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Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus


Postby Phooooey » Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:26 pm

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

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

Date walked: 24/03/2012

Time taken: 5

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1082m

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Walna Scar Car Park - Old Man - Brim Fell - Swirl How - Great Carrs - Grey Friar - Swirl How - Prison Band - Levers Water - Walna Scar Car Park

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Pillar was the aim of the weekend along with a full circular walk taking in another 4 or 5 Wainwrights that myself and Damson hadn't completed yet. Planned all week with my working and walking mate John, we had it worked out and just needed to execute. With a great weather forecast predicted all systems were go until returning home from work on Friday when my car decided it wasn't going to play.

All was now dependant on whether John could get his car off his missus (as Damson doesn't drive) and we agreed that if a 14:00 return could be sorted then all would be well. So we were either going to set off at 02:00 to achieve Pillar or go somewhere closer to home. John has been saying for weeks now that he hadn't climbed the Old Man so we plotted our route up via the ever popular Low Water and across the ridge to Swirl How before returning via the Prison Band and Levers Water.

It was a great walk in great conditions, warm with slight breeze, sun breaking through and good visibility (above the low lying mist which spoilt some of the views). From the Walna Scar Car Park we headed up to the path crossroads beneath The Bell. From here we headed left and up the steep slate paths and past the old mining buildings up to a serene Low Water which was the calmest I've seen on over 10 trips up this fell.

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On way up Coniston Old Man in early morning mist
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Reflections of Old Man on Low Water
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John reaches Old Man summit first
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Damson & I get there a minute later


The navigation is easy and the walk takes care of itself as there really is only a single path up the Old Man from this route and continues over the ridge and Brim Fell until you reach Swirl How.

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Onwards to Brim Fell
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Look back to Old Man from Brim Fell
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Damson on Brim Fell
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Mist still with us on approach to Swirl How
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Damson & I on top of Swirl How for first of two times today


As expected, as soon as I pointed out that Great Carrs was also a Wainwright, John insisted on making the quick trek round the cliff face to bag another of his fells. On reaching Great Carrs however, he made the decision that maybe being a few minutes late wouldn't matter too much and we'd have time to reach Grey Friar too.

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The sweep round to Great Carrs from Swirl How
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Paying our respects to the airmen on Great Carrs with Grey Friar behind
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Great Carrs summit


At this point we hadn't really bumped into too many people up there. On reaching Grey Friar we were then surrounded by about 20 hounds, 2 quads and an extremely loud Hunt leader (possibly dog training) who blew his b****** horn and shouted at the dogs at the top of his voice for the next 40 minutes. :? So much for a nice peaceful wander. :shock: (no pictures of anything to do with hunting on my blog)

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Heading across to Grey Friar
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Damson atop one of Grey Friar's two summit cairns


We returned to Swirl How and straight over and down the Prison Band. I remember this from a previous walk as being steep and tricky but fortunately today we were only doing the downhill section (last times uphill was a killer). From the hause at the bottom of the Prison Band we hooked right and down the long descending path to Levers Water. I cannot recall being there before but it was beautiful, in the shadow of Brim Fell with a few people dotted around sunbathing or waiting to go pot holing in the nearby caves.

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Approach to Levers Water
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Aside Levers Water
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Cave opening for a group of pot holers we passed


At the dam at the far end of the tarn we crossed over the dry beck and continued over the hill to below Beck Falls and a footbridge that lead back up to the crossroads below the Bell and the path back to the car.

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Return journey towards The Bell and the car


No new fells to bag for Damson & I then, but a great walk in good company and good weather. What more could you ask for ?? :lol:
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Phooooey
 
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Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby ciderpeter » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:41 pm

Nice walk and report :) I know that feeling all too well around the Lakes where you 'just' bolt another Wainwright onto the end of a route and it ends up adding a few more as well ;-) Surprised you didn't go up Wetherlam too whilst you were at it!

The Old Man is my most walked fell and it never grows tiresome, it is one of those fells you can walk any day and whatever route and it is still fun/interesting!
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Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby ChrisW » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:08 pm

Lovely stuff Phooooey, what a fine wander and in such glorious weather...though I think you should have had a little poke around in that cave :lol:
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Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby Phooooey » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:16 pm

ciderpeter wrote: Surprised you didn't go up Wetherlam too whilst you were at it!

The Old Man is my most walked fell and it never grows tiresome, it is one of those fells you can walk any day and whatever route and it is still fun/interesting!


Wetherlam was purely a matter of time (and perhaps a small amount of "I've done it before and downhill looks better than uphill after 4 hours walking". We got back to Barrow for 14:20 which was just inside John's outer limit of 14:30.

The Old Man is probably my most walked of all the major fells (although I regularly go up Black Fell when near Tarn Hows with friends and family and a number of other smaller "local" fells. The Dunnerdales behind Broughton including Stickle Pike are another great walk that have been navigated in many different ways in last few years (take a look at one of my first blogs on here for a superb walk starting at the pub at Broughton Mills)

I've been up the Old Man in all conditions including ALL conditions in the 4 hours it took to complete the trio of Old Man, Brim Fell & Dow Crag. It started by raining, then sleet, snow, driving wind and ended up in glorious sunshine as I descended Brown How off Dow Crag and back onto the Walna Scar path. .... Good walk though ! :lol:
Last edited by Phooooey on Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Phooooey
 
Posts: 244
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Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby Phooooey » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:20 pm

ChrisW wrote:Lovely stuff Phooooey, what a fine wander and in such glorious weather...though I think you should have had a little poke around in that cave :lol:


Unfortunately it was all fenced off and patrolled by a group of about 20 people who were geared up in wellies, overalls and helmets and ready to go. Normally I'd have been at least having a glance or re-enacting the rabbit in cave scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail maybe ?? :lol:
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Phooooey
 
Posts: 244
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Joined: Apr 4, 2010
Location: Dalton -In-Furness


Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby ciderpeter » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:46 pm

You are in Barrow eh? WIll have to catch up with you on the fells at some point and save some petrol money!! :)
ciderpeter
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Posts: 123
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Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby ChrisW » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:16 pm

Phooooey wrote: Normally I'd have been at least having a glance or re-enacting the rabbit in cave scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail maybe ?? :lol:

Runnnnaaaawwwaaaaayyyyy :lol: :lol:
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Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby garyhortop » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:43 pm

Great report Phooooey!! Really liked the picture of the Old Man on Low Water! Nic to see that the talent of Monty Python hasn't been lost either!! :D
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Re: Coniston Old Man to Swirl How plus

Postby SusieThePensioner » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:08 pm

Great report Craig, and some wonderful photos :thumbup: I really enjoy reading about your walks :D

I know that area very well and first went up the Old Man in the early 1960s in a few feet of snow one Easter :lol:
I just love Levers Water and, for a quick short walk, we used to go up there and have a picnic with the girls when they were little :D

Phooooey wrote:as Damson doesn't drive
Perhaps when she's old enough???? :lol:
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