2nd October 2011
Departure day at the end of a weekend under canvas at Brotherswater. I wasn't really sure about another walk after a long one on Saturday and drove down to Glencoyne car park, Ullswater for a few minutes by the lake and a bit of thinking time. I'd never have driven up on a day like today, but I'm here and so are the mountains, so let's try something a little different and see how it goes.
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
Many, many years ago when we were not big, my brother, sister and I would come here with mum and dad and play in our rubber dinghy. On one occasion we stayed in a cottage on the main road in Watermillock, these have now changed beyond recognition. After a little time picturing happy days, I decided to head back to Sykeside.
Middle Dodd & High Hartsop Dodd
The other Dodd, making Middle, middle - if you know what I mean, is Hartsop Dodd. I have directly climbed Hartsop Dodd, High Hartsop Dodd and now I want the set. Climbing Middle Dodd is today's priority.
Wainwright says that High Hartsop Dodd is 1,200ft of ascent and is labourious; he also says that from the same start point of Hartsop Hall, Middle Dodd requires 1,650 ft of ascent, so I know what's in store.
To Middle Dodd
The gentle walk across the fields to the foot of the climb is straightforward, big boulders litter the ground and are departed from the east side of High Hartsop Dodd.
Steeply Does It
Just for a change and not the start of a statistical obsession I thought I'd count my steps up the fell. After all there was nobody to talk to, no views to enjoy and room in my head for a few numbers
Looking Back Down
Walkers in Caiston Glen
Ah, there is an easier way then. How many "xxxxx Glen"s are there in the Lake District? Glenridding / Glencoyne don't count.
The Kirkstone Pass
It's just starting to rain and I think I'm close to the top. Whilst cloud is all around, I get occasional glimpses of Little Hart Crag which is 15ft lower than Middle Dodd, so it's a good guide. Sheep should have head-cams that are programmed to take photos at certain times of the day, the results could be interesting.
Into the Clouds
The gradient is easing and the rain intensifying.
Middle Dodd Summit 2106ft
In cloud, no views this time. I've been here once before on a cold January day in 2008 and there was a good view down the valley. For the record I took 2,812 steps from bottom of the wall to top of the fell - that's an average of about 6 inches ascent per step.
Red Screes Summit 2541ft
Even the sign has cleared off. This is cheerless place on a day like this. Runners appeared and checked in with the marshall, they were running in pairs. At school, that was a three-legged race, that'd be fun for the athletes.
I decided to make an easy route back, down to the Inn and then down Kirkstone Pass / Beck.
Kirkstone Pass Inn
I went in for a coffee and to use the 'phone as my mobile had got wet and decided enough was enough. I bumped into runner Dave Croll from Burnley (ish) - last time I saw this "old" friend was on top of Pendle Hill, earlier in the year.
The Kirk Stone
When colour is lacking, lets do away with it altogether.
The Kirkstone Pass
Boulders all around. Post-glacial debris on both sides of the valley.
The Work of Man
Natural or Not?
Walkers should notice the terrace they are walking on. But did ancient travellers make a road or is this a "protalus rampart": the effect of tumbling rock rolling over an ice-field and landing some distance from the foot of the crags?
Here, I'm passing the start of the ascent once again.
Me in Kirkstone Beck
A splash of colour! I tend to have a blank look on my face when the camera is on self-timer; it's not easy to smile at an inanimate object which is not, in itself, remotely amusing.
That's it for the weekend and quite possibly the end of camping this year. It's not the temperatures that put me off, it's the long evenings as I don't often spend time in the pubs nowadays. Three walks, 30 miles and over 10,000ft of ascent.
Walkers: Just me.
Time taken: 3hrs 47mins over a distance of 6 miles.
Route: Sykeside campsite, Hartsop Hall, Middle Dodd, Red Screes, Kirkstone Pass Inn, Kirkstone Beck, Sykeside.
Weather and conditions: Dull, declining to steady rain, which eased later on.
Greetings Count: I greeted some of the runners, cuz that's the way I am. I think in amongst the runners I spotted two characters wearing boots and rucksacs and they would be the only other walkers I passed on this walk.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Coffee in the Kirsktone Pass Inn. Very welcome in the circumstances.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2011 ©