Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag.

Start. Coniston.

Route. Coniston - Dixon Ground - Miners Bridge - Crowberry Haws - Low Water - Old Man of Coniston - Goat's Hawes - Dow Crag - Buck Pike - Brown Pike - Walna Scar Road - Boo Tarn - Coniston.

Notes. Extensively mined for almost eight hundred years, slate and copper plus any other valuable mineral that might come to the surface, Coniston Old Man is a scarred mountain. Signs of the past endeavors of man are unavoidable, relics of a past way of life litter the mountains western slopes, the bones of mine buildings, rusting machinery and rivers of quarry spoil, all make for an interesting ascent, shafts plunging to vertical depths of 2,000ft, adits driven into the mountains steep slopes. The miners may have long gone to the big splitting shed in the sky but the tracks they laid remain, our guide up the mountain.

A finger-post next to the Sun Hotel announced I'd reached the start of the path up Coniston Old Man, I followed this old mine track through Dixon Ground, passed the single arch of Miners Bridge and on into a wilderness dominated by rivers of quarry spoil. I'm ascending what is known as the tourist path, probably busier now then when it was first laid a couple of hundred years ago. Fortunately it's early, I'm the only tourist heading up the mountain, and if I wasn't it wouldn't make any difference I can't see a bloody thing for low cloud. After passing Low Water I reached the zig zags, the start of a leg burning ascent to the summit. Adorning the summit the obligatory trig point and a fine cairn, the views on a clear day are quite breathtaking, when I get my breath back Ill be heading to Goat 's Hawse, the start of my assault on Dow Crag.

Dow Crag, teeth of rock gnawing at the sky, today the sky was biting back, with fingers crossed I ascended to start what is normally a superb ridge walk with views to equal the mountains splendour. I passed beneath the fells rocky crown, no peak bagging today, on over Buck Pike and Brown Pike, the remains of a dry stone wall to guide me, as if the edge of the crags and precipitous drops weren't guide enough. Descending from Brown Pike I joined the Walna Scar Road, turning towards Coniston I let this once major highway guide me back to the bar of the Sun Hotel.

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The Sun Hotel has stood on this site for over 400 years, providing food and drink for weary travellers on the once main route to the west coast, it marks the start of my ascent of Coniston Old Man.

Below Miners Bridge above the ravine cut by Church Beck looking back down my ascent route.

Above Miners Bridge.

The Furness Fells loom above a cloud filled Coppermines Valley, seen from near Crowberry Haws.

Seen over Crowberry Haws, The Bell.

Above the cloud base, Sweeten Crag and the higher Kitty Crag.

A wonderful early morning view to Monk Coniston Moor.

Ascending with the spirits of the copper and slate miners, looking down into the Coppermines Valley.

Skeletons of a bygone age, the men of rock have long gone but the relics they abandoned remain.

Higher up the path I'm gifted with an atmospheric view over a cloud covered Lake District.

Low Water makes a perfect rest stop before the final push to the summit.

Low Water in the shadow of Brim Fell, with Wetherlam just visible through a window in the cloud.

Cloud bubbles up from the Coniston valley.

The summit Coniston Old Man.

Dow Crag through the mist.

Goat's Water as seen from Goat's Hawse, if you wish you can descend from here, I opted to climb a little higher.

Just south of the summit of Dow Crag looking to the steep slopes of Coniston Old Man.

Viewing Buck Pike as the next blanket of cloud drifts across the ridge line.

The summit cairn Buck Pike.

Nestled in a hollow on the western slopes of Brown Pike, Blind Tarn.

Across Walna Scar, White Maiden, White Pike and Caw as viewed from the descent of Brown Pike.

From the Walna Scar Road views to Goat's Hawse.

Buck Pike with the notched ridge of Dow Crag against a brightening sky.

Almost back to my starting point, looking over Yewdale with the Yewdale Fells rising on the left.

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