Coppermines Valley Skyline.

Start. Coniston (Old Furness Road).

Route. Coniston - Walla Scar Road - Boo Tarn - The Cove - Goats Water - Goats Hawes - Coniston Old Man - Brim Fell - Levers Hawes - Swirl Band - Swirl How - Prison Band - Swirl Hawse - Keld Gill Head - Wetherlam - Lower Hows - Red Gill Head Moss - Hole Rake - Coppermines Valley - Miners Bridge - Dixon Ground - Coniston.

Notes. Coniston Old Man, the hollow mountain, man has been digging, chiseling and blasting for around eight hundred years. Shafts plunge to depths of over 2000ft, everywhere you look his past endeavors scar the landscape, edits driven into the steep slopes, piles of quarry spoil dominate the valley. Riches were brought to the surface in the form of copper ore, slate and any other valuable mineral the miners might find. This walk took me above the detritus left by man into a world of fantastic views and big skies, come along, if you don't enjoy it you can have your money back.

We're in the middle of a heat wave, an early start was called for, hopefully get the main of the ascent out of the way in the cool of the morning. After parking on Old Furness Road I stepped from the car into an oven, all be set on low. I had a bright idea, maybe not so bright but an idea non the less, I'd walk this route clockwise rather the counter clockwise, gain some height before somebody cranked the dial up to cook breakfast. This meant ascending the notorious Walla Scar Road. Men on cycles with knobble tyres walk up it, modern cars are forced to use first gear and I was on foot, after a number of pit stops (fell walkers speak for stopping to get your breath back) I emerged at the car park to strange looks from other walkers just stepping from the cool interiors of their vehicles.

The Walla Scar Road continued west, I continued with it, it's stony surface under foot, breakfast was cooking, the mercury rising, and I was already thinking of cutting this walk short, but for now onwards into stunning scenery. As I passed under Nettle Crag a path junction welcomed me, I turned right ascending into a high valley home to Goats Water. Its a special place with stunning mountain scenery on show, but best of all a cooling breeze ripped down from Goats Hawes rippling the surface of little Goats Water. On I walked ascending Goats Hawes to make the final pull to the summit of Coniston Old Man.

The top was mine to enjoy alone, the way I like it, I sat drinking in the views, I left before the inevitable crowds turned up. I casually strolled North, enjoying the views, the cool breeze, the solitude I'd worked so hard to gain, today I'd truly earned them. On reaching Swirl How I took another break before descending The Prison Band, the rocky trod deposited me on Swirl Hawes, I contemplated descending through the Coppermines Valley, but then this wouldn't be Coppermines Valley Skyline would it, so I ascended Wetherlam.

Steep at first before the going got easier, the path hugs the Greenburn slopes of the hill, gifting the intrepid walker with fantastic views, I took my time but was soon on the rocky crown of Wetherlam enjoying yet more breathtaking views. After another break I descended to the south, an obvious path ushered me over Lower Hows and Red Gill Head Moss eventually depositing me in Hole Rake. Hole Rake is a high valley slicing through a cutting between the Furness and Yewdale Fells, obviously an important route in it's day, It safely guided me into the Coppermines Valley depositing me near the single arch of Minors Bridge. I crossed to access a stony trod descending through Dixon Ground, I emerged into the streets of Coniston next to The Sun, well it would be rude not to step inside.

Sitting outside with my second pint of shandy my mind drifted back to younger days when climbing these hills seemed easy. Without getting philosophical, getting old, it's a bit like owning an old car, the suspension knackered and the engine doesn't work very well but it always gets there in the end, the end for me was round the corner up another bloody hill.

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Rising above the Coppermines Valley Swirl How and Wetherlam seen from the Walla Scar Road.

Brown Pike looks down on the Walla Scar Road.

Staggering views over the low lands of South Lakeland, on show from The Cove.

Wonderful views from The Cove, the Walla Scar Road snakes across the image with the Duddon Estuary and Irish Sea in the distance.

The dramatic rock architecture of Dow Crag.

Goats Water with views to Goats Hawes.

Spectacular views from Goats Hawes.

The summit Coniston Old Man. my route ahead can clearly be seen, over Brim Fell to the left.

On a clear day this view will blow you away, Coniston Water and the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay.

I'm looking into the Coppermines Valley with Coniston village trapped between the fells and the lake.

A fine cairn marks the summit, for today only I've got it to myself.

That's the path the tourists take, steep, loose with few views until the upper slopes, far better to attack the mountain from the west as I did.

On the summit of Brim Fell looking back to Coniston Old Man.

Clinging to a reasonable path, ascending Swirl How looking back to Brim Fell and Coniston Old Man, to the right the petrified rock of Dow Crag.

Wetherlam as seen from Great How Crags.

On show from the summit of Swirl How, the Sca Fell massif.

The prospect north over Wet Side Edge from the summit of Swirl How.

Descending the Prison Band, looking to Fairfield, the path eagerly awaiting my presence will guide me onto Wetherlam.

Looking back to a shadowed Great How with Swirl How the high point to the right.

Heading up Wetherlam with views to Langdale for company.

The summit Wetherlam.

Drinking in the stunning panorama on show on the descent from Wetherlam.

Hole Rake a track of old, used to link the mines at Coniston and Tilberthwaite.

The Coppermines Valley.

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