Start – Coniston SD303975, Distance – 13km, Ascent – 950m, Time – 5hrs 00mins plus stops.
A justly popular and pleasant walk from the equally popular and pleasant town of Coniston, taking in the pointy Dow Crag and over-populated Old Man of Coniston. If you can get there early (or do the walk off-peak, so to speak) you can shorten both the length and ascent by parking at the Walna Scar Car Park. We did this walk in a clockwise direction, taking in Dow Crag first before moving to the Old Man. This meant a very steep descent off the top of the Old Man east to Coniston and on reflection, I think this would make a better ascent route, with the more gentle slopes of Dow Crag and Brown Pike serving as a knee-saving descent. Either way, the paths are of the kind usually found on the more popular Lake District mountains – wide, deep and obvious – so route finding shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, the good thing about a start from Coniston is the chance of a coffee or pint afterwards – or maybe even a pint of coffee, if that’s your thing.

The Bell (to the left), seen from the bottom of Walna Scar Road after the (steep) climb out of Coniston

Coniston Old Man on the right, with the bridge over Torver Beck in the left foreground. The bump on the left is un-inspirationally named Brown Pike

A bit more of the Old Man, this time showing the southern ridge

And here’s a slightly less appealing Old Man, blocking the view to Dow Crag. Note the right knee, already starting to collapse under the strain of carrying a particularly heavy wallet

Dow Crag, looking back from the ascent of the Old Man. I was quite taken with Dow Crag’s jagged edges and sheer faces. Even though it’s less lofty than the Old Man, I think it’s a more attractive peak altogether.

Looking down to Low Water (well, it’s lower than us in this photo) from the summit of the Old Man. Levers Water peeps out in the background

Looking across the ridge on the left, along Brim Fell and onto Swirl How

Looking across Low and Levers Waters to Wetherlam.