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Dockray, Common Fell, Watermillock Common, Little Aira Beck, Dowthwaitehead, Cumbria.
8.3 km] Thu 04 Jul 2024

Lat/Long: 54.585532, -02.939443
OS Grid ref: 39294 21567

The weather forecasts aid bits of rain. I reached Dockray and pared in the small laybye by the bridge. It's been many years since I parked here and today I'm heading up to Common Fell on Watermillock Common. It's a small summit but Iíve never been up it before. The footpath marker post is opposite the car park so I set off through the gate and started my climb of the open fell. It was very overcast but the rain hadnít arrived yet. The ground was very wet and covered in long grass making route finding difficult in places. Higher up the track was more distinct but the wind and rain made it difficult going.

The rain arrives.

Ullswater in the distance.
A large boulder marked a nice viewpoint just below the summit where I could see across Ullswater.. The summit cairn is perched on top of a natural mound which looks out of place on the fell. The wind seemed stronger and driving horizontal rain was painful on my face. I continued SE towards Swinside Knott and was glad of the drop in altitude and slight reduction in wind speed.
Common Fell summit cairn.
My original plan was to trek over Brown Hills but I decided to turn right and straight down into Little Aira Beck where there is an old sheepfold that I visited about 20 years ago. The ground was still horribly wet and I was glad to reach the stone walls of the sheepfold and find some shelter to stop and eat my sandwiches. I headed west to join the main descent route to the small hamlet of Dowthraitehead. I stopped to chat to a man building a porch on the main farmhouse.
Shelter at the sheepfold.

Dowthwaitehead building works.

Dowthwaitehead in 2021
The last time I was here I spoke to the farmer but it seems he is long gone as all the buildings are empty. I continued along the lane to the old Waterworks building that looks like it has been converted to a house. By the track was a wooden honesty box selling cakes but I didnít see a price list. Further on at the road junction the road was closed as men worked on installing a duct or optical fibre cable.

Road closure for duct laying.

Fibre cable ducting.

Mole plough for the ducting.
As I walked down the lane I noticed how little damage had been done by mole ploughing the duct in. Approaching Dockray I stopped to chat to a man sweeping up leaves. He said they hadn't laid the cable past his house yet but he wouldnít be getting connected.
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