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Christmas Eve on Hen Comb

Date & start time: Thursday 24th December 2009. 1.10 pm start.

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

Places visited : Kirkstile, Kirkhead, Mosedale pool, Little Dodd on Hen Comb and back.

Walk details : 3.5 mls, 850 ft, 3 hrs 20 mins including a small break on Little Dodd.

Highest point : Little Dodd on Hen Comb

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Glorious snow, sunshine and blue skies.


Hen Comb's Little Dodd in the snow

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Classic winter sunshine and snow give an alpine quality to this walk.

The fresh and deep snow slowed the pace which meant we didn't travel as far as planned

but there's no rush to go anywhere fast with views like this.

The day dawned bright on a valley that had received more overnight snow.

The forecast was good and a repeat of yesterday's glorious weather was a distinct possibility.

Loweswater Church across the fields bathed in strong sunshine by mid morning.

The sun is up and everything is beautiful at the start of our walk up Hen Comb.

Looking back as the top of Whiteside catches a little cloud which has blown over from the Keswick direction.

Strangely the summit of Grasmoor, which is in fact higher than Whiteside, is clear of cloud.

William's sheep gathering at the pen and enjoying a little extra feed today.

Ann by Wainwright's negative signpost below the Kirkstile.

There's nothing negative today about the views or the sunshine.

A view back to the Kirkstile Inn and our cottage hidden in the trees beyond.

Walking up the Mosedale track from Kirkhead.

We can look over the wall at Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell.

A good time to mention our footwear.

Roger is wearing the magical Kahtoola Micro Spikes . . . Harry has retractable crampon spikes . . . already fitted as standard.

No problems with grip today . . . on the snow, ice, tarmac or grass.

Twin Peaks across the valley.

We reach the fell gate and enter a short section of woodland which frames Whiteside beautifully.

Looking down Lorton Valley, our cottage is just out of the shadow.
Alpine looking crags on Grasmoor through the trees.

The other twin peaks . . . Darling Fell and Low Fell.

Today's object of our desires . . . Hen Comb under a blanket of fresh snow.

Ann cuts down to Harry's pool in Mosedale Beck.

The recent floods have washed away some of the stepping stones and others have ice on.

Roger's cold hands relocated a large stone to solve the first problem, the spikes solved the second.

Safely over we start the climb of Hen Comb, our backs to the northern end of Mellbreak.

Climbing steadily, the larch trees add a band of different colour to the scene.

I go ahead and break trail . . .
. . . and Ann uses the footsteps to ease her way up.

Little Dodd summit ahead as we cross fresh snow . . .
. . . 'deep and crisp and even' to paraphrase an old song.

There's nothing like the thought of being the first person to climb the fell side in the fresh snow.

The path was not in fact the easiest route as the spindrift had gathered in the hollows, making it the area of deepest snow.

Bethan reaches the first of the level sections on the ridge.

Zooming in on Buttermere's Red Pike behind her which has an attractive cap of drifting cloud.

We cross over to the fence to get a better view of Blake and Carling Knott.

Ann making her way along the fence line.

Loweswater in view now as we gain height.

A wider panorama looking back down along the ridge just climbed.

The start of the pull up to Little Dodd

and we have a good view of the side of Mellbreak catching the strong afternoon sun.

Bethan again leads the way up.

Sometimes I followed them as they seem to sense the better route and less deep snow . . . but not always !

Lorton Valley clothed in a white mantle today.

Our two faithful companions . . . Lord and Lady Loweswater.

A snow free Mosedale Holly Tree really standing out today against the white backdrop.

Looking up White Oak Valley . . .
. . . and looking down towards the lake.

A good place for a photo . . . the summit of Little Dodd.

Click here or on the photo for my Loweswatercam high value 380 degree, anotated, panoramic view from the top

We had planned to climb all the way to the top of Hen Comb

but with the deeper snow slowing our progress we were short on time if we wanted to be back before dusk.

No problem . . . we would have more time to sit here instead, relax for a while and take in the view.

Ann on Little Dodd . . . with the whole of the Loweswater and Lorton valleys at her feet.

Time to play in the snow.

Big Kids.

Who Us ? . . . Butter wouldn't melt . . . honest.

With shadows starting to lengthen it was time to descend.

Half the fence is in shade and the shadow of Mellbreak has moved around too and now covers Lanthwaite Woods.

The clear crags of Mellbreak with cloud still bubbling over Sand Hill and Hopegill Head.

An Alpine-like descent on fresh snow for me.
Ann re-uses her upward footsteps on the return trip.

Not so much swimming today for the dogs and certainly none for me !

The setting sun is starting to cast a pink hue on the fells opposite.

As the new colour intensifies, it spreads all the way down the valley, turning the snow covered fells pink.

Back to the signpost on our return.

The sheep are still gathered around the feeder.

And the sun picks out every crag and gully on Grasmoor . . . perfect timing for our return to the valley.

- - - 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.

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Previous walk - 23rd Dec 2009 Ann's Local Walk in the Sun

A previous time up here - 7th March 2009 Hen Comb with Gary and Sheena

Next report - 25th Dec 2009 Christmas Wishes to you all