~Dow Crag and Others~
13th February 2010 (xlvi annus)
The fourth consecutive Saturday providing weather good enough for a long walk. Today it was to be an excursion into the Coniston Fells. Neil Haslewood and I chose a route from Torver with the aim of visiting six Wainwright summits. It was a special day for me, a hint is in the date above, and no, it's not an uncomfortable medical condition.....
Swirl How Summit
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk
Cameras out at 09:35
We parked our cars at the bend in the road near Scarr Head and made our way up to the redundant slate quarries. We passed many outdoor types walking down to the road, evidently not returning from a long walk. They could have been staying at Tranearth Climbing Hut.
Within the Mining Area
The Big Pool
A waterfall feeds the pool and a tunnel (out of sight) allows the water to flow out into Torver Beck.
Cove Bridge on Walna Scar Road and Brown Pike
Room for Two?
Wainwright Book 4, Dow Crag 4, "big enough for one person or a honeymoon couple"
Harter Fell and the Scafells
We visited the summit of Walna Scar and then headed up the fell side to Brown Pike, the weather situation was unclear with plenty of cloud and a shower heading our way from the North East.
Buck Pike from Brown Pike
Blind Tarn ~ Frozen
Brown Pike and Blind Tarn
The shower was almost upon us and coats were dug out of the rucksacs, we could not be certain how far we would get as Dow Crag obscured our view forward.
Onwards to Dow Crag
Lots of fellwalkers around today, none of whom came the way we did. Some joined us on the Walna Scar Road from Coniston and others appeared from the Dunnerdale side.
Neil on Dow Crag
The shower quickly passed and the sun came out. The summit of Dow Crag was quite tricky with lots of icy bits around. That's Goats Water down there.
Clouds on Grey Friar
Now we can see our ultimate objective of Grey Friar with a little cloud on top - it's not the one with walkers on, it's the one further behind, roughly central.
Goat's Hause and Brim Fell
Our route would go down to Goat's Hause and up onto Brim Fell in a straight line (NE), not via Coniston Old Man, we would leave this summit to later. Lunch was taken in a fine natural shelter near Goat's Hause, probably one many viewers are familar with. Big flat rockwall and seating for half a dozen, when there's less snow about.
Goat's Hause and Harter Fell
Me on top of Brim Fell Summit
Very icy on top of Brim Fell. On a surface of stone, ice and softer snow, it was difficult to decide whether or not to don the crampons. We decided not to at this point. Full marks to the cairn builders and rebuilders, this is a fine effort.
Icy Brim Fell ~ Brrrrrrr!
Taken from Great How Crags. Prison Band on the right-hand side of the photo.
Swirl How Summit
It was not easy getting the right shot here as two other walkers wouldn't get out of the way, little did they know that they were standing in the way of two eminent webmasters*, keen to show the world these fine vistas. That's Wetherlam over there.
Great Carrs and the Scafells
The Aeroplane Wreckage on Great Carrs
Eight Canadian airmen lost their lives here in 1944.
Birthday Party on Great Carrs
This was fantastic. Two years ago I was in the same place and nobody turned up, this time Neil came along and we had a great time, see the photo below from 13th Feb 2008, a sad and lonely occasion. It's not the same piece of cake.
13th February 2008
The Scafells from Grey Friar
I like the summit of Grey Friar, a fell that seems to be visited mainly by fellbaggers in search of grand totals and less so by explorers with this as their primary objective. It's wide and offers great views and some of the flat areas could just about host a game of five-a-side.
Grey Friar Summit
I used b/w as the shot into the sun was a little tricky. Here you can see Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag Summits. We have walked about eight miles so far and it's 14:30, will there be time for The Old Man?
Brim Fell on the return
We put our crampons on before re-ascending Brim Fell and we were running short on daylight hours, so plans to visit the summit of Coniston Old Man were abandoned. This had an slightly unfortunate side-effect, see later.
Dow Crag Sunset
Do not adjust your sets, this is how it looked from Brim Fell.
The Old Man of Coniston
Not today, old fella. A personal favourite, so near, but a ridge too far. We descended to Goat's Hause where upon we could take the crampons off.
Goats Water and our route down - left-hand side
If we had visited The Old Man, we might have been in a great position to see the spectacular sunset. As it was, it just out of sight. On the other hand, we would have been coming down in very poor light and that's not ideal. We followed the same path back to the cars from Walna Scar Road. Has anyone ever seen a goat on this walk?
Another good one, I got home at 19:30.
Walkers: Neil Haslewood and Me* , well he's eminent and I'm trying to be
Time taken: 8hrs 10mins over a distance of 14 and a bit miles
Route: Torver, Walna Scar, Brown Pike, Buck Pike, Dow Crag, Goat's Hause, Brim Fell, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Grey Friar, Brim Fell, Goat's Hause, Goat's Water, Torver.
Weather and conditions: Overcast at the start, short shower, then mainly sunny intervals.
Greetings Count: High from the start, a popular area; quiet from 3pm onwards.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Oh Dear! I went to the Bridge Cafe at Newby Bridge hoping for a decent pre-walk breakfast. It would be nice to be welcomed in as the first customer of the day, no such luck. Cheapest breakfast option was over £5 and tea was £1.70 for a saucer-less mug and small pot, allowing one and a third mugs. What are you supposed to do with the teaspoon when you have no saucer? Food was not quite enough, but quality OK; the likes of me wants a decent breakfast and tea for a fiver or thereabouts. Maybe my expectations are too high.
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All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2010 ©