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A great day on the Conistons.

A great day on the Conistons.


Postby colgregg » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:23 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag, Great Carrs, Grey Friar, Swirl How, Wetherlam

Hewitts included on this walk: Dow Crag, Grey Friar, Swirl How, The Old Man of Coniston, Wetherlam

Date walked: 05/06/2011

Time taken: 7

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 4400m

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My mate Andy had never done the "Connies" despite years of regular visits to the lakes so on Sunday it was time to put that right. I had been there last year but as with most lakes walks are always worth further visits especially if the weather spoils things which it did on my previous visit. This time though we had clear, if not sunny, weather for the whole of the round.
We arrived at the end of the tarmac road leading to the Walna scar track in good time thus avoiding any parking problems and set off along the track towards Goats water. Goat's Water is in a dramatic setting below the scree and giant cliffs of Dow Crag, a climbers playground. I had wanted to complete my Wainwrights in the area so our route took us up the scree slope and into "South Rake" which is the connoisseurs route to the summit of Dow Crag (2552ft). It's steep but safe with a chance to put hand to rock and a real sense of achievement once you have reached the rocky summit.
From Dow crag it was a quick descent to Goat's Hawse before the gentle rise to The Old Man and the (only just) highest summit of the day at 2635ft The summit wasn't as busy as I've seen it but having taken in the view, which is an exceptional one of Morecambe Bay we headed North along the ridge over Brim Fell(2612ft) and the dramatic views down to Levers water and Low Water finally arriving on the summit of Swirl How( 2631ft) a mere 4 feet lower than the old Man. The views change once again with a clear view of the The Scafells, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags. The valley of Little Langdale is seen below along with a close view of the crags on Great Carrs.
Great Carrs(2575ft) was our next objective and on our way we came across a memorial built out of the parts of an aircraft which crashed here in 1944 killing all crew. More about this can be read here:
http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/ll505.html
There is still wreckage to be seen at the base of Great Carrs. Fifteen minutes later I'd bagged my third new Wainwright when we touched the summit cairn on Grey Friar(2536ft). After that is was back to Swirl how and a rest
while watching several Fell runners doing a Coniston Round race. One guy ran past us at a pace heading toward Grey Friar, fortunately he heard us shout him back and point him in the right direction!! God only knows where he'd have ended up otherwise.
We made our way down the rocky descent of Prison Band passing more runners struggling uphill at this point I just thought "Why? It seems senseless to whip round the hills without seeing anything but the sweat dropping into your eyes." Swirl Hawse is an ideal place to return to the Coppermines Valley if Wetherlam is not on the itinery. As it was on our Itinery we headed back upwards once again passing close to Black Sails arrived on Wetherlam just as it started raining, fortunately short lived. The walk back to Valley level is a pleasant descent with the views to the ridge just walked prominent in front of you. Once at valley level it was an easy stroll back to the Walna Scar road and the car.
If I was to describe every view to be seen on this walk I'd be writing for days. I hope the pics do it Justice as it is one of the best days you can have in the lakes. One disappointment I did have was that I missed the summit of Black Sails which I hadn't realised was a Hewitt until checking on H.W. I was a few yards off the top but my conscience won't allow me to tick it as done making a return visit in the future a neccessity.
Dow Coniston 007.JPG
Approaching Dow Crag

Dow Coniston 014.JPG
Climbers on Dow Crag. "South Rake" starts at the base of this Crag

Dow Coniston 020.JPG
Heading up South Rake, Goat's water 8ooft below.

Dow Coniston 028.JPG
Dow Crag's rocky summit is one of the finest in the Lakes.

Dow Coniston 042.JPG
The trig point on Coniston Old Man and the view of the walk ahead.

Dow Coniston 053.JPG
Looking back along the ridge to the Old Man and Dow Crag prior to reaching Swirl How.

Dow Coniston 060.JPG
A poignant moment on Great Carrs and a pause for thought at the Halifax bomber crash site memorial.

Dow Coniston 065.JPG
Northwards to the Scafells from Great Carrs

Dow Coniston 089.JPG
Homeward bound. Conistons scarred Eastern face from the descent from Wetherlam. While it doesn't look pretty we have to accept the old coppr mines as an important piece of our industrial heritage and preserve it as much as possible. Mind you there'd be hell to pay if they tried to re open them!!
Attachments
Dow Coniston 076.JPG
Great Carrs from Swirl How.
Last edited by colgregg on Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
colgregg
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2182
Munros:15   Corbetts:5
Grahams:5   
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:182
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Aug 25, 2009
Location: Richmond North Yorkshire

Re: A great day on the Conistons.

Postby Crawler » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:59 pm

Ah - one of my favourite areas! Lovely to see those photos. Like your picture looking down South Rake.

Bursting Stone quarry (on your photo of Coniston Old Man) is open/working but is only a slate quarry and not a copper mine.
Crawler
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Posts: 39
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Re: A great day on the Conistons.

Postby colgregg » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:10 pm

Crawler wrote:Ah - one of my favourite areas! Lovely to see those photos. Like your picture looking down South Rake.

Bursting Stone quarry (on your photo of Coniston Old Man) is open/working but is only a slate quarry and not a copper mine.

South Rake was a joy to do. It's good to get some scrambling in even if it was simple stuff and short lived. Is the quarry on the left of the pic at the base of thr ridge? I never knew it was open. Maybe that explains the barrier across the access road off the Walna Scar Track.

On the subject of the Fell runner I mentioned in my report. Maybe it was the same guy as this one. They obviously share the same knack of not knowing where they are going. The MRT lads must feel like slapping idiots like this :

Sun, 8th May 2011, 16:30
An hour was spent/lost/wasted (delete as appropriate) trying to locate a missing fellrunner. He had been seen by Wasdale MRT in upper Eskdale, and was eventually pointed in the right direction by an RAF MRT heading for Borrowdale.. a long day for somebody who was on a short run from Gt Langdale to Pike O'Blisco and back... take map!!
Man Hours:
4 team members for 1 hour
colgregg
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2182
Munros:15   Corbetts:5
Grahams:5   
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:182
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Aug 25, 2009
Location: Richmond North Yorkshire

Re: A great day on the Conistons.

Postby skuk007 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:32 am

Nice report colgregg. I did the Old Man what seems like ages ago now, I remember walking past Dow Crag and being suitably impressed at the climbers I could see on it. Didn't realise there was a way for us mere mortals to get up there through the crags - must do a revisit as it looks interesting that way. :)
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skuk007
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Re: A great day on the Conistons.

Postby Crawler » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:11 pm

I didn't like South Rake myself - much too loose. Yes the barrier from the Walna Scar track is across the track to the working quarry. I'm not sure but I think they might also be working the one you can see from Coniston Coppermines youth hostel.

That about the fell runner is a complete joke isn't it!
Crawler
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Posts: 39
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Re: A great day on the Conistons.

Postby susanmyatt » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:10 am

Great report in a great area, have been up there in good and foul weather but still a treat :D
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susanmyatt
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