We parked next to Coniston Lake and had the most amazing view out of the van. Literally three steps out of the door and you’d be soaked!
We couldn’t climb the next day and decided to head up to Old Man Coniston via a couple of scrambles. The first problem was parking. We tried to park in a grass car park and got stuck immediately. After an age of trying everything from car mats, snow chains, grit, digging etc did we get out. We ended up parking roadside and having a longer walk in. So far this trip was fraught with difficulties coupled with bad weather.
The extra walk up was great though, following a stream until you reached the main car park. From here we did a little scramble on an outcrop to the right had side of the main path. It was wet, but still easy enough. Next we planned another scramble, but unfortunately we couldn’t find the start. Once we did, we were so far above it plus it looked less like a scramble and more like a full blown waterfall!
We carried on up the tourist path and made it to the lake before it decided to pour it down again. As were never bothered by the summit, we decided to get down and back to the van!
By now the van was starting to smell a bit soggy! All this wet weather, and the mud stained mats and kit, we needed a dry day!
Luckily the next day was ok. Only ok though! This day we had the nightmare of trying to get to the crag car park, each time we came to a turn in it was too small for the van, the next was blocked off and the final one said we were too heavy for the bridge. I was close to losing my shit! Lots going wrong!
We decided to try a new crag, which was a considerable drive away, however for once luck was on our side. As we were winding down country roads I noticed the name of a pub from the guidebook. This was the pub that was close to the Wallowbarrow crag we were originally intending to climb at. I pulled in and double checked. I was right, so we found some free parking and set off to climb. Only problem was I set off in the wrong direction completely. I don’t do that ever, so maybe it shows I’m rusty or just things aren’t going well!
Once we headed in the right direction though, it turned out to be a lovely walk in, that followed a pathway made up mostly of streams. I was so glad to have Goretex trainers, I was not so glad that they’re ten years old and have more holes than a sieve.
At the foot of the crag we were faced with more wet climbs. One group had started a route and bailed. We started on the one next to it and it was drier and not too bad of a route, truth be told this crag was good rock.
We came down and started up the route that the other group bailed on. Saved their gear for them and then carried on up. Both routes were great, apart from the damp. We both really liked this crag, and now we knew where to park we would come back in the future.
That night we carried on our planned drive across the Lakes to Langdale. It was a beautiful drive through the lakes. Even if it was a little tight at some times!
We parked roadside near Scout Crag, ready for the next day. This crag was roadside and slightly polished. For once the weather was perfect, and the crag was really quiet. Just is and another group.
We did two climbs, both were good, not classics, but good fun non the less. At last it was the right weather and good climbing. What we had come to do.
On the second climb, even though the first pitch was a little underwhelming, the second swung out onto the arete in an airy move. This gave a great position on the rock and was definitely the highlight of this crag/climb.
We hit the road again, this time coming full circle and heading back towards Keswick. There was a cliff called Castle Rock of Triermain, that had a few climbs in the lower grades. The car park we found we one of the only ones I’d seen without parking charges. Although there was a machine being installed, so that’s soon to change.
It seems the Lakes is one big money making machine. That’s fine, but I will avoid this place for that reason alone. North Wales has the same mountainous surroundings, but nearly all mountain car parks are free. Apart from the key ones for Snowdon etc. I don’t mind paying there or near towns etc, but in the middle of nowhere. Even if it was 2-3 pound a day, I’d accept it, but most are 7/8 for the day? The same Brighton City Centre?
This was our last days climbing, the cliff seemed pretty steep, and the routes tough for the grade. This turned out to be quite deceiving. The routes were good, solid climbing on good holds. I think in the future when I’m climbing regularly, this would be a good crag to visit again. Loads of routes below VS, so plenty to get stuck into.
One of the highlights of this crag was the walk off, it literally had steps built in. It seems at some point, someone put effort into making this a nice crag to visit.
We took a stroll to the nearby lake, with the hope of going for a swim, but as this was a resivoir, there was signs saying no swimming everywhere. Oh well we travelled halfway across the country to not swim in the lakes!
We had a long drive home and that was it! Another good week climbing. We. Decided that this was a lovely place but probably not somewhere that we would live. Way too much rain, plus it’s pretty expensive for housing in the lakes themselves. Time for trip number two!