Old Man of Coniston Loop, Lake District, UK.

On our second (and last 😦 ) day in the Lake District we woke and had breakfast in our lovely AirBnb. This was the Travellers Rest in Broughton in Furness which was amazing. This is the review I left on AirBnb below and I would highly recommend it if staying in the area:

“Alwyn’s place is perfect. It is in the middle of nowhere, so you need your own transport, but is great for hiking around the Lake District. The views are stunning. Our room was large, the bed supersized and incredibly comfy. The shower was hot and powerful, just what was needed after a long, wet day walking. Not a complaint but a point to note, if you want shampoo and conditioner remember to take your own as it is generic body/hair wash provided. The towels were fluffy and the robes an added extra. Breakfast was well cooked and plentiful. Overall Alwyn went out of her way to make our stay comfortable and added so many lovely extra touches. I truly hope we can return sometime. Thank you.”

We didn’t have much of a plan for the day so decided to make our way in the direction of Coniston. For parking we paid to stay in the Information Centre car park for ease and then went inside the centre itself to try to make a plan. In the end we found a suitable hike for us up to the Old Man of Coniston that started and finished in the village.

The ascent out of the village is initially really steep along a road that leads to a car park further up that can be used for people taking the trail. From the car park you head right along a clear and well-marked path that is gentle in the beginning luring you into a false sense of security. As the route bends round towards the left the climb proper starts and this gradually gets steeper as you pass old mining equipment on the way up which is pretty interesting and the terrain is covered in my least favourite walking material, slate. Once you reach the small tarn, Low Water, the trail hits its steepest all the way up until the peak with plenty of switchbacks. This all makes for beautiful scenery though.P1000407 1

At the summit of Old Man Coniston 803m (2634ft) above sea level the wind was whipping around us and it felt as though my ears and fingers were about to freeze off so we found a little shelter behind the cairn in order to have our lunch and check out the view back down to the village below.P1000415 1

From here most people set off back down the way they had just come up but we had our sights set on the next peak along the ridge from where we were so we carried on along the path at the top. Along Brim Fell we had the need for cosy headwear and rued the day we forgot to pack gloves, because it was seriously exposed, but either side of the trail was stunning. We also had a little play around climbing over Little How Crags. This part did not take much navigating as it was just straight along the top ignoring any routes off to either side and it carried on this way until we reached the cairn at Swirl How at 802m above sea level (although this height is disputed, some sources say 804m).P1000419 1P1000432 1P1000440 1P1000446 1P1000448P1000453 1

The walk then turns right towards the next peak at Weatherlam. We did plan on doing this too but we were starting to run out of daylight hours due to our lack of organisation in the morning so we had to give it a miss, which you can do easily if needed. The actual track down from Swirl How is steep, often requiring us to use our hands or hiking poles to jump down off rocks, and not very well marked. We just tried to stay moving in the direction of the saddle between Swirl How and Weatherlam peaks. I would not recommend carrying on this far if it is icy as I can imagine this area would be pretty treacherous. Once at the saddle we turned right again and passed through boggy fields along the side of Levers Water. Again at times the path was not easy to follow so just stick to the left of the lake all the way until reaching the mines in the middle of the valley. The final part of our walk turned left and went down the road past the YHA back to the village of Coniston.P1000482 1P1000485 1

This was a great walk in the lakes that started out being fairly busy up until the summit of Old Man of Coniston and then we were pretty much on our own save 1 or 2 others for the rest of the way. I possibly preferred it to climbing Scafell Pike the day before however the fact the weather was clear, if a bit windy, may have swung my decision in its favour. Unless the conditions are particularly icy though I would say the round trip walk rather than the up and back on yourself is definitely the way to go, I always prefer a loop though, it keeps things more interesting.

Have you been up the Old Man Coniston before? Do you prefer a loop trail?

2 Comments

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  1. This is stunning – just goes to show you don’t have to travel far to find beauty on your own doorstep. Definitely want to do this when I return to the UK. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

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