Climbing 'The Old Man of Coniston'

in #travelfeedlast year (edited)

After conquering the Yorkshire Three Peaks I was a little crestfallen. It does get addictive climbing these fells but the closest ones to me are within the Lake District which is around 60 miles one way.


I wanted more, and bigger ones than last time. Driving all this way is not my idea of fun but this is the only way I was going to satisfy the desire to do more.

There are some huge ones in the Lakes including the highest peak in England, Scafell Pike which @bingbabe climbed just a few weeks ago.

I'm not ready for that yet and so looked at something a little less demanding. It was 11 am, a little late for setting out on a 77-mile journey and the weather was scorching.

I picked out ‘The Old Man of Coniston’ as a mostly random choice. One thing I do is check to see if anyone has fallen and died. There is one count of a bloke slipping, falling 100 metres but he lived.

That was good enough for me. I want to climb and not die… not just yet.

The Old Man was the highest point in the historic county of Lancashire (it is now in Cumbria). This assertion rests upon its being higher than its near northern neighbour, Swirl How. There appears to be some uncertainty in the current literature over whether the height of Swirl How is 802 or 804 m after resurveying. If modern measurement has not added 2 m to its rival, the Old Man of Coniston is the highest point in the Furness Fells, and the twelfth most prominent mountain in England.

At 2634 (803m) feet, it is 300 feet higher than Whernside which was my previous climb and seemingly quite famous. There appeared to be several routes up and we decided to head to Walna Scar for ours as it’s free parking and avoids the busy town of Coniston.


Parking was a little problematic as we were late arriving. You should do these hikes early and not start at 2 pm in the afternoon.




What struck me was the view right from the offset. Lush green ferns were everywhere and it looked more like a scene from South East Asia than North West England.


The path climbed steadily and many people passed us, most descending.




Once again I used the excellent View Ranger application with a predefined route to the peak. What I didn't count on was the sheer length of it. The weather was hot and although we did have some liquid it was not as much as we ought to have.





Reaching the lake afforded us a little breather. There were very little signs of life and it was deathly quiet with little or no breeze.



The walking got a little craggy after this and squidgy underfoot. We met an older bloke descending and I asked him how far to the top.

A long way and there’s some scrambling ahead’, he replied.



I’m no stranger to scrambling but it does scare me. This curse of vertigo hardly compliments my will to climb.


Another mile or so brought us to the start of proper climbing. This was more than Pen-y-ghent threw at us for sure!


We met a couple coming down and with a black Labrador, off the lead and calmly taking these huge steps as though it was no sweat. Our retriever would be howling and terrified, I’m quite sure of that.

I surprised myself by not shaking, refusing to look down (very often) and managed the steep climbing part quite well. No wind helps a lot, and it would have been a different outcome that would have prevailed if so.


She’s grinning but has no issues with heights. Look at the drop behind her.



The scramble part didn’t last too long and I felt some satisfaction that I managed it without shaking like jelly.



It was not over and the climbing went on and on. Did we choose the longest possibly trek to the top? I think so.

The views were incredible and lady luck was with us regarding the weather.



This is the top but not the peak. It was like a Martian landscape up here. More walking was next but now it was more or less level.




There were some peaks and troughs but the hard part was over.




After what seemed forever we reached the peak and marker stone. @bingbabe wanted to climb up it but this was giving me incredible 3rd party vertigo and so I begged her to stop. There was a 500 feet sheer drop just on the other side of it.




Descending via a more direct route was slippery. This was shale and extremely steep. There were few concessions and one bad move would have resulted in you rolling down this very steep incline.


I’m guessing this is where the accident took place.



Passing by yet another tranquil lake we entered the copper mine area. Many things have just been abandoned and so I just had to go and have a nosey around.



This tunnel bent around to the right but as I had no torch I would need to bend double and so passed exploring it.






There was plenty of evidence that industry once was active on this mountain. The sign says do not disturb and so I was careful with my exploration of the area.


Descending was a relief. We were almost out of water and juice and when the lushness started again I knew we were getting to the bottom again.


My feet were killing me, and my legs aching like hell. This one had been a real challenge and going downhill takes more out of you than you realise.



For the next 5 days, I was suffering from huge DOMS on my calves. Hopefully, the next one will be better and my legs more prepared.

All Photography is my Own



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I had to laugh a bit as a mountain climbing expedition turned briefly into an urban exploration... it's like you can't help yourself!

Anyway, it does look like a nice climb... although, I prefer the ones with forests around them... less heat and more shade, makes for a nicer cooler walk!

Yes, it threatened to turn into one of these.. and yes.. its in the blood now!

My wife and I need to start remember to take more water with us when we got hiking. Even when we think we have enough, it is never enough. Nice shots! This looks like a beautiful place to visit.

WOw what a trek and climb, the views are spectacular, I dont have a fear of heights but I dont think I would have considered climbing that marker with a big drop behind it


I temember climbing the Old Man years ago. We met droves of people coming down, including a woman in high heels! Spectacular walk, glad you were able to enjoy it without too much trouble from your vertigo. I hadn't seen the ironworks before. Keep thinking about the 80 mile drive home!

Ah cool, you have been up there too? Did it bring back any memories?

Yeah, we were on a walking holiday at Barrow between Christmas and New Year. This was probably the longest walk we did, although I don't remember it being very hard (but I was much younger then and went walking every weekend). I miss the small lakes and great open spaces.

Ah cool, you have been
Up there too? Did it bring back
Any memories?

