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Black Combe, Millom

#6 of 11 in Things to do in Millom
Mountain · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Black Combe is a fell in the south-west corner of the Lake District National Park, just four miles from the Irish Sea. It lies near the west coast of Cumbria in the borough of Copeland and more specifically, in the ancient district of Millom. It is 1970 feet (600m) high and stands in isolation, some 10 miles away from any higher ground; this factor offers an excellent all-round panoramic view of land and sea; weather permitting.

Black Combe is a Marilyn and, at 600m, it is only 10m short of being a Hewitt. Sub-tops include White Combe, Stoupdale Head, Swinside Fell and Stoneside Hill. The first two but not the last two are included in the index of Wainwright's The Outlying Fells of Lakeland and thus in lists of "Outlying fells". (All four sub-tops are shown on Wainwright's map of the fell in that book
The view from Black Combe is unique, a result of its isolated position to the south and west of the main Lake District fells. William Wordsworth claimed that "the amplest range of unobstructed prospect may be seen that British ground commands." Half the view is the glittering sea, with the Isle of Man seen clearly to the west, and the hills of Wales and Scotland seen as shadowy silhouettes.
On the seaward side views extend from the Cumbrian coast, and from Criffel, 49 miles to the north, a mountain on the Scottish coast near Dumfries, round to the Isle of Man, 45 miles due west, then round to Snowdon which may be seen on days of exceptionally good visibility, 85 miles to the south, to the coast of Lancashire. On the landward side; views include the Scafell Group and the Coniston Group of fells in the Lake District National Park, including four 3000-foot mountains: Skiddaw, Scafell, Scafell Pike and Helvellyn. To the east and south the Pennine Hills, the Forest of Bowland and Blackpool Tower are visible. Closer by, there are also good views over the Duddon Estuary, Millom and the new wind farm just offshore.
Black Combe is easy to see across Morecambe Bay as the most westerly outlying fell of the Lake District National Park. The name of the Cumberland View public house in Morecambe reflects the fact that Black Combe used to stand in the historical county of Cumberland. It can also be seen from the top end of the Wirral peninsula, between the turbines of the new Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm.

Clearly visible in views of Black Combe from the south and east is the large, dark-coloured glacial corrie, known as Blackcombe, from which the fell's name is derived. Such corries are often known as combes in English place names, a word cognate with the Welsh word cwm. Adjacent to Blackcombe is a lighter-coloured corrie called Whitecombe.

Black Combe was one of the five stations in Cumberland used by the Ordnance Survey to measure the angles of Principal Triangles for their initial survey of Britain in the years up to and including 1809. The other stations were "Dent Hill", Scilly Banks (on the outskirts of Whitehaven), High Pike and Cross Fell.

The Black Combe Walking Festival takes place annually in June and the Black Combe fell race takes place in early March.

The Swinside, or Sunken Kirk, stone circle is on the eastern flanks of Swinside Fell, in the north east of Black Combe.
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40 reviews
  • We parked at st Mary’s church Whitbeck, all Google searches for Black Coombe mention Whicham church, which we never found so don’t know whether everyone else has got it wrong or we have !! We were...  more »
  • Parked near Wicham church(suggested donation for use). Walked up short steep route in dry, sunny and warm conditions. Potentially brilliant views but a little hazy today. Pace yourself as it is a...  more »
  • Quiet walk up. Didnt find the aircraft
  • Great family walk takes about 2hrs to the top and back down.
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