Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023

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.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The early stages of the climb with Natasha and Rob. Lake Coniston is in the background.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The weather was poor at the start but the sun is breaking through.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Dramatic views start to appear as you ascend 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.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Tram tracks at the mine provide leading lines to the view.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Remains of old industrial equipment.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
More industrial remnants.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Pulleys used to put the trams
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
A welcome rest for Jim, Sian and Rob.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Slates with a view

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.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Jim poses at Low water tarn.

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.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
We reached the summit. Congratulations.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Return to the mines on the way down.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
One of the climbers we met on the route down.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Mines and slates.

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.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The Sun above Coniston.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The cosy interior of the Sun.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
A ploughman’s lunch washed down with the local beer.

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.

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Brighton Beach fun

Brighton Beach fun

I was fortunate to visit Brighton as part of a conference. My hotel was on the seafront and in between…

Ben Lomond

Many years back we visited Loch Lomond and our group climbed Ben Lomond. Not all of us made it to the summit and only Natasha, my middle daughter, was successful. Twenty years on, we were back. This time, Siân and I wanted to make it to the top and Natasha was keen to do the double. The weather was warm and sunny when we arrived at the base car park in Rowardennan on the east side of the Loch. It is directly on the opposite side to where we were staying but took a good 45 minutes to get there by car.

Boots together
Boots together

We set off in high spirits. Straight away, Natasha found the going difficult and I was worried for her. After her initial worries subsided, she got into a routine and was determined to carry on. As soon as we had come out of the forest, the views of Loch Lomond were beautiful and the higher you got, the more spectacular they became. As the pictures show the day was ideal for viewing the scenery as we moved towards the top.

Plenty of photo calls.
The official start of the Ben Lomond climb
There is much excitement at the start but there is still some serious walking to be done

The path has both step sections and then long parts which have a lower incline allowing some respite during the climb. There are several false dawns as you think you are reaching the top only to realise there is another part of the Munro to climb. The cloud lingered around the top but when we finally saw the Trig Pillar, we knew we had achieved our goal.

Natasha climbing Ben Lomond
Natasha is picking up the pace
Climbing Loch Lomond
Siân on a mission with that magnificent backdrop
Climbing Loch Lomond
A commanding view of the Loch
Climbing Loch Lomond
Higher and higher we go
Climbing Loch Lomond
Is this the final push?
Climbing Loch Lomond
We have reached the summit but the Trig does look a bit weather beaten.
Climbing Loch Lomond
Rob and Tash making the final ascent

For Rob and Jim this was their first Munro that they had bagged.  For Siân and I, we had finally done what we had not achieved during our last visit.  For Natasha it was a personal achievement especially considering how she felt at the beginning of the trek.  We took our pictures, had our lunch, and then set off down the trail.  It was quicker going down, but it also involved and stretched different muscles.  On the way down we met some rangers who were repairing the path and we remarked how fit they must be on their walk to work half-way up Ben Lomond.  They quickly replied that it did not worry them, and they will sign us up tomorrow for the work!  After 5 hours, we were back at the car, weary but very pleased with ourselves.  For me, it had been a great opportunity to photograph the day and I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Climbing Loch Lomond
Let the celebrations begin
Climbing Loch Lomond
Siân, the photographer and Natasha
Climbing Loch Lomond
Siân and Jim
Climbing Loch Lomond
The view of our holiday house, Stuckdarach
Climbing Loch Lomond
Going Down
Climbing Loch Lomond
The path back down the mountain

For more details of how to get to and climb Ben Lomond, then there are several good sites including “walkhighlands”and “Visit Scotland”that give a range of resources.

I love Stratford-upon-Avon and have visited it many times over the years. There is so much to see including the beautiful walks around the River Avon, the Shakespeare properties and the pleasant shopping area of the town. I thought that I knew all about Stratford until this weekend, when my daughter and her family invited me for a walk around the Welcombe Hills.

Up to the Obelisk
Paths up the hill

I drove into Stratford from the A46 roundabout and then before the retail park turned left and made my way through a housing estate. I passed through some old gate markers and then up a road to a small car park. You do need local knowledge to find the place. You are then at a gateway to the start of a walk passing through spectacular scenery. Initially we walked along a field leading to a group of houses. One was of a mock castle design. We then passed into another field on our way to the obelisk. We passed the Welcombe hotel and climbed up to the obelisk. There were many runners out and about as well. From the top of the hill, there are commanding views of the Warwickshire countryside. The structure was erected in 1876 by Robert Needham Philips to honour his brother Mark Philips and further information and links to Shakespeare are documented on the web.

