BB0923 : The Coniston Outliers

Friday 31st July 2009

Watching a video of your daughter’s wedding is not the best way to prepare for a strenuous BOOTboys outing.  The discs arrived yesterday so, last night, Margaret and I settled down to watch all three hours, two bottles of wine and a big pile of cheese and biscuits of it!

Mr & Mrs Massara

Emma with BOOTboys Stan, Don & Bryan

Filmed by my great nephew George, he did a great job in capturing the joy and fun of the event. However, as I crept off to bed in the small hours, I realised that my performance today might be a little impaired.   I was gambling that Stan would be similarly handicapped, entertaining his Spanish in-laws and, fortunately, so it proved.

As we are banned from tackling any new Wainwrights until Tony is recovered, it was a bit of a problem to come up with a route that was interestingly different.  But Stan rose to the challenge and produced a cracker, the idea being to complete the Coniston Outliers- not featured in the seven guide books although Walna Scar and Caw have chapters in his Outlying Fells, which I failed to consult until afterwards!

We parked at the Walna Scar Road car park- always a good move as it saves about 500 feet of climbing from Coniston- and headed west along the “road”.  So far, it was quite a bright day after all the wet ones recently.

The Walna Scar Road with Brown Pike, Buck Pike and Dow Crag

What is Stan doing?

We passed a small slate shelter.  

I asked Stan to go and stand by it in order to give it perspective.  

Instead he went inside.  

I am not sure what he was doing.  

Check the photo (click for an enlargement) and decide for yourself!

On reaching the col, there was a surprise view over to Harter Fell and beyond to the Scafells.  

The Walna Scar Road col

Our route now lay up to the left over Walna Scar. In our enthusiasm, we bypassed White Maiden- just why, I can’t know understand; it would have been better to have included it but we didn’t- we headed straight for White Pike.

White Pike (I think!!)

Approaching Caw

The descent to the southeast was very steep and rocky and then we crossed the bog in order to approach Caw- our main objective and the southwesternmost outlier of the Coniston Fells.  This is a hill of false summits.  Stan and I took different routes.  I thought that the true summit with the trig point was behind what appeared to be the highest point so I took a sneaky line off to the right.  Stan approached the top diretissimo up a nasty scramble only to find that it wasn’t the true top and that I was to be seen just below at the trig point relaxing!

The reason I was just below and not actually at the trig point was that there was a gale blowing on the top.  After Stan arrived, I used the trig point as a mount for the team photo but the wind kept blowing the camera over- it took several attempts before I had a picture other than sky or concrete!  

Comitibus, Caw

Duddon Estuary from Caw

The Duddon Estuary could be seen away to the south with the tide well out.

We returned northeast but this time traversing the hill to the old quarry where we took lunch on a spoil heap.  

Old Mine buildings with Scafells behind

Some twenty minutes later, the temperature dropped markedly and it was too cold to linger.  We headed up the west side of the Walna Scar Road, laden by lunch laviscolating in our stomachs- one reason why we don’t normally like to eat until the climbing is out of the way,

Brown Pike (in foreground), Buck Pike and Dow Crag

At the col, this time we headed north up to Brown Pike and then on to Buck Pike.  

Buck Pike from Brown Pike

Dow Crag from Buck Pike

The wind was strengthening and I was slightly anxious about the top of Dow Crag.  I remembered from my last visit (BB0619) that there is one short section which overlooks a 900 foot drop down to Goat’s Water and, wimp that I am, I was wondering if the wind might be strong enough to cause an impromptu fast descent.  Also, the sky was darkening and rain was threatening.

On reaching the ledge, I found it was larger than I remembered and, to prove to myself that it was not a problem, I paused there and took a four-in-a-square panorama shot of Coniston Old Man and Goat’s Water.  

900 feet down to Goat's Water, Coniston Old Man behind

Unfortunately the photo does not really demonstrate the drama of the location and the sheerness of the drop.  You get a better idea in the photo taken from the top of Goat’s Hawse.  

Dow Crag from Goat's Hawse

Dow Crag’s cliffs are amongst the most impressive in the Lake District.  Stan spotted some climbers and told me that in his younger days he had climbed the cliffs. Respect!

All day long we had maintained a fast pace and this continued down to Goat’s Water and beyond to Walna Scar Road.  

The path from Goat's Water

The pounding on the rock steps started to take its toll on my left knee and, by the time I reached the car, I was the most hobbly I have been for a long time on a BB outing.  

