Posts tagged 'Coniston Fells'

Coniston Fells Wildcamping (again) – Part 2 – Roasting on the Ridges

Posted by on July 20th 2009 in Great Escapes, Wildcamping

* After the pageload is complete, click on any of the pics in this post to see bigger versions in the Shutter Reloaded lightbox-style image viewer. *

You know that there's a great day ahead when the morning starts like this:

Moon over Brim Fell

The view down towards Coniston Water was no less impressive:

Cloud over Coniston Water

After a leisurely breakfast and the necessary ablutions I struck camp and wandered the hundred yards or so back up onto the path below the Black Sails ridge. While I was tightening my bootlaces a fellow wildcamper, Steve, caught up. He'd spent the night down at Levers Water and he too was heading for Swirl How, so we walked together for a while:

Looking back towards Levers Water

Steve's good with a camera, so good that he managed to get a rare snap of this strange critter:


The pull up to Swirl Hawse was a sweaty affair, with the sun strengthening and not a hint of a breeze, despite the warnings from MWIS. The view from the Hawse was simply stunning, the following pic doesn't do it any justice at all:

Great Carrs and Wet Side Edge from Swirl Hawse

We took our time going up the Prison Band, stopping often to draw breath and take pics:

Steve on the Prison Band

Looking back down the Prison Band towards Wetherlam

Having a breather

Before long we were at the summit of Swirl How. I'd expected there to have been more folk about up there, but we had the place and the views to ourselves:

Coniston Old Man, Brim Fell and Dow Crag from Swirl How

Steve's next objective was Brim Fell, so after a snack we exchanged contact details and went our separate ways. I took the track around towards Great Carrs, a top that I'd been to many years ago but in zero visibility and without a camera. I paused at the shallow col at the top of Broad Slack to nab some pics:

Great Carrs from the top of Broad Slack

Grey Friar from the top of Broad Slack

A few yards further on is a memorial to the crew of Halifax Bomber LL505 - "S" for Sugar. I'll let the pics do the talking:

From there it was a quick walk to the delightful top of Great Carrs...

The top of Great Carrs

from where there were great views down Greenburn towards Little Langdale...

Greenburn and Little Langdale

and back over Broad Slack to Swirl How:

Broad Slack and Swirl How

After a few minutes admiring the scenery and pottering about looking at the rocks, I set off again, down the easy grass slope to the west. I dumped the pack at the Fairfield col and walked on up to Grey Friar for a fantastic 270-degree panorama from Coniston Old Man around to the other Fairfield (the one above Grisedale Tarn). I took a string of photos to stitch together to make a huge panoramic pic of the scene but it didn't come out well, so you'll have to make do with a few single shots:


Goat's Hawse flanked by Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag

Harter Fell across Dunnerdale

Looking towards the other Fairfield

Looking back across the summit plateau to the twin tops of Grey Friar, I noticed a small tarn - the first reachable water I'd seen since leaving Swirl Hawse. If I'd known about it beforehand, I'd probably have pushed on the day before and spent the first night there instead. Unnamed and unmapped, it's a spot for a future wildie, perhaps?

Grey Friar's tops and tarn

I wandered back down to reclaim my pack and sat back for a mid-morning snack and a brew, made some notes and planned the rest of the day.


To be continued.

Coniston Fells Wildcamping (again) – Part 1 – Up Sam Bottom

Posted by on July 16th 2009 in Great Escapes, Shiny new kit, Wildcamping

* After the pageload is complete, click on any of the pics in this post to see bigger versions in the Shutter Reloaded lightbox-style image viewer. *

After the previous effort to walk these fells (see here and here), I was determined to get the job done this time. The weather forecast was a poignant reminder of the conditions during the last outing, but I've walked through much worse.

The weather was fine and hot, with just a few clouds here and there to frame the view. The drive up the road from Coniston to the old quarry car-park had to be interrupted to take in this fine sight of some of the target fells:

Coniston Fells Panorama

Beside the Walna Scar Road

I parked up in exactly the same space as before in the car-park near Timley Knott on the Walna Scar Road and, after getting kitted-up, started off along the winding quarry-road towards Boulder Valley and Levers Water:

The quarry-road

After a while I passed through the gap between The Bell and Stubthwaite Crag and onto the section where the path passes along a ledge beneath Crowberry Haws. From there, the views across the Coppermines Valley were impressive:

Looking towards Wetherlam

The Coppermines Valley and YHA

There was also a fine selection of flora and fauna next to the path:

Purple #1

Purple #2

The next stop was in Boulder Valley, to have a look at the famous "Pudding Stone" (the one on the left). OK, so it's a big boulder, but I wouldn't say it was anything special:

The Pudding Stone

Next it was up to the gap between Brim Fell End and Simon's Nick for the first sight of Levers Water:

Levers Water, with Swirl Hawse on the skyline

and a glimpse down into the darkness of the Nick:

The Nick

After the short stroll around to the weir to cross the outflow, it was time to take on some water and to grab a few more pics:

Levers Water again

Swirl How beyond Levers Water

From there it was a quick walk to the top end of the Water, where, after a brief look back towards Raven Tor...

