Clough Head & The Dodd’s

8th August 2010

The football season is almost upon us & I haven’t knocked out half as many walks as I thought I would have, being a distance away as I am and as we all know we have to work around the weather, yes once last month I took a soaking just for the pure reason of being on the Fells, because I was so fed up of all this rain we’ve had I just had to be there, a few weeks ago my plans were laid out, get as much walking done as you possibly can before the season starts, and what happens? it rained constantly throughout all of July & I’m sulking like a sulking thing! Stop the eye twitching & cross eyes Sharkey its all due to the high pressure we have all this rain, of course I knew that but I like a rant every now & again & consider me rant less, for now anyway.

This weekend had been a bit of a mix up in more ways than one, first one being me & Tim, my walking buddy joining me for this weekend had got our wires crossed, I thought we were walking Saturday & Tim thought we were walking Sunday nevertheless that got cleared up Friday about tea time. The second not really a mix up more of a plan B, in that our plan was to walk a whole host of Southern Fells including one Fell in particular ‘Great End’ a fell that’s been knocking on mine & Tim’s door for quite some time, we both agreed (well more me really) that treading on some of Lakeland’s top ten summits was to be in good weather, good views & so on, picking a weekend in August way back in May we thought we’d be guaranteed at least blue skies & high temperatures, what we got today was a show of how the weather can change so rapidly in Lakeland it almost broke my heart to witness the Fells not a couple of hours earlier in thick rolling sometimes static cloud & then to be engulfed in glorious wall to wall sunshine

We were wrong, not to say our plan B wasn’t a good one . To finish of our ridge walk along the Helvellyn highway.


Wainwright Guidebook

The Eastern & Central Fells



Ascent: 3,553 Ft 1,083 Mtrs
Wainwrights: 5, Clough Head, Great Dodd, Watsons Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd & High Rigg
Weather: Lows of 15° Warm & Sunny Start To The Day With Blanketed & Thick Cloud  Above 600Mtrs,Turning Warm & Sunny Towards The Latter Of The Afternoon, Highs of 18°
Parking: Roadside Parking,Wanthwate
Area: Western & Central
Miles: 10.5
Walking With: Tim Oxburgh
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken:  

Map and Photo Gallery



Starting our walk just outside Wanthwaite.


This track passes right past Hill Top Farm, if you carried on this eventually leads you on to the Old Coach Road, but our route took us just to the end of the wall on the right & over the wooden sty.


And quarry bound.



Just above the quarry to which I’m a little disappointed my shots  of the quarry didn’t turn out to which  I’m blaming the suns glare! Looking back on to St Johns In The Vale & High & Low Rigg.


It looked like we had the weather on our side & in the back of my mind right about here I’m thinking maybe we could of done our intended plan today of Great End. What we’ve done here is take a slight detour & head for the direct route towards the summit.


Tewit Tarn, Latrigg & Dodd from our ascent, and  a sudden change, meaning everything else seems to be engulfed in low cloud  all around us, meanwhile the sun positioned directly above our heads is doing a grand job of keeping the low cloud at bay,..for now that is..


Looking towards White Pike & a summit less Blencathra.



Traversing the steep path that grinds it way through the crags.


Looking back on the North Western Fells from the grassy slopes summit bound.


Clough Head Summit & the views seem to have disappeared from here on in.


Heading across to Calfhow Pike & summit number two, a little prominent outcrop of rock just under the bank of cloud to the right.


Through the cloud Calfhow Pike appears, and what is a little eerie is like I said to Tim, I could hear voices, I even stopped Tim ‘did you hear that’ what? I thought I heard voices, and all this a couple hundred yards back in the cloud, its like your mind is playing tricks on you, then you spot the voices & realise you are sane after all.


Calfhow Pike summit & again like our last summit whichever way I turned I couldn’t get a decent background in except cloud!


Heading back off into the cloud towards Great Dodd.


A brief appearance of Great Dodd before the cloud rolls back in.


And looking back towards Calfhow Pike.


Out of the mist Great Dodd summit cairn appears.


And close by the summit shelter, did I say shelter! this is the size of a small bungalow! very apt for a sandwich & satsuma, we did hang around a while to see if the cloud would clear but no luck..


