Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag 12th November

Got up at the crack of dawn and whizzed off to Chris’ house. We set off smartly and stopped at Lancaster services for so C could buy out M&S and get coffee. I’d had a coffee at her house and it was very strong so I held off any more caffeine.
We took the top route to Coniston, via Windermere and Ambleside. The road to the Old Man is very steep but there is plenty of free parking once you get to the vehicle end of the Walna Scar Road.
There was a group of young lads carrying a very large log. More later.
It was 11.15 and not raining by the time we set off but the tops were in mist. We went along Walna Scar Road for a short distance. A girl appeared for a chat just as we were about to commence the climb. She seemed quite nice but clearly was going to be going much faster than us so we emphasised this as I don’t think either Chris or I wanted her to tag along.
A slow, steady climb past some old quarries, but the spoil heap higher than us so we couldn’t see inside it. Then we were in the cloud and stayed in it with some brief bursts of light and even some sun at times until we reached the top. The path we were on took us directly to the Old Man but on the map we should have reached a path across and then turned left so this was a path on the ground and not on the map.
It was still very misty on top of the Old Man so we sat to eat our lunches. Chris on falafel and hummous wrap and me on hummous and tomato pittas. We’d been very warm climbing up but now it was cold in the wind and we were glad of our layers and hats and gloves.
The boys with log appeared out of the mist. They all had Eddie Stobart shirts on and were doing “team building”. I am now considering instituting log bearing up steep hills for my team at work! We thought they were probably being rehabilitated. Then some mountain bikes came past and then another team of log bearers, so after a very quiet walk up only seeing 3 people, it was suddenly very busy.
I took a bearing and we headed off for Goat’s Hause. This is the col between the Old Man and Dow Crag. Just when we needed it the clouds parted and we got a view down to the col. Then up a bit more ascent with good views to Goat’s Tarn and onto Dow Crag, this has great gullies which were all in mist. On the ridge and along to Buck Pike and Brown Pike. It stayed misty but we had occasional openings to see a wider vista.
Down from Brown Pike and onto the Walna Scar Road where we turned left and headed back down and along and back to the car at 4.15 where we finished off our supplies and then drove home, stopping again at M&S for various future meal supplies.

Starting to rise
Log men
Chris at the top of the Old Man
Across to Goat’s Hause
Looking back to ridge between Old Man and Brim Fell
Very steep gully on Dow Crag
Chris disappearing into mist
Bridge on Walna Scar Road
Across towards west
To the west
Jak

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Author: Jak

Mountain Leader.

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