Raven Tor above Levers Water

I took the path that leads up towards the col of Swirl Hawse. The grimness of the shaded scene above was amply compensated by the views of ground already traversed:

Another look back

After some heavy breathing, a stiff pull and a sweaty half-hour I was in position to pitch my erection in Sam Bottom, where I stayed until sunrise:

😯 😯 😯

The tarn with no name

A smaller tarn nearby

Pitched by the tarn

Another view of the pitch

And another

A final look back towards Coniston

Blue sky above Swirl Hawse

To be continued.

Coniston Fells Wildcamping puzzler

Posted by on July 12th 2009 in Great Escapes, Just for fun, Pics, Wildcamping

This weekend's wildie was excellent - a right mixed bag of variable terrain and changing weather. It'll be a few days before the write-up is ready for posting, so, to tide you over, here are a few shots of the two places where I pitched. As usual, there are no prizes for correctly identifying the locations, but it should be an interesting test of how well you think you know the fells around Coniston.

Friday night at a tarn with no name:

looking East...

and looking West:

Saturday night in the woods:

looking South...

and another from the water's edge:

Any takers?

Here we go again

Posted by on July 10th 2009 in Weather, Wildcamping

A tarn with no name

Posted by on July 9th 2009 in Wildcamping

That's where I'll be on Friday night, trying out the Argos Pro Action Hike Lite 1 Person Tent somewhere around the Coniston Fells, and following John Hee's "overnighting off the beaten track" ethos. Suffice to say that said tarn is in a place with a name that's bound to attract blog-hits from all sorts of dodgy characters 😯 .

As to where I'll be pitching on Saturday night, your guess is as good as mine. I'll just make it up as I go along, I reckon. There'll be no great mileage involved, as I'm not fully match-fit after the bad-back layup, but I'd much rather be knackered than stir-crazy.

So behave while I'm away, and don't forget to feed the cat...
















to the dog.


Pragmatism and Purism lose out to Painkillers and Purlins

Posted by on May 28th 2009 in Astrostuff, Illness and injury, Making stuff, Projects

The Coniston Fells rematch has had to be postponed due to my lack of confidence that my back will stay the course. It's a great disappointment on several levels, not least because I was hoping to take Ella with me for her first wildie. MWIS predicts that the weather's going to be really good over the weekend, so it would have been a great opportunity to introduce her to a couple of days and nights without most of the techno-trappings of life as she knows it.

Never mind, there'll be plenty of other chances.

It looks like I'll be taking it easy and finishing the observatory roof and the bathroom refurb instead.

There's no peace for the wicked, eh?

Pragmatism versus Purism

Posted by on May 18th 2009 in Wildcamping

After my failure to subdue the Coniston Fells last month, a rematch has been approved. Sometime during the next few weeks I'll be having another go, subject to the back being given the green light. This time I'll take a roll of gaffer-tape and some nails to hold things together - there's no way I'm going to be forced off the mountains by injury twice in one season, after having kept a clean-sheet ever since I started 35 years ago.

It's a moot point as to whether or not to include Dow Crag again - I'm tempted to be pragmatic and give it a miss, heading for the heart of the group of fells via Levers Water. That should give more options for extending the route on Sunday, which means that the shops of Ambleside won't be so much of a temptation (although the pubs of Coniston may fill that rôle). Then again, I suppose a purist would start again at the place where the previous attempt went awry, which would mean a trudge back up The Cove to Goat's Hause. Hmm... maybe I should just let the weather dictate the terms.

Whatever happens, I'll be taking it easy. These things shouldn't be rushed. I can't see the point of fighting the M6, gravity and the clock 😉

Plans on ice

Posted by on October 31st 2008 in Great Escapes, Just for fun

Events have conspired to force the cancellation of this weekend's intended wildcamping trip. Mike Bell was going to accompany me on a leisurely round of the Coniston Fells (from Dow Crag round to a pub in Coniston via Holme Fell) but he's got a bad back and needs to rest up. I was going to do the route with or without him, but there are things I need to get done here this weekend, things that I should have got done during the week but never did. It's a shame, because the weather up there's going to be excellent, according to the forecasts. Never mind, the route (and hopefully the snow) will still be there next month.

I'll leave you with something for Halloween, courtesy of Colonel Blimp:


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