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The Filthy Lucre Tour
First touch of meat
23rd Apr 2006
Coniston Old Man (It's a Mountain, Not a Medical Condition)

Now that Marcroft, Neville and Lucy were here, we decided to have a pop at a proper hike. Coniston Old Man (not the Old Man of Coniston, it would appear) seemed like a splendid choice. Well, Nev said it would do, and we all tend to believe him on these sorts of things. We drove down to Coniston in two cars, in case we ended up splitting into two groups, which we didn't end up doing anyway. We found what appeared to be the car park, paid the princely sum of £5.50 per car as we reckoned we'd be more than four hours, and off we trotted. As we walked up the really rather steep paved hill from the car park, we kept having to stand to the side of the road as quite a large number of cars were still continuing up the hill. As we got towards the top of the now relentlessly steep road, we spotted an enormous free car park and a huge track leading directly up the side of Coniston Old Man. Humpf. Undeterred (though a little sweaty, as it was shaping up to be a rather warm day and that road had really been rather steep) we set off up the Coniston Old Man Motorway. I suspect the track was originally used for slate mining, as it was wide enough for a car to drive up and much larger than the ones on, say, Snowdon or Ben Nevis, so not something the National Trust would likely knock up.

Whilst on the subject of slate mining... there is quite a lot of slate mining detritis on Coniston Old Man. In a way the juxtaposition of rugged mountain and decrepit heavy machinery looks rather charming - my photographer brother Keith would have a field day, no doubt. But in a way it's really rather a shame that we can't clear up our rubbish properly. Apart from the remains of buildings and huge piles of slate, there are huge steel cables running all down the mountain from what would appear to have once been some sort of hoisting mechanism. As far as I can see all that's been done to tidy this stuff up is to pull down the midway supports for this hoisting mechanism, which if you ask me verges on making it look worse rather than better. The mining junk stretches almost to the summit and encompasses a great deal of the next valley, so it's really quite expansive. I realise when your mine stops paying out your first thought is probably to what the hell you're going to do to pay the bills, and not what to do about the stinking mess you made of an attractive landmark, but it's a bit of a pity. Not sure whose fault it is. Probably mine, consuming all these fossil fuels driving around the country taking photographs.

Speaking of detritis, I'm not sure if you're ever had the joy of emptying a Thetford Cassette Toilet, but as you open the spout and pour, there's a button you can press on the body of the device which ejects a fine misty blueish-tinged spray of toilet content onto your left leg. Upon consulting the manual, this button seems to be to allow air into the top of the cassette to help you to pour faster. If you ever find yourself in future emptying a Thetford Cassette Toilet, don't press this button too eagerly, as the level of content must be below the button's level before the button is pressed.

Where was I? Ah yes, Coniston Old Man. Upon reaching the summit (about 750m climb from our car park, and 550m from the free car park) we elected to head down the ridge and around the back of a lake directly into the town of Coniston, making our walk circular and allowing us to pretend that we deliberately parked where we did. The magnificent weather held all day, as you'll hopefully see from the photos. Perhaps this contributed to the eagerness with which Nev and Marcroft jumped into the aforementioned lake, then emerged yelping perhaps seven or eight seconds later. Nice sunny day it may have been, but we discovered why none of the other assembled hiking groups appeared to be swimming.

We ended up back at the car after about five and a half hours - we could probably have done the walk quicker but Nev had to stop every couple of minutes to climb something, swim, jump in a puddle, fetch a ball or sniff other Nevs' bottoms. A superb day out in the end - we managed to navigate a slightly novel route without a hitch, everyone was tired but not exhausted and we had sunny weather with a light wind all day. Smashing.

Next: How Not To Go Dinghy Sailing
Previous: Coniston, and Climbing Middle Fell Buttress

Diary Photos

First touch of meat

Nev climbing

Nev climbing again

What`s that Nev`s doing?

Surveying her lands

Nev, umm, climbing


Woman falling over

Nev and Lucy

Kiki and Marcroft

No idea who that is, the thumbnail`s too small

Nev swimming in April

Coniston Old Man, from the descent

Park Coppice CC Site

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