The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Hoove and Dodd Fell Hill

Thursday 9 April


The plan of attack this morning was to try to get up and down Hoove and through the Tan Hill Road before the closure kicked in (it’s a one-day closure, for today only). The plan failed, in that we didn’t make it to the road in time, but by 7.45 we had, in the glorious glow of a clear-skied early morning, been up and down Hoove.

“A horrible hill” was Mick’s verdict, which I thought a little harsh. It was one of those completely featureless ones, with a plateau large and flat enough that it’s impossible to discern the highest point with the eye alone. Our approach probably didn’t show off the hill to its best advantage either, as we yomped pathlessly from the North Yorkshire/County Durham border, through tussocks, bog and heather.

Perversely, we probably doubled our total ascent for the outing on our way back to Colin. Having ascended a slightly longer route so as to keep to the higher ground, we returned via a more direct route, taking in the dips and climbs. Even so, it was still a very modest outing, at 2.5 miles with just over 200’ of up.

Having driven around the houses (but not as around the houses as expected as it turned out that yesterday’s road closure at Gunnerside had re-opened), and paused for second breakfast at the top of Butter Tub Pass, off to Gayle, and a little beyond, we trundled, to a place which is probably not a common starting point for an ascent of Dodd Fell Hill.


Another period of pathless yomping through bog and tussock saw us to the top of the hill, where we met a SOTA (amateur radio) chap just reeling away an impressive meterage of wire, whilst he and Mick talked radio frequencies and we chatted about various hills.

With the day being young (it wasn’t even a quarter past eleven yet!), we didn’t do an about turn on the summit, but rather we turned westward to drop down to the Pennine Way before picking up the road above Oughtershaw Side. It’s just a pity that the day, which had started out so clear and sunny had become so hazy, obscuring the views down the valleys.

With no more hills on the agenda today, by twenty past noon we were at leisure to spend the rest of the afternoon with our feet up and reading our books … except for our planned amble into Hawes later to pick up some supplies and eat chips.

(2.5 miles, 200’; 4.8 miles, 500’)


  1. Hawes! Oh my, that brings back memories if fresh rolls and cheese and ham and tomatoes and fudge. I wonder if you can still get the fudge? Can't remember where we bought it. And it was about 35 years ago. We stayed at a guest house in Bainbridge by the village green every year for seven years. Buttertubs Pass, Askrigg Common, Gunnerside Gill, Aysgarth, and no end of waterfalls and abbeys and just fab!!

    1. The deli/up-market-supermarket place in Hawes certainly sells fudge, but only by the full bar. I'm picturing that there should be a sweet shop somewhere selling it by the quarter (or, nowadays, the 100g).

      We passed by the village green of Bainbridge the following day - it looked lovely. Childhood holidays in that area must have been great. I'm not sure why my family never ventured there, but I'm sure we would have loved it if we had.

  2. You are certainly getting about. Some great names in the hills around Hoove. People must have had some imagination years ago.

    1. We'd fallen off our paper map for this hill so I hadn't perused the surrounding area (you can't beat spending a tea break reading the map, can you?). I've just had a look though, and you're quite right - great names.