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Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours


Postby Alteknacker » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:16 pm

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

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

Date walked: 10/09/2020

Time taken: 9

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1677m

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A couple of months ago we'd booked the Thursday and Friday of this week for a walk, subject, as always to the weather forecast being OK. As the dates approached I scanned the forecast daily, and, thank goodness, it seemed like the Thursday would be OK: not brilliant, but no rain, and good visibility.
Image
I'd wanted for a good while to walk the five Hewitts around Coniston Old Man: away from the big crowd-pullers of the Old Man and Dow Crag, the country around there looked - both on the map, and from previous walks up the main two - to be really attractive: rugged, lumpy, with many possible alternative approaches. And the scale of any of them is within the realms of what I can now manage.

After mulling over various start/finish points, this is what we went for in the end, in part because it necessitated one of the shortest drives to get to it (approximately 3 hours). But also the whole of the route from Tilberthwaite up to the ridge via Birk Fell Man and Birk Fell Hawse to Wetherlam looked superb on the map.

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We meet up as usual at M62 Jn 9, but this time we don't leave one car there, but travel in convoy - I'm Covid-shielding, and as a GP Dr Frank has a degree of professional exposure that militates against travelling together in the same car.
We make good time, arriving at the quarry car park at about 07.45, thoroughly pumped up from the last 6 miles or so drive through dramatic Lake District scenery. Only one other car there - though a couple more arrive as we get our gear together and I down a first breakfast and a mug of tea.
The map indicates a start point a little further back down the road, but there's a very clear path immediately behind the car park at the SE end, and since it is obviously going in the right direction, and appears to cut off 2 sides of a triangle, we take this; and it turns out to be correct. The path is clear and solid from the start, and continues like this to just beyond the start of Tilberthwaite Gill.

Image20200910-082826. Looking back about 15 minutes after the start into what I suppose must be Yewdale (not named on the 1:25000).

Image20200910-084033-2. Further along, Birk Fell Man (LHS) and Wetherlam Edge come into view.

Just beyond the start of Tilberthwaite Bill, we cross Yewdale Beck, and follow the track up on to the ridge between Blake Rigg and Birk Fell Man
Image20200910-092711-2. Looking south towards Blake Rigg from the ascent up to Birk Fell Man. There's probably a path for this, but we just yomp along what appears to be the most direct line.

As we do so, we notice that cloud has descended to about 650m, and to add forecasting insult to injury it starts to rain. Memo to self: draft strong letter of dissatisfaction to Met Office :-x.

Image20200910-093701-2. The unmistakable outline of Pike of Stickle, viewed from the ascent of Birk Fell Man. The unpromising weather outlook is clear to behold :( .

Image20200910-094029. Looking SW from Birk Fell Man towards Wetherlam, a climb not far short of 250m. For me this means steady and s l o w w w.....

Image20200910-101209. ....with plentiful stops to admire the views - this looking NE on the ascent of Wetherlam, looking back along the ridge; Little Langdale Tarn centre pic.

Image20200910-105518. Dr Frank contemplates the Wetherlam summit cairn.... I think he just wants to avoid looking at the clag-bound hills ahead :roll: .

Image20200910-105556-2. But notwithstanding the low cloud, the views really are pretty fine, this looking north from Wetherlam summit, with the Langdale Pikes visible in the background, Blea Tarn to the left, Little Langdale Tarn to the right.

Then it's the short hop to Black Sails
Image20200910-105843-2. En route ....

Image20200910-111238-2. Pano: Black Sails summit, with Coniston Old Man in the background; Levers Water immediately behind Dr Frank, and Windermere over to the left. One hardly dare hope, but the cloud does appear to be lifting.... :?

Image20200910-111414-0. Same view, zoomed a little.

Image20200910-111312. And looking back NE towards Wetherlam.
From Black Sails there's a 150m drop into Swirl Hawse. And then 170m climb to Swirl How - again S L O W W.

Image20200910-114533. Looking back down Prison Band, Wetherlam (LHS) and Black Sails (RHS) in the background.

Image20200910-120000-2. But eventually we reach Swirl How summit. And - joy of joys - the cloud has dissipated :clap: :D .

Image20200910-120301. Swirl How summit cairn, Great Carrs in the middle background behind, and the Scafell group in the far background.

Image20200910-120819. Pano looking roughly NW on the gentle descent to Swirl Band; Grey Friar on the LHS, Great Carrs on the RHS.

Image20200910-120829. More zoomed shot of Great Carrs, with the Scafell Group in the centre background.

Image20200910-121616. At this point I'd envisaged proceeding to the only other Hewitt on the walk I hadn't summitted: Grey Friar. But Dr Frank suggests we go to the Old Man and Dow Crag first, and then pick up Grey Friars on the way back. I agree provided he promises that we will visit Grey Friars, even if we're running late (he has friends coming in the evening).

Image20200910-121616-labelled.

It's a gentle downhill stroll to Levers Hawse - this is looking back north towards Swirl How.
Image20200910-122709-2.

Image20200910-123726-2. Pano looking in approximately the same direction, taken from shortly before Brim Fell summit.
Image20200910-123726-2-labelled.

Image20200910-124813. Shortly before the summit of Coniston Old Man, this shot is looking down to Low Water. Coniston Water in the middle background, and Windermere in the far background left.

Image20200910-130213. There must have been some 20 folk on the summit, so I don't bother taking a shot of it. Instead I enjoy this pano, which is looking slightly east of north across Levers Water, with Wetherlam and Black Sails behind.

Image20200910-130432. Same shot, slightly zoomed.

We have a bit of lunch at the cairn, but it's quite difficult to maintain reasonable physical distancing, so we don't linger: onwards to Dow Crag.

