A "bivvy" on the "Old Man"
Walks with a Camera © Geoff’s Pages 2011
Well in a sense, it is! We drove up to the Lakes on a hot July
Saturday, but lost much of the morning trying to find power
steering fluid for the car - so by the time we'd had lunch, there
was just time for a lazy amble around Loughrigg Tarn - which
proved to be the ideal occupation in the sweltering heat. Unlike
some hot days, the air was clear - really good for a few snaps....
darkness, before reaching the summit of Coniston
Old Man to see the sun rise.
And, unlike some plans, that is what we did. The
ancient Walna Scar road provides an excellent
route to the ridge south of Dow Crag, where a
short ascent then took us to the summit. We had
of course checked the weather forecast carefully
before making the trip - "Dry and clear, hot and
sunny". It was too - so hot still at 7pm that we had to resort to
the "wet hat" method of keeping cool - soak the "boggit" hat in a
convenient stream, wring it out, and wear it - wonderful!
Having photographed the sunset behind the Scafell range, it was
time to find that comfortable spot. It didn't exist, of course, and
what seemed comfortable at first became less comfortable as the
short night wore on, so that we really only dozed fitfully until
first light - time for breakfast and the Old Man....
....and it was from that summit, at about 5am, that we saw the
sun rise above the distant Pennines, highlighting all those little
ridges and dips away to the far horizon, and
quickly warming our slightly chilled selves. The
relative discomfort of the night hours was very
Soon we began our descent, carefully picking our
way down the popular tourist path through the
derelict copper mines,
before arriving back in
Coniston village. A quick purchase of one or
two provisions for a second breakfast, then
away - with minutes to go before the car
park charges applied....
Our next destination was Coniston Water, where the steam yacht
"Gondola" had just arrived after its last trip of the day. This fine
boat was restored from a derelict condition by its owners, the
Dow Crag and the Old Man:
We left the car in the main car park in Coniston village, a few
minutes after 6pm "If we get back by 8am, we won't have to pay
for car parking".... As we set off, bearing rucksacks and "bivvy
bags", we heard one of the older residents ask his colleagues
"where do they think they're going at this time?". We knew exactly
where - the summit of Dow Crag via the Walna Scar road, then a
cosy boulder somewhere sheltered to spend the hours of