Starling Dodd is a fell in
the western part of the English Lake District, located between the
valleys of Ennerdale and Buttermere, on the ridge between Great Borne to
its west and Red Pike (Buttermere) to its east. Not visible from
Buttermere and rounded in profile, Starling Dodd is a relatively
The Western Fells occupy a triangular sector of the Lake District,
bordered by the River Cocker to the north east and Wasdale to the south
Westwards the hills diminish toward the coastal plain of
Cumberland. At the central hub of the high country are Great Gable and
its satellites. Two principal ridges fan out on either flank of
Ennerdale, the western fells in effect being a great horseshoe around
this long wild valley. Starling Dodd stands on the northern branch,
dividing Buttermere and Ennerdale.
The Buttermere and Ennerdale
watershed runs north west from Haystacks, climbing over High Crag, High
Stile and Red Pike (the three fells of Buttermere Edge). The ridge then
loses its craggy character, swinging westerly over the grassy Starling
Dodd to its terminus at Great Borne.
The western ridge of Red
Pike swings down and away from the craggy Buttermere front of Ling Cove
and then rises to the subsidiary top of Little Dodd (1,935 ft). This is
generally considered to be a part of Red Pike, the territory of Starling
Dodd beginning at the next depression westward.
A short climb on
grass then leads to the summit, a rounded but quite shapely grassy dome
sitting atop a broad ridge.
Gentle slopes fall westward along the
watershed, interrupted only by the slight rise of Gale Fell (1,699 ft),
a trivial summit listed only by Birkett. Rough grass on the facing slope
leads up to the rockier environs of Great Borne.
flanks of Starling Dodd are heavily wooded below 1,000 ft, part of the
extensive conifer plantations of the Ennerdale Forest. Within the forest
is Latterbarrow (895 ft), a parallel lower ridge which diverts some of
Starling Dodd's streams further west than might be expected.
North of the summit dome, Starling Dodd levels into a wide plateau
before disappearing over a steep rim of minor crags. At the base of this
fall is the tenuous topographical connection to Mellbreak, a low
watershed dividing Starling Dodd's northern drainage into widely
That to the west of the summit flows into
the marshy valley of Mosedale, travelling all around Mellbreak to enter
Crummock Water via Park Beck.
The north eastern quarter takes a
direct line into the lake, dropping down the craggy face via Scale
Force. This is believed to be the highest single waterfall in the
District, dropping around 100 ft down a narrow cleft.
grassy top bears a sizeable cairn, reinforced by many iron posts and
fittings salvaged from the Ennerdale Fence. A recent photograph shows
that many have been added since Alfred Wainwright drew the cairn in
Ennerdale Water is well seen from the summit, with parts of
the lakes of Crummock Water and Loweswater also visible.
Stile hides part of the arc of the Western Fells, but Pillar and its
neighbours make a fine panorama. The North Western Fells are also seen
across Crummock Water.
The ascent uses Loweswater village as a
base, although this then requires a full traverse of marshy Mosedale.
Red Gill can then be followed to reach the plateau.
point can also be reached from Buttermere village or Ennerdale by using
Floutern Pass but this is not without bogs.
along the ridge from either direction are probably more common.
routes near Starling Dodd