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" Hen Comb - Dressed Crab "

Date & start time:      27th February 2021.  1.45  pm start.

Location of Start :     By the red phone box, Loweswater, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited :          Churchyard, Harry's Pool, Hen Comb and back via Mosedale Holly.

Walk details :              5.5 mls, 1550 ft of ascent, 2 hours 30 mins.

Highest point :           Hen Comb, 1,669ft - 509m

Walked with :             Myself and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                    Calm and dry.  Lovely sunshine drags me outdoors, but it didn't last ! 

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It was a lovely sunny morning as I pottered around the house and garden, but I decided the day was too good to spend on routine jobs.

Domesticity was swapped for walking boots, dog beds for dog collars and camera in hand we were off up our local fell.

Sometimes the strap-line for a web page comes to mind part way through the walk itself and today is an example of that, as I will explain later.

First a few pictures from the last week, here in Loweswater.

The seasons are very slowly changing . . .
. . . snowdrops are giving way to daffodils.

My neighbour Martin, whom I walked with on several occasions recently, has been keeping his eye out for his local wildlife.

This is one of the local (female) sparrow hawk that landed on a post close to his house.

An early evening visitor has been this lovely barn owl.

It has been a regular dusk visitor, flying over the newly planted woodland field checking out the long grass for supper (or is that breakfast? ).

I have seen owls locally for a while too but not so many sightings so close to home and on such a regular basis.

Perhaps it is an example how a simple change of habitat in the two fields adds potential bio diversity to the area.

Martin invited me up to his garden one late afternoon so, with camera in hand I tried my luck at wildlife photography.

For a while all we saw were crows.

Then in the field below our visitor arrived.
Flying through the gaps in the hedges.

Weaving and turning along his flight path (as instructed by the road sign !)

He flew across the field we were in, but perhaps we were not well enough hidden, as he didn't stay long or even settle on a post this time.

I can see that the problems of framing the image, following his twisting flight and then other objects confusing the auto-focus

will all need practice to master.

On the way home I still had the big lens at hand . . .
. . . so you have a lunar photo to go with the owl.

- - - o o o - - -

Back to the walk . . . it was a lovely day so garden tools were put away in preference to dog leads and walking boots.

- - - o o o - - -

Hen Comb looked inviting . . .


and I could also go and check out for signs

of the recent fire on Gavel,

if only from a distance.


- - - o o o - - -

The walk started at the red phone box . . .
. . . with a diversion through the graveyard to appreciate the flowers.

Grasmoor across the valley . . . that may well be my next big walk with Martin.

Looking back at Darling Fell and Low Fell from the Mosedale track.

Ahead is Hen Comb, a long north-south ridge with a few intermediate summits and a steep final pull to the top.

- - - o o o - - -


The route branches off the main track

at a point that Ann named 'Harry's Pool'.


The river is slightly up

so the stepping stones are partially covered

which necessitates a careful crossing,

to maintain dry feet.


Dougal is not so bothered.


- - - o o o - - -


Carling Knott . . . seen through a gap in the field wall.

With the first rise completed we look ahead to Little Dodd and the more distant Hen Comb summit.

The reverse photo a short time later, after I had said 'good afternoon' to a small family walking group.

The sky was getting overcast now and the sunshine of the morning that had attracted me out was beginning to fade.

Climbing the ridge and Fleetwith Pike comes into view around the back of Mellbreak.

" Come on dad, you're being slow "

Perhaps it was the rather nice lunch of dressed crab salad that was slowing me down !  As I was walking up the steepest part of the fell,

trying to avoid the obvious but rather eroded soft path, I knew it was lunch that was definitely affecting my walking . . .

In fact I found myself  walking sideways (you could say crab-wise) placing my feet across the slope to counter the steepness of the ascent ;o)

That lunch was more influential than I thought !

Summiting out on Hen Comb.

Time for a little look around, but the sunshine had gone so the light was a little flat for clearer photos.

From the top of Hen Comb, some of the damage from the recent moorland fire could be seen.  It had started on Banna fell (over the back mid-picture)

and the fire was spread by the strong, dry wind over the top and down into the White Oak Valley.  Most of the darker areas looks like fire damage.

It spread across the Black Crag ridge and this side of Blake Fell and Carling Knott, but fortunately stayed away from the two summit ridges behind.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger annotated panorama.

I chose to descend the back of the fell to start my return home.

This is Mosedale, traditionally regarded as the source of Mosedale Beck, but it in fact is fed by the three streams cascading off Gale Fell.

Staying on the steeper slopes I manage to traverse round to the bridge without getting wet feet.

The bridge is to the right, where you first see the stream in this photo, and beyond it my next objective is the Mosedale Holly Tree.

Mosedale Beck and the steel bridge . . . the old wooden one was vandalised many years back.

A direct line from the bridge to the tree ended up with water and mud up to my ankles at times

even though I did try and select a dry route . . . three cheers for waterproof boots !

A close up of the famous, solitary holly tree.

Across the old landslip area and up onto the bridleway once again.

The low camera angle makes it easier to see the large area of frogs spawn on the track, which is being kept moist by the surface water.

However most of the track is in fact dry and the dogs lead the way down the track . . . they know the way home !

Nearly full circle as we approach the woodland and Harry's Pool once more.

A grey end to the afternoon as we pass The Kirkstile Inn

They have announced that from 12 April they will be opening the beer garden for food (with a limited menu), drinks and the normal on-line beer sales.

As service will be weather dependent they will not be able reserve tables. They hope to reopen as normal for residents on 17 May.

[ Do click the link to see what's on offer, book accommodation and see how to receive a free Loweswater Gold Beanie Hat ]

What started as a sunny day ended quite dull, but the sun did actually put an extra effort in at the end of the day

so as to achieve a nice sunset on the Rannerdale Knotts.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures generally taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . that last shaft of sunshine whilst relaxing.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous event - 24th February - Owen John Hiley Arrives

A previous time up here - 23rd June 2011 Hen Comb and Mellbreak

Next walk - 1st March - Gentle March up Grasmoor