Map of the hills
Beautiful scenery and views

Following on from the obelisk, there is a walk over fields and there are many farm friends in them. We then passed through a wood where there were several tree houses probably made by scouts. We then made our way down over more fields admiring the views of Stratford upon Avon and picking out different structures. Eventually we came upon a fallen tree that my grandchildren love to call the broken tree and we stopped for a picnic. The tree had lots of different shapes and the bark provided a range of textures that proved a good vehicle to photograph.

We are watching you
Granddaughters hands on the tree bark
Broken trees

After that it was back to the car and a short journey to my daughter’s mother in law’s house for some well deserved bacon sandwiches and cake. If you are interested in following my footsteps then details of the Welcombe Hills is part of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

Time for Sunday Brunch

I like this assignment that I was given by a 52 weeks of photography group that I am a member of on Flickr. This was to tty out a new way of exploring a landscape. The idea is to create a composite of multiple pictures of a landscape that you’ve taken during a short walk through it. It was a simple job of taking many shots of the Watergate Bay beach landscape. I found lots of views that caught my eye. It was also great fun assembling this selection of pictures. 

I was in Kuala Lumpur for a conference. We were located in the south of the city centre and there whilst there was lots of entertainment in the evening there was not an opportunity to see the city. The last day gave me that chance and I headed into the city.

Traffic everywhere
Parts of the city were heavily built up
Monorail commuters
Motorbikes everywhere
Yellow Shutters

Unfortunately I had not been able to book a visit to the top of the Petronas Twin Towers. Instead I took pictures of the area outside the Towers. At night the area surrounding them teams with people. There is a light and water show with the Towers acting as an impressive background to the many people gathered there. On the last day whilst deciding what to visit, I read in my guide book a comparison between the Twin Tower experience and the Menara tower which is just as impressive. On balance it said the the Menara Tower experience had the edge, so I headed there. There are many photographic opportunities to be had as you wander around the city and in in spite of the bright sun, there was a mix of beautiful buildings and large open spaces to photograph. Access to the Menera tower was not difficult and after a 30 min wait we were up to the top with terrific views of the city including the Twin Towers. The highlight of the visit to the Menera Tower was a glass sky box which was off the edge of the top. A weird experience seeing the drop under you feet but also great fun.

Menara Tower
At the top
Skybox looks scary
Some people were well prepared.
A great view of the Petronas Twin Towers

Following the Tower we made our way back to the Central Market and strolled around the centre of the city. Moving about was relatively easy once I understood the monorail system which provided scenic views of the city.

Central Market
Stores Galore
Inside Central Market
Trophies, mugs, photo frames
Feet and Shoes
The City River
Some KL locals

Whilst there was lots to do during the long days of the conference, we were entertained royally by our hosts. On both evenings of the conference we had dazzling concerts.  The first was orchestrated by the dental students and the second had professional entertainers. On the second night the violinist, Joanne Yeoh, lit up the room with her virtuoso performance. Joanne is well known in Malaysia and has released several recordings. She looked very striking with her blue dress, short hair and modern violin. Her violin playing was incredible and captivating. Here are a few photographs of her performing on the evening.

Captivating music
Joanne Yeoh
Beautiful stage effects
Lights on

When I started off submitting photographs to social media outlets, Flickr was my first choice. My first post on Flickr was on the 1st October 2005 and since then I have posted many times. There is still much exctitement when your picture gets selected to feature in “Explore”. The number of views increases and your likes go through the roof. The Flickr algorithm is a closely guarded secret and there is much speculation on how it works. I was therefore pleasantly surprised that one of my recent black and white photographs got featured. The picture is of Knowle Park in the village where I live. The picture has had in excess of 10 thousand views and over 200 likes. It is more satisfying due to the fact that it is several months since my last explore. So in celebration I have featured my first explore picture, my most popular explore and also the highest ranking one (which got to #1).

My first ever Flickr picture taken in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2005)
My first Explore picture (2012) a macro of a saw blade
This picture was ranked #1 (October 2, 2014) and is of St Philip’s Cathedral

Here is the complete list of my explore photographs for you.

