29th September 2013

Mellbreak, Hen Comb and Crummock Water from Buttermere


Walk Overview
Time 8:45am to 1:45pm
Duration 5 hr
Distance 10.2 mile
Ascent 2900 ft
Walking with On my own
Buttermere - Scale Bridge - Crummock Water - Mellbreak - Mosedale - Mosedale Beck - Hen Comb - Mosedale Beck - north end of Mellbreak - Green Wood - Crummock Water - Scale Bridge - Buttermere
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Buttermere Village

There are a few different options for parking in Buttermere. A couple of decent sized car parks the road side leading up past the church onto Newlands pass and the sneaky couple of spaces next to the bridge. Despite these options and the village being so small they all fill up pretty quickly.

For such a small village there are a couple of hotels / pubs, public toilets and a couple of tearooms, one of which sells the best ice cream you could ever hope to find.


Route Map

Well, this is two days in a row setting off to walk from Buttermere. Not just Buttermere, but I even managed to park in the same place.
"Why was that then"
"If you give me a chance I'll explain".
You see it was like this. I left home intending to drive to Burnbanks (Haweswater) and have a walk from there. Everything was going well until I was driving past Keswick and I saw the amount of cloud further across to the east. Thinking out loud, as you do, I convinced myself that there wouldn't too many more days like this. So, I thought there was no point at all in leaving these perfect conditions behind on the off chance of the eastern side of the Lake District clearing. Not being a gambler, I turned around, drove over Whinlatter Pass into Lorton and ended up at Buttermere again.

Scale Bridge.

I don't suppose these bridges have names so for today at least, I'm calling this No1
and this No2

Thankfully it's not a muddy as it used to be across here (now there's a path). As far as Jennifer goes the walk along here suffers from 'first impressions last' syndrome. The first time we walked across here we were caked in mud up to our knees and Jennifer hasn't forgotten it.

Time to decide which way to ascend Mellbreak. I could have gone up by a 'normal' route but for no particular reason, I had the idea of walking up the side of the fell near Scale Knott.

Heading up here was steep but still manageable enough. Nothing that a few stops to catch my breath didn't sort out.

Once that part of the climb was over and you get onto the gentler section of Mellbreak the view over Mosedale opens up. Over there is Great Borne and the small pointed fell is Floutern Cop.

I'm on the proper path now and heading up to Mellbreak summit.

Lorton Vale seen from Mellbreak summit.

Shortly after leaving the summit I passed these two, and although I said hello, they hardly had the decency to lift their eyes off the ground. In all fairness, I could hear them talking on the radio to two people, one called Roger Out and the other just called Roger. Perhaps they wanted to carry on talking in case they lost the signal.

Mosedale and Hen Comb. Mosedale can be a very wet place indeed and if it weren't for the path you can see down there, getting from one side the the other would be a daft thing to attempt, unless it was frozen or in the middle of a drought.

I could hear the hunting horn along with lots of shouting and barking dogs over on the side of Hen Comb. Then the dogs seemed to go completely mental and that was when I caught sight of them chasing what looked like a fox; if the colour was anything to go by. I have to admit it sickened me a little bit and all I could hope was that the fox managed to give them the slip.
If you look carefully on the right of the picture you can make out what could be the fox.

After crossing Mosedale Beck with more or less dry boots I took this picture looking out of Mosedale towards Low Fell.

There's nowt like a direct ascent to get the heart and lungs working and believe me, mine were on overtime at this point.

Dale Head / Fleetwith Pike silhouettes.

Hen Comb summit in front of Gavel Fell and Blake Fell.

I had three routes in mind to get back to Buttermere. One was to drop down towards Whiteoak Moss and walk across the south end of Mosedale to Scale Force. The other two were to walk down this ridge where I would then have the options of walking along the Mosedale side of Mellbreak or the route I did, which was to walk around the Loweswater end of Mellbreak so I could walk along the side of Crummock Water.

Looking across to Gavel Fell.

Well down the ridge on Hen Comb now and rather than looking down to Lorton Vale it begins to feel like you're looking across the valley. I'm heading down to the trees shaped like a letter "C" down there.

Turning the camera to the left you now have a photo of Loweswater, Darling Fell and Low Fell.


The scene is dominated by Whiteside and Grasmoor now. From this angle it looks like Grasmoor has suffered some sort of land slip and the whole side of the fell has dropped. Perhaps it did in the dim and distant past but I wasn't around to confirm it.

Crossing Mosedale Beck.

To get around to Crummock I followed the line of the trees below Mellbreak.

Now that I'm on t'other side of Mellbreak the views are notably more green and countryside like.

Still a long way to go.

Whiteside, Grasmoor and a lady in a pink top.



A view back along Crummock Water to Low Fell.

Walking past Low Ling Crag. On the opposite side of the lake are Rannerdale Knotts and Whiteless Pike.

This time Grasmoor is in view.

Just as well is such a nice walk along here because I don't seem to be getting much closer to the end of the lake.

Although Fleetwith Pike has been in view for much of the walk it doesn't seem to have been clear at all. Having said that, the shape is good and that makes up for the lack of detail. It must be light and shade stuff or the sun in the wrong (or right) place; I don't know. High Knockrigg on the other hand leaves nothing to the imagination.

"No, stay over there in the sunshine. Okay, never mind"

Mellbreak and Hen Comb.

It wasn't half hot as I walked back into Buttermere. Two days in a row walking from Buttermere and two days in a row walking in perfect conditions; fantastic. I guess the shorts can be packed away again.

There were lots of people in and around the village today. No doubt enjoying the warm sunshine, blue sky and lovely scenery.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks