Thursday, 8 May 2014

Coniston Grumpy Old Man

(Brown Pike)-(Buck Pike)-Dow Crag-Coniston Old Man-Brim fell / (Raven Tor)-Swirl How-Great Carrs-Grey Friar-(Black Sails)-Wetherlam-(Above Beck Fells)

12.8miles


The Old Man with his head in the clouds

Due to rain forecast for midday I chose a fell nearer to home, Coniston Old Man.  Maybe not a good choice on a bank holiday Monday but because of cloud it wasn’t overly crowded.  As the A590 crests over a hill, the fells open out in front of you, it’s a great sight to see every time we drive it. Directly in front of you, you will see Coniston Old Man. Well sometimes...

When you can’t see your destination fell do you abort your walk and go elsewhere? Would make sense if you want a view but if there’s cloud here, there’s probably cloud there too.  And as a photographer said to me on the way up, you’ve just got to go for it. Unfortunately it wasn’t an inversion, it was just cloud and haze.

Arriving at Walna Scar road I made my way along past the paths that leads up behind the Old Man and started my ascent up Brown Pike and Buck Pike. There I watched the old bloke and wondered if the cloud would clear. Every so often it would, giving me a brief flash of his summit.


Path leading to Brown Pike
Bikers coming up Walna Scar side. Walking's cheating right? ;-)



Looking back at the busy Old Man cairn from Raven Tor

Dow Crag from Buck Pike
Dow Crag my next peak, the crags are steep down to Goat’s water but it looks like there’s a path that would make a challenging route up. Maybe next time.

Fun route up maybe?

Goat's Water & C.O.M from Dow Crag
























I made my way to the busy summit and admired the hazy views, doesn’t make for good photos though. So I will reserve the right to add photos from other hikes on occasion. 
  
Luckily the weather was mild and the ridge was windless.  Making my way along the ridge I took a detour to get Brim Fell. It’s bit of a drop and oh... as I write this I only just realise it’s the ridge cairn (796m) and not where Brim Fell is mentioned on the map. Oh well!  As it turns out Brim Fell/Raven Tor is a nice detour as it juts out giving you a great view of the Old Man, Levers water and Swirl How.

The Old Man and Low Water from Brim Fell 

Leavers Water from Raven Tor


Memorial to crashed bomber
Taking the path left from Swirl How towards Great Carrs the wind really began to pick up. I’ve lost my beanie hat but with the strong gusts I was happy I had my woolly hat albeit a bit too hot. Here there is a monument dedicated to the Halifax LL505 bomber that crashed here in 1944 after getting lost in cloud during a night navigation exercise.  

Taking the gentle slope down west leads you up to a lone peak, Grey Friar. Here you get views back to Dow Crag and the Old Man and further west another lone fell, Harter Fell. Man it was windy here, luckily there are some large crags facing north you can hide behind. Time for refreshments.

Taking the centre path back up to Swirl How and this time looking east you can see your options. The path drops down the curiously name Prison Band to Swirl Hause beck. I’ve noticed a number of ‘prisons’ here. Were some of these slate and copper mines used as prisons or more likely I can imagine working in them they felt like it, thusly name so by the local workers. 

Here you have the choice to exit and take the beck path down the valley through the mines to Coniston. But why would you, Wetherlam is right there!

Great Carrs from Swirl How

Looking down Tiberthwaite valley

From Swirl How looking at Wetherlam


As a family took the route down I paused as it started to spit. It'll be fine...A short climb and you’re there. A pause to admire the 360 views you can look back along the ridge you’ve just hiked along and to the north, Crinkle Crags, Langdale Pikes and Pike of Plisco. From here you can see your car ( it will be around 2 miles away), I chose the path that kept to the left of the ridge and down over Lower Hows and Above Beck Fells. 

This is where I decided to go a little off piste. Rather than continue the path all the way down Hole Rake and have to come back up again I cut across above the mines. Carefully traversing the crags (I think it would have been quicker to stick to the path) I entered the Coppermines. I do find disused industry quite haunting and intriguing, the way rusted pipes, wires and pulleys are still there. 

After bounding over the moorland and surprising the same family it was little hop over Kennel Crag and around Grey Crag to Low Water beck and on the home straight. 

Another pleasant 13mile hike along ridges and around crags. 


Where to next?..




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