Coniston Old Man from Coniston
Coniston Old Man


Estimated net time 2-2 hour
Difficulty No difficulties.
The whole route is done on path. The first section can be driven by most cars, but it gets rougher higher up.
Drinking water Several stream in the lower section of the route. Probably also OK to drink the water from lake Low Water at 545 metres.
GSM coverage Coverage throughout the route (October 2010).
Parking Room for many cars at car parks by trail head (there are three levels of car parks).
Start height 232 metres (assuming you have to park at the upper car park).
Vertical metres 590 metres for the roundtrip.
Trip distance 6.5 km
GPS-file X


Route photo

  Start of route to Coniston Old Man, from above Coniston.


Assuming you drive road M6 north from Manchester. Exit at junction 36 towards Kendal, and then follow signs for Windermere, and then Ambleside. From Ambleside drive road A593 west, approximately 11.8 km, to the village of Coniston. Drive through the village centre, and after the road has done a 90 right across a small bridge turn right onto a narrow road. Drive this road uphill for 800 metres, past a hotel, and turn right at the T-junction. Approximately 100 metres later leave the road by heading uphill a narrow road. Follow this road uphill 1.3 km to a gate. Drive through the gate (remember to close it after you have passed, and find parking on the car parks located at three different levels.

From the car park you can see two wide paths (mountain roads), one going right (north/north-west) and one going left (south-west) as you face the mountain. You should follow the path going right, which will take you onto the ridge to your north-west. Follow this path uphill, and past an old slate mine. A little above the remains of the mine the path forks, and you should follow the right leg. Continue uphill to lake Low Water. Turn left here, and climb south up to the south-east ridge of Coniston Old Man. When the terrain gets flatter you should turn right (north-west) and you're only a little over 100 metres from the summit. The summit is marked by a big cairn built on top of a large slate foundation.

Descend by reversing your ascent route.



08. October 2010

Elisabeth and me had already climbed Skiddaw earlier this Friday, our first full day of our long week-end stay at the Lake District, but because of the foggy conditions at Skiddaw I was keen to get up to another mountain to enjoy the supposedly nice Lake District scenery. So after lunch in sunny Ambleside I headed south to Coniston, only to find the mountains here covered with fog. But the initial disappointment was soon turned into a "don't care, I'll climb it anyway", and after three stops in order to ask for directions from Coniston village, I was parked at the trail head car park. Here I chatted a little with an older man, and he informed me about the safest route given the thick fog. He also said that he had set out before 9 this morning, and there had been no fog, but by the time he got to the summit it was all fogged in. I thanked him for the information and started to run along the flat path at the beginning of the route.

At around 450 metres I passed the remains of a slate mine, which clearly had been left without any tidying up before being abandoned. A lot of the slate structures were quite nice, but the wires scattered around the hill side should in my opinion have been removed. Soon after having passed the mine I got to the nice lake Low Water, where a couple had stopped for food and a rest. However, I wasn't in the mood for resting, and pushed hard up the steeper side towards Coniston Old Man's south-west shoulder. I met a number of other hikers through this section, and just below the summit I overtook a woman with a dog. She was clearly only out for some exercising, and after having touched the large summit cairn, headed straight back down. I hung around for a few minutes, looking for signs of the fog lifting, but in vain. So I soon started my descent, enjoying overtaking a number of the hikers I had met during my ascent. Then back to Ambleside for a shower, before enjoying a nice beer in the sun outside our hotel.

Photos 08.10.2010