Two great walks from Coniston in the Lake District - Walk 1

A rain sandwich with a wide enough filling. 

View from Torver of The Old Man of Coniston
The Old Man of Coniston

Walk 1

Coniston was dripping wet on the Saturday morning when we were due to do a long walk.  Over breakfast, sitting in the conservatory at the Sun Inn, the noise of the torrential rain hitting the glass was almost deafening...

The six of us decided to have a slow start to the day, Andy and I wandered down the hill from the hotel into the village (under umbrellas) to scout out somewhere to book for our evening meal.  

By 11 o'clock the rain had eased to a fine drizzle and we were togged up in waterproofs and ready to go.  The original walk was changed to a shorter one, keeping to the lower slopes of 'The Old Man of Coniston'.

The hardest part of the walk was trudging uphill to Walna Scar car park, where we would pick up our trail (we could have driven up but decided that walking would be better). 

Walking route Coniston to Torver around the lower side of The Old Man of Coniston
Route from the Sun Inn up the lane to Walna Scar car park

The gradient is very steep and we were soon huffing and puffing our way up the road. At one point we were surprised to see some alpacas in a field of sheep. There was plenty of mist at the higher levels so we were glad we had decided on a low level walk.

Alpaca and sheep
Walking up to Walna Scar car park

Once at the car park it was easy to spot the tracks including one up to the Old Man (to the right) and another straight ahead towards Seathwaite, which is the one we took. There was plenty of water around, the rain had made the ground soft and there were many streams gushing down the slopes.

Route to Banishead Quarry
Path around the 'Old Man of Coniston'

Mist and rushing water from the Coniston fells
Mist over the hills and plenty of water streaming downhill

The footpath follows alongside the lower reaches of Old Man of Coniston, the mountain that overlooks the village at a height of 803 metres (2,634 feet). We followed the track until we could also see Dow Crag, next to the Old Man and above us to the right (778 metres) and spotted a vague path to the left heading in the direction of Torver. 

Turning left we headed down hill through the ferns until we found a definite path. After a short while we came across Banishead Quarry, with a full waterfall pouring into the bottom of the quarry. It was a really unexpected and beautiful sight.

Waterfall on the Coniston to Torver route
Waterfall at Banishead Quarry

The footpath continues downhill through the remains of a slate mine until it reaches some farm buildings where it eventually becomes a road that vehicles could use, although we didn't see any until we reached the bottom of the path near the main Coniston to Torver road (A593).

Footpath, track and road to Torver from Banishead Quarry
From Banishead Quarry to Torver

We were watched by curious sheep as we walked by. Luckily the weather brightened up, the mist lifted and the sun managed to find its way out from the clouds.

Cumbrian sheep
Curious sheep on the Consiton fells

By the time we reached the Church House Inn in Torver it was quite sunny.

Fish finger sandwiches at the Church House Inn with a glass of beer were just the ticket. Refreshed are raring to go we found a footpath out from the back of the pub that follows a disused railway line northeastwards to pick up the path along the lake shore back to Coniston. The only tricky part is immediately after walking under a bridge the footpath is found by turning back to the left and over the bridge then taking the first track to the left through Hoathwaite campsite as detailed in a previous walk here.

Footpath from Banished Quarry to Torver
Dow Crag to the left and The Old Man of Coniston to the right

The footpath then heads down to the lake side and passes the 16th Century Coniston Hall before becoming a wide path to return to Coniston.

The sun shone down on us for the rest of the walk and it was lovely seeing children splashing about in the lake surrounded by the fells.

Summer on the shores of Coniston Water
Children enjoying Coniston Water

Lakeshore of Coniston Water at Hoathwaite
Coniston Water
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