BB1510 : Not Just The Coniston Fell Race

Wednesday 18th March 2015

The Coniston Fell Race is held in May every year.  The circuit is 8.7 miles and 3,494 feet of climbing.  The record of 63.29 minutes was set as far back as 1996 by a modern day legend of the fells, eight times winner Ian Holmes.

You can get an idea of the nature of the terrain and the athletes participating by clicking on Coniston Fell Race.  What struck me was the amount of grey hair and the man carrying a bike.

Stan, like Bryan, has taken part on several occasions, his best time being just under two hours so you can see how good this guy was.

Ian Holmes

Roger T

It was Stan's idea that today we should follow the route although, rightly, he did not expect the record to be under any sort of threat.

There was a sad overtone to the day.  

Our friend Roger T, jolly Westmerian raconteur and occasional BOOTboy, sadly died earlier in the week and our thoughts were with Vickie and their family.  

However, Roger would have been the last person to want us to forego the outing.  

We parked by the Coniston show ring and took the Coppermines Valley track to the Miner's Bridge then up the ridge to Lower Hows and on to Wetherlam.  

I had my clothing strategy completely wrong.  

It was a rather better day than forecast yet I had dressed in my heavy winter clothing that I should have used in the awful conditions on BB1508. Consequently I got rather hot and encumbered by the large padded jacket!

The Old Man of Coniston across Coppermines alley

Crinkle Crags with Bowfell behind, as seen from Wetherlam

Next was the descent to Swirl Hause and the climb up Prison Band.  From a distance this looks formidable but actually, once on it, it is perfectly safe, it's just getting longer as the legs get older.  At last we reached Swirl How at which point we decided that the race route was somewhat lacking in challenge and that it would be a good idea for John's Wainwright collection if we were to visit Great Carrs and the remains of the Halifax bomber that crashed there in 1944.  

Climbing Prison Band, Wetherlam behind

Stan at the memorial.

It then seemed a good idea to take in Grey Friar, which otherwise would be an awkward outlier, to add to the total.  Coincidentally we met there a group of Kendal Fellwalkers, including one of Bryan's buddies and a guy who knew Stan from decades back.

Do Not Throw - Say No

Comitibus :  Brim Fell

Fortunately, rather than return to Swirl How we found a traversing path (not that I am a great fan of traversing paths) that led eventually to Brim Fell and another W.

From there it was a relatively short and easy climb to the sixth W, Coniston Old Man, the summit of which was extremely busy with students on a brief visit from Birmingham.

The busy Old Man summit from Brim Fell

The Dow Crag cliffs

Of course, we were now back on the race route so duly descended by the Tourist Route.  As we passed the mine workings, to our surprise there was blasting in progress. We thought they were closed.

Low Water below the Old Man

Old mine buildings

Stan surveys the Coppermines valley and the skyline around which we trod

The track was hard underfoot but did lead us safely back to Coniston in, it must be admitted, a rather longer time than it would have taken Ian Holmes.  Or Stan in his heyday.  

We finished the day at the Black Bull Inn where we raised a glass in memory of Roger.  We will miss him.

Don, 18th March 2015

PS The stats say today's 4,231 feet is the most height climbed on a BB day since 2010!

PPS The practice of "Lovelocks" has now crept into the Lake District.  Not sure that I approve.

Everest Base Camp and Much More

Namaste to my BOOTboys Friends

I hope you will join me on my Nepal adventure by logging on to the following blog:

Everest Base Camp and Much More

Hopefully there will be wifi connections at most of the tea houses and lodges on the trails and I will try to keep you updated as often as possible.

All the best,


Namaste is used amongst Hindus of the Indian Subcontinent as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger. It is used with goodbyes as well. It is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest but it may also be spoken without acting it out or it may be performed wordlessly; all three carry the same meaning: "I bow to the divine in you".




Wednesday 18th March 2015

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Wetherlam, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Grey Friar, Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man


Don, John Hn, Stan

BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1510 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel file: BB Log.

You can navigate to the required report via the Home Page

Photos have been gleaned from many sources although mostly from me!
Likewise written comment.  
Unless stated otherwise, please feel free to download the material if you wish.
A reference back to this website would be appreciated.
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To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When?
This may or may not be up to date!

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
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BOOTboys 2015


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