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A Fistful of Dodds

July 26, 2019

The long northern ridge from Helvellyn comprises a number of rounded lumps. It offers some easy walking, an easy climb from Dockray and superb views. The name Fistful of Dodds is courtesy of Clint Eastwood.

The Walk

I have always had a special affinity with the wonderfully airy ridge leading to Clough Head from Helvellyn My early Lake District holidays were based near here. The Dodds (Stybarrow Dood, Watsons Dodd & Great Dodd) straddle the middle section of the ridge; a switchback of rounded summits either overlooking St Johns in the Vale and Thirlmere or back over Ullswater and the fells near Helvellyn.

The climb up from Dockray and Dowthwaitehead Farm is simple (better than the steep slopes to the west) and has the dual advantage of views back over the lake at Ullswater and a start close to the one thousand foot contour line. I have included the section on the main ridge on my favourite linear walk which stretches from Kirkstone Pass to Threlkeld – this is really high level walking at its very best.


I like to add the extra 2 miles to the circuit. This takes in Clough Head and a closer study of the many ridges leading up to Blencathra. Finally I would drop down to join the wide bridleway known as the Old Coach Road.

Navigation Tips on a Fistful of Dodds

A great place to practice timing and quick you walk. Measure the distance between two summits and then time how long it takes. Stybarrow Dodd to Watsons Dodd is 1 kilometer exactly. Walk at a normal pace and see how long it takes. Start to use the calculater on every walk page to come familiar with how long a walk will take.

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