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Coniston Old Man

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Coniston Old Man
Author: Colpeakbagger, Published: 04 Nov 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Coniston Old Man - free walking guidestar1 Coniston Old Man - free walking guidestar1 Coniston Old Man - free walking guidestar1 Coniston Old Man - free walking guidestar1 Coniston Old Man - free walking guide
Cumbria, Southern Fells
Walk Type: Mountains
Coniston Old Man
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot Coniston Old Man - free walking guide boot Coniston Old Man - free walking guide boot Coniston Old Man - free walking guide boot Coniston Old Man - free walking guide
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Coniston Old Man is probably one of the most climbed mountains in the Lake District and this walk follows the popular tourist route to the top. However, the way down is a bit more secluded passing one of the most spectacular cliffs in the area and a superb hidden valley.

The walk starts from the village of Coniston. Just to the south of the main village centre there is a BP petrol station and just another 100 yards south of that is a crossroads. Turn into Station Road which goes gently uphill. Just after a fairly sharp left hand bend there is a car park on on your left.

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Walk Sections

Start to Walna Scar Road
Start to Walna Scar Road

Start point: 54.3688 lat, -3.0799 long
End point: 54.3641 lat, -3.0956 long

There is no easy start to this walk, you set off steeply uphill on the tarmac covered road (possibly the steepest bit of tarmac I have ever come across anywhere). The first bit is through woods but soon you come out into more open country with a good view of your intended target ahead of you. The road gets a little less steep as you reach a gate across the lane. There is some limited parking just here so if you wanted to make the walk a little shorter then you could start here.

Walna Scar Road to Quarry Path
Walna Scar Road to Quarry Path

Start point: 54.3641 lat, -3.0956 long
End point: 54.3732 lat, -3.1022 long

At the car park turn right and head gently uphill around the front of the mountain. You are heading towards a prominent rocky outcrop called The Bell. You pass to the left of this and just afterwards you come to a crossroads of footpaths.

Quarry Path to Low Water Tarn
Quarry Path to Low Water Tarn

Start point: 54.3732 lat, -3.1022 long
End point: 54.3741 lat, -3.1162 long

Things get steeper again now as you head up through the old quarries and copper workings. Its a sobering thought to think about people heading all this way up everyday before a days heavy manual work! There are a number of ruins either side of the path for you to have a careful explore of and soon enough you come to Low Water tarn.

Low Water Tarn to The Summit
Low Water Tarn to The Summit

Start point: 54.3741 lat, -3.1162 long
End point: 54.3708 lat, -3.1224 long

If its a hot day then Low Water Tarn is a perfect place to sit for a while and dip your toes in the ice cold water. The path now zig zags sharply up to the ridge above the tarn which the path then follows all the way to the summit. (Please note the heart shape of the tarn when seen from the ridge - something to bear in mind if you plan to be romantic).

The Summit to Goat's Hause
The Summit to Goat's Hause

Start point: 54.3708 lat, -3.1224 long
End point: 54.3745 lat, -3.1315 long

Coniston Old Man used to be the highest point in Lancashire until 1974 when the county boundaries were changed and Cumbria created. From the top the view stretches right out over Morecambe Bay and down to Blackpool in the south and a vast swathe of the Lake District including Scafell Pike to the north. The top is marked by a raised platform and a massive cairn.
We are now heading off almost due north for about 1/2 a mile where we come to another cairn and we are now on top of Brim Fell. From here now head south west and down hill to start decending the other side of The Old Man. Soon you come to a pronounced col between Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag, above the wonderful tarn of Goat's Water.

Goat's Hause to Finish
Goat's Hause to Finish

Start point: 54.3745 lat, -3.1315 long
End point: 54.3689 lat, -3.0798 long

Its quite a sharp decent from the hause to the tarn but then there is a bit of respite for your knees as you walk along the level beside the water. However, once you get to the end of the lake its steeply down again to begin with as you enter the valley known as The Cove. The path goes in a vaguely south easterly direction until it meets a rocky track that heads east/west. Turn left to follow this road and it will bring you back to the car parking area by the gate you were at earlier. Go back down the tarmac covered road you came up before and you are soon back at your car.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author Colpeakbagger and may not be reproduced without permission.


3 responses to "Coniston Old Man"

fantastic walk! Bit of a scramble over the rocks towards the top and quite a steep descent but the scenery is outstanding. Well worth the climb!

By sarah001 on 2015-05-14 11:38:29

Great walk. The "South West" off Brim Fell had us searching for a track for a while but knew where we were headed. The descent was tough over the rocks and would choose an alternative if we climb the Old Man again. Well worth the effort & the tea & cake afterwards in Coniston felt well earned!!

By philnorman49 on 2015-06-15 18:34:22

Great walk with excellent views on a good day. Could be slippy on rocks if wet and would recommend poles for older walkers for the downhill sections.

By Woodbeam1 on 2016-04-15 23:26:41

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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