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Walking with an Old Man

Posted 27 June 2012
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Walking with an Old Man
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July will see a number of organised walks and other events in the Lake District, with park rangers leading treks across some of the most famous fells.

However, one of them is curiously titled "Avoiding the Old Man", as the summit of the Old Man of Coniston is missed out in a trek staged on July 14th that nonetheless manages to take in some of the most notable features of the massif.

Starting at the Walna Scar Fell gate car park near Coniston village, the seven-mile, six-hour walk includes visits to Goats Water and Levers Water, two prominent tarns around the massif, as well as the summit of Swirl How, a comparatively minor summit but one that is on the Wainwright's list.

Participants are asked to bring "appropriate footwear" and walking equipment, so hiking boots and walking trousers should be among the items worn, while waterproofs are likely to be necessary.

The 2,635 ft summit of the Old Man is just one feature that may be missed on the trek. This is not because it is heading on an uninteresting route, but because this part of the Lake District contains a wider array of features and stories than most.

Other notable peaks include Dow Crag, which towers over Goat's Water itself. And Goat's Water and Levers Water are among several named tarns around the area.

The largest of these - Seathwaite Tarn - lies the other side of Goat's Hause at the start of the descent into the Duddon Valley and has appeared in Children's literature, with the adjacent mine dumps being featured in The Plague Dogs, by Watership Down author Richard Adams.

Like Seathwaite Tarn, Levers Water has also been enlarged by damming and one of the nearby mine shafts from the former copper mines on the east side of the mountain stretches to the foot of the barrier underground.

It was here in 1995 that an unexploded bomb had been found, which had failed to detonate because it had a dry fuse that went out. Who planted it and why remains a mystery.

Other tarns include Low Water, whose aquamarine colour is attributed to the copper content, plus smaller bodies like Blind Tarn and Boo Tarn.

With or without visiting the summit, the Old Man of Coniston is a place of endless interest for walkers.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801394449-ADNFCR