Coniston Fells

Drycove BottomWhen I parked the car in Coniston village it was sunny, if a bit fresh, I decided to wear shorts hoping that it would warm up later. I walked out of the village towards Holly How, and then down the track towards the Youth Hostel; I turned right just before reaching it until I reached a gate leading out the the open fell. I turned right and walked along the track just above a wall, I was surprised that it just goes as far as a gate leading back down to the road; I was sure that there must be a higher path onto the fells.

Ascent of Birk FellRather that walk back to the gate and try to find a path, I was so sure that it must be there that I headed directly and steeply uphill; that was only possible because the bracken was dead, it would be too dense in summer. I did eventually found a faint but obvious path, I'm not sure I could have found the start of it. The path rises steadily upwards across the flank of the hillside, then through gorse, with masses of yellow flowers that don't really help the feeling of being scratched to pieces as I manoeuvred through the dense prickly bushes.

The summit of WetherlamThe slope gets a bit steeper and it has become badly eroded as a result, and after a final rockier I reached the swampy plateau of Yewdale Crag Moss. It is an area of confusing flat ground, there is a large mass ahead that must be Wetherlam but I couldn't work it out for sure what it was on the map. I decided that I could see Birk Fell ahead, I did eventually find a faint path, it led to a more obvious path and on to a footbridge over Tilberthwaite Gill.

Prison BandThis place is another one of Wetherlam disused mining areas, with many levels and shafts to be seen and not explored. A miners path contours above Dry Cove Bottom, an ironic name for a very wet place, before heading steeply upwards with some minor scrambling before eventually reaching Birk Fell Man.

Summit of Great CarrsWetherlam Edge looms ahead, an imposing sight; there is a good path at first, it becomes more rugged and eroded, and there is some easy scrambling; it is an enjoyable walk. The summit was cold and windy, I didn't hang around for very long before heading towards Swirl How. After a reasonably interesting descent to Swirl Hause there is a far more interesting ascent of Prison Band, up to the summit of Swirl How.

Seathwaite TarnThe walking easy to reach the summit of Great Carrs, standing at the summit wasn't so easy in the strong breeze. I made a fairly direct descent to the Fairfield col, past the memorial to the Royal Canadian Air Force and remains of the plane that crashed there in World War 2, and then on towards Grey Friar. It is a straightforward walk up to the summit with its view of Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag, and the slightly lower subsidiary peak with an even better view of the Scafell group.

The summit of Brim FellI retraced my steps back to Fairfield col, and walked along the faint path that traverses above the head of Calf Cove and rejoins the main ridge path at Levers Hause. I had to climb up to Brim Fell in a strong cold wind, situation normal for this ridge where the wind frequently beats me up. After passing the summit I carried on along the ridge to the summit of Coniston Old Man, where it was still cold so I didn't spend any time there before making the rugged descent through the old quarries.

View of Low Water from the summit Coniston Old ManWhen I got back to Coniston village it was warm and sunny.

Andy Wallace 7th May 2010

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