Sunday Morning Service

Wainwrights: Great Borne, Hen Comb, Mellbreak, Starling Dodd
Hewitts: Great Borne, Starling Dodd

Date walked: 25/11/2018

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 17.7km

Ascent: 1270m

With the Western Fells falling behind compared to other areas on round two I decided to use a rare good(ish) forecast to head out to Loweswater in order to bag a few fells. Getting out here and parking at Church Bridge to set off walking at 8:30 requires an early Sunday start (5:30AM) but it was hard to feel it was anything other than worth it as me and Hughie set off on what was promising to be a stunning morning. I had briefly chatted to a chap who was also setting out off up Hen Comb at the Car Park, taking his young Cairn Terrier on an easy hill walk to build him up. This couple and pup apart I saw nobody until I visited Scale Force several hours later. The Joys of winter walking :D

ImageMorning skies over Grasmoor by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageMorning over Mellbreak by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Rather than be left wondering if Mosedale Beck was low enough to cross I set off in an anti-clockwise direction and headed for Hen Comb first. As it happens the Beck was fine and it was off up the nice grassy ridge stopping of at the Birkett of Little Dodd on the way. As height was gained the light started to break over the High Stile Ridge flooding parts of the landscape and giving a memorable display. In fact the light on the way to the summit of Hen Comb was some of the best I've witnessed in the Lakes on a walk for quite some time.

ImageMorning glow by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAcross the fields to the mighty Grasmoor by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGlimpse of Loweswater by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Crossing Mosedale Beck by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrasmoor by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLittle Dodd with Hen Comb behind by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOne tree Valley by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBlast of morning light by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCarling Knott and Loweswater by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBreaking Light in Mosedale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageRays by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageTake me back to the White Light by Anthony Young, on Flickr

The way up had been sheltered but the summit less so. The forecast -6C wind chill was in evidence and so after many photos and soaking in the glorious views I headed off down the path on the South end of the fell. On round one Hen Comb had been ascended direct up the very steep Eastern aspect, this ended up reducing Grace to tears :oops: and was probably the low point of the whole round. A small detour back then around the south of the fell would have seen a far better way up, well you live and learn.

ImageTo Grasmoor from Hen Comb by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageTowards Loweswater from Hen Comb by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOver the Edge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHughie above Mosedale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Hen Comb has developed a bit of a reputation as an awkward fell to negotiate, I heard of a couple who had the finish to their round delayed by months waiting for the weather to be dry enough to cross the beck. Quite why they couldn't have walked along to the bridge up Mosedale is anybodies guess :? Most of this reputation probably comes from Wainwrights comments about the fell being completely cut off in wet weather with Whiteoak moss being mentioned as an impassable barrier, well even if the bridge wasn't there back then Whiteoak moss didn't seen in any way that bad, even taking into account a dry few days. Old AW did like a bit Hyperbole from time to time. :wink:

The easy traverse of Whiteoak Moss lead me to Floutern cop and given my legs had felt a little wobbly on the way down Hen Comb I decided to find a sheltered spot and enjoy breakfast. Ahead of me was the next target in the uninspiring shape of Bana Fell but as it wasn't a great detour and it put off tackling the steepness of Steel Brow for a while I finished my repast and trudged up the easy slopes. Bana fell may have a very dull flat summit but as it provided unimpeded views of distant Scotland and an alternative sighting of nearby Ennerdale it proved to be a worthy detour. I attempted a direct route to Steel Brow but thanks to a double barbed wire fence :roll: I ended up re-tracing my steps in order to confront the next obstacle.

ImageLooking towards Floutern Cop and Bana Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOn the way up Floutern Cop by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageWhiteoak Beck by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFells by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFloutern Tarn from the Cop by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHen Comb with Grasmoor behind by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageScotland from Bana Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageWhere I lead.... by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageEnnerdale from Bana Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBack down Bana Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Steel Brow did not disappoint in so far it was very steep requiring a bit of fence clutching to haul my self up on several occasions. The very cold wind also seamed to be hitting the ridge bang on meaning that despite the effort I was exerting I was still feeling a bit cold. Fortunately Steel Brow didn't last for long as the steepness gave way at the same time as the wind did with the bulk of the fell providing welcome shelter. From here it was an easy stroll up to the fine bouldery summit of Great Borne.

ImageTop of Steel Brow by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLow Light by Anthony Young, on Flickr

While going through the photos from this walk I was reminded of the first time on Great Borne with both Nicola and Grace on what was also a beautiful winters day. Please excuse the clunky prose :oops: but I felt poetically inspired:

As the towering skies of winter construct memories of days past. My thoughts drift to our happy band of three (plus one).

Together from Catbells to Great End, over Glaramara, Blencathra and Scafell Pike, those halcyon days enriched by time and times shared, return in a flood.

But children grow, and go, their own way, and loved ones tackle challenges anew, consuming days, weeks, years, leaving me to walk these hills alone (plus one).

So on Great Borne I stand, as winter's cold light streams across the fell tops and the baltic blast bites at my face, look down at my plus one, ruffle his ears as he wags his tail, and say, "come on lad, on we go".

It was too early to eat so I kept moving, now into the teeth of the wind, on the way to Starling Dodd. I decided to detour to the Birkett of Gale Fell which was somewhat underwhelming in all honesty. The OS map suggests the corner of the fence is the high point and although I wasn't convinced at the time I saw little value in scaling the fence to plod around the featureless felltop. (Hill bagging website has the true summit being 13 meters to the north but I'm certainly not going to lose sleep over it) The final ascent up Starling Dodd proved to be somewhat torturous into the teeth of the ever strengthening wind and I was somewhat relieved to reach the cairn and start descending to get out of the icy blast.