                 - slobberchops

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

Thats a brilliant post mate!! Really enjoyed the read and the pictures. Makes me want to get back to the UK and do it for myself. Its amazing how much stuff I have still left to do there!
This could have had a Sportstalk tag, try and and post some stuff there please because my upvote there is worth 3 or 4 steem and it I'd love to return some favours!
Take care fella and best wishes to the pair of you :-)

Thanks! I didn't really figure it to be sports so didn't use it for that. Some of these tribes have remove accounts and I don't want to feel I'm abusing them.

Your from the UK I guess with that name. Been past Eland Road many times and they were my boyhood team.

It's @nathen007 ya knob 'ead ...thats why I signed the comment at the bottom lol
I wasn't bright enough to think of creating @nathen007.sports as many people have done so I went for a Leeds blog lol
As for the tag abusing, it would be fine but you're right about the tribes having strong cleaning mods which is great as its really keeping them clean and on point. As I said, I was trying to get nice people to put some posts in over there. I have 100K staked and its currently worth a 3200 token upvote which is about 7 Steem at the moment so I thought it would be great to give some big upvotes for people and get more people involved :-)

Take care fella and best wishes to the pair of you :-)

Ah.. I see.. I thought it was best wishes to me and nathen007... there's always two ways to read things.

I am writing about Golf '80.. but have yet to do the second part. It's probably too late to vote the first one now, I think its paid out. I figured you were from Wakefield for some reason.

Are you coming to SF4? I might have asked you before.. but im getting old... ya know..

Love all these tribes, aren't they great? Also trying to get a stake in most of them so I can give and gain.

AHH ok. SF4 not sure yet, we might be back in UK cos Mums waiting for an op and I'm not sure it's my cup of tea though obviously there a few people love to say hello to. I might sort a little fringe soiree if I'm there and I will drop my number for people if they have any issues or questions about Thailand.

The tribes are great and suddenly we have more thoughtful and cleaner spam free communities . On Sportstalk we had tag spammers and people self voting one word comments so the early members with big stakes got it together and whacked them. No one was banned yet but it's an option on the Scots. I started with 100 tokens at 0.02 but the price fell right down and I have 100k now staked and I've sold a few too but the values and amounts of the upvotes are falling as more tokens are issued. Still, at 100k after 4 weeks it rewards 3500 tokens on a full upvote. 2 weeks ago it was almost 10k per vote. It will be nice when it settles down a bit more. There are reward to be made though for good content.

The problem is account management and knowing what to support! I set up a Leeds blog and powered up hard but then @abh12345 had the brilliant idea of adding .sports and that seems to have taken off through all the tribes but keeping track is a nightmare! As is keeping a track of all the many many tokens I have staked and liquid on Steem Engine !

It's certainly added a whole new dimension and level of interest. Its really fun at the moment. Variety is the spice of life as they say !

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Espectacular hike. It is not it 804m high or 2634m?

Posted using Partiko iOS

Fixed, thanks for pointing this out..!.. it's 803m according to wiki.

Awesome adventure you had there, looks like you enjoyed!

I stated it basically in every hiking post... :) I HATE COMBING BACK down... my knees just can't stand descending and it very painful - but climbing is always beautiful!

Sometimes in February I had my first vertical climb without any safety ropes... we followed the old marked path which ended up in front of an easy vertical climb of few meters but... it was my first time to actually do climbing without safety ropes and stuff - and several minutes after that... we saw a pack of goats eating leaves on top of the even scarier vertical climb... Sometimes I really don't understand these animals. :) I lost myself in there.

Anyways! Awesome post, and very nice images. :)

Thanks @svemirac, going down hurts.., the feet and and calves for me, the knees for you it seems. My legs turn to jelly after a while too. Proper climbing I'll leave to you thanks, the heights scare the shit out of me.. yet I still do it.

That was quite the proper adventure! Well done!

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Looks great! I need to get out and about around Brecon which is nearby before the weather turns!

I think next time maybe set off a bit earlier and take a bit more fluid, they're both quite basic things, but then again you know that already of course!

Good effort if you suffer from vertigo, or what I prefer to think of as a perfectly rational fear of dying from falling off a high place.

Brecon Beacons in Wales? I didn't know you were close to there or is that somewhere else. Lack of wind made all the difference this time, there was barely any until we reached the top.

Hereford is about a 20 min drive from Abergeveny, just on the Eastern boarder. It's a great location here!

Posted using Partiko Android

There's some big ones there, I had a look.

mmm.... that ascend going up didn't look very pleasant and the descend wasn't any better either. Other than that, it looked like a gorgeous walk.

By the way, is this correct, should it be feet? It seems very tall for UK

At 2634 metres,

Yes caught that now, there's nothing over 1000m in England.. Scafell Pike is just short of this.

When I tell the Taiwanese here that our tallest mountain in UK is around 1300m, they all give me a friendly sneer 😅

Taiwan has around 300 mountains over 3000m !!

The photos are amazing as well as the peak. I went myself last year but I am gelous a bit on your sunny day. In my case was raining frogs 😂

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In my case was raining frogs

Yes, I make a point of checking the weather. If there's more than a 2% chance of rain, we don't go. That 2% means it WILL rain, this is England.. and you can never trust the weather.

I remember doing the old man hike back at uni and it was as awesome as your pictures reminded me. You must do Scafell Pike but give yourself the whole day for it. I went up and down in 4 hours but it was part of the UK 3 Peaks Challenge (wrote about it somewhere haha)!

Anyway, rest up and keep on hiking (came over from the @steemitworldmap daily digest)

The Pike has a dodgy part called Broad Stand where some have died. I know my limitations so am not so sure about it. Helvelyn possibly, but not that Striding Edge... scares the shit out of me!

Hmmm yea when we went up that bit it was quite challenging from the North West side but if you do it from Wasdale with good visibility and clear conditions, you will have no problem!

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