The same fells on a different day…
The Coniston fells were shrouded in mist when I set off and they were in and out of the clouds all morning as the sun tried its best to shine through. It is a great ridge walk from The Old Man to Swirl How and a fair while since I have done it – I’m glad I did today as I enjoyed it and saw no one this Monday morning.
I actually came to Coniston yesterday (Wednesday 6th January) to walk theses fells but decided against it due to the heavy snow when I arrived there – I knew the fells would still be there another day and surely enough, this morning turned out lovely and clear. This would be fantastic and memorable day for a walk on the fells. According to Radio Cumbria, last night was the coldest ever recorded in Cumbria with a temperature of -14.5C recorded at Carlisle. When I got to Coniston it was -9C, so I knew it would be pretty cold today. As it turned out, it was quite warm in the sunshine but when in the wind or shade, then it was particularly noticeable how cold it really was.
The conditions were a little strange up on Coniston today, oddly cold – yet warm and clear – yet hazy! I never quite got above the haze layer today but the sun did manage to break through at times. The temperature was below freezing when I set off and when I returned yet in the sunshine it was really warm with the temperature only seemingly plummeting in the breeze at the top.
That wasn’t supposed to happen! The weather was predicted to be the same as yesterday, blue skies and general loveliness above the clouds – however, rule #1 is there is no accounting for the weather. There was a strong wind and grey skies above the low lying fog with the upper clouds only clearing at the very end of the walk. This was a good long walk on the shortest day of the year and the fells were surprisingly busy today.
It didn’t look too promising when I set off along the Walna Scar Road and sure enough when I reached Brown Pike the wind was gale force and the hailstones were shotblasting my face. Magically, when I reached Dow Crag, the clouds cleared (blown away presumably!) and there were lovely blue skies. The wind was ever present and made the walking difficult at times; full winter gear was required today. Today was the first time I have ever been recognised on the fells from this website (okay, Angus was recognised to be technically correct). He’s famous that dog!
Connie had better things to do today so it was up to Coniston for me and Angus. The weather was variable with the odd spot of rain but there were generally good views, especially when we got to Swirl How. It was really busy up there today so we went the quietest way we could – straight up the nose of the Old Man and returning via Boulder Valley. Both are much quieter than the popular routes.