ImageGale Fell....Meh by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHughie looking back to Great Borne by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageEnnerdale on the way to Starling Dodd by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageA very windy and cold Starling Dodd summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGods of Ennerdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

On another day I may have been tempted by Red Pike but with the odds being the wind and cold would be even more intense up there I decided discretion was the better part of valour and left the path to contour around the hill side until I met the main path coming down from the High Stile Ridge. A bit of roughish ground was crossed before the almost as rough path was found which I followed down to Scale Beck to have lunch in a sheltered spot.

ImageRed Pike, not today thanks by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCrummock Water from the way off Starling Dodd by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLunch Stop by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Following lunch we followed the very erroded and at times completely washed away path down Scale Gill. After a while I heard voices coming from the ravine, bit odd but as they didn't sound like they were in trouble I presumed they were OK. The path improves considerably towards the bottom and I made the short detour to see Scale Force encountering the first people since the car park.

Scale Beck by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Scale Force by Anthony Young, on Flickr

So only Mellbreak remained, I set off along what seemed a very old path before dropping down to cross Black Beck and start the last ascent of the day. It was slow going but the wind was having very little effect now so my slow upward trudge via Scale Knott was largely comfortable. To me, Mellbreak is a quite underwhelming fell, an enticing and exciting prospect from the North but once the initial climb is over it becomes a broad and boggy trudge with views curtailed by the width of the flat ridge. At the moment it doesn't even have a cairn to mark the summit so I barely paused as I made my way over the top. The thought of climbing up to the North top before a precipitous descent didn't appeal so at the col we took the path that traverses the Western flank.

Buttermere by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageTop of Scale Knott by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCrummock Water and Buttermere by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAlmost the top of Mellbreak by Anthony Young, on Flickr

This path was a little narrow and awkward at times and briefly a little exposed but by in large it was an OK alternative to avoid descending the north end of the fell. The OS map has it running out but a faint trod continues all the way to link up with the main path up the fell.

ImageOn the traverse path by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLoweswater and Carling End by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSteep way up/down Mellbreak by Anthony Young, on Flickr

This was a memorable day out blessed with some great light as we wandered lonely as clouds around the fells. Just five to go to get to my target of sixty for the year which, fingers crossed, I should manage.

ImageBack to the start by Anthony Young, on Flickr

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Comments: 6

A Couple of Cockups

Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Brae Fell, Great Cockup, Great Sca Fell, Longlands Fell, Meal Fell
Date walked: 04/11/2018
Distance: 12.9km
Ascent: 809m
Comments: 10
Views: 482

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Clough Head, Great Dodd, Hart Side, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson's Dodd
Hewitts: Clough Head, Great Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd
Date walked: 29/09/2018
Distance: 17.9km
Ascent: 840m
Comments: 3
Views: 218

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Date walked: 25/08/2018
Distance: 13.1km
Ascent: 742m
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Views: 343

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Cold Pike, Lingmoor Fell, Pike o'Blisco
Hewitts: Cold Pike, Pike of Blisco
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Distance: 18.9km
Ascent: 1438m
Comments: 2
Views: 237

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Hewitts: Carrock Fell, High Pike, Knott
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Distance: 17.9km
Ascent: 785m
Comments: 4
Views: 730

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Attachment(s) Hewitts: Gragareth, Great Coum, Great Shunner Fell
Date walked: 19/05/2018
Distance: 18.7km
Ascent: 712m
Comments: 4
Views: 596

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Hewitts: Dale Head, High Spy, Hindscarth, Robinson
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Distance: 20.4km
Ascent: 1460m
Comments: 2
Views: 484

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Catstyecam, Glenridding Dodd, Helvellyn, Raise, Sheffield Pike, White Side
Hewitts: Catstyecam, Helvellyn, Raise, Sheffield Pike, White Side
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Distance: 18km
Ascent: 1250m
Comments: 5
Views: 632

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag, Great Carrs, Grey Friar, Swirl How, Wetherlam
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Date walked: 14/04/2018
Distance: 23.09km
Ascent: 1417m
Comments: 3
Views: 548


User avatar
Location: County Durham
Occupation: General dogsbody
Interests: Walking (Who would have guessed), photography and playing Guitar.
Activity: Walker
Pub: Moulin Inn
Mountain: Blaven
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: Boots
Member: None
Camera: Canon EOS400d
Ideal day out: Ridge walk without to much exposure.
Ambition: Too keep climbing hills

Munros: 24
Corbetts: 9
Grahams: 10
Donalds: 3
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 161
Sub 2000: 7


Filter reports



Trips: 13
Distance: 222.69 km
Ascent: 13168m
Hewitts: 29
Wainwrights 55


Trips: 21
Distance: 244.75 km
Ascent: 14883m
Munros: 1
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 25
Wainwrights 29


Trips: 17
Distance: 213.5 km
Ascent: 12721m
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 1
Hewitts: 13
Wainwrights 12


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Distance: 367.5 km
Ascent: 22089m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 45
Wainwrights 50


Trips: 21
Distance: 424.5 km
Ascent: 27170m
Munros: 6
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 44
Wainwrights 57


Trips: 34
Distance: 360.25 km
Ascent: 22306m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 3
Hewitts: 33
Wainwrights 54


Trips: 33
Distance: 352.78 km
Ascent: 22683m
Munros: 4
Grahams: 3
Hewitts: 28
Wainwrights 34


Trips: 18
Distance: 162.53 km
Ascent: 12643m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 7
Wainwrights 24


Trips: 2
Distance: 8 km
Ascent: 950m
Munros: 1
Hewitts: 1
Wainwrights 1

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