|Outline Map →||Route file →|
Date: 17 Jan 2004
Start / Finish: Dockray. Small parking area on the A5091 immediately S of where it crosses Aira Beck.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 5: English Lakes North East.
|Day 1||Matterdale & The Dodds||9 miles / 2940 feet (14.5km / 896m)|
|Day 2||Raise & Glencoyne||6 miles / 820 feet (9.7km / 249m)|
A normally easy route but strength-sapping on this occasion due to the snow and spindrift!.
From Dockray we took the lane W then the track that leads around Matterdale Common below Wolf Crags. The sunny slopes of Blencathra could be seen below the canopy of clag and this turned out to be the only view of the day. Crossing Mariel bridge we climbed the trackless slopes to White Pike and Clough Head, where we entered the windblown white mist and spindrift.
There was only a little snow here but the depth increased at Calfhow Pike, and approaching Great Dodd the conditions were not far from a whiteout, requiring a careful eye on the compass. Passing over the almost non-existent bump of Watson's Dodd we climbed to Stybarrow Dodd, with another great view of naff-all. Arriving at Sticks Pass, it was quite late in the afternoon with no signs of improvement, so we descended E to the head of Sticks Gill to collect water and returned to pitch at the pass.
The wind strengthened overnight but the morning showed a transformed scene. The mist had gone and the familiar steely-blue early light illuminated the mountains to the W, while the first reds and oranges in the E promised a fine sunrise. So it was, and it seemed that the Eastern sky was on fire.
Climbing to Raise, the views were superb but we saw the first signs of some ugly weather approaching. Returning to the pass, we descended the Sticks Gill path and left it to climb the short distance to the Glencoyne path. This is a splendid path that descends gradually across the very steep face of the valley then contours the N side, giving fine views of Sheffield Pike. As it turns NE across Watermillock Common there is a another fine view of the length of Ullswater. The path leads directly to the National Trust gate at Dockray.