Dovedale Walk 14th January 2018 -Report

11 of us met at the car park above Mill Dale on a dull & chilly morning.Once we were all booted up and ready,it was a relief to get walking and warm up!
Leaving Mill Dale and entering Dove Dale itself we passed a dipper perched on a branch above the river and then a heron incongruously standing about 50 metres inland.
The impressive cave by Dove Holes (scene of the club’s last “whack and dangle” meet in 2007) soon followed.We then crossed the river by Ilam Rock and tackled the steep climb to the top of Dovedale Wood on the western rim of the dale.Continuing past Air Cottage and Ilam Tops farm, we admired the view and the antics of a group of parascenders at the top of Bunster Hill.A short sharp descent then led us to a steady traverse above the Izac Walton Hotel and so to the foot of Thorpe Cloud.Rather than follow others on the uninviting full frontal assault,we took an easier line up the side of the hill before tackling the summit from the rear.Once up we admired more fine views before taking the main switch back descent, with Gavin opting for the more direct route down.
Lunch was taken near the foot of the peak in relative seclusion before we joined the masses congregating around and on the stepping stones.
The main part of Dovedale ,as beautiful as ever. was then followed upstream back to Ilam Rock where we crossed the bridge for a second time.We then completed the walk by following Hall Dale towards Stanshope before crossing over the intervening ridge and descending to Mill Dale.
An enjoyable day out visiting the highlights of this beautiful area.
Thanks to to those who came and for your company.

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