Hen Comb from Mosedale

Hen Comb, and its natural ‘moat’, Mosedale

Height: 1661 feet above sea level in the first edition. The second edition alters the altitude to 1670′.

Volume: Book 7 (The Western Fells). This was the last fell bagged from that volume on my first round.

Date climbed: First visit: 17th October 2012 (walk 67).

Hen Comb summit

Hen Comb summit, looking toward Buttermere

Second visit: 7th July 2018 (walk 148).

Bagged as numberFirst round: 207 of 330. [ << Mellbreak (206)  (208) Eagle Crag >> ]

Second round: 152 of 330. [ << Ullscarf (151)  (153) Starling Dodd >> ]

Route of ascent and descentFirst visit: Ascended from an indeterminate point in the south-western arm of Mosedale. Descended to another intederminate point in same valley, just slightly to the west, and then squelched on down to Buttermere village, reaching it about an hour and a quarter later.

Second visit: Ascended from Loweswater. Descended to Floutern Pass and went on to Starling Dodd.

Hen Comb

Hen Comb, from the ridge

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “The map shows Hen Comb’s simple structure – a long ridge rising from a main valley (Loweswater) that carry streams down from a wide upland morass, a desolate tract of marshland and bog encircling the extremity of the fell like a moat, out of which rise the summit slopes as an island from the sea.

“The two becks, fed from such an unfailing source, bring down water in considerable volume, and, being without bridges above the intakes, make access to Hen Comb difficult in wet weather. In fact it may be said of Hen Comb that it is the only fell that can be put out of bounds by excessive rain.”

What I say: Which is just an interesting curiosity until you have to a) ascend Hen Comb on a pretty specific day b) have this day be a day at the end of a wet week which follows a very wet summer c) have no backup (and I hate not having a backup).

The view of Buttermere from Hen Comb

The view of Buttermere from Hen Comb, a view that I am sure is even nicer out of the rain.

Actually wetness of the surrounding countryside – though certainly a factor – wasn’t the main obstacle to getting up Hen Comb. I had a few soggy moments but it wasn’t that bad. The real bitch about this fell is that it’s actually a lot steeper and higher than it looks. Coming after having gone up and down both Mellbreak’s summits and then returned to valley level, this was a much tougher climb than I anticipated.

My second visit was done in more clement conditions and also allowed me to explore most of the fell’s limited territory. On a sunny day it’s a decent spot though that summit dome is still a pain to ascend. Worth a visit for remoteness, if nothing else, and the view of Buttermere from the summit is great, although that’s the only real asset of the fell.

By the way, it’s pronounced Hen Coom, in the same way as tomb.

[ << Helvellyn      Heron Pike >> ]


2 Responses to “Hen Comb”

  1. […] me bag the last two fells from Wainwright’s volume 7, The Western Fells – Mellbreak and Hen Comb – and thus leave myself only with peaks that can be bagged at any day of the year. Tough walk […]

  2. […] walk 148 which took me round some of the more obscure fells in Wainwright’s volume 7: Hen Comb, Starling Dodd and Great Borne. It’s a logical walk though, heading south from the foot of […]

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