Image20200910-132327. Dow Crag cliffs viewed from Goat's Hause. Easy walk to get there...

Image ...and a sort-of scramble gets us to the summit proper.

Image20200910-135921. Looking north as we approach Levers Hawse. There are a lot of folk about for a Thursday!!!

Image20200910-142110-2. Grey Friar - our next and final target...

Image20200910-144414-2. Though it's not shown on the map, there's a pretty well defined path from Goat's Hawse that contours around Brim Fell and Swirl Band to join with the path from Great Carrs to Grey Friar. This pic is taken looking south towards COM and Dow Crag shortly before hitting the path to Grey Friar.

Image20200910-145335-2. Grey Friar ahead: a straightforward walk on a well-defined path.

Image20200910-151607. And on the summit, Dr Frank took this someoneelsie. Dow Crag featuring between the cairn and Mr Orange...

Image20200910-153706. There's an easy-to-follow path back that contours around Great Carrs. This pic shows the typical going.

Image20200910-154721. Across the Greenburn valley our first Hewitt summit of the day, Wetherlam, and Black Sails are prominent.

Image20200910-162224-2. The view back up Greenburn valley is most impressive, Hell Gill Pike, Great Carrs and Swirl How (I think) featuring strongly in the background at the head of the valley.

Image20200910-162246. View east from the same point,
Little Langdale Tarn centre pic. The path is clearly visible, as is the good going: gentle downhill, no turf, bracken or heather.

Image20200910-163338. A little further down we cross a footbridge preparatory to a tough (at least for me) steep climb over the Hawk Rigg shoulder, and then down to the car park. This pic is looking more or less west up Greenburn valley (not sure that this is the correct name, but it's all I could see on the map).

Image20200910-171919. The decent from the high point is again straightforward, though rough-ish and steep.

Once back at the car park, we take a short break to enjoy a can each of Nanny State (smart Dr Frank has again brought a cool bag and stored the cans within, together with some cool blocks) before setting off on the long drive home.

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The walk definitely lived up to its promise, as judged by the map, and the mist on the tops really disappeared before we got to the affected tops. So I held back on my "Yours indignantly" protest letter to the Met Office... :roll:

Image
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Alteknacker
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Re: Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Postby trailmasher » Sun Sep 20, 2020 4:31 pm

A fine route through some fine fells with a lovely start through the Tilberthwaite group :clap: Did you bump into the crashed planes site with monument? Great report and photos :clap:
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Re: Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Postby Pointless Parasite » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:37 pm

Sometimes I wonder if Alteknacker deliberately choses his route to trace out some object or animal. Often it's a set of bagpipes or a jellyfish but this time the GPS route looks like a skinny navel gazing dinosaur.
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Re: Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Postby malky_c » Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:28 pm

Ah coincidence - I was up here a few days later from Langdale (with great weather - you might be slightly jealous :D ). I had somehow also missed out on some of the outlying summits previously. They are nice hills with proper crags and corries despite the lowish heights...and you can still rack up a fair amount of ascent on them 8) .
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Re: Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Postby litljortindan » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:52 pm

Pointless Parasite wrote:Sometimes I wonder if Alteknacker deliberately choses his route to trace out some object or animal. Often it's a set of bagpipes or a jellyfish but this time the GPS route looks like a skinny navel gazing dinosaur.


Surely a scorpion / garden snail hybird doing a handstand? Fine scenery anyway.
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Re: Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:47 pm

trailmasher wrote:A fine route through some fine fells with a lovely start through the Tilberthwaite group :clap: Did you bump into the crashed planes site with monument? Great report and photos :clap:

Thanks for the kind words, TM. Yes, the first part of the walk from Tilberthwaite was especially fine. I think I half-inched the idea of starting there from someone else's report, and it was definitely a good one.
No, I didn't come across the crashed plane site - for some reason we didn't go over the top of Great Carrs...

Pointless Parasite wrote:Sometimes I wonder if Alteknacker deliberately choses his route to trace out some object or animal. Often it's a set of bagpipes or a jellyfish but this time the GPS route looks like a skinny navel gazing dinosaur.


I knew there was some logic to the route - I just couldn't remember what it was! Now I'm trying to think what it was for my last walk round Buttermere... :?:

malky_c wrote:Ah coincidence - I was up here a few days later from Langdale (with great weather - you might be slightly jealous :D ). I had somehow also missed out on some of the outlying summits previously. They are nice hills with proper crags and corries despite the lowish heights...and you can still rack up a fair amount of ascent on them 8) .


Coincidence indeed! Have now read your report - a goodly round by any standards! In former days I might have gone for the direttissima on Dow Crag - I have looked at it with interest in the past; but we were a bit tight time-wise. Scrambling is something I can still do without too much restriction, thank goodness, provided I don't have to hang too long anywhere by my fingertips!

litljortindan wrote:
Pointless Parasite wrote:Sometimes I wonder if Alteknacker deliberately choses his route to trace out some object or animal. Often it's a set of bagpipes or a jellyfish but this time the GPS route looks like a skinny navel gazing dinosaur.


Surely a scorpion / garden snail hybird doing a handstand? Fine scenery anyway.


The route of a more recent walk around Buttermere may have been based on a garden slug - possibly after an angry gardener had trodden on it...
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Alteknacker
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Re: Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Postby westjensontexas » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:43 am

I had somehow also missed out on some of the outlying summits previously. They are nice hills with proper crags and corries despite the lowish heights...and you can still rack up a fair amount of ascent on them 8)
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Re: Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:15 pm

westjensontexas wrote:I had somehow also missed out on some of the outlying summits previously. They are nice hills with proper crags and corries despite the lowish heights...and you can still rack up a fair amount of ascent on them 8)


...only if you're strong enough... :wink:
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