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About Summiteer

~Swirl How Revisited~

18th March 2009

Not many weeks earlier my brother and I had become stranded on ice on Swirl How and were fortunate to be helped off the fell by a passing Mountain Rescue Deputy Team Leader, who just happened to be out on the tops. I was keen to banish the demons and return to the area to review the earlier incident and complete the walk....

Swilr How Mountain

Swirl How Summit

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk

Mazda MX-5

My Car

I parked on the Walna Scar Road car park, big puddle with magical properties.

Boulder Coniston Mountain

Boulder Valley

Boulder Valley is a lively area full of hefty mountain detritus. This might be The Pudding Stone, I am writing this report 10 months after the event. I enjoy looking at boulders and pondering their route to their current resting place, this one wins "Boulder of The Day", for its size and shape and climbability.

Boulder Valley Mountain

The Valley from the Boulder

Simon's Nick Coniston

Simon's Nick

The route from Boulder Valley to Simon's Nick was shrouded in mist, a situation which continued along my route up Black Sails Ridge. Simon's Nick is a dangerous old mining area.

Levers Water Coniston

Levers Water

Wetherlam Mountain Wetherlam Mountain
Me on top of Wetherlam
Three on top of Wetherlam
Wetherlam Mountain Swirl How Wetherlam Mountain
Moody Mountain
Wetherlam from Swirl How

I am gaining height and find myself above the mist. The day is developing and will lead to a hazy afternoon but in the meantime it's good fun looking around and taking photographs.

Swirl How Mountain

Primary Target Reached ~ Swirl How

This time I attain the summit of Swirl How without incident and it is very difficult to find the place where we got stuck last time. In fact the snow free slopes give no clues at all to the dangers of frozen landscape of just a few weeks ago.

Great Carrs Mountain

Great Carrs

My next target is Great Carrs, the three climbers I saw on Wetherlam are way ahead now and can just about be seen on the slopes over there.

Great Carrs Wreckage Mountain

The Aeroplane Wreckage on Great Carrs

Grey Friar Mountain

Grey Friar

Grey Friar Mountain

Paths on Grey Friar

I would follow the path to the crossroads and head left for Brim Fell and Coniston Old Man.

Brim Fell ConistonCornice on Brin Fell

Brim Fell Summit and a Cornice on the Edge

Coniston Mountain

Coniston Old Man Summit

Coniston Mountain Summit

Coniston Old Man looking towards Brim Fell

The highest point for me on the hazy afternoon and this is the busiest place with quite a few folk about including a school party. No time to hang around.

Levers Water Coniston

Low Water and a bit of Levers Water

Low Water Coniston

Low Water

Time for a little peace and quiet; then splash!

Stones, Water and Camera

A playful mix for a man with time on his hands.


Black Sails Ridge and Boulder Valley

Coniston Mountain Mine


Most of us will remember this gantry in more upright position. It's a victim of old age and the gantry will never be repaired, add another 50 years and what will be left?

Coniston Mountain

The Bell

The walk is completed and it's been good fun. It might have been yet another ascent of Coniston Old Man, but there are some fells you just don't tire of and this is certainly one of them.

Walkers:Just Me

Time taken: 7hr 45 minutes over a distance of an estimated 12 miles

Route: Walna Scar Road, Boulder Valey, Levers Water, Black Sails Ridge, Wetherlam, Prison Band, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Grey Friar, Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Low Water, Quarry Road, Walna Scar.

Weather and conditions: Misty start, clouds lifted, sunny but hazy afternoon skies.

Greetings Count: Low, comfortably low, until the summit of Coniston Old Man.

Richard's Refreshment Review: I regret that I cannot recall if I made a stop on the way home and that is not good enough, sorry no review this time.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2009 ©