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Whicham Church, Whitecombe Beck, Black Combe, Cumbria.
[13.2 km]  Wed 13 Sep 2017

OS Grid ref: SD 13131 82274
54.228782, -03.334057

The weather forecast was bad with rain and strong winds on the way. The least windy part of Cumbria was supposed to be the SW so I planned my walk over Black Combe. I decided to make my ascent up the valley by Whitecombe Beck but the nearest place to park was near Whicham. The map didnít show any paths to get me to the start of the climb so Iíd have to walk along the busy A595 for about 2 miles.

Whicham Church
I drove along the M6 in the dark, wind and rain then west on the A590 & A595 to the start of my walk. There was a large lay bye near the A595/B5093 junction which already had quite a few cars in it. They looked like theyíd been left by car-share workers. With over 2 miles to walk along the busy A595 and no path for refuge I put on my high viz yellow cycling top.
Po House
I set off then soon left the road briefly to head along the access track to Whicham Church. There was a car park for the church and a donation box for users. Itís a pity I didnít know about it earlier. A narrow path linked to a narrow lane then I re-joined the A595 again.
Along the A595
There was no sign of rain or the high winds that were forecast. The walk didnít turn out to be as bad as I was expecting. Shortly after Gateside Farm I noticed what looked like a pillbox in the field to the right. I climbed the gate to investigate. It turned out to be a WW2 Whicham Valley Control Bunker.
WW2 Whicham Valley Control Bunker
I was glad to reach Beckside and leave the busy road. I followed the track north by Rallis farm and on to Whicham Mill. After that I was heading up the Whitecombe Beck valley and was glad of the footbridges across the river as the level was quite high. The surrounding slopes were quite impressive and the sun was shining through the cloudscapes.
Whicham Mill
The track was well engineered and quite old and is shown on the 19th century maps. I continued up the west side of White Combe and was expecting a difficult walk on the summits because of the forecast high winds.
Looking back down Whitecombe Beck
Although a bit windy it was nothing like as bad as I was expecting. I reached Whitecombe Head then headed west along the edge of Whitecombe Screes. The views back across the bay were impressive.
Looking across White Combe
I climbed steadily up Hentoe Hill but my main objective of Black Combe summit was still not visible. The summit trig post and surrounding stone wall shelter didnít appear until I was quite close. I started my descent to the SW and soon joined the main well-worn path.
Black Combe summit trig post

Cloudscapes across Duddon Sands
 I met a walker coming up, the first person Iíd seen all day and was to be the last Iíd see. The views across Duddon Sands were wonderful especially with the impressive clouds. I joined a wet track at Kirkbank and turned right to the join the main A595. There was no path but the road was wide enough to see ahead and get out of the way of approaching traffic. I didnít have far to walk back to the car.