Back off into the cloud we went this time heading towards Watson Dodd, navigation is & was difficult in cloud like this, so I was pretty happy I had my GPS with me, on the other hand a guy had passed us while we were at the shelter eating with just a Cherie hello equipped in shorts & Tshirt & backpack, we thought  it rather strange but shrugged at the thought if he was in any sort of trouble he’d of said something, later on down this path we spotted him again holding his map in all directions, not wanting to undermine this guy we gave him another Hi, to which there was no reply, Both Me  Tim knew this guy must of been a little disorientated but if he wasn’t going to say there was not much more we could do.


In the thick of it,. Watson Dodd summit cairn.


Clearing a little as we head off towards Stybarrow Dodd summit, we could tell for obvious reasons navigation today was horrible, we’d just encountered another sole walker who by luck hadn’t managed to miss Stybarrows summit cairn (which is an easy thing to do with visibility like this as it is off the beaten track) he’d chosen to retrace his steps all the way back to Clough Head seemingly  through fear of getting lost, again only afterwards I thought to myself he could of accompanied us over  to Sticks Pass & back down to safety, again this guy was ill equipped in combats & woollen pullover. I did feel kind of guilty for not opening my mouth which stayed with me for the rest of the day.


Heading towards these two cairns we too realised we’d missed the summit of Stybarrow Dodd, we knew it was off the path over to our right & back a bit, so not wanting to miss the summit we back tracked until it loomed out of the mist only a mere twenty yards or so off the path.


Stybarrow Dodd Summit.

Back on the path heading towards Sticks Pass, not before as child like as we are building this small cairn in the direction of Stybarrows summit & quietly I’m hoping I’ve helped the odd walker by doing this


The cairn found at the top of Sticks Pass, me & Tim decided to finish off our sandwiches here not before guiding the odd six or ten walkers in the right direction! ‘is this sticks pass?’ which way to Stybarrow? one included a guy with his two young children heading for Stybarrow Dodd, rather him than me I thought to myself & I’m sure Tim was thinking the same, we explained about the two large cairns & the little one we had just built, the guy seemed delighted we’d just  done this & so did his young daughter, thanks for the cairn she replied.


Out of the cloud descending Sticks Pass looking towards the Northern Western fells, Tim had the idea of including High Rigg on our list today, the small Fell seen here centre right, we would of had to flank it on our way back to the car so why not include it on today’s walk, it would of been silly not too.


At the bottom or start of Sticks Pass is Sty Beck Fall.



The aqueduct at Stanah.

Looking towards Great How on the left & our last fell of the day High Rigg on the right from the A591


Just after crossing St Johns Beck we turned right over the wooden sty to join up with the path for High Rigg.


Spot the climbers on Castle Rock.


Looking back on Great How, Thirlmere (Still looking very low I might add despite all the rain we’ve had) Dodd Crag & Bleaberry Fell.


Looking back along the ridge to Dunmail Rise now basking in glorious sunshine.



Looking toward a wonderful light shrouded Blencathra from Great Rigg summit cairn, the plan now was to pay a visit to the ancient remains of one of the countries oldest Neolithic stone circles, Castle Rigg Stone Circle & maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get a shot of the Dodd’s from there.


Not before paying a visit to one of Lakelands oldest churches, St Johns, the present building dates from 1845, but incorporates parts of older buildings. The earliest reference is 1554.


Castle Rigg Stone Circle constructed in 3200 BC & rumoured to be one if not the oldest Stone Circle in Europe..and the busiest sadly for me.  Right behind the monument is our ridge walk, starting with Clough Head far left, Calfhow Pike, Great Dodd, Watson Dodd & Stybarrow Dodd going on to form the impressive Helvellyn Range.


Sadly far to busy to get a  full shot of the Stone Circle,..Hard to imagine theses stones are as old as the Pyramids in Egypt.

A great way to end the walk & sadly I didn’t get the shot of my route I wanted, Yes a little bitter after taste as we missed out in the views so early on in the morning but I cant grumble, I’m here doing what I love best, walking these beloved Fells


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