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Date & start time: Saturday 12th September 2009. 11 20 am start. ( NY 143 211 )

Location of Start : Parking adjacent to the Three Sires Stone, Hardknott Pass , Cumbria, Uk

Places visited : Wet Side Edge, Grey Friar, Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, returning via Brim Fell, Swirl How, Great Carrs and Little Carrs and back down Wet Side Edge to the car.

Walk details : 8.6 mls, 2925 ft, 7 hrs 5 mins including lunch.

Highest point : Coniston Old Man 2,633ft ( 803m)

Walked with : Ann, Jo and the dogs, Jodie, Amber, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Blue skies and sunny all the way. Hazy long distance especially looking into the sun.

[Click the drop down menu bar for your choice of Google map or photo hybrid ]

 Coniston Old Man from 3 Shires Stone at EveryTrail


An approach to Coniston Old Man from the north, taking in Grey Friar on the way out and Swirl How on the way back,

gives us a delightful seven hour walk on the Southern Fells.

The route we chose avoids most of the the crowds that climb the Old Man from the Coniston village side every weekend.

" Red Sky at Night " . . . tomorrow promises to be another nice day.

It was 11.20 by the time we parked up at Wrynose Pass.

We had met Jo earlier and parked her car near Elterwater to avoid having to find two good parking spaces here where parking is limited at the top of the pass, a good plan as it worked out. Our start was also slightly delayed by stopping to watch a whole procession of Porsche Owners Club cars driving past.

Well under way now as we climb up onto Wet Side Edge.

The road continues on across Wrynose Bottom and climbs again over Hardknott Pass in the distance.

Highest point in the distance - Ill Bell on the Kentmere Round
We toil up the slope under the hot midday sun

Ahead are Great Carrs and Swirl How

but we will defer our visit to them untill our return from Coniston Old Man.

Another pool and another chance for the dogs to enjoy a drink, cool down a little and get really dirty.

We cross the hause over to Grey Friar,

our eyes always being distracted by the wonderful view of the Scafell Range over to our right behind Crinkle Crags.

The Matterhorn Rock on Grey Friar with Fairfield to the right.

Intrepid mountaineer summits the Matterhorn . . . easy !

We pass on that minor top in favour of the true summit of Grey Friar itself.

Amber is growing rapidly and now nearly matches Jodie in size.

One for our album as Jo takes our camera on the summit of Grey Friar.

The Scafells from the summit of Grey Friar.

This is the whole ridge . . . from Scafell, past Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag and over to Great End.

Click here or on the photo for a full panorama . . . full 380 degree value from Loweswatercam !

More water and more swimming

but we don't mind as it's a hot day

and the dogs need as much water as they can get today.

- - - - o o o - - -

The ridge walk won't have too much natural water

despite the amount of rain over the last month or so.

Evidence of old mines everywhere you look.

Looking back at Grey Friar as we contour round the fell side.

Everywhere you look in this area, you'll probably find evidence of old mine workings. [ Hold your cursor over the photo so see what I mean ]

Seathwaite Tarn reflecting the blue of the sky.

Since the reservoir wall has been repaired the lake has been allowed to refill to it's normal level.

On the hause between Swirl How and Brim Fell where we swap the view of one valley for another.

Down below us on this side is Levers Water and the village of Coniston.

The remains of the mining activity at Paddy End Vein in the Coniston Mines complex.

Reaching the main ridge walk to Coniston Old Man there was a steady increase in the number of folk that we were meeting.

This is not the natural curvature of the earth but that of the gently rounded summit of Brim Fell

As we reach the major cairn the last part of the ridge is in sight.

There's only seven metres difference in height between these two tops.

We decide that, with legs virtually dangling over the edge, this would be a great place to enjoy our lunch.

Not a bad view for a lunch spot.

Coniston Copper Mines YHA is the white building far below, with Low Water in front of us and the zig-zag path climbing steeply to the Old Man.

Close up on a local Herdwick sheep, the village and Coniston Water as we relax.

Suitably refreshed we continue on.

The haze has really set in over to the west making Devoke Water and the distant Isle of Man ( above the clouds) slightly more difficult to see.

Black Combe rising surreally out of the haze behind Dow Crag.

Blind Tarn ripples in the sunlight despite the heavy shadow on the fells around.

Nearing the top we pass a "green" team . . .
. . . and then a "pink" one leaving the summit

By the look of their numbers and vests they were taking part in this year's charity "Coniston Challenge".

The classic shape of the summit platform and cairn as we reach our goal . . . Coniston Old Man.

The adjacent trig point . . .
. . . makes a fine plinth for a living sculpture.

The classic view down from the summit includes both Low Tarn and Levers Water.

Two faces of concentration as we start our return, leaving the summit for others to enjoy.

Big skies as we re-cross Brim Fell.

Our return route will include Swirl How and Great Carrs this time.

The path can be seen climbing up to the right from the hause below.

Big skies and big views today.

In the distance is Skiddaw and Blencathra, with the north western fells away to the left.

On our other side, to the right that is, the Prison Band and the path across to Wetherlam.

Ann enjoys the view and half of my Mars Bar !

Down . . . towards Great Carrs.

I stop to view the wartime aircraft wreckage and the memorial to the eight airmen who lost their lives that night.

A new plaque has been placed in recent years

and the site is host each Nov 11th

to an Armistice Service

to remember all those who lost their lives in service to the Nation.

Jo and I on the summit of Great Carrs . . .

We're on the home leg now and it will be downhill all the way . . . I promise !

. . . apart from my slight climb onto the rocks of Little Carrs.

Behind is Red Tarn neatly encapsulated by the shadow of Cold Fell . . . Our car is somewhere in between.

A band of haze creeps into Upper Eskdale

as we start to lose the views of the Scafells that have been such a delight today.

A grassy descent, slightly different from our route up, brings us neatly back to the car.

A final view of the Three Shires Stone in the late afternoon sunshine.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a good meal in Wainwright's Inn, Chapel Stile

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Previous walk - Thurs 10th Sept 2009 Maiden Moor / High Spy

A previous time up here - 3rd May 2006 Helmut's World Tour of the Lakes - Coniston

Next walk - Sunday 13th Sept 2009 Sour Milk Gill and Taylor Gill