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~Watson's Dodd from Glenridding~

20th April 2019

Watson's Dodd Summit

Molly ~ Watson's Dodd Summit

Gillside Campsite Glenridding Beck

Saturday morning and I had been planning an ascent of Place Fell, but in the end I couldn't fathom out how to make the walk long enough to fit the time on offer, so instead I decided to head for Watson's Dodd in a rather circuitous manner. First of all it's down to Glenridding and along the road / permissive path to Glencoyne before heading into the hills.



The route to the farmhouses doubles as a public footpath and it goes through the garden of the white building (ahead). The highest point on the skyline is Stybarrow Dodd. We will find our way to the wall (left) and the col at Nick Head before locating Sticks Pass. This is a beautiful and quiet route to the fells! Everyone else is heading for Helvellyn, again.

Glencoyne Farm
Through the Garden
To the Fells

If I lived there, I'd be selling pots of tea and small cakes to the occasional walkers who pass this way.

Seldom Seen

Seldom Seen

The Wall

Today, I set off with three bottles of water as the ridges are bone dry and it's very warm.

Glencoyne Head Nick Head

Glencoyne Head

Molly reaches the col of Nick Head and rather than head straight for the path leading to Sticks Pass, we drop down for some water fun at the old mineworkings before regaining the route to the top of the pass.

Sticks Pass

Sticks Pass

Sheffield Pike

Sheffield Pike

Looking back down the valley with Sheffield Pike on the left. I have drunk the entire contents of one bottle and intend to keep the other two for myself, but Molly will be ok, how can this be?

To Stybarrow Dodd (almost)

This remade track is purgatory on a day like today. A hot slog up to Stybarrow Dodd.

Stybarrow Dodd Watson's Dodd


The Doddscape up here is similar to the Howgill Fells with wide ridges and few obstructions. On the left, the near hump is the summit of Stybarrow Dodd which I carefully avoided. I explained my motives to a passing walker who found it unusual for a fellwalker to non-bag an obvious summit on their route. Not for me, I'm slowly making it my business to hit every diffferent Lakeland Summit (as per Wainwright) as a direct (or in some cases rather indirect) climb and today it's the turn of Watson's Dodd.



Watson's Dodd to the left and Great Dodd to the right.

Watson's Dodd Summit

Watson's Dodd Summit 2,584ft asl

An ideal place for lunch. Molly had a drink in her bowl from the stream water collected into that first empty bottle - I'm not as daft as I look - saved carrying an extra bottle. I was all set to sit at the summit, but moved a few yards away and soon enough a small group of walkers arrived and proceeded to take all manner of summit shots and selfies. Mr or Mrs Watson must be very proud to have a Dodd named after them. How many other Lakeland Fells are named after someone?

to Great Dodd

To Great Dodd

Great Dodd Summit

Great Dodd Summit 2,807ft asl

Great, init? That's Blencathra over there and those wearing glasses or with keen eyesight might just be able to spot Molly.

Matterdale Common

To Matterdale Common

Wainwright offers one (much more direct) ascent of Watson's Dodd from Legburthwaite for those wanting a shorter walk with a similar objective, but what lies ahead here is everything I need - empty spaces.

Molly on Matterdale Common

The hill in the distance is Great Mell Fell. We passed a group of walkers heading the other way, looking somewhat weary - two of them had taken their boots off. I have to say, having done it both ways, it's more fun down as we are today - it's a bit of a trek climbing Great Dodd this way.

Groove Beck Ford

Groove Beck Ford

Refreshment opportunity for Molly.

Sign Post
It's Dockray for Us
To Dockray

I wish I'd brought an apostrophe with me, it's so annoying, isn't it!

Royal Hotel Dockray

Royal Hotel, Dockray

A fine pub and I went in for a pint of something refreshing. It was nearly 1600hrs and food was not back on until 1730hrs, so the walk continued down to Aira Force, there was a boat scheduled to call at the pier at 1700hrs and head for Glenridding - this was always Plan A - but B could have been to eat here and then walk back to the tent.

To Aira Force

To Aira Force

A chance to join the tourists in one of Lakeland's most popular attractions.

Ullswater Steamer

Lady Wakefield

It's £6.50 for me and £1 for Molly to get back to Glenridding and as a matter of fact, this is the first time I have used this pier on Ullswater. What price another few miles with weary legs? I was happy to pay the fare.

Ramblers Bar

Tea was taken at The Rambler's Bar - part of The Inn on The Lake. The first night I cooked a stir fry at the tent and the second evening I was invited by tent neighbours, James & Charlotte, to join at their BBQ - so this was not too extravagant, really, I don't think.



Bridge 907

Has anyone else noticed the numbering on the bridges? I think it's either Lake District National Park or Cumbria County Council doing the numbering. I've been looking for a new challenge......

Sheffield Pike

Gillside Farm Campsite

Early on Sunday morning, we walked up to Keldas and gained this view of the campsite and Sheffield Pike.

Bridge 904

Bridge 904

That's two down, at least 905 to go, very probably many more....

Walkers: Molly and Me.

Time taken: 8hrs over a distance of about 14 miles.

Route: Glenridding, Glenridding Beck, permissive path and roadway to Glencoyne, Glencoyne, Nick Head, Sticks Pass, Stybarrow Dodd (not the top), Watson's Dodd, Great Dodd, Matterdale Common, High Row, Dockray, Aira Force, ferry back to Glenridding.

Weather and conditions: Warm and Sunny

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2019 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....