3rd February 2007

Out of season weather on the Coniston fells


Walk Overview
Time 09.00 to 15.00
Duration 6 hr
Distance 9.5 mile
Ascent 3700 ft
Walking with Andrew Leaney
Walna Scar Fell Gate - Low Water - Coniston Old Man - Brim Fell - Levers Hawse - Fairfield - Grey Friar - Great Carrs - Swirl How - Prison Band - Wetherlam - Black Sails (ridge) - Levers Water - Boulder Valley - Walna Scar Fell Gate
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car Park, Fellgate, Walna Scar Road

This is a decent sized car park that offers a closer starting point for a walk up the ever popular Coniston Old Man. Once the car park is full there are still a few places to be found in the immediate area.

Although parking is free, I actually enjoy the walk up here from coniston village.


Route Map

A couple of minutes before starting todays walk the Coniston fells were bathed in this lovely early morning sunlight. Sadly the light was rather short lived, as a band of cloud came across the area which lasted until we reached Coniston Old Man summit.

Some of the disused mine / quarry equipment passed along the route to Low Water.

And again from a little further up the path.

A very calm and peaceful Low Water.

Coniston and Coniston Water seen from Coniston Old Man summit. It was unseasonably warm today, which is quite surprising when you look down from here and see the valleys all white with frost. I did set out this morning wearing a jacket, but that was took off within half an hour from the start and even at this height it was a border line decision whether the jacket was needed again or not. As the walk progressed, it just got warmer and warmer; on route up to Wetherlam there was even a group of people laying on the grass enjoying the warm sunshine.

Also taken from the summit this close up picture shows the trees reflected in the Coniston Water and the cloud still lingering in the valley.

Blue sky, sunshine and too many fells to point out in this picture from the summit, but to name a few there are: Skiddaw, Blencathra, Helvellyn, Fairfield, Swirl How and Wetherlam.

In the opposite direction however, things were quite different. The whole of the western side of the Lake District was experiencing a fantastic cloud inversion. This picture taken shortly after leaving the summit shows the ridge leading from Goat's Hawse to Dow Crag, with Green Crag and Harter Fell behind.

Looking in the same direction as the previous picture, this time from Brim Fell summit.

Swirl How and Great Carrs seen above Levers Hawse. Although we did visit both of these fells our route first took us across the fellside below Swirl How and out to the left of this photo to reach Grey Friar, before doubling back to Great Carrs.

Taken from the path below Swirl How we got this great view down to Seathwaite Tarn and the Eskdale Fells. A couple to point out are: Black Combe (far left) Hesk Fell, Green Crag and Harter Fell (highest point on the right).

The cloud appeared to be breaking up a little by the time we reached Grey Friar, but we still got this view across to Hard Knott (front), Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Middle Fell, Seat Allan, Haycock, Slight Side and Scafell.

A close up of the cloud at the top of Hardknott Pass. The pass itself is running from the bottom right of the picture towards the centre. Notice the white dot (car) just below the cloud.

Airplane wreckage just below Great Carrs summit.

Little Langdale Tarn and Little Langdale.

Almost at Swirl How and looking back across to Great Carrs.

Pike O'Blisco and Pike O'Stickle.

A close up of Blea Tarn and Bleatarn House taken from Wetherlam summit. The summit was packed with people today; as Andrew said "it was almost a Scafell Pike moment".

Looking eastwards from Wetherlam summit. The fells on the far right of the picture are the Howgills.

Most of the "big ones" seen from Red Dell Head Moss. Ever on the lookout for something new, so the route we followed from Wetherlam to Levers Water took us across to Black Sails where we followed the ridge itself rather than one of the more popular routes found on each side.

A splash of sunshine on Levers Water. From the tarn we walked across the dam and at the far side turned left into delightfully named Boulder Valley, which sounds like something of one of those old black and white cowboy films. When we reached the far end of the valley I half expected to see the outlaws up above us on their horses, waiting to hold up the last stagecoach from Coniston. Although I'm sure I spotted one or two red Indians behind some of the boulders.

Reflections in Levers Water. Bart Simpson comes to the Lake District. For all those who enjoy The Simpsons, notice Bart's head in the middle of the picture. "eat my shorts"

It was getting quite late in the afternoon now and the shadows wear stretching across the valley.

One last look back into Boulder Valley.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks