Dow Crag and the Old Man of Coniston

2555 feet & 2633 feet

Date                    20/6/2009

Walk done by:  Susan, Paul, Jed, Ceri, Meg, Jack, Sam. Paul and Pam Aldren, Naeem & Hanna & Ruby

Weather:            Occasional light rain to start then brightening up

Distance             8.0 miles.

Started at:          The Sun Hotel, Coniston

After meeting in The Sun and having a very nice coffee, we set off up the steep Walna Scar Road. As it began to level off the first of several light showers started. We took lunch at Cove Bridge, before the climb to Brown Pike. Although there were a few distant points of brightness, we seemed to be continually in gloom, especially so as we reached the top of the Walna Scar Road and lost all visibility as we entered the low cloud.

However as we neared the summit of Brown Pike, the cloud thinned and visibility improved slightly, but not enough to reveal any views. Upon reaching Buck Pike the occasional misty view started to appear and by the time Dow Crag was reached we were getting good views in all directions. The last time I walked the Dow Crag it was done in heavy mist and we got no views whatsoever - this time thankfully we did see Blind Tarn below Brown Pike, and we did see Goats Water glistening a little at the foot of Dow Crag, and we did see the spectacular views across the Duddon Valley to Caw and the coast beyond. It is a wonderful ridge.

Leaving Dow Crag, we descended to Goats Hause and then began the 510 feet climb to The Old Man of Coniston's summit. Views were now very good with the cloud base at around 3000 ft. After a brief stop at the summit, the highest point of old Lancashire, we started the steep zig zag descent to Low Water and Coniston beyond. Surprisingly, Susan, who is usually overtaken by snails when descending, went down like a jack rabbit.

Finally, 6.5 hours later, after ascending 2900ft, and descending 2900 feet, we entered the Sun Hotel again. This time it wasn't coffee, but a well earned pint followed by a very very nice meal.

Thanks to EVERYONE for making it a day I thoroughly enjoyed. Special praise must go to Meg and her two sons for driving up from Stafford, and to Hanna, who for her age did remarkably well, and to Pam and Paul, who didn't give up finding us when we lost our mobile signal.

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View looking east from the Walna Scar Road minutes after leaving the Sun Hotel



Another view of the Coniston fells from Walna Scar Road


It's dull and dank as we progress along the Walna Scar Road



Jack, Sam, Ruby, Meg and Paul on Walna Scar Road


The beck above Cove Bridge


Lunch was taken at Cove Bridge. Here we are ready to set off.

In view are Paul, Paul, Pam with Hanna behind her, Naeem, Ceri, Ruby Susan, Meg, Jack and Sam

The shelter near the top of the Walna Scar Road. Wainwright said of it, "Just big enough for one, or a honeymoon couple".


Jack, Paul, Ruby, Ceri, Susan and Sam on Brown Pike summit


Jack, Paul and Ruby on Brown Pike


Sam and Paul on Brown Pike


Shortly after leaving Brown Pike gaps in the cloud started to appear. Blind Tarn, at the foot of Brown Pike was first to appear. Blind Tarn gets its name from the fact that it is only one of a very few number of tarns that have no outflow.


But the cloud was still there. Here are Pam and Paul in the mist waiting for the rest of us to catch up


Ruby at Buck Pike, There's still mist around but there are signs of improving weather


Here is another break in the cloud. This time the path to Goats Water is revealed way below us

..and there is Goats Water


Suddenly appearing in the murk was the steep rock face of Dow Crag


And for the first time, The Duddon Valley makes it's first appearence

Jack, Sam and Paul attempt to reach the suspended stone slab


And around the same time, the whole ridge suddenly appeared out of nowhere


Looking down Great Gully


Pam and Paul approch the "hole in the wall" on the ascent to Dow Crag


Paul, Susan, Jack and Sam approach Dow Crag summit


....and get ever nearer


Looking down Dow Crag's North Gully


Sam and Jack head for Goats Hause, with Far Gill as a back drop


Sam, Jack and Susan on the path to Goats Hause


Paul and Naeem looking happy. (Naeem is probably telling his "calculator" story to Paul (yet again) Pam and Paul follow behind.


Smiles all round


Then the mist re-appeared. Here Pam, Paul Meg and Ceri are descending Dow Crag for Goats Hause


Then it was back to breaks in the cloud, and the lovely Caw and the Duddon Valley appear.


The view of Coniston Water from the descent to Goats Hause


Ceri, Meg, Pam and Paul nearing Goats Hause


Cloud would rem ain a threat all day. Here the Duddon Valley appears.


The OMC from the col


Another view of Coniston water


The final section of the descent to Goats Hause


The ridge to Swirl How


Susan and Paul approach the col


The Old Man of Coniston and the path from Goats Water


Goats Water and Coniston Water in the distance


Some of our group wait at the col before the 510 feet climb to Coniston Old Man's summit


Hanna begins the climb


.... as do Paul and Pam


The Dow Crag Ridge, the skyline was our path up


Paul, Susan and Pam head for the final summit of the day


Ceri and Meg ascending the path from Goats Hause


Ceri and Meg


Hanna, Naeem, Ceri and Meg reach the Old Man's ridge


Coniston Water from near the Old Man's summit


The Old Man of Coniston's summit, nearly there now!


People looking like ants on the ridge and summit


Below is the path to Levers Water


Low Water and the Coppermines Valley


Climbers ascending the direct path from Coniston


Sam and Ceri approach the summit


Pam and Paul on the summit


Hanna and Naeem at the Trig point on TOMC


The steep drop to Low Water - our route of descent


Pam looks at the Staffie crossed with a Border Terrier - it's not often you see a bearded Staffie!


...and Ruby makes friends with him


the scene at the summit


The Victorian steam gondola 2500 ft below us on Coniston Water


Susan and Paul begin the long and steep descent do Naeem, Hanna, Meg, Ceri and Pam


Zooming in on Meg, Paul and Pam


Meg on the descent to Low Water


A tiny Susan and Paul approach Low Water


Zooming in on them


Leaving Low Water we entered the disused mine workings


....where Meg and ceri plot their way through the spoil heaps
...and after a few pints and a lovely meal I was treated to a view of Naeem's right ear for 60 miles
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