The Old Man of Coniston

We got lucky with the weather on the day we made one of the biggest hikes of our trip: to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston, also known as Coniston Old Man or simply The Old Man, England’s 12th highest peak and a popular destination with its many routes up, spectacular terrain, and extensive views in all directions. It was a day we reached five peaks and bagged three Wainwrights!

The hike from Coniston Village took us first through Dixon Ground and past the Coniston copper mines, functional for hundreds of years until the 1950s. All along the path, we found remnants of the old copper and slate mining operations.

Approaching a repurposed mining hamlet in Copper Valley.

As we round a bend and look skywards, The Old Man beckons us.

We came across countless slag heaps from the slate mines.

Our first rest stop: the tarn named Low Water.

The higher we climb, the smaller even the large lakes begin to look.
Looking back down from our final ascent, we could see Low Water and part of Levers Water beyond.
We finally reached the summit of The Old Man
… and were rewarded with a great view back down the way we had come.

We took another break at the peak of Coniston Old Man to use Dow Crag, the Irish Sea, and the Isle of Man as our photo backdrop.

Dow Crag. Zoom in to see the small blue Mountain Rescue stretcher box at base of the crag – a reminder to always watch our step.
The view to the south.
The view to the north.
The view to the west.
The summit of Brim Fell, our second Wainwright of the day.
The foot path to Dow Crag.
The Old Man from the back.

The final climb up to the summit of Dow Crag...

… which afforded us great views to the northwest…
… and the northeast…
… and the south across Morecombe Bay.
A local gentleman kindly took our photo and helped us identify all the surrounding peaks.
Traversing the ridge from Dow Crag to Buck Pike, we saw this couple finish their rock climb up the face of the crag.
“We were there!”
It felt good to bag these peaks!
The ridge towards Brown Pike gave us dramatic views down to Goat’s Water.

The back of The Old Man and Goat’s Water.
Brown Pike, our 5th peak of the day!
She added to the cairn. Brown Pike is now a little bit higher!
What goes up, must come down! The long, long route along Walna Scar road…
… with great views back up to where we had been.

The Walna Scar road.
An enterprising entrepreneur parks an ice cream truck to serve hikers coming down from the Coniston fells. I was obviously very hungry for that treat!
Later, back at the lodge, she was obviously very hungry for the beer and crisps!

The day was our most strenuous yet, but bagging five peaks, including three Wainwrights, made us feel like true fell walkers in Lakeland!

It was a wonderful day in the mountains!

Author: Chris

Until 2019, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia focused on Community Economic Development. Before that, I was a high-tech executive, small business owner, consultant and business broker.

5 thoughts on “The Old Man of Coniston”

  1. Hi Chris

    Another great post! I really enjoyed your hike through the Lake District. I felt at times I was hiking right there with you. I have not been there yet but I do hope to make the trip soon.

    Brian

    1. Thank you, Brian! I had originally planned this trip as a 2020 holiday gift for Joanie with our original bookings in the Fall of 2021. The Covid Delta variant pushed those plans out until this summer so, needless to say, I had LOT of time to do my research. Getting to the Lakes is pretty easy, but getting to its special, out-of-the-way areas can take a bit more work. If you have any questions or interest, I would be happy to share my resources with you.

  2. I did so enjoy this post – took me back to 2019- my last visit to the Lake District when, like you two, Paula and enjoy endulged in a little ‘Fell Bashing’ in the company of an old friend from Hong Kong days who lives in an old Mill House not far from Keswick. (He decided retirement was too quiet and joined the Penrith Mountain Rescue – his life is quiet no longer!).

    We managed 2 Wainwrights that Day and on a previous visit I did 3 with him – sometimes they are close together and you can knock off several of the 214 in single day!

    Your photos brought back very happty memories including the well earned Pint and a bag of crisps at the end of the day – glorious stuff

    1. Thanks, Terry. I am so happy that you’re following along! It is such a unique and special place, with wonderful history – much of which is personal like your previous visits. I truly hope others are inspired to learn more about that region of England and visit it themselves. And yes, there are several places where you can climb up and visit several nearby peaks in quick succession. I’ll be sharing such a day that we enjoyed in the Langdales in an upcoming post!

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