England, Europe

Hiking The Old Man Of Coniston In The Lake District

I finally visited the Lake District for the first time last month! This national park has been on my list for years, but due to lack of gear, and the amount of time it would take to get there when I lived in Nottingham, it just never happened. And despite spending lots of time in England since then, the trip just never happened. So when I moved to York in October, I knew I had to get to the Lake District as soon as possible!

Let’s just say, it was worth the wait.

For my only full day in the Lake District, I hiked the Old Man of Coniston—a peak near the village of Coniston. The peak is 803 meters (2,634 feet) high. While it was a tough climb up, it was absolutely worth it for the views at the top!

The walk starts at the bridge in Coniston, which you follow up a very steep hill and wind around the road to the parking lot (if you want to cheat, you can drive up). I thought the views were great from this point, so I was in for a major treat when I got to the top!

The trail crosses paths with old mining equipment and a stone hut on the way up.

Goat’s Water is a really nice little lake surrounded by the peaks. It’s a great place to stop and rest for a bit before starting the seriously brutal climb up to the top.

In case I haven’t said it already, the views are spectacular.

It was a tough hike, but so worth it.

We had intended to take a different way down and do a small loop, but ended up getting confused and took an extra couple of hours hiking back to Coniston.

I went over two (or three?) more peaks, before the trail started going down over a horrible rocky patch.

According to my Ordnance Survey map, I went over Savin Hill and Levers Hawse, then going up to Swirl How, then going down over the rocks and looping around to the right on the path towards the stream and water.

The Levers Water (Reservoir) is another nice lake up in the peaks, although not as high up as Goat’s Water. I saw the waterfalls down opposite the quarry and old mines, and then headed back to Coniston along the stream.

I think this might be one of my favorite photos from this hike. And better yet—you can stay here! It’s the YHA (Youth Hostel Association) Coniston Coppermines. Although I’d definitely only stay here if I had a car, since it’s a bit of a trek (uphill) out of town.

All in all, this walk took about 5-6 hours. Let’s just say, the giant burger and pint that were waiting for me at the end were well deserved! (Huge thank you to the Sun for still serving food!)

Coniston is a nice little town, with plenty of pubs, cafes, and little shops to keep you busy. The main draw (besides hiking the Old Man) is Coniston Water, the third largest lake in the Lake District. There’s also a small museum and church.

For my trip to the Lake District, I stayed in Windermere at the Lake District Backpackers Hostel. The Lake District has a surprisingly great public bus system, with bus routes connecting more or less all the major villages in the Lake District! Going to rural areas without a car is always a bit of a gamble, but it was actually quite easy to get around the Lakes by bus. I got to Coniston by #505 bus from Windermere, which took about 55 minutes. The buses run all day, even on weekends, and some of the popular routes even run into the evening (9:00pm or 10:00pm), and they’re nice—comfy, padded seats and some even have free wifi! It’s £8 for an all-day ticket for the Lakes bus routes.

I absolutely loved my weekend in the Lake District, and already want to go back (I’m planning for sometime in October!) and explore more of this amazing area. The Old Man of Coniston was a challenging hike, but one of the best walks I’ve been on.

Have you ever been to the Lake District or another National Park?

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