After our Previous hike to the Old Man and back again, and after falling in love with the village of Coniston and the surrounding area we decided to once again get back into the lakes and see what else it had to offer. We found a number of possible different routes to take for this but as we had booked a cottage that was on the mountain itself we wanted to take in Leavers Water which was close by, we chose this as our route up which allowed us to hit the peaks of Swirl How, Brim Fell and The Old Man again. If you want to follow this route please head to the coppermines cottages at the bottom of the mountain range just above Coniston that can be found here before then heading up to leavers water.
The route up from here is quite obvious, however it can be very hard going as most of the walk is over loose slate and there are a few wind traps along the way, conditions were not perfect when we attempted this and I would suggest waiting for calm weather. Upon reaching leavers water we were hit by two things, firstly a huge surge of water pushed by the wind to the edge of the lake which instantly soaked the two of us however, more importantly we were hit by the sheer size and beauty of the lake. We had passed a number of lakes on mountains but this one was huge in size and made the surrounding area so much more beautiful.
We headed off to the right of the lake and found a route that was obviously not used a huge amount, but it leads quite easily past the lake and upon reaching the edge of the lake we found that the path up to Swirl how was practically none existent. We pulled out the map and found where we needed to get to, and then made out way there the best we could.
After taking this route up to the top of the ridge, which took much longer than expected thanks to the conditions and the multiple bogs we passed we found going to be much different. The rain had slowed and the bogs had disappeared but only to be replaced by surging winds and a much lower temperature. As we began the scramble left towards Swirl how we took extra care on the rocks due to the wind and upon reaching the flattened top we realised just how windy it was while it swept over the peaks.
Once we left Swirl how we followed the route over the peaks past Great How Crags and Little How Crags, this part of the hike was quite hilly and rough, the route wasn’t a major one to tackle but the conditions didn’t help as the wind sweeping over the ridge caused a few moments where we just hunkered down rather than continuing one. Eventually we reached Brim Fell and the hike really came alive, the wind died down and the views opened up, we could see a very obvious route towards The Old Man which was great to see. The route widened and because much easier to walk on all the way to The Old Man.
Once at The Old Man we sat for a short while and took in the views but after a quick check on the weather it seemed the rain was coming back so we headed off down the Coniston Quarries route that we had originally done when we first visited. This was the most straight forward part of the hike as it was a clear stepped path that we already knew, following this down to the bottom again offered some amazing views of the surrounding area and lakes as well as Coniston village itself.
Once we got back towards the bottom we found a place to cross the river that runs down from the mountain range and back up to our cottage, a log fire was a must after the wet and windy walk we had just under taken but once again the views, the style of hike and the stunning beauty of the area had won us over.
If you are following this and need to get back into Coniston, rather than crossing the river keep following the track down, do not deviate or move off the route and you will get back into Coniston without a problem.