We always plan for countryside walks or mountain climbs for our family holidays. Whilst in Scotland, we climbed Ben Lomond and when in Hereford we travelled to the Welsh border to climb the Cats Back. In the Lakes there are many fells to choose. Initially we thought of Scarfell Pike, but then chose the Old Man of Coniston due to its close proximity to our holiday home (Lowfield House, Little Langdale). This lakeland fell is an old favourite of mine and there are well marked climbing paths to the top. I have done the easier route twice that passes by Goat’s water. We decided to take the direct route that leaves Walna Scar car park taking walkers through Coppermines valley and past Low Water to the north of the mountain.
We set off in driving rain and were getting seriously wet when luckily the weather broke as we reached the Copper Mines. The industrial remnants of the slate quarries and copper mines are now a conversation area. The place is fascinating and lends itself to several photographic opportunities. There are large copper cables to climb over or duck under. The slate miners must have been very hardy workers. I found an article on what life must have been like living and working around Coniston. Whilst on a good day the views are impressive, I would not want to be here during inclement weather. The mines provided a great backdrop for photographs with the mountains in the background.
Our next stop was the picturesque tarn of Low Water where we saw the cloud line that we would be entering as we continued the climb. The final push to the top was gruelling with the rocks wet and slippery. The path became indistinct in places.
Despite the misty conditions, we reached the top and had a selfie picture by the slate tarn. I brought all my big camera equipment except for the remote release button. The wind was strong and kept knocking the camera and travel tripod over. Luckily a fellow walker was at hand to steady the camera and push the button. Visibility was poor and we decided the best course of action was to go down the way we came up. We quickly came out of the cloud and the views over Lake Coniston appeared before us.
We did the Old Man in 3 hours 15 minutes which we considered a good time for our climb. We drove down into Coniston. The place to rest and catch up with food and drink is the well known Sun pub. The Sun “above” Coniston, as it is also known, is both warm and welcoming with excellent food and beer. The inside bar area has lots of character including a fireplace were we were able to dry out in front of the fire. Then we settled down to talk about the climb, look at the pictures and enjoy a hearty meal. A visit to the Lakes is not complete without climbing one of the fells and reminiscing on your adventures in the pub.
Many thanks for the company of my fellow family climbers Natasha, Sian, Rob and Jim.
Links to the complete series of my blogs around our visit to Little Langdale in the Lake District in August 2023.
- Feel the force at Colwith Force, Little Langdale
- Up and down the Old Man of Coniston
- Slater’s Bridge and Cathedral Cave – a circular walk
- Taking the boat on Lake Windermere – Lakehead to Bowness
- The views and memories of Lowfield House, Little Langdale