Where is this walk?

Black Combe climb

May 5, 2022

Perched on the far south west corner of the Lake District Black Combe sits almost on top of the sea. The climb is via an excellent path up the mountain. An alternative, longer, descent heads north and west in to remote lands.

The Walk

1970′. William Wordsworth once described Black Combe as having the “amplest range of unobstructed prospect may be seen that British ground commands”. The reality is that Black Combe is unique in England in finding a mountain that rises so dramatically from the sea shore. To the north the lands are remote and rarely walked. However the views out to sea are simply stunning which is why a descent to the west is recommended. The decent to the west is on an easy sloped bridleway, but the walk back along the mountain’s eastern flanks is quite long, albeit on a good path.

My other suggestion is to climb Black Combe on a summer’s evening where the soft light does give a real feeling of peace and tranquility. Return the same way. The climb is initially quite steep but the path is excellent and height is quickly gained. With the quick gain in height many mountains appear seen from an unusual perspective. Wales, Ireland and Scotland can also be seen along with the Isle of Man as this whale back hill has sea views in three directions.

The only problem with this walk is the access as it is a long drive to the village of Whicham. Maybe though that is part of the appeal.


Best done on a warm summer’s evening where you can stop often and enjoy the views.

Navigation Tips on Black Combe

The western fells of the Lake District can be viewed from an unusual direction. At this stage it is well worth taking time to view these from a direction almost never seen. On the summit take out your map, orientate it and enjoy Wainwright spotting.

  • Ian says:

    The trees stop at 80 metres above sea level on this wilderness. Walking a linear there and back walk is about 9km taking maybe 1hour 45 mins. Starting at the Church car park. Average gradient c 13%. The first 250 meters (700ft) in height are up a steep path up a gulley so not much to see for the effort. Thereafter first Morecambe Bay, then Ellen Vannin then the Solway Firth come into view, then the west Cumbrian coast and finally the major Lake District Peaks. Walking back down into the western sun and the vast expanse of the Irish Sea is a joy with a diversion right at about 200 metres to a plateau overlooking the sea. It’s a walk that only makes sense on a no-cloud day.

  • Molly says:

    Have also seen the Isle of Man from here – my best view of it from England.

    Now looking to see if we can get to Black Combe without a car. Probably walk from Silecroft Station or a bus along the A5903.

  • Simon Wise says:

    3 of us climbed Black Combe today in full summer heat. Height is, indeed, gained quickly. As others have commented the first part is very steep. Then it gets steeper;

    The views looking out to the west are incredible. Elsewhere people have suggested climbing up the other side first. We ascended and descended the west side but heard from others the alternate ascent is even steeper.

  • Nick feather says:

    Just finished this climb. Appreciated the directions in this post and its comments. The only thing I would add to it is the first by is very very steep, walking in winter like we’ve done the first part is basically a stream. Not a problem, still passable but just start slower than normal!

  • Brian says:

    I have walked this route this morning. Tips as follows…..

    If coming along the A595 from the Whitehaven direction, as you go through Whitbeck, the A595 turns left, towards Lancaster. Take this turn, and after about half a mile there is a very small lay-by, (with a ‘P’ sign). Turn left here, to get to the Whicham church car park.

    Between the church and a house on the right is a small path, that leads almost immediately to steps, that leads to a very narrow road. Turn left, and continue walking along this road for several hundred yards. At a house , the road turns to a dirt track, walk along here for a short distance, and the public footpath sign will be seen. That’s it… Just keep walking. A very well defined path.

    I’ve been told, that on a clear day, it is possible to see all four parts of the United Kingdom from the summit.

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