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Dowthwaitehead, Rush Gill, Great Dodd, Calfhow Pike, Clough Head, Old Coach Road, Cumbria.
[14.4 km]  Thu 31 May 2018

Lat/Long: 54.588511, -02.960930
OS Grid ref: NY 38000 21904

The recent sunny warm weather seems to be at an end. I drove north along the M6 under very cloudy skies though it was still warm at 15 degrees centigrade. I left the motorway at Penrith and headed to the small car park at the end of the Old Coach Road near Dowthwaitehead. As I headed along the track to the farm I couldn't see anything of the mountains due to mist and low cloud. I passed the Old Penrith Waterworks Filter House which is now being converted to a domestic residence and the workmen were already on site.

The light at the end of the tunnel has
been switched off.

31 May 2018

31 May 2006
At the Dowthwaitehead Farm I stopped briefly to chat to the old farmer who I'de seen last week. I asked about an old farmhouse across the valley which was empty though still had the roof intact. He said it was last occupied in the 1930s and the whole area had many more people living in it than now. He said that many miners lived here who worked in the Greenside Mines. I told him I was heading up Rush Gill to have a look at the Old Penrith Water Intake Building. He said that was ok.
The old Penrith Water Works Intake Building
The route through the farm buildings is not signposted and I used an old gpx track file from 12 years ago when I descended the valley. I went through a gate and passed a very old barn and up a track heading up the narrow valley. I passed an old wooden sign which was lying on the ground saying permissive path to avoid the farm buildings. The grass was extremely wet due to heavy dew because of the still, misty and muggy conditions. The track heading up the valley was quite substantial and well-engineered to an even gradient. I noticed a lesser track below and descended a steep slope to join it as it was the original access to the intake building adjacent to Rush Gill.
Intake downstream view
It must also have the outlet pipe under it as the rest of the terrain was extremely steep. The 1930s intake building was still complete and intact with the door pad-locked. The old wear was visible around the back but silted up. The rear of the building had a window but the glass was missing leaving just the wooden frame. I was able to look inside and see a little bit of pipework. I climbed steeply up to re-join the original track which surprisingly split into two tracks and I followed the lower one which took me gently upwards to a wide valley below Tod Crag Moss.
Interior seen through the window

31 May 2018

31 May 2006
It was not very good to cross because of wet grass and rushes and boggy ground. Near the head of the Valley I reached Randerside Fold which is a combination of stone walls and wooden fences comprising a sheepfold. I left it to start heading upwards and climbing up by Lurge Gill. It was up here that I visited an old campsite Id used in June 2006. It was a small flat area and I noticed there were better pitches higher up. I can only assume I chosen it for extra shelter as it may have been windy at the time. I continued upwards to a stream with extremely clear water running from a spring source issuing from the south east side of Great Dodd.
Randerside sheepfold
Adjacent to the spring was a small flat area which may possibly do as a future camp pitch. Unfortunately it is extremely exposed and in bad weather the wind could be a problem. The flat spot by the spring was the ideal location to eat my sandwiches.
Site of 2006 camp
I then continued steeply up the east side of Great Dodd and then turned to the west to follow the contour to main path at Millgill Head. Instead of going over great Dodd summit I took the minor path to the south which cuts out the summit and joins the Great Dodd descent path heading for Calfhow Pike. I had been in cloud for a while and there was very little visibility. On the final approach to Calfhow Pike I met two walkers coming out of the mist and we exchanged greetings. I headed north to follow the well-defined path through the mist to Clough Head.
Clough Head summit trig post
On the final climb I met a man coming down whod walked up from St Johns in the Vale and asked me when the clouds would clear. All I could do was tell him what Id heard on the weather forecast. Over Clough Head I stopped briefly at the trig post and carried straight on to descend gently at first then more steeply to White Pike. This area is a tangle of large boulders and I bypassed it by walking around the base and then on to the grassy descent down to the Old Coach Road. Once on the track the walking is very easy and rubble surfaced for vehicles but is rather boring.
Descending Clough Head
At Mariel Bridge is a gate and shortly after passing through a motorbike with panniers came towards me the other way. It was soon followed by another motorbike and the two met up at the gate. I continued over Barbary Rig for a mile or so when I saw a Land Rover parked up and a man painting a field gate access. He was painting it with creosote and was the farmer who owns that piece of land. I stopped to chat and he said he was about tosell the land as his age was 84 he wanted to slow down a bit. I soon reached my car then drove home.
Bird of Prey on Clough Head