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Hen Comb and the Sunset
Date & start time: Wednesday 19th January 2011, 2 pm start.
Location of Start : The red phone box, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )
Places visited : Kirkhead Farm, Mosedale, Little Dodd, Hen Comb and back.
Walk details : 4.8 mls, 1350 ft of ascent, 2 hrs 10 mins.
Highest point : Hen Comb 1669 ft - 509 m.
Walked with : Myself (Roger) and the dogs, Harry and Bethan, joined by Ann later.
Weather : Blue skies and warm going.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
An afternoon dog walk turned into a climb up one of the local Wainwright tops.
The river levels have returned to normal so the stepping stones over the Mosedale Beck were clear.
What of the sunset that followed the walk ... well see for yourself at the end of the report.
Looking back at the start point . . . the red phone box ( NY 143 211 )
Looking back again . . . the Kirkstile Inn.
That white building opposite the phone box can just be seen through a gap in the trees.
As lovely as ever, the two sentinels of this end of the valley, Whiteside and Grasmoor.
Having passed the farm, this is the gate at the end of the lane where the farm track turns into the Mosedale Valley track.
Low Fell in the background and the square of an old earthworks, possibly Earl Beothar's fort, in the field adjacent to us here
[ Earl Beothar I hear you say . . . think Beothar's Mere . . . Buttermere . . . 11th century and all that. ]
The path up to Hen Comb crosses here on the stepping stones, provided the water levels are not too high.
Safely over . . . this is the view from the other side.
The northern slope of Mellbreak doesn't look as daunting from this angle.
A footpath to nowhere . . .
The green line through the bracken heading towards Loweswater is purely a sheep track
occasionally used by the farmer no doubt, but does not feature on any map.
I aim for the highest part of the ridge in order to enjoy the views of the Loweswater Fells on the other side.
The centre one is the highest of the group . . . Blake Fell.
I love first views of new fells
and this was the first glimpse today of the High Stile Ridge as seen up the Mosedale valley.
The odd purposeful whistle drew my attention to the local farmer gathering and checking his sheep.
Father Chris has travelled up in his covered quad bike onto the lower slopes of Hen Comb.
Looking down on White Oak Beck and the old lead mines on the side of Black Crag.
The top footpath of the three contouring around below the mines was almost certainly an industrial water leat or mill stream
taking water from the beck across to the mine site in order to power a historic water wheel for the mine.
Standing back a short distance from the summit of Little Dodd
I get a wide angle shot of both the Lorton and Loweswater valleys and the view out to the Solway and Scotland.
Harry and Bethan.
Today's slightly longer walk would work off some of their pent up energy.
From the fence below the last climb to the top of Hen Comb
I can now see up into the Buttermere Valley, with Fleetwith Pike's shape instantly recognisable at its head.
A pause for breath and a photo half way up the steep climb to the top.
Across the way are Grasmoor and Hopegill Head, seen over the slopes of heather covered Mellbreak.
Seven layers of hills, eight when you include the ridge of Helvellyn in the far distance.
Mellbreak, Rannerdale Knotts, Whiteless Breast, Knott Rigg, Scope End, Maiden Moor, High Seat and then Raise Fell.
Further to the south the snowy top of Pillar Fell in Ennerdale Valley.
Out to sea, a misty Isle of Man, seen across the small summit cairn of Hen Comb.
Finally before we go back down, a quick look at Buttermere and just the top end of Crummock Water to the left.
If you follow the gps tracklog off Everytrail at the top of the page,
you'll realise I took an off-path route down the side of Hen Comb.
Harry is staring intently at something in the heather and bilberry ground cover.
A careful crossing of one fence and I aim for this sheepfold on the way down.
A short way further on, an older, less well maintained sheep fold.
This one appears as a question mark shape when viewed from the slopes of Mellbreak opposite.
A last look back at Hen Comb, the detail of the sky lost in the brightness of the afternoon sun.
- - - o o o - - -
Ann had been unable to do the entire walk today but did come up to join us on part of the walk home.
The afternoon sunshine was becoming more colourful as the sun starts to set in the west.
The shadow of the flat top of Mellbreak can be seen across the face of Grasmoor.
Zooming in a few moments later as the sun becomes more intense.
Back to Church Bridge and the Kirkstile Pub.
Innominate Signpost . . . the famous signpost just says no road to anywhere.
- - - o o o - - -
After the walk we set off down the valley to Cockermouth . . . to do a little essential shopping and visit friends.
This report has yet another 'looking back' picture
as I stop the car and admire the changing colours in the sky.
The northern slopes of Fellbarrow looking to the west.
The sun has set but it has left a remarkable display of colour.
Click here or on the photo above for a larger Loweswatercam panorama.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a day sack to put the spare walking clothes in as it was so warm.
Previous walk - 17th January 2011 Sale Fell near Wythop
A previous time up here - 2nd April 2007 Last one to the tree is a sissy
Next walk - 20-25th January 2011 Mosser, Lorton & the Bridge