the day for Dad.

There was no need for Shaun to issue any instructions, as the route was clearly signed, through a gate.

The signpost read Old Coach Road, and St Johns in the Vale 5miles.

"We are not going that far", said Shaun, "but we have walked a short part of it at the St Johns end, on the day we climbed Threlkeld Knotts that sits north of and below Clough Head."

With us safely ensconced in the rucksack, Dad strode off along the good track. Going straight at first it then swung round left and after about 20 minutes, our first climb Clough Head could be seen distantly in front.

"Phew", breathed Southey, "it looks to be quite a climb."

Not a soul did we see along here, and it was just so idyllic and peaceful.

"Those crags are impressive", said Little Eric.

"They are called Wolf Crags", informed Allen. "I wonder if wolves once roamed here long ago, for them to have such a name?"

The track climbed a little over Barbary Rigg to Mothersike Brow, and looking ahead Shaun said, "that is Mariel Bridge, where we will leave the track to start the ascent.

We were using a walk that Dad had downloaded years ago from This indicated we should leave the track towards the right side in the picture above. However the fence was not there then. The instructions also indicated that there was no ascent path. How things have changed.

As we reached the bridge. Tetley said, "it would seem to make sense to go through that gate on the left and then walk along the far side of the fence parallel to the Coach Road."

"I agree", replied Shaun.

This we did and then at the second slight corner in the fence we struck off ahead to follow a clear path that swung left climbing steeply, eventually reaching the rocky outcrop of White Pike. The path then skirted it to the left and then continued. Shortly it then joined a path coming in from the right, where we met a group of walkers. Dad strode on and soon the summit trig point and shelter of Clough Head came into view.

Dad breathed a sigh of relief. "Well I am not sorry to have got that done."

"Picture time", called out Little Eric. It is not windy, so come on let's settle on the trig point."

Clough Head is the northerly termination of the Helvellyn Ridge, and Blencathra forms the backdrop.

The walkers we had met at the path join, were standing chatting, and were a little amused by Dad taking our picture. We overheard one lady comment that Allen was cool with his rucksack and rope!

This done we got settled again, and Dad strode off descending the wide path. After the depression it splits. The main route heading for Great Dodd, but first we had to bag the Birkett summit of Calfhow Pike,

Dad made the short final ascent to gain the cairn, where we sat for our picture, the path behind being that we had walked from Clough Head.

Today we would be reaching ten summits, and we always have our picture taken. Whilst not everyone will be included in the story, it is inevitable that we will make more than the usual appearances. We apologise if readers think this is over done.

Tetley commented, "the prominence of Calfhow Pike is clearly recognisable, when viewing this section of the Dodds from the valleys."

While starting off bright and sunny the cloud did build and the heat caused the views to be hazy. Grizzly suggested, "I know that the fells are only visible in outline, but that shot of Thirlmere with the dark tree clad Great How is pleasing."

As we got settled again we could see the main path a little way below that led to Great Dodd. Although we were not summiting that just yet, Tetley said, "there is quite a climb nevertheless to crest the ridge of St John's Common."

"Yes lad", agreed Dad. "it is nearly 500 feet. I remember it from the last time, even though it was nine years ago."

Steady but sure this was accomplished and gaining the ridge Shaun said, "we take this side path right."

Very soon then we were at the cairn of the next summit Little Dodd.

"So now the there and back starts", said Grizzly, as we looked across to our next objective Watson's Dodd.

To reach this a good path was followed round Mill Gill Head to join the path from Great Dodd to Stybarrow Dodd and then leave this right and with little or no ascent attain the prominent cairn on Watson's Dodd.

"OK where now?", asked Southey.

"We take the path going half right and then at the junction go right and climb to Stybarrow Dodd."

At the ridge Dad turned right, but after a few yards Tetley called out, "this is taking us to the south-west top. We should have gone left."

"Thanks lad", said Dad as he did an about turn and then walked up the trackless slope. The cairn was ignored, Allen saying, "our picture will wait until we have been to White Stones."

