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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.