Where is this walk?

A Fistful of Dodds

January 27, 2023

The long northern ridge from Helvellyn comprises a number of rounded humps. The walking on these mountains is very easy, undulating easy slopes. The approach from Dockray is also straightforward albeit with some steeper sections. The walk name “Fistful of Dodds” is courtesy of a classic Clint Eastwood film.

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 Dodd, Watsons Dodd & Great Dodd) straddle the middle section of the ridge; a switchback of rounded summits overlooking St Johns in the Vale and Thirlmere to the west or Ullswater and the fells surrounding Helvellyn to the east. The walking on the wide ridges is simply delightful.

The climb up from Dockray and Dowthwaitehead Farm is simple but rarely followed. The slopes climb steadily aside from the steep descent in to the farm at Dowthwaite. The views towards Blencathra helping to sustain the interest. Parking at over 1,000 feet is also a blessing. The steep western slopes of the ridge by contrast, overlooking Thirlmere, make for a hard slog.


In 2023 I followed this route in winter conditions. Snow lay on the ground from the car park and there was a perishing wind. However for someone who enjoys walking in the snow it was lovely, devoid of any risk and steep slopes. I have added a couple of wintery photos as a result.

In addition I have included the Dodds as part of my favourite linear walk which stretches from Kirkstone Pass to Threlkeld. The walk is a genuine classic.

Navigation Tips on a Fistful of Dodds

A great place to work out how quick you walk and therefore make a more accurate stab at timing a walk. Measure the distance between any two summits and then time how long it takes. Stybarrow Dodd to Watsons Dodd is one kilometre exactly. Make sure you walk at your normal pace and do not stop. That will give you a time per kilometre. You can then use the calculator on each of these walking pages to work out how long the walk will take. Remember however that the time given is a minimum time and takes no account of any stops.

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