And so our last full day in the beautiful Lake District arrived. The weather was looking decent and having recovered our legs slightly we decided to have one last hurrah and go up the Old Man at Coniston…
The Old Man
As Mr H and I had already pretty much decided we would be returning to this beautiful place but that we might stay in a different location next time to take in and have access to new walks and places, it seemed only right to attempt one of the most iconic of walks since we were staying so close to Coniston.
Weather started out decent and there were some beautiful shots with the sun breaking through on the winding footpaths. No rain was forecast and the mist should have been lifting on higher peaks by the afternoon.
I planned a route which went via Wetherlam, Black Sails, Swirl Howe and finally The Old Man around 12 kilometres in total.
On the initial ascent, the mist was hanging but it made for a beautiful moody sky.
The landscape on this walk was another great reason to give it a try as it was very different to others in the route it took through old ruined mining works. I have to admit, I found it kind of creepy seeing old abandoned slate mines, capsized rusty steel and slate littering the ground. It did make for an intriguing and thought provoking walk however.
The trek took us up through a very boggy valley past the now very familiar Herdwick’s chomping away merrily. I could see we were approaching what was going to be a VERY steep ascent to Wetherlam whichever way you looked at it! In the end it was more of a scramble up the hill side and a real calf burner!
By the time we reached the summit we were engulfed in thick mist which unfortunately never left us all the way along the Black Sails making it pretty difficult to work out where the path was as usual!
Happily, the mist did seem to dissipate on the final approach to the Old Man of Coniston and I got a bit of a view!
Unfortunately at the summit the mist was back and there was no views to be had, I was left thinking on the plus side that this must be a great walk in the summer months when perhaps the conditions would be better.
The descent was much quicker thankfully as Mr H and I were desperate to get to a cafe before they all shut for the day and see if we might be able to sample a scone, being our last full day and all! I managed to steal a few more of those views on the way back down whilst trying to get a stomp on to make it down before 4.00pm.
You know you have been living in London too long when you visit a place like this and are irritated by the fact you can’t get a coffee after 4pm because all the coffee places shut by then! I have to say though it was lovely to embrace the slower pace of life this week and take my coffee in a flask at the top of a hill somewhere instead with a gale blowing and not a sole around to disturb you.
The way back was slightly treacherous (especially when nearly breaking into a run for that coffee!) as the ground was littered with loose slate so watch out for that.
You will be glad to know after all that hurrying we got that scone (with clotted cream and jam of course). We had to drive down to the waterfront to get it though, but I had done my research as usual and knew the Bluebird Cafe should be open – I had my doubts though since everywhere else was already closed. Happily it was open and was very welcoming, telling me that they always stay open and love to see people at the end of the day. They occupy a prime waterfront location which would be wonderful in better weather. I can vouch for their scone also.
So the final morning of this wonderful trip arrived. Mr H and I decided one last quick walk was in order as the sun was shining before we gave up the rest of our day to the motorway. We took a short drive to near Coniston again and did a quick 3 ish mile circuit to Beacon Fell and back. It was a beautiful day.
I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed this trip, it really does show you don’t have to go miles around the globe (though that is good too!) to see such beauty and experience such wonder.
There was just enough time for one last look at the Beacon…
Watch out Lake District, Mrs H will be back to see you again soon.
Mrs H x