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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Black Combe

Wednesday 9th March

These are the summits Wainwright mentions in "Black Combe" (Chapter 36).  I have already climbed Black Combe and didn't include it in this trip.

Note: W does not list Stoupdale Head  after the chapter heading as he does with other inclusive summits in each chapter, but his map shows it but not visited on the route. List compilers generally include it as one of the 116, so don't overlook it if you embark on this campaign.

Black Combe       SD 135 854
White Combe       SD 154 862
Stoupdale Head    SD 151 873


Today's plan was for a different chapter accompanying BC, but he had to unavoidably cancel, so this was my plan B. I think I subconsciously contrived to remedy my missed visit to the bakery café in Broughton on Monday. The route is near enough, and short enough to give time for a visit to that café.

Faffing is often a feature of walks and I am never sure if it derives from some anal desire to delay proceedings or from genuine needs, but this morning I faffed, then the car displayed the windscreen washer fluid warning light, and in any case I needed to fill up with diesel. I then found the coolant also needed topping up, and the filling station which incorporates a mini supermarket had a long checkout queue  - I thought I was never going to get off.

The parking spot was empty, but before I set off another car arrived and two chaps emerged and started donning boots. I was irritated thinking they would be coming on behind me. I decided to walk the short, unpleasant, footpathless road section first so I would return directly to the car from the lane opposite the parking.

An old drove road leads on pleasant turf nearly to White Combe summit, but it is unremitting and quite a slog. I watched the farmer on his quad bike with his two dogs rounding up sheep, and then he made his way to meet me and we had a pleasant chat. His family have had the farm below for 96
years. Interestingly he said he was cold, there was a ferocious nippy wind, but he was virtually inactive on his contraption whilst I was steaming with the effort of steep uphill walking.

At the summit I saw the two guys from the parking approaching, they were doing the circuit the opposite way round. We had a friendly chat and it was then a short slightly rising trek to Stoupdale Head and descent by the attractive steep sided Whitecombe Beck valley or more accurately, ravine. The beck is a glorious tumbling cascade of endless mini waterfalls with water of total clarity, a sheer delight all the way.

Despite my earlier faffing frustration I arrived at the café for 2:0 pm and all was well up to standard. A pot of tea and imaginative flapjack with hazelnuts and raisins. Mission accomplished.


The Duddon estuary towards Barrow

Farmer and dog rounding up sheep - he came to talk to me - decent guy

White Combe summit

Modest cairn on Stoupdale Head. What is that monster approaching from bottom right?

Starting the descent of Whitecombe ravine

Looking back up the ravine

Lively tributary of the Whitecombe Beck

I sent this pic to BC. He was convinced I had bought a new hat!


Roderick Robinson said...

An excellent post in which digression enlivens material that must - by its very nature - be repetitive. But why not take take digression a stage further: a quote, almost any quote, adds life while "a pleasant chat" (doom-laden, as if you were intent on hiding something) does not. If you can't recall a quote why not a descriptive fact (eg, "wearing a plaid shirt that only farmers seem to buy"). Actually, on re-reading the farmer bit I note that you did include two interesting facts which combine to make "a pleasant chat" unnecessary. Your use of "contraption" sounds pejorative to me at least; did you intend this?

Aren't you anti-slate, by the way?

Talking of repetition I see you not only had a pleasant chat but also a friendly chat. One wonders whether the distinction is significant.

And yes I know I've raised some of these points before and you've suggested I'm becoming obsessional about them. The answer to my obsession seems obvious.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - "Pleasant chat" etc. taken on board. "Contraption": Yes, pejorative up to a point. Quad bikes are not that good for the environment and their noise disturbs the peace, and they give an unfair advantage to an irascible farmer who wants to remonstrate about one's presence on the land in some way. Having said that, if I was a farmer I would certainly have one - they must have revolutionised the occupation of farmer beyond all recognition, and I don't blame them at all for using them.

"Anti-slate"? That was all kicked off by Mick and Gayle a while back - they were generalising about pretentious ways of serving food in restaurants and I went along with it all including a comment about a room key attached to a huge slab of the stuff.

afootinthehills said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who 'faffs' and gets irritated Conrad, or has a 'pleasant chat' with other walkers. I was going to say 'don't send the last photo to Gayle and Mick but the issue has been covered.

Anonymous said...

I've just been visiting some friends with a new kitchen installed - and guess what all the work surfaces are ....?
Sorry I missed the walk.