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" Coniston Challenge ~ Carron Crag "

Date & start time: 11th June 2011, 4.30 am start.

Location of Start : The Grizedale Forest Centre, Coniston, Cumbria, Uk ( SD 334 934 )

Places visited : Keswick, Yew Tree Tarn, Coniston School, Carron Crag and back.

Walk details : 2.5 mls, 700 ft of ascent, 11.5 hrs mins.

Highest point : Carron Crag 1020 ft - 314 m.

Walked with : Myself (Roger) and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Sunshine and blue skies until I got back to Coniston when the heavens opened !

[ Fortunately I was already back and in the car ]


 " Coniston Challenge ~ Carron Crag " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


An early start to get down to Coniston to help out on a multi-activity sponsored event, raising money for VSO, organised by Global Challenge UK

Today I was radio relay for the cycle section and had to sit on Carron Crag all day, radio to hand the whole time.

Sounds easy ... in practice not quite so simple !

It was a 4.30 am alarm call, then collect a colleague from Keswick at 5.30 and finally reaching Coniston at 6.30 am.

On the way we passed Yew Tree Tarn as the sun was rising and the cool air was causing the lake to 'steam'.

Misty waters and beautiful reflections.
The dam at Yew Tree Tarn.

It was so nice we just had to stop to enjoy the early morning views.

Work beckons . . . four tents, one organising the walkers, one for cycling and one for Kayaking

. . . and one for the radio com's and results staff.

What a lovely morning . . . time to meet the GCUK challenge organisers

and pick up a blue box of radio goodies. (Here Paul carries off the radio sets for his top of Coniston Old Man position)

Eleven teams have signed up for the day

which involves three sports like a triathlon

but on a challenge basis not an all out sprint.


It was our job to keep track of the teams as they undertook each event,

note their times and be available for advice and help

should any team need assistance.

Equipment sorted, I had to make my way over to my marshalling location in the centre of the cycling loop in Grizedale.

A Tony Richards moment.

He's always out taking pictures of Coniston Water at early o'clock for his daily web site.

6.50 am . . . today I can do the same !

Walking up the first part of the forest track

I passed this unusual wall, advertising some of those that have helped with sponsorship of the Grizedale Forest sports facilities.

[ Ordnance Survey, Swiss Army Knives, Vango, Berghaus, Maglite, GoGas, Lowe Alpine, Sprayway and an undefined pink brick.]

Up onto the main forest trail . . . the bikes should be passing this way later.

I take a green/red signed footpath up from the junction, making for Carron Crag.

Grizedale is renowned for its sculptures but finding one still came as a bit of a surprise.

One of the many forest sculptures.


This one is made from cut logs

and formed into a ring.


The view through the sculpture

is of the southern section of Grizedale Forest

and would have been more extensive

when the trees were smaller.

Rising above the trees, the views open out to include Morecambe Bay, south west towards Cartmell.

The summit of Carron Crag has been left clear of trees and has a classic rock scramble up to the trig point at the top.

Time to think about work.


The southern section of the forest cannot receive radio signals

emanating from the challenge base in the school grounds

in the centre of Coniston Village.


It will be my job to listen in for radio messages

from the challenge cycle groups

and relay them back and forth to Coniston base if required.


The pole is a radio mast allowing me better radio reception.

Coniston Old Man with Dow Crags to the left and Wetherlam to the right.

Not a bad view as a backdrop for my day out on the fells.

Time to sit now and monitor the groups and assess their progress over the course.

In a quieter moment I took the opportunity to stretch my legs

and wondered down the fell slightly and explored several clearings

which held small sculptures and this slate table hidden in the woods.

A stunted holly tree, all of two feet high.
Forest ferns and a mountain ash on the way back to the summit.

Faithful hounds have made it back before me.

With the first five teams through I'm waiting for the next groups to finish their kayaking.

Time to walk back to the summit for a look at the wider panorama.

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated view.

There now passed a period of radio discussion, breakfast, elevenses, dog treats and lunch.

Several couples and various groups visited the summit which, considering its lowly nature, was a surprise

but then it is the only summit in the Grizedale Forest and features on all the forest leaflets.

The sun beats down on the forest

and some of the native animals retreat to the shade of the undergrowth to keep cool.

Others just lay back and sunbathe.

Chance to explore again.
Carron Crag summit from the circle.

I'm waiting for the final mountain teams to return from their walk in order to start their cycle ride.

Carrying the hand held radio I can still keep in touch even though I'm not actually on the summit.

Lay back and enjoy the view. . . brought the midge cream instead of the suntan cream . . . bit of an equipment error there !

Looking up there are two powered hangliders and a Grizedale Red Kite . . . the bird variety has recently been re-introduced to the area.

I also received a brief visit from this inquisitive Roe Deer

Time passes . . . and so do several cycle teams but I don't see a soul.

All the competitors are down there, hidden from me by the trees.

Even my colleague Steve at Checkpoint 2 (above the Grizedale Centre) was antonymous to me, purely a voice on the radio waves today.

End of the day.

The teams have run out of time and have either shortened their last ride or have abandoned the attempt . . . time for me to leave.

The successful groups would have kayaked for 2 hours, cycled for 3 hours and climbed Old Man of Coniston for 5,

a total of twelve hours activity including changeovers and refreshments.

Hopefully they're feeling as tired as I am, having sat and twiddled the radio dials in all that heat for the same length of time !

- - - 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 . . . sun cream and a parasol . . .both of which I forgot !

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Next walk - 16th June 2011 (am) Morecambe Bay and Arnside