Beyond is a stretch of broken wall, where we met a gentleman, whose name was Jeff. He spotted us and said, "I have met you before."

He said that it about two or three years ago on Sheffield Pike with my wife and another couple. We did not doubt him, but were confused as we had not been to Sheffield Pike for about 8 years. He said, "I will take your picture to show my wife."

We quickly jumped out to pose with Dad. Later that day we received an e-mail. His wife had confirmed it was indeed in 2008. Jeff had looked up our website and found the story for that day, where we had recorded the meeting. It was actually on Heron Pike a secondary summit on the way to Sheffield Pike.

He was having lunch, so we left Jeff in peace, to descend and then walk up to the Birkett summit of White Stones on Green Side.

It is easy to see how this fell gets its name, the actual summit being the cairn in the centre on the skyline, and here we are. Incidentally the dark fell behind is Sheffield Pike.

"Right", said Dad, "now we can finally turn for home."

We retraced our route to Stybarrow Dodd, passing Jeff coming the other way and exchanging a few words. Here made straight to the cairn, Southey calling out, "come on pals time for our picture."

Across the grass the descent soon joined the path that made directly towards Great Dodd.

"Oh dear", said Little Eric, "you have more steep climb."

"Not to worry lad", replied Dad, "the summit is the highest point and from there it is mostly downhill."

The top is quite wide and flat with a large shelter and a little way beyond the large summit cairn.

"I'm very glad to be here", Tetley called out. "That is the there and back done and we were now properly on the way back to the start."

"Time for lunch", implored Allen, rubbing his tummy."

"Yes OK lads."

We tucked in, but Dad's mouth was so dry that he could hardly eat it. "Despite all my efforts, because of the heat I'm not hungry" said Dad.

While we continued to tuck in he phoned Uncle Brian to check he was OK. The views had got even more hazy, which was a shame as they are extensive. However despite this, we like this hazy brooding shot of Dodd, Carl Side and Skiddaw, with Lonscale Fell & Pike to the right.

"Have you finished lads."

"Yes Dad", replied Grizzly, as we hurried to settle in the rucksack.

"We should head for that small cairn to the left ahead", said Shaun. "It marks the start of the path off the mountain."

Never in doubt the path descended steeply. The next summit was Randerside. This lies to the right side of the main path and coming to a junction took the right fork, which led to its summit cairn.

"That is High Brow, our next objective", said Shaun pointing into the distance.

"There is a path all the way too, once we have crossed the immediate rough ground from here", cheered Little Eric.

Herdwicks were grazing giving Dad the opportunity to snap this shot, the sun girt fell behind being Hart Side.

After a little over half an hour of following the meandering path, we were sitting at the cairn on High Brow. The long dark slope of fell running left to right is Great Dodd, and rising behind is Clough Head, out first summit of the day.

"Great", cheered Little Eric, "just one more to go."

From High Brow, a wide tractor track wound on eventually coming to a hollow below the last summit Low How.

"I'm going to walk on to that small col to cut the ascent to a minimum", said Dad.

There we struck right up to the summit marked by a small cairn. Looking down left Dowthwaitehead Farm lies nestled beneath the hillsides.

All that remained now was to return to the tractor track and follow this to the Old Coach Road just yards from the gate and car park.

"What a magnificent day", cheered Little Eric & Southey.

"And wow bagging ten summits too", said Little Eric. "Four Wainwrights and ten Birketts. That is a big leap forward."

"13 miles in total", said Shaun.

"The heat made it hard going on the ascents, but bearing this in mind, I am well pleased with my performance.", said Dad.

"As we drove towards the A66, Tetley said, "are you going for refreshments?"

"Cocklakes is nearby", replied Dad.

However they had stopped serving by the time we got there. "It's not much after 16:00", said Allen, "bit early to close."

"Oh well never mind", replied Dad.

Near Penrith we ran through a torrential rain shower. "Glad there were none on the fells", remarked Southey.


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