The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Black Combe

Sacred Hill


Lucky owners of Mr Cope's great orange tome will need no introduction to this, Lakeland's most southerly 600m mountain, or 'fell' as they call them in these parts. If ever there was a 'mother hill', Black Combe is surely the archetypal case within Britain. Not only does it possess Sunkenkirk (Swinside), one of these Isles' finest stone circles, upon it's north-eastern foothills, there are also the elegant Giant's Grave monoliths and Lacra circles/rows to the south and three (count 'em) now virtually obliterated stone circle sites to the west, upon the coast. Clearly Black Combe was the object of significant ritual focus, of that there can be no doubt.

It is fitting, therefore, that Black Combe appears a 'friendly' mountain, with a clear track leading from the church at Whicham northwards to the 1,968ft summit at a pretty steady gradient. Also, since it is located upon the coast, it is a fabulous viewpoint - famously celebrated by Wordsworth - the vista including not only coastline 'luminaries' such as Blackpool Tower and, er, Sellafield, but virtually the whole of Lakeland. On a clear day (ha!) the view apparently extends all the way to Wales and Scotland. Nearer to hand, the eastern flank of the mountain is enlivened by some fine cliff lines, no doubt the eponymous 'black combes'. It is indeed a splendid mountain.

Needless to say friendly appearances can be deceptive, my visit to the mountain coinciding with winds gusting in excess of 50mph, with a band of driving rain and cloud sweeping in from the sea later on. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of the conditions, it was a wondrous experience to visit Black Combe. In a way I think I now know what those ancients were thinking when they venerated it ......
29th October 2009ce
Edited 29th October 2009ce

Comments (1)

I can see Black Coombe from my bedroom window and it never fails to impress me. So different from the other Lakeland hills and always impressive. Lovely. Vicster Posted by Vicster
30th October 2009ce
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