20190506_Knowle Park, 2. 20181118_Family Picture, 3. 20181103_Sun Yat-sen Memorial Nanjing, 4. 36-Close-up picture of a complete stranger, 5. 20180720_Mailbox at Night, 6. 17_Monochromatic Color, 7. 20180415-Noah 1st birthday party, 8. 201803128_St Paul’s Church,
11 Colour Wheel, 10. 20180224_On the Phone, 11. 20171212-Sunrise-Breakfast, 12. 20171122-Gas Street Blue, 13. 20171027-Chloe Arrives, 14. 41st Week – Its all in the Game, 15. 20171004-Moor to New St commute, 16. 20170908-Friday reflections,
20170804-End of the day, 18. 26th Week – Submerged., 19. 20170525_Manchester Town Hall, 20. 9th Week – Light Painting, 21. 7th Week – Love, 22. 2nd Week – New Year Resolution, 23. 29112916_Ignoring the sunrise, 24. Week forty six: Theme DIY,
20161110_Night on Campus, 26. Week Forty Three – Round Peg in a Square Hole, 27. Week 40 – Frame within a Frame, 28. 20160918_Green, 29. Week Thirty Five – hyperfocal, 30. 20160805_Bassenthwaite Lake, 31. 20160709_Rest and Play, 32. Week twenty three – Looney Leap,
20160528_Sun on the buildings, 34. Week Fourteen – Chiaroscuro, 35. 20160321_Ring of Sunshine, 36. 20160310_Spirit of Birmingham, 37. 20160302_Snow in Leeds, 38. 20160212_Sunny Canon Street, 39. 20160201_Demolition, 40. 20151230_Skeleton of a leaf_macro,
20151217_Tree and tram, 42. 20151203_Oxford Circus, 43. 20151124_Martineau Place is ready, 44. 20151024_DentalShowcase, 45. 20151008_Morning lights, 46. 20150929_Grand Central Zoom, 47. 20150917_Selfridges abstract reflections, 48. 20150828_Light and Shadows,
20150818_Sunset Peljesac peninsula Coatia, 50. 20150803_Commuting, 51. 20150724_The Bone Ranger, 52. 20150715_Entrance to Great Hall, 53. 20150703_A bike too far, 54. 20150502_Ducking in Baddersley Clinton, 55. 20150429_Sunset in Knowle, 56. 20150423_Red and Pink,
20150413_Blue Mosque Detail, 58. 20150310_Back Bay view, 59. 141004_365_Brueton Park, 60. 141002_365_Cathedral on Fire, 61. 141001_365_Grand Union tow path, 62. 140930_365_Misty Joe, 63. 140929_365_Reach for the sky, 64. 140928_365_Towpath,
2014wk39_Selective Colour, 66. 140927_365_”Is the car stuck?”, 67. 140926_365_Bee in the Garden, 68. 140925_365_Minories biking, 69. 140924_365_Graffiti SnowHill, 70. 140922_365_Iron Man meets the morning sun, 71. 140920_365_Red Pipes Red Bricks, 72. 140919_365_Joe and the trees
140917_365_Bench on Campus, 2. 140912_365_Mid morning, 3. 140911_365_BrumRise over Aston, 4. 140910_365_Dorridge Station, 5. 140908_365_Edgbaston Street, 6. 2014wk36_Smoke, 7. 140718_365_Outside looking in, 8. 140717_365_A long corridor,
140715_365_Degree Day, 10. 140715_365_Spire in the trees, 11. 140714_365_Sky over St Chad’s Cathedral, 12. 140713_365_Empress of Britain, 13. 140712_365_Back home, 14. 140710_365_Dublin reflection, 15. 140710_365_Dublin Another view, 16. 140710_365_Dublin evening,
140707_365_30Years, 18. 140702_365_One night in Dorridge, 19. 140701_365_Bench in the sunshine, 20. 2014wk19_Landscape, 21. 140507_365_Night in Birmngham, 22. 140427_365_Clearing, 23. 140424_365_Walking to Trinity, 24. 140419_365_Champegg Dog,
140223_365_Snowdrops, 26. 140222_365_The moon is caught, 27. 140221_365_St Paul’s and BT, 28. 1410218_365_Queensway Silhouettes, 29. 1410217_365_Going down the stairs, 30. 1410216_365_Cube loving people, 31. 1410215_365_Sunset, 32. 2014Wk07_Love,
131216_365_St Martins, 34. 131211_365_Church on High Street, 35. 131209_365_Start of a good day, 36. 131009_365_Autumn starts, 37. 131008_365_Tutorial Room, 38. 131006_365_Mountain Biking, 39. 131005_365_Morning Sun, 40. 1307030_365_Found a Friend,
130513_365_Walk to the light, 42. 130316_365_Farmers Market Seattle, 43. 130314_365_Road in shadows, 44. 130313_365_Railings, 45. 130104_365_Good Morning, 46. 130102_365_Waiting4food, 47. 130101_365_River Leam, 48. 238_365_SunStreet,