Watery Winter Walking
Wipers fought hard to clear the screen as I drove over Shap.
On the quieter A591 water dripped from drooping branches,
seeped across the road from Scafell.
Unable to flow further, it congregated between Derwent and Basenthwaite.
The ‘Lakes’ unable to take any more, pushed their excess into ditches and fields.
Was this really a good day for a walk?
The valleys were sodden.
The tops of the hills were hidden from view.
But having arrived, well it was pointless sitting in cars and there is always the hope that things will clear. So, huddled behind hoods and swathed in hi-tech clothing, we began.
Ullock quickly revealed how lazy my legs had been over the festive season. Hardly a climb. It is a ‘well fixed fell’ path, but it did feel particularly steep. Especially as there was not a great deal to look at. Then the wind began to play with the cloud. Tantalisingly pulling it away for a few moments.
Then two minutes later.
At least the path left little chance of getting lost, unless of course you miss the turn off to Carl Side and end up on Skiddaw. As we nearly did. Only the sight of a day glow green figure passing made us stop and reconsider which direction we needed to go. That handy GPS again.
Carl Side has a pile of stones to mark its top, but not until we were over and marching down again, did Derwent shine through the haze.
Derwent from Carl Side
Then I remembered why I like walking up hills. The rain stopped, the wind dropped, the cloud lifted and spokes of colour wheeled into the distance.
Dodd, the final destination was suddenly there. Not only Dodd but people.
Walking up and down trails, sitting on benches and admiring the view. Had they always been around? Had the weather given us a false sense of isolation?
Take a Break
One up from the usual pile of stones there is a memorial pillar to mark your arrival on Dodd, along with Basenthwaite.
Showing just how heavy the recent rain has been,
this ditch had been cut by water flowing down the hill. Tree roots were exposed and bits of rock were scattered along it.
We scramble down Dodd to the north, a bit slippery but soon reaching the forest track again for an easy stroll back to the car. The vast expanse of coniferous trees now having been cleared off Dodd make it a far more pleasant walk than first experienced by Wainwright and his early followers.
So yes, it did turn out to be quite a good day for a walk!