A list, that is, of “never again” summits!
The latest addition is Dodd Fell Hill, NP-016, activated on Saturday, 21st April. Pauline and I were with the Mercian Mountaineering Club meet at Low Stern near Clapham, and I wanted a summit with not too much ascent so that my XYL stood a chance of reaching it with her knee problem. From the map I saw that a road ran south from Hawes reaching a high point of 1923 feet and a gated road, High Cam Road, ran at this height over the east ridge of Dodd Fell Hill before contouring along the south side. This looked ideal with only 281 feet to gain to the summit, so we duly set off to approach Hawes from Ingleton, an impressively scenic road!
The minor road south from Hawes was narrow, a sign at the start claimed it was impassable due to snow and ice but we gambled that it was passable, and it was. At the summit we went through the gate onto Cam High Road (allegedly Roman but reasonably tarmacked!) and parked by the second gate, so that the rather impressive wall would not have to be climbed - a good decision as I saw no stiles or gates. The going turned out to be purgatorial due to a thick layer of peat in a badly eroded state, and after a few hundred metres of clambering up little cliffs of peat and a little swallow hole dodging, Pauline turned back. I toiled on to find a bleak featureless summit plateau and a trig point with its own little moat. A stride across and a balancing act was necessary to fix the pole using a couple of bungees.
I had intended to open up on 5 megs but I saw that the western horizon had vanished behind an advancing wall of white, so I hastily set up for 2 metre FM and got my first contact as soft hail started to fall. After four contacts a QRZ? got no reply, and as by now I was being shot-blasted by an intense hard hail storm that had turned the ground white - and as I found, dumped a load into the rucsac! - I decided that discretion is the sensible option and hastily packed up again. By now conditions were so bad that I had to remove my spectacles, and I bailed out on a compass bearing of southwest as the quickest way off the mountain, reasoning that I would pick up the Pennine Way and follow it to its junction with Cam High Road. As I had hoped, the peat had almost vanished on the west flank of the hill (as lack of spectacles made the route a bit of a blur) and the evacuation was cold but quick and without incident, leaving me with a couple of miles of road work to get back to the car. Continuing hail flurries dissuaded me from adding NP-017 to the days bag so we headed back to the hut - and of course, the sun came out!
For me NP-016 is so lacking in interest that it will probably not be done again, there are plenty of fine summits to be done in this intriguing corner of the Pennines.