The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 3 February 2014

Breezy and Snowy on Dow Crags

This stop-off, on our way north in Colin, came about because I had a sudden urge (with no apparent trigger) to go and walk up The Old Man of Coniston. We’ve been up there before, but it was so many years ago that I couldn’t even say what year it was. It was certainly before records began.

So, off we set this morning from Park Coppice Caravan Site to walk a circuit over Brown Pike, Buck Pike, Dow Crags and The Old Man.

Visibility wasn’t great, but most of the time it wasn’t as bad as this snap makes it look:

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Most of the route also wasn’t as snowy as this snap makes it look:

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The exception was the top and north side of Dow Crag where it was quite wintry. It made the scramble up the top quite interesting, but not as interesting as the first bit of the descent. From there we were just yomping on through soft-but-not-too-soft snowiness which persisted all the way down to the col above Goat’s Water.

By the time we were heading down to that col we’d decided we would omit The Old Man after all, and just head down via Goat’s Water. It wasn’t the snow that was putting us off, and visibility was now pretty good; it was the wind. Forty-five miles per hour was the highest reading I got on my little anemometer, but I’m sure there were some gusts that would have read higher.

The problem was that The Old Man looked so close and the summit was free from cloud, and it seemed such a shame to be so close and not go up so up we headed.

Rumbling stomachs got the better of us not far into the ascent and some craggy bits offered us shelter for lunch, which is our resolve waivered. Listening to the wind howl and watching the little stream in front of us getting whipped up hill, and with painfully cold fingers and toes, I didn’t put up any resistance when Mick suggested we retreat and go via Goat’s Water after all. And so that’s what we did:

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Our only encounter with the Walna Scar Road on the way back was to cross it, as a glance at the map suggested we could achieve a figure of eight rather than repeating any of our outward route. Our unplanned path took us past an attractive flooded old quarry (complete with very noisy waterfall), but otherwise it was a reasonably unremarkable route.

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The Garmin Gadget told us that we walked 9 miles with 2700’ of up. Our weary bodies told us that we need to work on our endurance!

10 comments:

  1. Yes the north side of Dow can be quite leg breaking in snowy conditions with the large boulders being partially hidden. Also quite a drop off to the right too. There is/was a small stone shelter from the wind on the north side of the top on the left side of the path as you head over to the house. We call it Mick's house after the builder but it would have been quite appropriate with you two.

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    1. There are large bolders after Dow Crag?! That snow must have been quite deep yesterday after all!

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  2. Sorry "house" should have been hause but predictive text thought differently.

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  3. Please be gentle with me at the weekend. I'm...not fit.

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    1. I'm perfectly happy with gentle :-)

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  4. All good stuff on familiar territory for me. I did some good climbs on Dow a few years ago. Looking forward to your further adventures.

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    1. I'm going dizzy just at the thought of climbing up those walls!

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  5. January walks are always hard after the Xmas breaks. Keep at it and those big days on the trail will soon be happening.

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    1. Turns out that February walks can be quite hard too!

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  6. Thats a fine point as I'm loosing track of time already this year :)

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