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Dow Crag & Grey Friar

Dow Crag & Grey Friar

Postby poppiesrara » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:29 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Dow Crag, Grey Friar

Hewitts included on this walk: Dow Crag, Grey Friar

Date walked: 20/08/2017

Time taken: 4

Distance: 15.75 km

Ascent: 1010m

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Catching up with a walk from a cloudy summer's day; a couple of good Coniston fells from the quieter side.

dow crag.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Everyone seems to make for the eastern side of these fells - even late on a weekend morning in midsummer, there was still nothing in the little parking area at the bottom of the Walna Scar Road. It's an easy gradual climb, good views back over the valley, from there on the reservoir track to Seathwaite Tarn. Look away from the dam and this is a lovely natural-looking body of water, set bleakly in the cradle of the fells, and a great peaceful spot.
Long House Gill

Harter Fell

Duddon Valley

Grey Friar from the reservoir track

Seathwaite Tarn

The way up from there to the ridge of Grey Friar stretches Wainwright's definition of it as an 'intermittent footpath' – there was barely anything that I could find, and what seemed the best method of sticking as far right as possible without drifting into the crags probably isn't one to try on any mistier a day, but it's not exactly hard-going especially once on the broad ridge. The summit area is nicely rocky, but a real shame not to be able to enjoy the perfect view of the Scafells I'd recalled years before.
Dow Crag

Caw & Black Combe over Seathwaite Tarn

Brim Fell & Dow Crag from Grey Friar

The Matterhorn Rock

There are plausible shortcut routes (pretty muddy around the head of the Seathwaite valley, good and well-used beneath Brim Fell) from Grey Friar to Goat's Hawse, although in hindsight the little extra effort and distance to take in the tops and views from Great Carrs to Brim Fell is probably a better plan. Either way, Dow Crag would be a highlight of any walk – a spiky rock summit to scramble up and around with a great view to the Old Man.
Grey Friar

Brim Fell

Levers Water

Swirl How

Dow Crag from Goat's Hawse

Goat's Water & Coniston Water

The Old Man of Coniston from Dow Crag

Ridge to Buck Pike

Grey Friar to Brim Fell from Dow Crag

I used the time saved earlier to explore more of the interesting ridge south of the pass, a couple of new summits with a pretty nice one at the end in White Pike, surprisingly surrounded with a big crowd of (DofE?) teenagers finding themselves well of the beaten track.
Dow Crag gully

Dow Crag from Buck Pike

Blind Tarn below Brown Pike

Walna Scar to White Pike & Caw

Coniston range from near White Maiden

A little bit of a plod back down the Walna Scar Road from there, rough glimpses of the high fells north-west appearing now, but pleasant enough and a good route for those who've already been up the Coniston side of these peaks.
Harter Fell & the Scafells from the Walna Scar Road
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Re: Dow Crag & Grey Friar

Postby Broggy1 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:40 am

Interesting and enjoyable report.

I climb the Coniston fells a lot but must confess to always doing them from Torver, Little Langdale or Coniston itself.

Always fancied them from this side but always put off by the thoughts of terribly narrow roads instead of the main road access you get from the Eastern side.

Maybe I'll try it this summer though!

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Re: Dow Crag & Grey Friar

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:34 pm

Always fancied a walk up from the Western side, it's just such a long drive for me however.
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Re: Dow Crag & Grey Friar

Postby poppiesrara » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:44 pm

Thanks. Wouldn't put anyone off the drive really - from the south via Ulpha there's nothing difficult or awkwardly narrow/steep (better than the road into Little Langdale), and not many miles off the main roads. It's only really to be done after the eastern approach - other than the quietness, the scenery and walking isn't quite as good - but well worth a go then.
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