Coniston Round in Snow

Name of walk Coniston Round in Snow
Date of walk 2012-02-01
Distance walked (miles) 10
Duration of walk 8 hours 0 minutes
Weather Blue skies
Peaks on walk Wetherlam, Black Sails, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man
Walked with Ged and Kas the blind dog
Parking On the roadside after the Youth Hostel

Yesterday Ged, Kas and I drove to Coniston to climb Wetherlam (2499ft), Black Sails (2444ft), Swirl How (2630ft), Great Carrs (2558ft), Brim Fell (2611ft), and Coniston Old Man (2633ft). A walk of just over 10 miles. We parked up the top of the road that turns off left after The Black Bull Hotel. After the Youth Hostel by the wall there are no double yellow lines and parking is free. We returned to Coniston on foot because we wanted to take the track up the other side of Church Beck and cross over The Miners Bridge, as neither of us had walked that way before, and the car we would ideally parked for the way back.


Kas enjoying the sunshine on the way up to The Miners Bridge.


Coppermines Valley below with Coniston Old man on the left from the track up to Wetherlam.


It is quite a long trudge up Wetherlam but eventually you get views across to Levers water.


Kas enjoying the deep powder snow.


One of Wetherlam`s frozen Tarns with Fairfield behind.


From Wetherlam summit you can see the wonderful panorama of mountains still to climb, but not on one photo, so below is a photostitch of three pix. From left to right is Coniston Old man, Brim Fell then the deep dip and long ridge leading up to Swirl How and then on down to Great Carrs. In the middle distance is Black Sails and beyond that the Prison Band ridge that leads up to Swirl How.


It was very windy on the summit ridge. The summit temp was -7C, but with wind chill it was probably nearer -20C. I was wearing my thermal trousers and double-layered Cartmel Priory rugby as long as I kept moving I was quite warm. The Helvellyn range behind me.


The Langdale Pikes in the shade, Blea Tarn below, Pike o`Blisco on the left.


Looking north towards the Scafells, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.


The Prison Band and Swirl How on the left, Great Carrs on the right.


I hang back a bit to get Ged in the photo to give some perspective of the route up to Black sails.


Levers Water from Black Sails summit cairn.


Looking across at our route up the Prison Band.


Taking a breather and looking back at Black Sails and beyond to Wetherlam on the climb up The Prison band.


Looking across at Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.


Looking down into Greenburn.


View back down The Prison Band.


Swirl How summit cairn.


We stop to de-ice Kas`s paws!


The route on to Great Carrs.


You can tell which way the wind is blowing from the ice formed on the cross marking the memorial to the crew of the Halifax Bomber that crashed in 1944. Grey Friar behind.


Scafell left, Scafell Pike on the right.


Ice on the cross.


We thought about including Grey Friar in the walk and reached the middle of the dip, but the snow was deep and walking through it was an effort. It would have added an hour and a half to our walk, at least, and so we decided to return to the Swirl How ridge and continue on. Even this little detour took 25 minutes! We couldn`t even take the short cut across as the snow was too deep for comfortable walking, so we returned back to our starting point.




We took a short break in the shelter of some rocks for a drink and some food. Looking along the ridge up to Brim Fell, with Coniston Old Man far left. On the right is Dow Crag.


Looking down on Seathwaite Tarn.


How to travel in style! Bertie the Pomerainian had found the snow a little too deep for him! When I walked with Janet she used to do this with Miffy, a Yorkshire Terrier she had inherited her from her late mother and until the age of 13 Miffy had been a lap dog. At age 13 she climbed her first mountain, which was Coniston Old Man! She discovered a new lease of life and climbed many mountains with us before she died. Bertie and his owner were heading down to Seathwaite.


Looking back up the ridge to Swirl How.


Brim Fell summit with Coniston Old Man ahead.


Heading up to the summit.


The first time we have had the summit to ourselves! Usually the world and his wife are up here!


The full ridge to Swirl How behind.


Looking down on Low Water and Levers water and across to Wetherlam and our route around.



We head down to the tarn. The route down is steep, I wouldn`t want to do this without Microspikes!



There was plenty of evidence that people in front of us did not have spikes and slid all the way down on their backsides! View to Coniston Water.



The tarn was frozen. We stopped and finished off our lunch here as it was great to be out of the wind.


It was still cold though!


Passing the old mine buildings.


Finally back below the snow line looking across to our route up Wetherlam. Photo 2 was taken from the track just above the houses.

The walk had taken us eight hours and we were back to the car by five o`clock, so it was just as well we decided to omit Grey Friar as otherwise we would have been descending in the dark! It would have been an easy detour without snow!
It was good to be back up in the snow again!