FW11:  Coniston (bottom) to Coniston (top)

Sunday 24th July 2011

Ian and Cynthia were otherwise engaged, at least one of them attending the birth of their grandson, Harry Rex, and, in any event, did not seem mad keen on this next stage of the walk which basically goes from the bottom of Coniston (the town, not the lake) to the top (the town, not the Old Man). Consequently, Margaret and I soloed today.

Swallows and Amazons?

On a beautiful late afternoon, we parked down at the lake side in the steamer car park and reversed the final steps of FW10 until we reached the road.  Here we turned west and headed into the town.

Looking down Coniston Water

Coniston Old Man framed

There was something I wanted to see in Coniston and maybe it had some bearing on why Ian was not that bothered about this stage. Only a little bit off track is the Ruskin Museum which was designed by him some twelve years ago. From the sign round the back, I presume it is built on the site of the old Mount Zion Primitive Methodist Chapel.

The Ruskin Museum on the site of .....

.... the old Primitive Chapel

Although the building looks good and the Rough Guide calls the museum "the most thought provoking in the lakes", sadly the museum's self promotion is feeble. Its website is dire and in the town I couldn't see any signs to help the visitor find the premises. Fortunately, the Visit Cumbria website does a rather better job of showing it off.  

We had a look in the gift shop but Margaret was not really in museum mode so, although she volunteered to wait whilst I went round, I thought it better to leave that pleasure to another day.  Sorry Ian, I can't yet give a constructive critique of the design!!  Next time, perhaps.

Bluebird model in the shop

The Story of Conist

After a navigational error which gave us the benefit of a washing picture (I foolishly thought we could access the Walna Scar Road from the museum road), we got back on track, passing a rather fine old car on the way, and began the serious climb up to the Walna Scar Road.

Coniston washing

Maxwell circa 1910?

Part way up, we heard a noise which Margaret correctly identified as the Red Arrows arriving to put on their display over Lake Windermere, it being Air ShowWeekend. Unfortunately, where we were was wooded and, for a while, we were unable to get any sort of a view.  However, once we climbed out of the wood and into a field, we could see the Red Arrows performing several of their routines in the distance, What was a bit surprising was that their departure was via a formation flight down Coniston Water, not Lake Windermere.  Not that I managed to get a decent photo of it!  Still, some of the other photos weren't too bad, considering the distance.

For better pictures, here are two from 2007, taken from Orrest Head.

Also, see Windermere Air Show 2010, although there were no Red Arrows last year.

It is a pity the display had not been ten minutes later (or we had arrived ten minutes sooner) as the view from the Walna Road Car Park would have been so much better but never mind!

Coniston Old Man from near the Walna Road Car Park

This is the start point of the next section of the Furness Way so here we broke off and headed south (pausing briefly for a snack), dropping down to Heathwaite.

Team picture

Brantwood and Coniston Hall

We continued downhill to the south end of Coniston (town) with its attractive terraces of old mining cottages, including a surprise model hamlet.

Coniston terraces

More cottages

Model hamletl

Sunset (nearly) over the Old Man

On reaching the car park we had a last look down the lake before heading south to renew our acquaintance with the Red Lion at Lowick Bridge and its Whitby Prawns!

Compliments to the landlord- he warned us they might take thirty minutes to produce and yet they arrived in ten.  That's service.

Don, 24th July 2011


Distance in miles:


63.8  in total  

Height climbed in feet:


8,854 in total




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Arnside to

Heversham to

Levens Bridge to

Helsington to

 Crosthwaite to

Witherslack to

Cartmel to
Low Wood

Low Wood to
Lowick Bridge

Lowick Bridge to
Low Parkamoor

Low Parkamoor to

Coniston to

Boot to


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