Where is this walk?

A Fistful of Dodds

July 26, 2019

The long northern ridge from Helvellyn comprises a number of rounded humps. It offers some easy walking, an easy climb from Dockray with superb views. The name Fistful of Dodds is of course 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 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 near Helvellyn to the east. The walking on the wide ridges is simply delightful.

The climb up from Dockray and Dowthwaitehead Farm is simple and unusual. Not only are the views over Ullswater interesting (particularly from Hart Side) but the climb itself starts at over 1,000 feet and the slopes less steep. The steep western slopes of the ridge make for an uninteresting slog.


The walk is improved further by adding two miles and the short climb to Clough Head. The views of the southern ridges of Blencathra from the summit of Clough Head are unsurpassed, an interesting study of the vast claw that seems to carve them out. Finally I would drop down to join the wide bridleway known as the Old Coach Road.

I have included the section on the main ridge on my favourite linear walk which stretches from Kirkstone Pass to Threlkeld – this is a genuine classic day but very long.

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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