The view from Dodd, in the shadow of Skiddaw, is well worth the easy 5 km round trip from the Old Sawmill Tearoom car park. The path takes you on tracks and paths through Dodd Wood, opening out near the summit to provide views over Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite Lake, Newlands Valley, the Solway coast and beyond. Although this is a small fell that you might think is perfect for a dull day when the bigger fells are shrouded in cloud, it is really a shame not to enjoy this expansive and easily attained view in the sunshine.
The day we walked up to the top of Dodd the summit was sprinkled in snow. The sun was shining and, as it was mid-week, we had the hill to ourselves. Sitting on a memorial bench enjoying the spectacular view was perfect.
I like to think Ruth Day would have enjoyed such a glorious day on the fells too and she accompanied us in one way as we sat on the bench erected in memory of her. I always stop and think for a little longer when I notice someone died young and Ruth Day was only in her 50s when she died. I think about the years of life the person didn’t get to live and the people who loved them and are left missing a partner, friend or family member.
This memorial bench is all about Ruth Day, the passing walker is given no clue about who erected the bench in her memory. The quote from Oscar Wilde is beautifully appropriate for the person the memorial describes and for the place. The quote comes from De Profundis, a long letter Oscar Wilde wrote while in jail in 1897. The letter was to his lover Alfred Douglas, a letter Oscar Wilde was not allowed to post from jail.
It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little. I discern great sanity in the Greek attitude. They never chattered about sunsets, or discussed whether the shadows on the grass were really mauve or not. But they saw that the sea was for the swimmer, and the sand for the feet of the runner. They loved the trees for the shadow that they cast, and the forest for its silence at noon.
I hope that Ruth Day had the opportunity to live easily with nature.