Saturday, 22 September 2012

Hobbit Hills: Dodd

We are blessed with the most amazing view from the house, it's one of the main reasons we bought Bag End.  As the TV programme says:  Location, Location, Location.  In an elevated position west of Cockermouth and above the River Derwent, on a clear day we see for miles and much of that view is fells.

Hobbit Hills are those we can see without leaving the garden, although weather, time of day and time of year affects visibility significantly. When we moved to Cumbria in 2007 I thought I'd be doing a lot of fell-walking.  Life in the form of house & garden renovations and the injuries incurred therein means that four years on I have made very little progress in doing the obvious thing: walking to the summit of every fell we can see from the house. It's about time that changed.  Ignoring all previous ascents the counter has been reset to zero.

Dodd is a moderate lump of rock nestling under Ullock Pike and Skiddaw.  Famous for being the site of nesting Osprey, the lower slopes are still wooded although the top has been cleared in the past few years.  It's also Forestry Commission land and as such has manufactured paths all the way to the summit.  Trees and man-made paths: two things I dislike intensely when out walking (the third is people, and Dodd is busy because it's small and easily accessible).  So really, Dodd has little to commend it to me (apart from an outstanding view from the summit) and that's why I decided to do it first, get it out of the way and then I don't have to go there again.

So, to the views which are lovely for a little fell that only reaches 502m.  To the north is the Solway Plain and Scotland, and looking south many of the Lake District's most gorgeous summits are clearly visible.   Not quite so clear for compact camera, however, because looking directly towards the light source might be something the human eye can compensate for but the photos are a bit hazy. 

Oh yes, and the reason for the walk?  Here's the obligatory "I can see my house from here" photo!

My journal therefore I can have a little rant if I want to.  Shortly after I set out I was overtaken by a young man walking at breakneck speed.  Usual cursory nod, "morning", thought no more of it.  Until half a mile further on where I find him crashed out at the side of the path, obviously deeply puffed out, and having a restorative cigarette.  This was the pattern for the next half hour.  He shot on ahead like a rat up a drainpipe only to be found having another fag a bit further on. Later I saw him heading strongly up the fellside, maybe to Skiddaw.  Who knows, he was well kitted out and despite the numerous cigarettes, looked like it wasn't his first ever fell-walk.

Behind me a group of three people, a 30ish couple and maybe a Mum.  They were obviously on holiday and enjoying themselves but they looked rather like it was their first ever fell-walk.

Now, seeing as I am currently over-50, over-weight and completely unfit (but at least I can improve the latter two conditions!) I wasn't exactly walking briskly or without perspiration (it was surprisingly warm and sunny).  Every now and again I'd stop, lean on my walking poles and have a sip from the Camelbak.  Whilst I was having a breather I could often see the group of three stopping too, and admiring the views.  What they weren't doing was drinking because there did not appear to be a water bottle between them.  There wasn't anything else in the way of walking gear to be seen either.

Half way up the path forks and is clearly signposted "Dodd summit".  Going straight on takes you back down to the car park and bearing left over a stile takes you to White Stones and up to Carl Side, Ullock Pike or Skiddaw.  A few yards up the summit path I heard one of the group of three say "shall we follow him, he looks like he knows where he is going" and I didn't see them again.  Thankfully, Keswick Mountain Rescue Team website reports no call-outs for Saturday afternoon.

whoever you are, I'm sorry. They're lovely boots, just not walking boots.


  1. Oh, yes. Unprepared walker, hikers, or whatever. Just like seeing folks in flip flops and sandals.

    1. There's a lot of it about, FFG, not helped by too many TV programmes recently banging on about the great outdoors but very light on basic safety advice.

  2. Lovely views - thank you for sharing them. It won't be long before we're back up there, but no fell walking for us this time.

  3. Lovely views - thank you for sharing them. It won't be long before we're back up there, but no fell walking for us this time.


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