Lake District: Ullock Pike, Longside Edge, Skiddaw, Carl Side and Dodd

21 May 2012

After parking in the Dodd Wood (Mirehouse) car park on the eastern side of Bassenthwaite Lake, we walked north through the wood towards the Ravenstone Hotel

Parts of the forest were very dark, particularly as I was wearing sunglasses in anticipation of a sunny day.

George leads the way, suggesting that we need to turn off the level path here and head upwards. Given the options, George always selects a route which heads up, and one which heads through a gate. On this occasion he is right as we are at the point where the public footpath comes up from the hotel to the left and heads for the open fell.

Gradually gaining height on the open fell

Looking back along that path from a bit higher, with a view of pretty much all of Bassenthwaite Lake with the north-western fells beyond it.

We soon gain the ridge proper. The curving ridge, incorporating Ullock Pike and Long Side, will take us up to Carl Side Col in the centre, from where we ascend to the highest point of the walk, Skiddaw, centre-left. We'll then return to the col, visit the summit of Carl Side which forms the last part of the ridge we are on at the moment, and then descend back to the forest, visiting the summit of Dodd on our way.

Looking back along the ridge, with Binsey in the distance.

A little rocky ascent, with George waiting for me in the sunshine

On Ullock Pike, with the wonderful views over the summit of Dodd (centre right) to Derwent Water and the array of high fells in the central and western Lake District. This view accompanied us for much of the rest of the walk, and though a fraction hazy was a wonderful companion.

I'm in a long-sleeved tee-shirt (later on changed to a short-sleeved tee) on this warm day. George is gently panting but he had plenty of water and remained full of energy. Behind him is the grey screes of Skiddaw's western side, with the path from Carl Side col to its summit ridge just visible running up from the right.

From Long Side, a look along the spectacular valley of Southerndale, with Scotland on the other side of the sea.

Carl Side Tarn looked very inviting on a warm day, and I decided this would be a good spot for lunch later.

From the tarn and col, the path up Skiddaw. Many maps show a path up the shoulder itself, but there was nothing to be seen from a distance, and it is clear that almost everyone now uses the route we'd chosen, which emerges at the middle summit on the ridge.

The path is steep and a little loose underfoot - not a problem in ascent but making descent a little tricky

The middle summit, looking to the southern, with Skiddaw Little Man beyond on the left

Looking to the famous saddleback of Blencathra

The view to the northern, and highest, summit, which we visited next.

And finally the view from the southern summit, returning once more to that glorious prospect over Derwent Water and the array of high fells

The descent back towards Carl Side, with yesterday's Grasmoor in the centre of the more distant fells. With my Microspikes on, the steep descent wasn't difficult - they really do make such a difference on a steep route, and I've now used them more on this sort of terrain than I have on snow and ice (when they are also invaluable).

After lunch by Carlside Tarn, it was a short hop over the summit of Carl Side, George and I posing as we begin the descent

The long descent is broken by this patch of white stones, known as White Stones.

 Our route turns right here and heads towards Dodd, seen here

From the col between Carl Side and Dodd, a forestry track takes us to this winding path up to the summit of Dodd.

The view from the summit of Dodd

Descending through Dodd Wood back to the car. George was quite warm by now, and trotted quickly between patches of shade. Back at the car park and tea-rooms, I finished off the walk with a nice ice-cream as England beat the West Indies in the first test from Lord's.

It's always easier to say when the weather is good, but today's was a superb walk. The view to Derwent Water and the high central and western fells was one that I didn't tire of, and one which the slow climb up the ridge kept in front of me for some time, with more views on the descent from Skiddaw and from Carl Side, and then the delightful little Dodd to finish wrap up a glorious walk. It was almost a shame it wasn't longer, but it gave me chance to have a rest before going out in the evening and finding a quiet spot  above the Duddon Valley to sit and read for an hour - wonderful.

Total distance 13.0 km and 1051 metres of ascent in 6 hours 5 mins



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson