Coniston Old Man

As the name suggests, the Old Man of Coniston has close associations with the village of Coniston, with which it shares its name. It is the highest fell in a wider range which includes Dow Crag, Grey Friar, Wetherlam, Swirl How and Great Carrs. Writing about this range, Wainwright notes "The Coniston Fells are almost entirely severed from the adjacent mountainous parts of Lakeland by the Duddon and Brathay Valleys, with the watershed between the two, Wrynose Pass, 1270', providing the only link with other fells" (Wainwright 1960, Coniston Old Man, 2). Although Coniston Old Man is the highest in altitude, the actual centre of the range is at the summit of Swirl How which emanates impressive ridges to the south (terminating at Coniston Old Man), East (towards Wetherlam), and North (via Great Carrs).

coniston fells

The south-east side of the Coniston Fells taken from Coniston Old Man. The tarn in the forground is Low Water. The view is looking across towards Wetherlam. Photograph by Ann Bowker

coniston old man

Summit of Coniston Old Man. Coniston Water can also be seen in the distance. Photograph by Ann Bowker

Most routes on our 3d map start from Coniston. As Wainwright states, "... the appeal of these hills lies in their aspect to the east, where the village of Coniston, in an Alpine setting, is the natural base for explorations". The exception to this is a route from the north starting at the Wrynose Pass near the Three Shires Stone. As you will see from looking at the map the Coniston side of the range is scarred by old abandoned mines and quarries. Despite this, the Coniston Fells lose little of their natural beauty, and for some may even provide an additional subject of interest. Writing about this, Wainwright notes, "So strongly sculptured are these fine hills ... and so pronounced is their appeal that the scars detract but little from the attractiveness of the picture" (Wainwright 1960 Coniston Old Man, 2). All in all, the Coniston fells are a fascinating part of the Lake District.

Great Carrs from Swirl How

View across to Great Carrs from Swirl How. Photograph by Ann Bowker

Lakeland Fells
Blencathra Easedale Fells Coniston Old Man Helvellyn Langdale Pikes Pavey Ark Scafell Pike Skiddaw