The Old Man of Coniston stands over the village of Coniston and can be seen from many of its streets. It is barely 3.0km (1.9 miles) from the village centre, but is over
The area around Coniston, particularly on the slopes of The Old Man, were once a hive of heavy industry. Mining for slate and copper saw an aerial tramway high above the village to transport the ore down into the valley for processing. Left over spoil heaps and ruins still cover the fellsides. Despite that, in no way could it really be said to ruin a walk here; this is history.
Coniston is closely associated with two people. John Ruskin, lived at Brantwood on the eastern bank of Coniston Water which is now owned by the National Trust. And Donald Campbell, who died on Coniston Water whilst trying to set a new water speed record on 4th January 1967. The Ruskin Museum in Coniston house the remains of Bluebird K7 in a dedicated wing built specially called of course the Bluebird Wing which was opened in 2008. If you have time you could visit the museum on the way back from the walk.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the Lake District National Park Authority car park on Ruskin Avenue, return to the entrance beside the Tourist Information Centre and turn left back to the main road opposite the Black Bull Inn. Bear left to cross Church Bridge, and then immediately turn right up a narrow lane signed to the Sun Hotel. Reaching the hotel, at the far end turn right in front of the barn to take the footpath between buildings. This is a rough gravelled track which in only 100m (110 yards) drops slightly to cross a small beck and then climbs past Coniston stone workshops. The track deteriorates beyond.
Reaching the Miners Bridge where the track swings right to cross the bridge over Church Beck, do not cross but keep left to take a narrow rough path continuing to climb. Follow the path through two enclosures. The view now opening out to Coppermines Valley.
Continue to a junction joining a wide track on Crowberry Haws.
Reaching the top of the path at the junction with the track at Crowberry Hause, bear right. Ignore another track turning off to the right, below a crag, continue ahead. This track starts climbing steeply, becoming very rough indeed with slippery shards of slate, and enters zigzags. After what seems like an age you reach a level area on your right with some old aerial tramway buildings.
Keep left and keep climbing steeply. Follow the ramp up right to left, and step over or duck under a couple of steel cables used on the aerial tramway. At the top bear right, but first feel free to explore leftwards a short way to the fallen tower, return to the path afterwards and keep climbing upwards.
As the path turns left, ahead in the glacial hollow Low Water appears. This makes a pleasant stopping point for food and drink.
From Low Water, return to the path and bear right.
Gradually climbing the path soon becomes more serious. Dark crags below the summit of the Old Man loom ahead. They don't get much sunshine so in winter this stretch is particularly icy. Following through the zigzags Low Water is quickly left below you.
Fix The Fells has been working (2015) on this upper part creating a stable stone pitched path. Keep to the path to allow the old eroded scar to recover.
When the gradient finally eases bear right and the summit cairn of Old Man of Coniston soon appears on a substantial stone plinth. The trig point is just the other side of the cairn.
On a good day the Isle of Man can be seen to the west.
The return journey is largely a matter of retracing your steps.
From the trig point, head south east past the large cairn, and then barely over 100m (110 yards), bear left north east to join the stone pitched zigzags, and path down to Low Water. Turn right and continue descending, past the area with the buildings now on your left. Below the next set of zigzags as you breath a sigh of relief that the track is far smoother, immediately before the track swings right bear left onto a path. This drops through grass slopes covered in summer bracken to be alongside Church Beck. If you miss this turn off you will end up at the Walna Scar Road car park high above the village facing a walk back down the road.
Reaching the Miners Bridge again you can alternatively cross to take the quarry track down. As you enter the village the Ruskin Museum is on your left.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Cumbria Way - Coniston to Dungeon Ghyll||63m (69 yards) away|
|Coppermines Valley above Coniston||72m (79 yards) away|
|Wetherlam, via Lad Stones ridge and Black Sails||85m (94 yards) away|
|Tarn Hows from Coniston||130m (143 yards) away|
|The Old Man of Coniston||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|Dow Crag and Goats Water||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|The Old Man of Coniston, Brim Fell, Swirl How, Wetherlam||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|Walna Scar, White Maiden, White Pike, with a visit to Blind Tarn||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|Tarn Hows, Black Fell, Holme Fell||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|A stroll around Tarn Hows||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|A visit to Cathedral Cavern from Tilberthwaite||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Steel Edge and Wetherlam Edge, from Tilberthwaite||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Carron Crag||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011