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Dow Crag aka The Coniston Alps

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:36 pm
by The English Alpinist
0 Dow Crag.jpg
Dow Crag seen from Goat's Hawse.

Joy! After two recent hostile weather outings, the 19th day of January 2016 brought blue skies and a glistening white landscape. It was a Tuesday and I would only have time for half a day, a 3-hour walk at most. I decided it was too good to miss, though, so I targeted my unfinished business in the Coniston Fells. My bid to do all the Wainwrights in a single winter was going awry after taking 2 bites already to do what I hoped would be a single walk, the 7 Conistons. Knocking off Dow Crag on its own meant it was looking like being 4 bites in all. Crazy! Never mind, I decided to just enjoy this day and soak up the glorious Alpinesque experience.

1 Walna ascent.jpg
Ascent via Walna Scar Road.

2 Crinkles.jpg
Crinkle crags to the north west.

3 on ridge.jpg
On the summit ridge.

This was my second visit to the 'legendary' (maybe I exaggerate) Walna Scar Road. This time it was driveable, although it took me 3 (or was it 4?) nervous attempts to get the car the last few metres onto the car park. After this success there was no stopping me. Off I marched to acquire Dow Crag via the col at Brown Pike. The snow was plentiful and about a foot deep in places as I left the old road, but the trail was clear and there was no hurry. Crampons were not necessary but might have helped a little. A bit higher onto the ridge and I caught up with a quartet of friendly veterans. After a chat about school run timing issues and - of course - the weather, I continued on. There were walkers scattered all around the valley, including a clutch of them on the summit of the Old Man which loomed over there in all its glory. I contrasted this with my own experience up there a few days ago. Pah!

4 selfie ridge.jpg
Nice lady took this pic and gave me a raison.

7 Dow.JPG
Certainly was.

5 Skiddaw zoom.jpg
Skiddaw far to the north. Lots of snow on it!

What an excellent little mountain Dow Crag is: a steep rocky face to one side, classic ridge-walking and great views of the range and beyond. The rest of my Conistons objective - Swirl, Great Carrs and Grey Friar - were laid out in clarity, to be done I don't know when. The great Skiddaw in the distance looked absolutely covered, whiter than white. After playing 'identify the fells' with myself and soaking up all this majesty in this cool, crisp heaven, I plunged easily down to Goat's Hawse. This was deja vu of a sort, with the difference that this time I could see what it looked like. The little tarn was stunning in its stillness and sense of timeless tranquillity. No wind whatsoever today.

6 happy.jpg
A sublime day.

8 down to Col.jpg
Descending to the col at Goat's Hawse.

Several other people were met on the descent - smiling faces everywhere - and I enjoyed the sheer pleasantness of progress in comparison to my grim Antarctic retreat down there last week. The icing (no pun intended) on the cake was when I left the car park. A young guy just arriving was taking multiple attempts to get his car up through the gate whilst his spouse looked on at a safe distance. After much revving and skidding he gave up, and squeezed it in lower down. All in all, I felt I'd done pretty well today, even though it's only scratched off one Wainwright. Into my top 5 days so far - top 3 damnit - it goes. Sometimes a man just has to 'enjoy'.

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Re: Dow Crag aka The Coniston Alps

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:51 am
by ChrisW
I thought you had happened on that elusive sunshine for a moment TEA....turns out it was a month ago :roll: Fantastic looking hike though, these are the ones that keep you coming back for more...brilliant. :clap:

That woman who took the pic could have been a bit more generous with the raisins :lol: :lol:

Re: Dow Crag aka The Coniston Alps

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:27 pm
by The English Alpinist
ChrisW wrote:That woman who took the pic could have been a bit more generous with the raisins :lol: :lol:

Come to think, I might have taken 2. She did offer more, but I didn't want to be greedy!

Re: Dow Crag aka The Coniston Alps

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:52 pm
by dav2930
Glad to see you've still been plugging away at 'em. After all the atrocious weather you've battled through, you certainly deserved a magical day like that.

Some great shots there of the fells in their winter splendour. Dow Crag is one of my favourites. I love the ridge along from Walna Scar over Buck Pike and, as AW says, the summit is so dramatically positioned on the brink of the great crag - one of Lakeland's finest. Cracking stuff :clap:

Re: Dow Crag aka The Coniston Alps

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:33 am
by Bonzo
Your Crinkle Crags are actually the Scafells