Clough Head is a fell in the English Lake District and is the
northernmost top of the Helvellyn range in the Eastern Fells, standing
to the south of Threlkeld and the A66.
The Helvellyn range runs broadly north to south for
about 7 miles (11 km), remaining above 2,000 ft (600 m) throughout its
length. To the south of the terminus at Clough Head are Great Dodd,
Watson's Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd - collectively 'The Dodds' - before the
scenery becomes gradually wilder on the approach to Helvellyn itself.
Clough Head is the lowest of the range and from some directions it
appears as a rounded grassy dome. Alone among the Helvellyns it has
smooth slopes to the east, with crags on the west, a reversal of the
usual pattern. The crags continue around to the north west above the
village of Threlkeld forming a large natural amphitheatre.
connecting ridge from Great Dodd begins westerly before swinging north
around the head of Mosedale, the boundary between these two fells. The
halfway point is marked by Calfhow Pike (2,165 ft), a rocky pinnacle.
This would be unremarkable in other parts of the district, but here the
lone rocky island in a sea of fell-grass is a landmark for miles around.
North of Calfhow Pike is a col at 2,020 ft (620 m) before the broad
ridge makes directly for the summit of Clough Head.
drop of Red Screes begins almost immediately to the north west of the
summit, falling to the floor of the unnamed amphitheatre at around
1,650 ft (500 m).
The outlet of this hollow contains the
subsidiary top of Threlkeld Knotts, deflecting the drainage to either
side. Gentler slopes lead down from here to the hamlet of Wanthwaite and
the remains of Threlkeld Quarry, now Threlkeld Mining Museum.
Also nearby are the remains of an ancient Settlement, believed to date
from the Romano-British period. Outlines of enclosure walls can still be
North east from the summit of Clough Head is the
lesser top of White Pike. From here the ridge descends between Mosedale
and Red Screes gradually broadening into Thelkeld Common before it
reaches the River Glenderamackin some two miles (3 km) away.
western face of Clough Head, looming above the Vale of St John, is
uniformly rough. The principal rock features are from the north, Buck
Castle, Wanthwaite Crags and Bram Crag.
Rising up between the
latter two in a south easterly direction is Fisher's Wife's Rake, the
only chink in Clough Head's defences on this side. A (very) steep grassy
walk rises up from the scree below Wanthwaite Crags, climbing to the
smoother ground above. It is practicable although not for the casual
walker. The name comes from the Fisher family of nearby Rake How - the
husband cut peat and his wife hauled it down by sled.
is marked by an Ordnance Survey triangulation column and a sprawling
cairn cum windbreak. It provides a good view of Blencathra to the north,
in fact Alfred Wainwright drew himself admiring this view in his
Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. Although the higher Great Dodd
obstructs, the vista of the high fells to the west is excellent.
Clough Head is often climbed as the first step of a traverse of the
Helvellyn range. From the northeast (Threlkeld) there is a path avoiding
the crags and reaching the summit via White Pike.
one may follow the Coach Road to its highpoint, before heading southwest
to the top.
Wanthwaite provides the other main access either via
Fisher's Wife's Rake or the much easier slopes behind Wanthwaite Quarry.
None of these routes have paths throughout, but once the top is
reached a clear track leads south towards Great Dodd.
routes near Clough Head