2014:  April 18

Our First Full Day in Coniston

Our first full day started with some quite amazing "alpine glows" behind our hostel, glows created by the fells (including Long Crag) basking in the morning sun. After breakfast we joined the path at the back of the hostel and made our way to the Miners' Bridge, gateway to the Coniston Fells. The Old Man of Coniston was busy today with Easter trippers out to catch the Good Friday sun, which indeed smiled upon us all day. From the Old Man, some took the high road to Wetherlam, and some accompanied me to the ridge opposite, to Dow Crag, Buck Pike and Brown Pike.

Alpine Glows Illuminate the Morn

The aesthetic phenomenon of Alpine Glow is something I had experienced oh so many years ago in - where do you expect? - the Alps. At the time it was an evening glow, but in the Lakes you can see that the early morning can do just as well if you wish to experience this natural phenomenon. In Consiston it was worth getting up a little bit earlier to see it - I certainly was not disappointed!

Long Crag lights up behind our hostel ...

... and the neighbouring cottages, as if to show us the way we would be taking later in the morning.

The brilliant glow behind the hostel ...

... seems even to penetrate the very lounge itself.

We Scale the "Old Man"

The Old Man of Coniston is an icon of Coniston, and so features prominently on the to-do programme of most visitors. The climb is rewarded by good views from the top, over Lake Coniston and well beyond. We take all this in our respective strides.

After breakfast we wait for "the gathering of the faithful" in anticipation of the day ahead.

And then we "have lift-off" in a manner of speaking. No starting pistol needed, just a general appreciation that it's a nice morning and the sunny weather is urging us to greater heights.

We reach the Miners' Bridge, the Gateway to the Coniston Fells.

It's time for a piccy or two.

A few more of us are still to come.
Today we have canine accompaniment, in the form of "Bertha", Lesley's "black labrador". I can't remember Bertha's official description, but "black labrador" seems to fit the bill!

The Coppermine YHA commands the centre right of this large open-air stage. Some paths lead down to it from Wetherlam.

Onwards we trek ...

... but in a while stop for a quick nibble and drop of water - both metaphorically speaking of course. Gavin, our Easter break organiser, takes centre stage.

Onwards and ever upwards we go, past ...

... and through, the abandoned slate workings of old.

The not so low "Low Water" is on our route and ...

... it's time for a short stop, paddle in the water - for Bertha - and a breather.

The summit is quite busy, even for non-Cloggies.

The obligatory 1930s' triagulation point and a rucksack frame this view into the distance.

Here is the ridge to Wetherlam ...

... to be taken shortly by this advance party of Cloggies.

For the joy if it, here are two more views from the triangulation point ...

... towards Lake Coniston and the outside world beyond.

This is not a cloggie (it was quite busy up here today) but the picture shows the tight juxtaposition of cairn and triangulation point.

Dow Crag and Brown Pike

The ridge opposite to the Old Man attracted the attention of some of us this afternoon. Dow Crag, Buck Pike and Brown Pike were on our route, which afforded splendid views towards Barrow and the Irish Sea. The Walna Scar Road from Seathwaite brought us back easily into Coniston.

Here is the ridge which we would shortly be taking.
The para-glider is obviously enjoying the view.

Para-glider and ridge again. Now Blind Tarn hoves into view. Impressive.

Here is the ridge again ...

... and yet again.

We set off, into the Great Outdoors.

On Dow Crag we stop for a group piccy - thanks Yvonne.

Our group seemingly contracts and expands once more!

Another view from Dow Crag, this time towards Lake Coniston. Mind the edge!

Dow Crag: the Old Man and a slightly younger man in the guise of Yours Truely.

Dow Crag: Yours Truely and Lake Coniston. The Secret Agent has come to The Lakes.

Dow Crag makes for some quite dramatic shots ...

... but mind the edge!

We head towards Brown Pike, all the while soaking up the views. Blind Tarn tries to hide in the shadow of Brown Pike.

We are on Brown Pike, which looks grey to me, reflecting - as it does - the afternoon sun.

Here is the Secret Agent again. Behind me, out of sight, and part way up towards the saddle of the ridge, lies Goat's Water - without the goats.

The way into Coniston is all green and sunny. This tree has eked out its wind-swept existence for many a year and has seen many walkers in its time.

And here is a close-up of our gnarled old tree. We are looking up the valley to the north of Coniston.

Here is another view as we get closer to Coniston.

Finally we descend into Coniston and the "Black Bull". Some search out a tea shop to celebrate what has been an excellent first day of our CLOG Easter Break.

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