Emma and Scott

Am I out of condition or is age catching up with me, I pondered?

It looked as if the rain was about to set in as we drove off.  

But it didn’t.  

It was a pleasant drive home.  

And now for another round of wedding footage.

Pass the corkscrew, please.

Don, 31st July 2009


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Friday 31st July 2009


11.2 miles

Height climbed:

3,418 feet


Dow Crag

Other Key Features:

Walna Scar, White Pike, Caw, Brown Pike, Buck Pike


Don, Stan


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0923.

Steve G advises: "For those who like to look at your meanderings but use Tracklogs or other software then your logs can be converted using the freeware utility GPS Babel."

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!


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BOOT boys

This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as often as possible!

As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.

As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an item of footwear, and certainly not from any skin head associations or other
type of social group,
but is in memory of
Big Josie,
the erstwhile landlady
of the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale,
who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day 1973
and other odd evenings many years ago!

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2009 Outings

  • BB0901 : A Gordon Day Out
    Thursday 8th January
  • BB0902 : Thank You,
    Aunty Ethel!
    Wednesday 14th January 
  • BB0903 : A Wicked Hike???
    Wednesday 21st January
  • BB0904 : Take a Mug With You
    Sunday 25th January
  • BB0905 : Down in the Forest
    Thursday 29th January
  • BB0906 : Not How But Where?
    Thursday 5th February
  • BB0907 : Binsey Can Wait
    (but Uncle Monty Can Not)
    Thursday 12th February
  • BB0908 : Badgers on the Line
    Thursday 5th March
  • BB0909 : It's not a W!
    Thursday 12th March
  • BB0910 : Up on the Roof
    Thursday 26th March
  • BB0911 : Not the Blisco Dashers
    Thursday 2nd April
  • BB0912 : John's Comeback
    Monday 6th April
  • BB0913 : Two Churches, a Pulpit and a Cherry Picker
    Thursday, 23rd April
  • BB0914 : Companions of the BOOT
    Thursday 30th April
  • BB0915 : The Gale Force Choice
    Thursday 7th May
  • BB0916 : The Comeback Continues
    Thursday 21st May
  • BB0917 : BOOTboys Encore !
    28th May - 2nd June
  • BB0918 : Hello Dollywagon
    Thursday 11th June
  • BB0919 : Has Anyone Seen Lily?
    Thursday 18th June
  • BB0920 : Ancient Feet on the Greenburn Horseshoe
    Thursday 25th June
  • BB0921 : The Tebay Fell Race Walk
    Thursday 2nd July
  • BB0922 : For England and St George 
    Thursday 9th July
  • BB0923 : The Coniston Outliers
    Friday 31st July
  • BB0924 : Little To Be Said In Favour?
    Thursday 6th August
  • BB0925 : The Third Night of the Rescue 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BB0926 : Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy Fun?
    Thursday 20th August
  • BB0927 : Dear Mrs Scroggins
    Friday 11th September
  • BB0928 : An Ard Day's Hike
    Thursday 17th September
  • BB0929 : A Canter of Convalescents?
    Thursday 24th September
  • BB0930 : BOOTboys International Autumnal Expedition
    Wednesday 23rd to
    Sunday 27th September
  • BB0931 : A Bit of an Adventure
    Thursday 1st October
  • BB0932 : Paths of Glory?
    Thursday 8th October
  • BB0933 : When Yorkshire Was Welsh
    Wednesday 14th October
  • BB0934 : Unlocking the Whinlatters
    Thursday 22nd October
  • BB0935 : A Tale of Crinkley Bottoms
    hursday 5th November
  • BB0936 : Aye Up What?
    hursday 12th November
  • BB0937 : Where Eagles Wade
    Tuesday 17th November
  • BB0938 : After the Floods
    Thursday 26th November
  • BB0939 : The Mystery of the Missing Glove
    Thursday 10th December
  • BB0940 : A Too Short Walk
    Thursday 17th December
  • BB0941 : One Hundred and Onesfell
    Tuesday 29th December



  • BH0901 : Back to the Beginning 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BSKIB09 : BOOTskiboys in Saalbach
    14th - 21st March
  • BB09XX : Los Chicos y las Chicas de la Bota
    11th - 14th May
  • BB09Bav01 : Peaked Too Soon
    1st September



Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large picture.



To download a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys click on Wainwrights

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!



 BOOT boys