BB1817 : Back to Black

Thursday 24th May 2018

Once again Don’s unable to escape. The BOOTboys are becoming like referendum voters, split down the middle. Wednesday or Thursday? So three went out on Wednesday, and that left Tony and I for Thursday. The older we get the more distractions we have. Dentists, doctors, masseurs, you name it.  I got out more often when I was working.

I suggested a re-visit to Black Combe, South West Cumbria. Tony hadn’t done it before so why not? And I guaranteed him it was less than 9 miles and 2,500 feet.

The BBs previously, albeit on a different route but covering Black Combe, managed 9 miles and 2,328 feet on 20 Aug 2014.  My plan was 8.8 miles and about the same height. The plan was to take it from behind, unlike last time, which was a full on frontal assault.

We started off West and North up by the A595 on a flatish path.  We passed a church, St Mary’s at Whitbeck, not to be confused with the other 8 St Mary’s, and of course we went in. There was a very old (apparently 13th century) tomb of an unidentified lady. Older than Lady Anne. Tony was excited. Oddly, the church doesn’t seem to be on the OS map. Nor does it show up on the list of churches of the Western Lakes and Coast Area on the Visit Cumbria site.

We then cut in North Easterly, through a farm where we met a lovely farmer lady who tried to point out which were her fields.  She had a couple of dead crows stretched out on the fence. We hoped she didn’t do the same to walkers.

Lunch was postponed by Tony from 12 on account of us not having gained any height yet. We had to put some feet behind and below us. We found a lovely stop for a picnic by a stream. It was hotter than we thought it was going to be. And hardly any breeze off the sea. Very unusual.

We carried on upwards, rising eventually after about 8 miles, to the summit cairn.

As usual on these outings IT played its part. My OS maps on the iPhone failed completely. When it works it’s great but unlike Garmin, its too unreliable. We could see the Isle of Man by then, along with many Cumbrian mountains. My phone pinged and I was welcomed by Manx Telecom. Weird. I can get to connect with Manx telecom but not OS maps.

One thing we noticed going round was how jumpy the sheep were. Obviously not used to walkers. In fact we didn’t meet one walker until we got the summit. Three all told for the whole walk. And such a beautiful day.

My reason for wanting to return to Black Combe was because of the views you get. South to Blackpool, West to I.O.M. and N.Ireland, and North to many Cumbrian mountains. Fabulous.

Tony was beginning to complain as we started the steep path down. And he was right.

We ended up doing 10.4 miles and 2,359 feet. Not too shabby an effort on a fine day. And a beer in Broughton-on-Furness finished us off nicely.

Mike B, Thursday 24th May 2018



Jenny M :

Looks fantastic.  Beautiful views and scenery.  Well done to both of you.

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Map : OS 1:50k


BB1817 : Back to Black


Thursday 24th May 2018


Black Combe

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


GPX track



Mike B, Tony


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