A Trio of Dodds.

Start. Aira Force car park.

Route. Aira Force car park - Aira Force - High Force - Dockray - High Row - Red Moss - Old Coach Road - Whams Moss - Randerside - Great Dodd - Watson's Dodd - Stybarrow Dodd - White Stones - Glencoyne Head - Nick Head - Bleabank Side - Glencoyne - Seldom Seen - Glencoyne Bridge - Aira Force car park.

Notes. There I was plodding over soft ground, around two miles of bog hopping torment, the legs are tiring, my will to carry on has sunk deep below the very mires I'm traversing. This is a walk that's been on the radar for ages, an article in a certain walking magazine re-kindled my interest, I tweaked it slightly but more or less it's the same, give it a go if you're brave enough.

Aira Force car park marked my starting point, a short walk through the plantings of Victorian entrepreneurs followed before reaching the splendour of Aira Force itself, this 65ft water shoot is a must visit if you're in the area. Continuing up the beck I soon reached High Force, not so spectacular but less frequented. After crossing the bridge above the fall I continued up stream, woodland gave way to rough pastures before I stepped onto tarmac at Dockray. Directly across the road a narrow lane passed the Royal Hotel, said lane guided me almost a mile into spectacular views. I left it at Red Moss, the Old Coach Road that terminates at St John's in the Vale now guided me, it terminated for me just short of Groovebeck Fold, a path ascends Whams Moss and I followed it.

Here's where we started dragging tired legs up Randerside, the top doesn't seem to be getting any closer, when I do reach the summit I find myself looking at the steep ascent of Great Dodd, my heart sank, tired and fatigued I begun the final leg burning grunt. Once on the summit I hankered down behind the wind shelter, donned a couple more layers, had a brew and a snack in an attempt to clear my head then persued the map. Did I want to carry on? should I retreat? was Clough Head followed by a descent to the Old Coach Road I'd left earlier a better option? I opted to continue.

The descent from Great Dodd deposited me on Watson's Dodd, I ascended Stybarrow Dodd with gusto, it's surprising how much energy you can glean from a couple of Mars Bars. I turned east from Stybarrow Dodd descending over White Stones, above Glencoyne Head and long abandoned mine workings I strolled, my route plunged down the nose of the hill to access Nick Head and the path into Glencoyne. The path that now guided me descended across Bleabank Side before entering Glencoyne Wood, it passed the cottages at Seldom Seen to reach the main valley road. A new path now keeps walkers and motor vehicles apart, it made for easy walking all the way back, not quite, it terminates at the National Trust Tea Room next to the car park, perfect.

view route map.


St Sunday Crag and Birkhouse Moor above Ullswater.

Roaring and majestic, Aira Force.

Aira Beck below High Force.

The cataract of High Force.

Above High Force viewing Place Fell.

I've escaped the river gorge and I'm above the tree line enjoying views over Ullswater, dominating the scene Place Fell.

A small slice of Dockray.

Near Green How looking to Gowbarrow Fell.

Seen beyond Round How and Bracken How, Place Fell backed by the ridges of Loadpot and Wether Hills.

Welcome to Whams Moss, with views to Great Mell Fell with Little Mell Fell rising above the tree line.

Watson's Dodd across the divide of Deepdale.

Capturing a few rays of sun Great Mell Fell, dominating the horizon the Back Bone of England, the Pennines.

Seen from the energy draining slopes of Randerside mighty Blencathra.

Sanctuary, the wind shelter on Great Dodd with views to the Helvellyn massif.

Watson's Dodd as seen from the slopes of Great Dodd.

Crossing Stanahgill Head looking to Thirlmere.

From the slopes of Stybarrow Dodd, Coudale Moor above Stang and Birkhouse Moor.

Breathtaking topography, Catstye Cam and the Swirral Edge ascent of Helvellyn.

Views down Glencoyne.

On the steep descent from Glencoyne Head with a splendid panorama over Patterdale.

Seldom Seen.

Looking to the sylvan east shore of Ullswater where rock, scree and woodland plunge to the waters edge.

Hartsop Dodd and Coudale Moor over Ullswatwer.

Viewing St Sunday Crag from the path that's safely guided me back.

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