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Ski Club of Manchester Cumbria Weekend 2023, Matterdale Common — Sunday 14th May

Leader: David Miller

Reporter: Chris Fildes

Fifteen of us, Ruth, Tosh, Brian-B, Catherine, Dave, Vanessa, Liz, Paul, Chris, Steve, David-S, David J, Andrew, Brian-R, & Mike, plus four canines, Peddar, Jim, Fossie Freddie ‘an’ all’.... set off at 10am for a high level anti-clockwise circular of 10.31 miles, starting from The Royal Hotel in the hamlet of Dockray.

The weather forecast was spot on, cloudy with bright periods and possible showers, so different from the warm, sunny Loughrigg Fell walk the previous day.

We started out up the lane at the back of the Hotel then followed Aira Beck before turning West, taking the track by Groove Beck, gradually gaining height over Matterdale Common. And surprise! Tosh appeared over the hill on a Geocache mission, and kept me company for a while until we were all together. Passing Wolf Craggs, we followed the track South-West over Brutt’s Moss onto Randerside (710m). The going was good, just a steady continuous uphill plod. Much nattering going on as usual, making for a pleasant and sociable walk.

On reaching Great Dodd (856m), the gradient became easier, gentle ups and downs along a broad rounded, (‘Dodd) ridge. We headed South West for Watson’s Dodd,(789m). We could have bypassed this, but the beckoning views swung it. There was a photo stop, then onto Stybarrow Dodd (843m). Howard said his goodbye’s here, as he was on a pre-arranged mission. Then off we set again over Hart Side and Birkett Fell (756m). We re-gathered for a break below Swinside Knot, and then descended over Watermillock Common, Common Fell and Pounder Sike, before returning to Dockray at about 4pm.

There are a ‘plethora’ of Dodds in this area. If you’re curious to know what a Dodd is, ‘Great Dodd’, is a Big Round Hill, and ‘Dodd’ is a Bare Round Hill. Makes sense to me, I think…

We kept an eye on dark rain clouds, ominously sweeping around us, but all we got was a short shower. No mishaps on the way down, other than Chris having difficulty getting her leg over (a style). I’m stuck she yelled… Thank god for the long bootlaces!

Back at the Hotel we were joined by Wendy, Phil, Helen, Bill and Liz who were on the ‘select walk’ We were treated to tea and cake at Liz and Paul’s ‘Cafe in the Car Park’ while F & F had a nap the car!

A BIG thank you Dave for organising this splendid walk and also to Liz and Paul for the much appreciated afternoon tea afterwards.

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