Rest Dodd

Published 27 September 2017

Rest Dodd seen from the northern side

Is this a fell, or a lump of soil?

Leaving Patterdale, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk passes by several of the Far Eastern Fells. For my second day walking in the Patterdale area, I followed it, visiting seven different fells along its route. First stop was Angletarn Pikes, but my second didn’t go quite as planned.

“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain.”

“Don’t sing! You’ll scare off the other walkers!” proclaimed the companion of the woman who was singing as she walked.

“And me with a music degree too!”

“Ah, well, it’s better than my singing,” I interjected as I caught up with them.

The duo were walking the Coast to Coast, “although only as far as Shap!”. We chatted a little, commenting on the rain and I consoled them with the fact seven years earlier when I’d last been here, Cumbria had experienced a years worth of rain in a couple of days.

“When I think back to that,” I said, “this is nothing!”

And it really wasn’t that bad. Yes, it was raining. But it was gentle rain. The kind where you wonder if you’re getting wetter from the weather, or from sweating inside your waterproofs.

Angle Tarn, in the cloud

A cloudy Angle Tarn is passed when heading to Rest Dodd from Patterdale

By their own omission, the two women were “plodding along”, so I bade then them farewell and pushed on. From Angletarn Pikes, I would walk on the Coast to Coast path for a couple more miles. A short detour off the path would then take me to the “The Knott” and my second fell of the day.

With nothing particularly complex about the navigation, I put my head back and let my mind wander whilst my boots did the walking. And that’s probably why it took me as long as it did to notice that something was ary

Slowly it dawned on me that the path that had been so well made and so bloomin’ obvious, had degenerated into a faint grassy mulch. It was still a path, however it wasn’t the firm and solid route I remembered from my time walking the Coast to Coast.

And then there was the matter of the wall. There was a wall to the left of the path where the map said none should be. It even crossed the path.

Confused, I stared at the map, hoping to gain some enlightenment. Doing so revealed another problem. If I was on the right path there should be a substantial fell to my left. But there was none. Just a slope down to some unknown valley.

For the life of me I couldn’t work out where I was. So I did the only thing I could think of doing.

I got out my mobile phone.

GPS has to be one of the great wonders of the modern world. Within seconds you can find out exactly where you are at that point of time, all thanks to the wonders of satellite technology.

Although that often can leave you knowing exactly where you, without actually knowing where you actually are. After all, a GPS location is just a string of numbers. A string you can’t easily translate into a grid reference on your Ordnance Survey map.

Step forth the mighty “OS Locate” app. It’s a simple piece of software for your smartphone that will use your phone’s GPS signal and give you an OS Grid Reference. Once you have that, you can work out where you are on the map. It works in the rain, and without an internet connection, and everything.

A few taps, and some furtive map searching, later, I had confirmation of something that was blindingly obvious. I wasn’t on the right path. I was somewhere else.

Waterlogged gatepost in a wall

Argh! I've hit the wall!

It turned out that my detour wasn’t massive. However to get back on track required scaling the 696m high Wainwright, Rest Dodd, and down the other side.

Bummer. Well, okay, it wasn’t that bad. I’d planned to visit Red Dodd later in the day, on my way back to Patterdale. All I needed to do was rejigg my plans a little and everything would be fine.

I couldn’t see an obvious path up to the top of Rest Dodd, so I decided to go with the flow and make my own way up.

As I did, I spotted two women down on the path below. The same two women I’d chatted to earlier. The ones who sang. The ones I knew to be doing the Coast to Coast and who were heading to Shap. The ones who, like me, were most certainly not on the Coast to Coast route.

At first I thought nothing of it. Wainwright gave several variants for his walk through the Lakes. I couldn’t remember details of where the variants were, but it was possible there was one here, and they’d taken it. But as I got closer to the top of Rest Dodd, the more convinced I was that they’d taken the same wrong turn I had.

From studying the map I knew that if they had lost their way, they’d end up quite far from Shap at the end of the day. But then again, maybe they knew exactly what they were doing.

I wasn’t sure what to do, and in the end decided to hang around the top of Rest Dodd for a bit in the hope that they’d followed me up. What I would do if they didn’t, I hadn’t worked out. Whilst waiting, I did my best to entertain myself. This was easier said then done as low cloud meant there was no view to admire. I had to make do with checking out the various rock formations, and studying cairns in great detail.

Whilst I did, I tried to work out how I’d gone wrong. Finally dawned on me that the culprit was a rocky area about a mile before. The path had split into two at the rocks. I’d assumed they both met up again on the other side; the result of other walkers trying trying to find an easy way round the boulders. But obviously they hadn’t. It had been a junction, and I’d picked the wrong path to follow.

Summit cairn on Rest Dodd

Rest Dodd's a place to get cracking views on a cloudy day

Just as I worked this out, two walkers arrived near me. Both were female, and both were familiar. A wave of relief spread over me.

“Lovely view!” I called out casually, wondering how to throw in the question of “do you know where you are” without sounding weird.

As it happened, I didn’t need to.

“So this is the Knott then,” said one of the pair; the one who hadn’t been singing.

“Ah. No.” I replied.

For the Coast to Coast walker, the Knott is a small detour off to the right from the path. The way we’d both approached it, Rest Dodd was also a detour off to the right from the path. It seemed that rather than thinking they’d followed the wrong path, the pair believed they were simply further on than they actually were.

Still, all was good now. There was an extremely obvious path down Rest Dodd that, according to the map, would meet up with the main Coast to Coast path down below. All they had to do was follow that and they’d be on their way. The detour wasn’t massive by any means; barely half a mile. Perhaps, if they hadn’t decided they fancied visiting the top of the Knott, things could have been much worse. But it didn’t.

I pointed them towards the right direction, and wished them well. I too would be taking the same path, but just not yet. For my re-jigged plans meant I had another engagement first. A neighbouring fell that I needed to tick off whilst I could. One that would be difficult to do in any other way.

It was time to go to The Nab.

Next time, The Nab. Obviously. You can see all of my photographs from my three days in Patterdale over on flickr.

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