Almost a Mountaineer!
3rd March 2010
knew the answer would be Coniston Old Man. Bryan
had been going on for what seems like ages about how
great it was looking in the long, snowy winter we have
been enjoying. Also, he had an ulterior motive. He
is off to Switzerland in a few weeks time to climb a
few 4,000 metre peaks and was in urgent need of some
Alpine training. And thatís exactly what we got.
dug deep in the Coniston car park.
of the snow but into pockets to fund the £6.50
for the car park. Donít they want to encourage
were not the only ones digging. Like everywhere
else these day, Conistonís roads were being dug up. Bryan
reckons it is the government pouring money into public
works to stimulate the economy.
I am not convinced.
In Kendal, at least, I reckon it is a council
that has found itself with budgets larger than they
need in order to do the useful things.
Old Man peeps down on Coniston
But rather than return
the money to those who finance them, they cause havoc
to the economy of the town in order to achieve what?
A pavement a little bit wider than it was before.
Guess who was held up for ages on his way round
to pick Bryan up today? Rant over!!
young men of Coniston.....
approached the Old Man by the so called Tourist Route
which goes up through the old quarries. I havenít
been up that way since about 1973
but have been down it in recent times (BB0619
Old Man Succumbs!)
seen many folk struggling up what seemed a steep and
the old mine workings
it is not a problem until you reach Low Water and then
it really starts to climb. Today, it became doubly
interesting from that point as it was where the winter
conditions really started so we needed to don the crampons.
Bryan had opted for his winter boots which take
his vicious full sized crampons in order to obtain proper
However, he had
persuaded me that
I would not need my full winter boots and evil weapons;
I should be perfectly alright with my ordinary boots
was well to start with but then, as the trail zigged
off to the left, Bryan decided that it was time to go
direttissimo. I must confess that I was worried.
It was steep and completely covered with a good
snow. However, even though it was a longer climb
than either of us expected before we regained the trail,
it was firm underfoot, the microspikes worked well and
the ice axe gave the added reassurance that if the worst
should happen, there would be a fighting chance of living
to tell the tale. In reality, nothing adverse
half way up the direttissimo, Low Water
at the top of the direttissimo
was milder than predicted at the summit, a strong wind
had been forecast with nasty wind chill effect but,
although it was not weather for lingering, it was good
enough to have a proper look at the views and take team
Old Man of Coniston, with Scafells behind
and Swirl How to the right
headed off along the ridge. Bryan suddenly darted
to a clump of rocks above a sharp drop down Scarth Brow.
At first I wondered what he was doing. However,
when he started kicking snow around, I realised
he was preparing our lunch stop, out of the breeze.
It was an excellent vantage point looking down
over Seathwaite Tarn with the Scafells clearly in view
and in deep snow on the summits.
is he going????
the picnic site, Seathwaite Tarn behind
lunch, we decided to continue along the ridge as far
as Swirl How where we would assess how best to return.
The going was a little icy along here at times
but well within the capability of the Microspikes.
back to the Old Man, Dow Crag to the right
volume of footprints suggested that the path down Prison
Band might not be too problematical and
that proved to be the case- there was just one short
step where full crampons might have been preferred but,
otherwise, it was fine.
above Levers Water
path down to Levers Water was easy and on reaching the
lake we took second lunch and removed the crampons.
Water, looking south
the far end of the lake was a school party from Preston
enjoying a field trip, sketching the scenery and answering
questions from the teacher about how what forces had
led it to look like that.
Water, looking North West. School party to the
down, we fell in with a man from Dalton in Furness.
He only had Grivel Spiders so had wisely decided
to go round the lake rather than up the hill. Spiders
would not have coped with the steep ground. I
asked him what Dalton was like as a place to live. He
said it was a nice large village apart from the roadworks.
Itís the current British disease.
think Bryan was quite pleased with his Alpine training.
It had been a good work-out and three hours in
crampons was a much longer session than even he had
paid me what I think was meant to be a nice
compliment; he said that today, I had
almost been a mountaineer!
it had been good fun in the snow. But
Margaret neednít worry- I have no plans to be tackling
the 4,000 metre Alpine monsters. I couldnít be doing
with the 3 a.m. starts for one thing!
3rd March 2010
If you want to comment on this report, click on
Old Man Of Coniston, Swirl How
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1009.
Steve G advises: "For those who like to look at your
meanderings but use Tracklogs or other software then your logs can be converted
using the freeware utility GPS Babel."
For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells
Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let
me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
E-mail addresses on this web site are protected
Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated
help fight spam e-mail!
This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us, click on
If you want to join
let us know and
of new BOOTboys reports.
Thursday 14th January
A Snowy Equipment Test
Thursday 21st January
Leave It To The Professionals
Thursday 28th January
That's A Lyth Record
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February
In Memory Of
Almost a Mountaineer!
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March
The Free Men on Tuesday
We'll Get Them In Singles,
The Fools on the Hill
Saturday 30th January
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
download a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!