Coniston Old Man & Tarn Hows
A Coniston walking weekend not to be missed as we explore some of the finest walking trails in Coniston.
“Best known of the Coniston fells is the Old Man, a benevolent giant revered by generations of walkers and of particular esteem in the eyes of the inhabitants of the village he shelters, for he has contributed much to their prosperity. Coniston without its Old Man is unthinkable.” Alfred Wainwright 1958
The Old Man of Coniston has a presence all of its own despite it being the end of a main ridge which makes up the topography of this wonderful mountain range. However, the Old Man is the perfect objective for a day’s walk from the village of Coniston, with mountain tarns, waterfalls, and the relics of the copper mining industry marking the way to the summit.
A scenic guided second days’ walk takes us to famous Coniston Water and the beauty spot of Tarn Hows once owned by Beatrix Potter who did so much for future generations of Lake District walkers.
- Reaching the summit of Coniston Old Man
- Views across Coniston Water, home to the famous Swallows & Amazons and Donald Campbell’s water speed record
- Tarn Hows
- Stunning scenery
Accommodation for this tour is not included. For accommodation information and all essential tour information please click on the ‘Trip Notes’ tab.
Friday – (Optional) Welcome Evening
Friday Welcome Evening (optional) is 8.30pm at The Black Bull Inn, Coniston. It’s a chance for everyone on the weekend to meet and the Country Adventures tour leader will be on hand to answer any questions about the planned walks. If you’re unable to make it to the Welcome Evening, the booking confirmation will detail everything you need to know about the weekend.
Saturday - Walk Day
Grade 3 walk – Coniston Old Man 6.5 miles (10.4), with 2627 ft (801m) of ascent
From Coniston village, the start of todays walk is a steady uphill section on a wide track running parallel with Church Beck where we might see groups of people gorge scrambling and jumping down waterfalls in the beck. Our route is a steady uphill walk to the Coniston summit with wide open views on good footpaths created by the workers who once mined copper on the Coniston hillside and there will be plenty of opportunity to take in the views to the top.
A hidden mountain lake at the foot of the steep sided slopes leading from behind the Old Man also makes for an enjoyable and rewarding descent from the top.
In the evening, an optional social evening is planned in Coniston village, where the group can meet up for a drink and enjoy an evening meal together.
Sunday - Walk Day & Departure Day
Grade 2 walk – Tarn Hows 7 miles (11.2km), with 1112 ft (339m) of ascent
Todays walk has been graded an easy Grade 2 which leaves Coniston village along a scenic trail with the main ascent of the day being the top of Tarn Hows.
Once owned by the author Beatrix Potter, Tarn Hows is simply idyllic. The views of the surrounding high fells of Wetherlam and Old Man of Coniston are also spectacular from Tarn Haws. With your packed lunch, we will find a wonderful viewpoint from which to enjoy lunch. The guided walk will feature a circuit of the tarn to fully appreciate this popular visitor attraction.
As we follow a woodland trail downwards we finally reach the shores of Coniston Water – famous for Swallows & Amazons and Donald Campbell’s water speed record. The lakeside footpath is partly through woodlands but with lovely views across Coniston Water and then wide open views of the lake. On a clear day across Coniston Water, you can see Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin – prominent social thinker and philanthropist in the Victorian era. There will be time for possible refreshments at the Bluebird Café on the shore of Coniston Water.
The walk, and weekend, will finish in Coniston village between 3-4pm
Accommodation is not included as part of this tour. If you require help with booking accommodation you may find the following links useful:
Windermere Information Centre accommodation booking service
The Crown Inn – Coniston village small hotel
YHA Coniston Holly How – Coniston budget price accommodation
Booking.com search for accommodation in Coniston, Cumbria
We recommend booking accommodation in, or near to, Coniston for easy reach to the meeting point for both the walks and social evenings.
Food & Drink
For the walk(s) please bring with you a packed lunch and refreshments. Occasionally on some guided walks (Grade 1 to 2 walks) we may pass a country inn or tea room where if we have time we can call in, however having a packed lunch with you gives the group the freedom to have lunch wherever we are on the walking route.
On Saturday evening, an optional social evening in Coniston village is organised by Country Adventures, where the group can meet up for a drink and enjoy an evening meal together.
For guided walking tours that require transport from the meeting point to the start of the walk, we use a minibus or where necessary local transport. There is no extra charge for this, it is included in the tour price.
Our walks are by no means designed to be endurance tests where everyone sets off at a blistering pace. Far from it, it’s about a fine day in the hills in good company enjoying the best of fell walking with exceptional views but it is important to state that for everyone’s walking enjoyment walking does require a minimum level of fitness and stamina. Hill / Mountain walking experience is not essential as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness. For the higher level graded walks (i.e. Challenging Grade) it is advisable that you are someone who enjoys regular cardio exercise or have experience of mountain walking and have the stamina/ leg strength in order to be better prepared for longer sections of uphill & downhill walking associated with higher mountain treks.
Walking Grades Explained
Grade 1 (Leisurely) Normally 5-8 miles, may include gentle ascents and descents of up to a total 1100ft of ascent and similar descent over a day’s walk. Easier scenic walking at lower altitudes along paths and tracks.
Grade 2 (Moderate) Normally 6-10 miles on paths and tracks, between 800ft – 1700ft of total ascent and similar descent. Longer walks, on hills and moorland.
Grade 3 (Moderate Mountain) Normally ranging from 6-10 miles, between 1700ft – 2600ft of ascent, similar descent. Longer walks, over higher ground with possibly steeper ups and downs on paths and tracks.
Grade 4 (Challenging) Normally ranging from 8-13 miles, between 1500ft – 3000+ft of ascent, similar descent, over undulating mountain terrain, walking at higher levels with steep ups and downs. Suitable for people with a good level of fitness.
What you need to bring with you for the walks
- Good, comfortable walking boots with a cleated sole and good ankle support are essential.
- Waterproof jacket and over-trousers.
- Warm, dry walking clothing. Unsuitable clothing includes Jeans or cotton tracksuit bottoms and cotton t-shirts (cotton is a poor insulating fabric and when wet it takes a long time to dry, which can lead to a rapid loss of body heat as well as being uncomfortable).
- A number of thin layers are better than one thick/ heavy jumper. We suggest a fleece for extra warmth especially when we stop on the hills for lunch.
- Hat and gloves (even in summer – any wind chill on the mountain tops will lead to cooler temperatures).
- Sunglasses, sun cream.
- Hot or cold drinks (i.e. a minimum of 2 litres of water).
- Plenty of food and drink for lunch and snacks.
- A rucksack large enough to carry it all in (20-30 litres), ideally with a waterproof liner.
- Any medication you need.
- Thermos flask. We recommend bringing warm drinks with you, as even on sunny days it can occasionally feel cooler, especially on the summits of the higher-level mountain walks.
- Walking poles (if you use them).
We want you to enjoy your time with Country Adventures and have the best possible adventure experience. Please be aware that if any participants are not properly equipped for the walk (i.e. with walking boots and waterproofs), at the guide’s discretion we reserve the right to not allow them on the walk for reasons of safety for both the individual and the group. If you need clarification any of the equipment requirements, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Tour Schedule & Activity Meeting Times
Please ensure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the meeting point at the required time. The transport for our day walks will leave promptly at the stated time and due to the nature of scheduled tours, we are unable to provide refunds if unfortunately, you miss the departure time.
Please meet outside Coniston Tourist Information Centre at 9.30am for the start of each days walk.
Address: Coniston Tourist Information Centre, Ruskin Avenue, Coniston, LA21 8EH