2014:  April 20

Coniston to Little Langdale and Back

Our Easter Sunday walk to Little Langdale was ably led by Ralph. Our walk took in the "beauty spot" of Tarn Hows, as well as the mini-peaks Black Crag and Holme Fell. We came across some very deep abandoned slate quarries which were testimony to a once vibrant slate mining industry in the Furness and Coniston Fells.

Coniston to Tarn Hows

On the first part of the walk we discovered a Victorian stone dog kennel and got some nice views back towards Lake Coniston. Early Summer was close at hand in the attractive woods leading to Tarn Hows. The light green landcape was punctuated here and there with yellow gorse.

This late 19th century "gothic folly" on the Monk Coniston Estate, was put up by the Marshall family to house their foxhounds at a time when, for well-to-do families, fox hunting was "a local tradition and a social obligation". So the notice tells us. Not quite the same today.

We rise to higher ground, catching a glimpse of Lake Coniston beyond the gorse and pines.

Tarn Hows Wood leads ...

... to some open spaces ...

... with views of the surrounding fells.

It's a quiet landscape, with lots of grass for the sheep to munch.

Beyond Tarn Hows Cottage we take the high road to Tarn Hows itself.

This is Tarn Hows: birch trees and conifers and ...

... more conifers and lots of people (out of sight in this view) who have come by car.
For many the motto seems to be, "why walk when you can do your constitution a massive disfavour by sitting in a car?", or words to that effect. Err, doh!

No fungus on this tree trunk, but lots of coins glued into the said trunk.
It's one way of spending your money.

Black Crag

We wend our way through larch woods to National Trust land, where upon sits Black Crag, all 322 metres of it. Sunshine and haze, haze and sunshine. The weather comes and goes but leaves us reasonably rain-free until we get closer to Little Langdale.

There are larches to the south of us ...

... and larches to the east of us - Monty Python would have a field day!
Here there is a glimpse of the Black Crag "hills" ahead.

We look across to the Furness Fells and to Holme Fell which we would visit later in the day.

Whilst admiring the view, it's also time for a lunch break ...

... and here is a bit more of the view.

Before we reach Black Crag we take in a view of Tarn How from above.

And here is the assembled company on Black Crag.

And here am I on Black Crag.

And here is Black Crag on its own - "visitorless" as it were.

Little Langdale

Onwards we go to the "Three Shires" in Little Langdale, via "Tongue Intake Plantation" and "Stang End". There seem to be a lot of "intakes" around - perhaps connected with the collection of water for public water mains. The rain makes a brief appearance but does not "overstay its welcome".

We traverse some pleasant farming country ...

... until we have in our sights Little Langdale nestling at the foot of Lingmoor Fell, the other side of which I think can be seen from Pavey Ark.

Here is the "Three Shires Inn". I'm not sure which three shires are relevant here. We had some nice refreshment and I offered the white bread that came with my soup to a worthy recipient. Not God's gift to the Universe of course, but it sparked off a discussion on white bread in Mediterranean countries. I could not understand why white bread, disapproved of for various documented reasons by the medical profession, should be an important factor in making the Mediterranean people supposedly healthy (Mediterranean Diet you know). Or are Mediterranean people healthy despite the white bread? Or are Mediteranean people healthier than us because of the white bread? Or are Mediterranean people really healthier than us in the first place? Or are Mediterranean people healthy at all? Of course, all this masks an ever expanding major global health challenge ... However, such considerations are probably best supported by gathering the well known facts, for which interesting and useful exercise there was really not much time at this very moment.
After all, there was still more of our walk to enjoy!

Wetherlam rears up in the distance. Wetherlam was the mountain some of us scaled by a steep (east slope) scramble yesterday. As mentioned, yesterday we could see Little Langdale from the mountain summit. In some ways, it's a small world in the Lake District.

Holm Fell

Suitably refeshed, we headed out of Little Langdale. The Furness Fells were our quest, in particular, Holm Fell, and in "very particular", the cairn thereupon. On the way, another quarry - this time a very large and deep one - caught our attention. There sure was a lot of slate quarrying hereabouts. Not needed anymore but interesting for us visitors.

Here is the deep quarry, on the approach to Holm Fell. People seemed to be swimming in the said quarry, in the process making a racket which bounced off the steep quarry walls. Somewhere there was a way down into the quarry, but we did not tarry to find out.
Ours was another another quest - Holm Fell.

The way up to the cairn on Holm Fell is not really marked out on the OS map, but seemed to lead between two ponds which originally (so the OS map) served a function as water reservoirs.

One of the two ponds provided a nice setting for a picture with our destination cairn somewhere on the fell rising up in the background.

Having scaled some of the fell, we look back on the larger pond.

We have almost reached our cairn. Phew, it's windy up here!
That's one thing the picture doesn't show!

We are here for the view, and we are not disappointed by this view
towards Lake Coniston - err, Coniston Water.

Here's our cairn.

And here are two more views ...

... towards Coniston Water.
It's very windy up here, but probably much quieter down by the water.

The path off Holm Fell twists and turns high above Yew Tree Tarn, but eventially reaches a farm from which this well kept track ...

... leads to Shepherd's Bridge (or should it be Shepherds' Bridge?) and so to the track behind our hostel. It was a good low level walk with plenty of variety. Thanks Ralph!

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