Coniston….With the old man

Today was a very special day. Every day in the Lake District is special….but today, WOW!!
This walk has actually been a year in the making!
On a solo walk up the old man of Coniston last year I came across the remains of a crashed WW2 bomber, which sadly took the lives of the eight crew on board.
All that remains is a memorial cross and some rusting twisted metal from the plane.
From that day on I planned to show this to my boys.
Unfortunately (fortunately for him) my eldest had a date for Valentine’s day.
So it was that on expedition Coniston, there would be just Jack and I.
The weather forecast was good….the rucksacks were packed…all that remained was to tempt Jack out of bed at 7am!!!! He’s 13 and hormonal. No one said it would be easy!!
At 9am we were on our way to Cumbria πŸ˜‚
By 10.45am we were booted up and ready to go. We are so fortunate to live so close to such a beautiful place.

The route ahead

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A rare shot of the camera shy expedition leader.

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And his companion.

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I’ve been up on Coniston a couple of times but never via this route before…The tourist route as it’s known!
However with Jack being with me I wanted to keep it as straightforward as possible. I’m pleased I did. It’s a cracking route, by far the best way up for me.

The view opening up before us.

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The surrounding fells and view behind to Coniston Water are simply stunning.

Coniston Water

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It’s little wonder that Arthur Ransome was inspired to write Swallows and Amazons based on this view.

Simply put Coniston is a beautiful mountain standing at 803 metres..2634 ft, and is the 12th highest in the lakes.
It is said that mining has taken place on there for over 800 years!
Firstly for its rich copper, and then more recently for its slate which is used to roof buildings around the world.

We soon found evidence of this.

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It was time to explore these remains and to try and transport ourselves back to the days when these were working mines.

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Note the tracks still visible in an old mineshaft

It’s hard to believe that miners would have to trek up and down this mountain twice a day in all weathers to provide for their families…
I can’t make the 5 min drive to work until my heated seat hits it’s optimum temperature!

Time for some family album snaps.

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Play it cool Jack πŸ˜‚

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A bit higher up we came across Low Water.

At about 1500 ft………
I ain’t sure where it gets its name?

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We decided this would be a good spot to grab a brew and snack on some energy food in to us.

This pleased Jack immensely ☺

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Once we were fuelled up it was time to don the extra layers, as we were heading up to the snow line.

Warm enough Jack?

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Looking back down to Low Water.

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Another 100 ft up and it was like a different place all together. A truly alpine feel as the snow invited us to play.

Time for some fun in the sun.

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The view back the way we came was exquisite.

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And not too shabby the way were going

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One last push to the summit

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We made it!!!!

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Well done Jack πŸ‘

Although we’d not long eaten, it was now lunchtime, and I always have aΒ  sandwich on the summit. It’s the law.

Jack is not impressed with jam and banana sandwich filling!!

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Apparently Nutella was his preferred choice πŸ˜•

Anyway time to push on I said!!

The view ahead. Note the change in weather

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The clouds were looming in the distance now. I could sense more snow on the way.
Looking back towards the summit it was lovely still.

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As we pushed on to Brim Fell heading to Swirl How I was beginning to feel a bit uneasy about the weather.
I’d watched a video blog the previous day of conditions on the summit. Blizzards and whiteout snow conditions.
I didn’t fancy getting caught out in the same, and the other walkers up there were all returning from the way we were going.
I figured that trying to get to Great Carrs to see the wreckage would be around 5km there and back, adding a good hour to our walk, in worsening conditions
I had to make the call…..

It didn’t go down well with the other expedition member!!

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He’s not happy!!

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And he’s off!!

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I am over cautious when I have my son with me. Both of them in fact. I’m the first to admit that. When I walk alone I assess the route as I’m going. When the boys are with me I worry more about the what ifs. I guess that’s just a paternal thing?
No I won’t let them cross knife edges, no I won’t let them too far out of my sight. I certainly won’t them go too close to an exposed edge!!!
And I don’t want to expose them to a whiteout in a blizzard (it didn’t come to that)
But I do hope they will look back at their childhood with fond memories of our adventures. And when they are taking their own children up there, they will understand their boring old dad had their safety in mind at all times.

As we made our way back down we came to a lovely little spot called Goats Tarn. An odd name as Jack pointed out.

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As we dropped back down below the snow line, we had another quick brew before the long slog back to the car.

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All in all it was a fab day in the mountains. Once Jack got over the disappointment of not seeing the WW2 wreckage, he agreed that it was a thoroughly great day out.

We will be back to climb it another day soon, and after showing Owen the photos of our expedition, he’s wanting to come too.
Now that will be an expedition to write about ☺

Until the next time……
Scotty out πŸ‘

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