Date & Time: Tuesday 3rd October 2006. 10.40 am start.
Location of Start : Car park on Walna Scar Road, near Coniston, Cumbria Uk. ( SD 283 969 )
Places visited : Miner's Bridge, Lad Stones, Wetherlam, Prison Band, Swirl How, Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag, Buck Pike, Brown Pike, Walna Scar Road on the return.
Walk details : 10 mls, 3850 ft of ascent , 7 hrs 10 mins including a stop for lunch.
Walked with : Ann and the dogs.
Weather : Prospects were good, got better and better, brilliant on Wetherlam and Swirls. Looked ominous towards the Scafells, cool on Coniston, waterproofs on before Dow Crag, wet on the climb, misty coming off, dry by the end . . . . a great Lakeland day !
In the great scheme of things, Ann and I needed two of these southerly fells to add to the list of Wainwright hills climbed in order to complete our second round. I had not been up Wetherlam since 1991 although Ann (and our daughter sporting a broken arm in paster) had climbed it nine years ago. We last climbed Dow Crag in 1997 in the mist, so both fells were well overdue for another visit.
This group of Coniston Fells are a delightful group south of the Wrynose Pass, and today's circular tour took in most of the major tops.
We drove up through Coniston Village and parked through the gate, at the end of the metalled road. From there we doubled back, past the green trees to the left, across to to the Miner's Bridge at the top of Church Beck, and then up towards Wetherlam in the centre of this picture.
The clouds were still down on Coniston Old Man but Wetherlam had just cleared.
The path kept to the fell wall high above Coniston Village, and over to Miners Bridge in the Copper Mines Valley.
The route across culminated in an awkward little drop where the excavator had taken a chunk out of the hillside for the pipeline. A ten foot wet and muddy scramble later and we were safely past the temporary obstruction, much to the bemusement of the pipeline crew.
Lets hope they re-instate the footpath safely.
Coniston Copper Mines Youth Hostel, in white, nestles amongst the relics of the industrial valley.
We however, take an early path up through the old quarries to the right and start our climb to Wetherlam.
Gaining height now with good views of Coniston Old Man.
By the time we had climbed sufficiently to get a view of Levers Water the cloud had cleared the summit and a fine day was in prospect.
Looking out to sea from Lad Stones, high on the Wetherlam ridge.
Langdale Pikes from Wetherlam summit, and the visibility was superb.
They don't get much better than this. ( I hope the photo does it credit.)
Off around the back of Black Sails and across to Swirl How via the Prison Band.
Regards to Andy here, a fellow walker we met along the way.
Sunshine all the way, but a cool breeze as we stopped for a little lunch on Swirl How.
The Central Fells, Scafell to Bowfell could be clearly seen beyond Great Carrs summit.
All was not well with the weather though, and storm clouds were gathering behind Scafell a short time later.
Grey clouds had extended across Harter Fell and out towards Black Combe
casting deep shadows on Seathwaite Tarn.
Dow Crag was still clear, so we were ok for a while.
Ann making her way across to Brim Fell, with Greyfriars and Swirl How in the middle distance.
The rain had now reached Bowfell, and Crinkle Crags was starting to become rain swept too.
Brim Fell's broad summit, with Coniston Old Man ahead and Dow Crags to the right.
The dogs were there first again.
They were at Coniston summit first too, so I went ahead to make sure they didn't scrounge for sandwiches.
No problem, there were only a couple of people up there and they had long finished their lunch.
The remaining high summit of the day was Dow Crag, seen here from Coniston Old Man as we doubled back to Goat's Hause.
Our climb up Dow Crags was rather damp but not a problem with waterproofs on and our back to the weather.
By the time we had reached the top the rain had eased but the cloud was down, and everything was a bit damp and slippery.
Looks like Harry and Bethan beat me to the top again !
A misty view of Goats Water as we drop down out of the cloud.
Similarly, a green Duddon Valley ahead, with perhaps the suggestion of sunlight ?
We were making our way down now off Brown Pike to the highest point of the Walna Scar road.
The Cove, with Goats Water over the back wall and Dow Crag still hidden in the mist.
This is the route of Hunter Davies's unplanned excursion when he ventured this way in his 1968 book " A Walk Around the Lakes"
The stone Cove Bridge over the infant Torver Beck. A welcome sight as we make our way back to the car.
Back to the car after an excellent seven hour walk around the high fells.
Wetherlam is clear again but there's plenty of water about after the rain.
Time for a little light refreshment before we make our way home.
This is the Sun Inn hidden at the top of Coniston village.
It was a great place full of character, had a nice warm fire, and I would certainly recommend a visit.
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Only two walks to go for Ann's and my magic 428.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a variety of Lake District weather.
Previous walk - 30th September 2006 The Whinlatter Fells with Jo and the dogs
Previous time up here - 3rd May 2006 Helmut's World Tour of the Lakes - Coniston