Old Man of Coniston and Swirl How

Staying in Coniston means that the Old Man is an ever present sight every day. Both myself and my boys had climbed The Old Man of Coniston before back in 2014. I wanted to keep my run of Wainwrights ticking along and wasn’t keen on going up fells that I’ve done before. However the Old Man deserves many visits and my brother persuaded me into it, I decided I would make a choice on reaching Brim Fell as to whether I carried on with the rest who were heading down to Goat’s Water. I had a plan to carry on to Swirl How and Great Carrs, now to see how things went. The weather was overcast with occasional breaks of sunshine, however the wind was what stood out, its was very windy on the summits, possibly up to 40mph in places, this meant finding shelter for lunch was tricky, but a rocky outcrop below Brim Fell was perfect. The other part was the temperature, the hot weather of the last 2 months had gone from the north west of England, and this left it pretty chilly on the tops, even in the sun. Good job the rucksack was full of extra layers and food. Adding on Great Carrs and Swirl How to this walk takes me to 135 wainwrights, unfortunately it leaves me with two awkward fells in Wetherlam and Grey Friar to sort out, but so be it.

Start – Walna Scar car park
Route – Coppermines – Low Water – Old Man of Coniston – Brim Fell – Little How Crags – Great How Crags – Great Carrs – Swirl How – Prison Band – Levers Water – Coppermines Valley – Walna Scar road
Distance – 7.5 miles    Start time – 9.30am     Time taken –  7hrs  Highest Point – Coniston Old Man 803metres
Weather – Cloudy but dry, some sunshine in places, very windy on the summits

© Crown copyright 2018 Ordnance Survey FL 2018 SF

Coniston Old Man stands high behind the walking party. My sisters husband Neil on the left and my brother centre with his wife Helen. My boys with the hats on and my brothers without.

Swirl How is back left and Wetherlam is on the right. Coppermines Valley laid out in front

In the mining section on the way up to Low Water, we take a break and have a look at the industry

All mines in the foreground. Coniston Water in the sunshine in the distance

Low Water as we join the steep path up to the Old Man

Still smiling as we close in on the summit

Fantastic view of Low Water and the path up. Wetherlam in the distance and a small part of Levers Water, we will be there later

At the summit, fantastic effort from all involved

In the 2014 walk I have this exact same photo of my two boys, weather was the same that day as well!

The onward route to Brim Fell and beyond. The Scafells in the distance are all under cloud

The magnificent crags of Dow Crag, great scrambling routes up those gullies. Harter Fell is behind to the right

Looking across Grey Friar to the Scafells which are just clearing the clouds. Bowfell is on the right

Brim Fell summit with the Old Man behind. Now to find some shelter from the wind which was hurtling in from the right on the shot

After refuelling we head down to the dip with Great How Crags ahead and Swirl How beyond

We contoured around past Swirl How to head for Great Carrs first. Brim Fell is left with Dow Crag centre and Seathwaite Tarn on the right

The Great Carrs memorial of the Canadian Halifax bomber crash site from 1944. The boys read the names of the soldiers who perished

The Scafell range beyond the memorial

Its just a short walk up to Great Carrs summit with Swirl How in the distance

Greenburn valley with Wetherlam on the right. Little Langdale Tarn in the middle distance

Very windy up here, looking back to Great Carrs

Hiding on a very windy Swirl How summit

Prison Band and the up to Wetherlam. I was looking forward to this descent as its another of those classic routes in the district

At the bottom of the Prison Band there is this enormous cairn, the Prison band was a great route down, bit of scrambling which kept it interesting

Prison Band, not the easiest thing to get a photo of, unless I was to climb Wetherlam

Bouldering at Levers Water

Levers Water was very low indeed, perhaps a metre or so down on average

Heading out of the Coppermines Valley having walked down here from Levers Water. We now cross at Miners Bridge before looping around the front of The Bell and back to the car park at Walna Scar

Around the front of The Bell now and the village of Coniston comes into view and we near the car


7 thoughts on “Old Man of Coniston and Swirl How

  1. On of my favourites that. There are lots of different routes to enjoy on the Coniston Fells – so well worth your revisit. Looks like you made a good decision to brave the winds.

    Liked by 1 person

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