Monday, 21 May 2012

A Coniston round with new friends

An unplanned walk today (to a certain degree) which was a welcome surprise. I set off not sure of where I'd end up, not knowing whether to look for a high level walk or something lower. My choices were restricted when it appeared all the diesel in Barrow had sold out and I only had 50 miles left in the tank. The reports were that there were no problems on the roads apart from Kirkstone Pass, but experience told me they smaller roads would be treacherous, so I aimed for Torver and a mooch around the Coniston Fells.
I bumped into a lad I knew through cricket at the car park, and he kindly invited me to tag along with himself and his friend Brian. It turned out to be a great walk in excellent company

We set off from Torver aiming towards the Walna Scar path. I only ever set off from here when there is ice and snow around as it's easier to access being right on the main road. Brian and Gary seting off with the Old Man just visible through the trees at the top of the path.

The path leads you gently through the lower fields of Little Arrow Moor and through some old slate workings as you climb towards the Walna Scar path. This is an old quarry which has over the years developed into a pond. The waterfall at the head of the quarry had almost totally frozen over creating some wonderful shapes. Hopefully in the image you can see the seams in the rock that have been exposed through years of mining.

Onwards and upwards as we reach the Walna Scar path. Gary and Brian had said they were heading towards Dow Crag and then round onto the Old Man, sounded like a good plan to me. Heading towards the ridge with Dow Crag looming in the distance. Despite the sun it was still a cold wind.

A quick look back at our final destination of the day, a very snowy looking Coniston Old Man

The path finaly reaches a cross roads at the top of the pass. Our route today was up the zig zag path here heading for Brown Pike, Buck Pike and finally Dow Crag. This has got to be one of the coldest places in Lakeland as it is always windy and it always seems to be a cold one!! Today was no different...

Looking back down from the climb, to the right is one of Cumbria's best kept secrets - The Dunnerdale valley. A beautifully secluded spot and well worth a visit if your ever up here. The peaks as the move away from us are: Walna Scar, White Maiden, Caw and in the far distance Black Coombe.

One of my favourite shots of the day. Gary and Brian heading towards a dark and cold looking Buck Pike. There was a biting cold wind along here and conditions underfoot a little slippy in places, but simply wonderful.

Brian takes a breather along the ridge to admire the views. Looks like he's practising his 'I'm a little teapot' routine....

Dow Crags summit is a shattered pile of rocks which look as though they have been pushed skywards. So after a brief scramble over them, we began the descent down to Goats Hawse. This was a tricky path due to drifted snow and icy rocks, all being fleet of foot, we negotiated this without problems....!!

We stopped for a quick bite amongst sheltered rocks on the descent to Goats Hawse which gave us wonderful views over a partialy frozen Goats Water. I hope this image gives you some sense of scale of Dow Crag.

At the Hawse looking towards a cloud covered Scafells across Grey Friars. I've added this for a friend at work (ian Murphy - take a bow son!) who says this is one of his favourite views and I promised I'd take one for hiim next time I was up here. Not the best example due to the cloud cover, but it's a start.

My favourite shot of the day. The lads silhouetted against the lowering sun with Morecambe Bay reflecting the sun in the distance along the clim from the Hawse.

Don't jump!! On the ridge approaching The Old Man. Strangley the wind had died down a bit now and it was the best part of the day. You can just make out the summit cairn at the end of the ridge.

The boys at the summit.

A bw view from the summit, thought I'd have a play with this one, what do you think?

There were quite a few people knocking around now all enjoying the conditions. A look back down the ridge as one group heads off towards Brim Fell. The Scafells still covered in cloud in the distance.

We stopped in at Angus's memorial plaque on the way off the summit. A great view for the old lad today. Nice how the snow has failed to stick to the slate. ps Angus was the dog of Sean MacMahon who runs the web site.

It was a very slippy descent down the south face and I hit the ground on more than one occasion. Brian was showing off as he had his traction control equipment fitted, consequently I've ordered a pair this morning! There was significant cloud building up over in the east, it looked like they were getting more snow.

Back on the path now towards Torver, and the Old Man catching the late afternoon sun giving it a wonderful orange glow. Our route up can be seen starting from the left across the ridge round and then down the face of the Old Man that is looking at us.

The sunlit path as we approach the cars.

A wonderful days walking in great company and I was glad I bumped into them as I don't think I would have gone as far today if I'd have been on my own. Hope you enjoyed our outing, thanks for stopping. Ian - Gary & Brian.

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