BB0631 Coppermines

29th November 2006

It was Tony's fault that I was late setting off.  The previous Friday morning he had phoned me saying "Get yourself down to Lowe Alpine, now!  They are having a sale of samples at incredibly low prices."  And so they were.  Provided you had size 8 feet, a 32 inch waist and a 38 inch chest you could kit yourself out for life for not much more than the price of a Chelsea football match.

As Tony said, even if they don't fit, at these prices you can make them fit.  Which explains why Tony, Stan and I left with big piles of slightly too small gear; in my case all packed into a £80 rucksac costing a tenner that had been needed to carry them away. I think Tony needed to buy two rucksacs!

So why was it Tony's fault?  Because the more gear you have from which to choose what to wear, the more the decisions become difficult and time consuming.  Especially on a day when the wind had been forecast to gust to 75 mph and the showers threatened to merge together to form continuous rain.  I simply did not get up earlier enough for the Tony induced complexity of decision making.

This saga also explains why some of us at least were dressed in tights and latex tops sensuously hugging our bodies (i.e. slightly too small!), a sight from which you are spared in the photos due to the weather conditions requiring further garments.

Not that we really anticipated actually being in 75 mph winds.  Bryan had planned one of his low(er) level bad weather walks that would see us protected by the bulks of Wetherlam and Coniston Old Man. What was remarkable, a very generous gesture on his part, was that it contained no Wainwrights. His proposal read:

  • Start at Tilberthwaite (near Coniston). Go up Tilberthwaite Gill to the top. Bear to the left of the delightful scramble up Steel Edge and go through Hole Rake before dropping down towards Low Water Beck. Turn right before reaching beck and head up towards Kennel Crag to explore Coppermines valley. Then head back down the valley to Miners Bridge. Then head for Far End farm and up the rising track on to the Yewdale Fells before finally heading back to Tilberthwaite.

And that, in essence, is what we did.  Apart from stopping on innumerable occasions to have a look down quarries and poke round mine holes.  Stan reckoned that there were some 150 mine openings in the area and that he used to pay his kids 3p a go to find them.  Had he extended the offer to us (updated for inflation) we could have make a killing.

Tilberthwaite Gill, with Wetherlam lurking

Old Quarry near Tilberthwaite Gill

The weather was better than expected; the odd shower of rain at the start and some very strong occasional gusts of wind but otherwise not too bad although definitely not a day for being on the tops.


Off again after lunch


On the sled run wall

We lunched out of the wind in the remains of what was probably an old winching house (bang on noon, so Tony was kept happy, for once).

We examined the man made sled runs that contoured the valley.

We interrogated the workmen to find out what the enormous crane was doing (it was for an extension to the water treatment works where they added chlorine to water presumably intended for Coniston residents). 

The new Paddy End water treatment plant

Old trolley at the Copperrmines museum

We examined the old machinery lying around outside the closed Coppermines museum. 

We noted where Tony's pal George was building a small turbine to help power Coniston.


George's Turbine


Coniston from Yewdale Fell

We ambled down the valley thinking what a pleasant easy walk this had turned out to be and then cursed when we found we had to regain all the height we had lost to go over Yewdale Fells.

And we explored enough mine openings to cause Stan to take out a new mortgage.

A good day out!

Don, 29th November 2006


6.3 miles

Height climbed:
2,310 feet



Click on
map to download a (large) pdf file of the route.




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Slipper Strolls:



  • BB0631  Coppermines
  • BB0630  Relocation, Relocation, Relocation
  • BB0629  Stone Arthur and a Mystery Plume
  • BB0628  Knocking off Wainwrights.  Oh! Plus Skiddaw!
  • BB0627  Blencathra and the Mungrisdale Round
  • BB0626  The Deepdale Round
  • BB0625  Les Garçons de la Botte
  • BB0624  The Crookdale Horseshoe and then some
  • BB0623  Selside Pike revisited
  • BB0622  Round the Dunny!
  • BB0621  The Malham Experience
  • BB0620  Newlands Horseshoe
  • BB0619  Old Man Succumbs!
  • BB0618  Kentmere Horseshoe
  • BB0617 QH2QH High Street (the length thereof)
  • BB0616 Thornthwaite Beacon
  • BB0615  Fairfield Horseshoe
  • BB0614  High Street Racecourse
  • BB0613 The Coledale Round
  • BB0612  Well, Well, Well, Wansfell and Troutbeck Tongue      
  • BB0611  Carlin Gill
  • BB0610  Whitbarrow, Yewbarrow and a history lesson
  • BB0609  Clough Head and Great Dodd
  • BB0608  The Corpse Road and beyond
  • BB0607  Grim Fell!
  • BB0606  A Bit on the Side.....
  • BB0605  Angle Tarn with Surprises! 
  • BB0604  Hart Cragg via Dovedale
  • BB0603  Islands in the Sky with Brocken Spectres
    (or High Street via Gardiner's Grind)
  • BB0602  Holme Fell, Black Fell and Electric  Eyes
  • BB0601  Ingleborough
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