Watson’s Dodd

Published 22 May 2014

Watson's Dodd, seen from Stybarrow Dodd

The plan was to go to Helvellyn. The plan didn’t happen. Instead I went up White Side, then to Raise and did three Dodds… Watson’s was the second.

“Whoever Mr Watson may have been, it’s a very odd Dodd that has been selected to perpetuate his name,” said Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide to the Eastern Fells.

He went on to explain that Watson’s Dodd has no eastern flanks; with the land instead clearly being claimed by neighbouring Stybarrow Dodd and Great Dodd, due to the presence of stream which splits the two.

Not being an expert in the appropriation of names to individual fells, I just had to take his word for it. AW probably knew better about these things than me. Even if he didn’t know which Watson this particular Dodd was named for.

Stuff the name though, for Watson’s Dodd has another interesting point. It’s height. A whacking seven hundred and eighty nine metres above sea level. Yes, 789m. And if you don’t find that interesting, then I’m not sure we can be friends any more. Of course Wainwright would never have noticed that as he would have worked in that Imperial system that, some people insist on telling me, makes much more sense than that complex metric thing.

The middle Dodd is also the smallest, on a ridge path that snaked like an S. Accessed by an easy two thirds of a mile meander along from Stybarrow Dodd, walking to Watson’s Dodd was a gentle stroll and one devoid of anything particular to see other than the fine views of Thirlmere and the fells beyond.

With such a short distance to travel, I was naturally there in very little time. Although I was delayed by finding another large patch of snow, which made me unsuccessfully attempt to zoom down the snow on my backside, as I’d done on the side of Raise. Sadly the slopes were simply not steep enough, and my first attempt resulted in me looking like Piffy on a rock bun after grinding to a halt in mere seconds, after moving just a couple of metres, and a second go wasn’t much better.

Perhaps it was just punishment for wanting too much of a good thing. Or maybe it was because I’d put my waterproof trousers on and they were providing some sort of friction affect which slowed down my descent. You never know, it does happen. But I wasn’t going to hang around and and conduct conclusive testing, thanks very much. I had a Dodd to climb.

Cairn on the top of Watson's Dodd

Like Stybarrow Dodd, Watson’s Dodd suffers from a path which bypasses the summit; this time though, more people seemed to be stopping to admire the view. Watson’s Dodd sticks out furthest to the west and its summit cairn gives an ideal vantage point for admiring Thirlmere and the fells behind it. Even a determined looking group of fell runners had paused at the summit cairn, and I couldn’t blame them.

True, in the haze it was hard to tell my Eel Crag from my Lord’s Seat, but it was a joy to look at all the same. As I perched on a rock, I rested and soaked it all up, before setting off for my final Dodd. And this one was apparently “Great.”

Next time: It’s Great is that Dodd.

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