Monday, 28 March 2011

Best of 2010 Part 5: Dow Crag to Coniston Old Man

This was the last Lake District walk of 2010 in one of my favourite areas, the ConistonFells. We even got to do a bonus fell on this walk - the snow and low cloud meant we headed off on the wrong path, meaning we did the walk via Brim Fell!

This was also Claire's first walk with an engagement ring on her hand - good thing that we stopped in Coniston village to buy gloves. As well as protecting her ring finger, they came in very handy when the snow started coming down on us - not what we expected for early Autumn!

COM from Walna Scar Road

Having done a few walks in the Coniston area, Dow Crag had been high on my "to do" list for a while, so I was glad to have the chance to show Claire this great part of the Lakes and see Dow Crag.

We got the bus from Ambleside, and were soon headed upwards out of Coniston, past the Sun Inn Hotel and up Walna Scar road. This old road leading to Seathwaite is a nice walk in itself, as you head gradually upwards the view over Coniston water opens up, with Coniston Old Man accompanying on your left. Eventually you come to The Cove and you catch the first glimpse of a brooding Dow Crag.

Torver Beck and Cove Bridge

From here on the views become more and more spectacular, it seems with each step forwards the view of Morecambe Bay gets closer and we could had a view all the way to the Blackpool Tower!

the view out to Morecambe Bay

When you get to a fork in the path the work begins as you leave Walna Scar road and head up Dow Crag. You pass the tops of Brown Pike and Buck Pike on the ridge up to the summit.

Dow Crag summit

From here the views to the west and north become apparent, and you can see right out to the west coast and northwards you start to see the big guns of the Scafell range. The views down towards Goat's Water between the crags on the summit are also very spectacular.

looking down one of the gulleys on Dow Crag
It was here though that we started to see....not a great deal! The cloud came over us and within a few minutes we had gone from bright sunshine to thick cloud!

cloud rapidly approaching

As we headed down the ridge connecting Dow Crag to Coniston Old Man visibility went down to just a few yards, and out of the blue (or white in this case) snow started falling! We followed a large walking party here - big mistake as they didn't know where they were going! We spent a long time following the rim of the summit and it was pretty obvious we were going the wrong way.

After a while we came to a crossing of paths and the cairns there were described by AW in his guide, so we were soon headed back up to Coniston Old Man. As a bonus though, we passed the summit of Brim Fell. I am sure on other occasions there are great views from here, but for today we stopped for a brief moment before heading on along the well defined route.

Coniston Old Man appears ahead of us

The clouds were lifting by now, so when we got to the top of Coniston Old Man we had a good view of the surrounding group of Fells and down to the Lake.

The Scafell range from the summit of COM

Time was not on our side - we had a last bus to catch, and the sun wasn't going to delay in going down, so again we had to push on back to Coniston village. we took a route well familiar to me, taking us past lots of mine shafts and evidence of the industrial path, stopping for a sandwich at the picturesque Low Water.
We soon crossed the stream coming off Levers Water and were on the Coppermines road which took us right back into the heart of the village.

Coppermines road
No stopping at the Donald Campbell Museum, but we did have time for a pint of Blue Bird bitter at the Black Bull Inn. We were entertained on the bus home by a fellow we nicknamed "the colonel" who seemed to have spent quite some time in the pub before taking the same bus as us home. Brilliant day all round!

No comments:

Post a Comment