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A History Lesson on Coniston Old Man

A History Lesson on Coniston Old Man


Postby Christo1979 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:40 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag

Hewitts included on this walk: Dow Crag, The Old Man of Coniston

Date walked: 22/12/2019

Time taken: 6.5

Distance: 13.1 km

Ascent: 979m

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"Where has all the snow gone?" I said, repeatedly, as my mate JR and I drove down to Coniston. It was all rain and cloud, but hey, another last-minute escape to be celebrated, and first time for both of us in these most Southerly of fells. We'd left Newcastle quite late, and just had time while there was still daylight to go to Little Langdale and explore the fantastic Cathedral Quarry caves, before heading to Coniston and spending the evening tasting (and retasting :lol: ) the local ales.

ImageUntitled by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Imagehttps://flic.kr/p/2i7nN43 by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Next morning, we were up at 5:30, then head torches on, and up the path behind the hostel, and over the Miners' Bridge to start the ascent of The Old Man. Starting very early is now my preferred approach, not only to make the most of the short winter days when the sun does make an appearance, but also because it makes for lovely views from rather than of the mountains at sunrise. The path is, as expected, excellent all the way up, and so the map hardly came out all morning.

Coniston Old Man is fabulous. Its mining past may have scarred the mountain, but it means that almost every time the path levels out you find yourself at a museum of sorts, and we punctuated the ascent frequently by exploring the ruined buildings, abandoned equipment, caves, and shaft openings. It's like a living history lesson, and yet the feel of the mountain, especially higher-up, seems not to have been damaged. Beamish can eat its heart out.

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Soon we were at Low Water, and the mighty Old Man and its neighbours loomed above, shrouded in mist but giving us occasional glimpses of lingering snow patches. The good path steepened, and became increasingly icy nearer the summit, but there was no need for any spikes today.

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

It was freezing at the summit, and the views had disappeared before we reached it. We followed the snowy ridge around to Brim Fell - one of those summits so easily gained it feels like you shouldn't be permitted to 'tick-it-off', before descending on the pathless, soft grass to rejoin the path that runs between Old Man and our next objective, Dow Crag.

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

The ascent of Dow Crag was enjoyable and straightforward, though the little scramble up the slippery summit rocks was precarious. A quick handshake, a hearty 'well done!' and it was off back down the path to the pass between the two fells, and down the steep little path to Goat's Water. This path took us all the way down to the Walna Scar Road and the return to the car at the hostel. I'd have liked to have stayed longer (it was only lunch time!) but JR had to get back for work, and he's the one with the wheels, so reluctantly we headed-off, though I admit I paused more times than necessary on the path by Goat's Water, admiring the formidable scree sleeps and cliffs of Dow Crag, and looking back on these stunning, dramatic, and even historically-informative fells in gorgeous Southern Lakeland.

ImageWalking in the Southern Fells by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
User avatar
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 219
Munros:15   Corbetts:40
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:101   Hewitts:148
Wainwrights:172   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

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