Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk

Overview

Old Man of Coniston Height: 803 m; 2634 ft
Distance: 6.5 miles; 10.5 km 
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard
Estimated Time: 4 hours
Map: OL6 The English Lakes – South Western Area
Route: View in Google Maps
GPX File: Download GPX file (desktop only) – What is a GPX file?

The Old Man of Coniston is a classic Lake District walk. It’s unusual name is well known among walkers and visitors to the Lake District. The Old Man of Coniston and the surrounding area have been mined for over 800 years, the remnants of its mining history are scattered throughout the walk.

There are many routes up and down the Old Man of Coniston. This guide documents the most popular route, passing Low Water tarn on the ascent and Dow Crag on the descent. It’s popular for good reason; the climb to Old Man of Coniston is challenging but achievable, with panoramic views of the area and a gradual decline back to the carpark.

The route starts in Walna carpark and visits the Old Man of Coniston first. The route down includes a visit to Dow Crag, Buck Pike and Brown Pike – the good news is you’ve already climbed the required height to visit Dow Crag, Buck Pike and Brown Pike, you get to enjoy the surrounding views of the Lake District whilst working your way back to Walna carpark.

Route

Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk 17

View route in Google Maps

Elevation Profile

Old Man of Coniston Elevation Profile

Car Park and Facilities

The Old Man of Coniston has two carparks. The main carpark is Walna Scar. Walna Scar used to be free but it is now a pay and display carpark. The full address is

Walna Scar
Bowmanstead
Coniston
LA21 8HD

Walna Car Pay and Display Charges

4 hours – £4.00
9 hours – £8.00

The other car park is along the same route to Walna Carpark. You will pass it along the route to Walna Carpark. Walna Carpark is the preferred option since the Old Man of Coniston walk starts at Walna Carpark. The alternate carpark is also pay and display with the following prices:

1 hour – £1.00
4 hours – £4.00
12 hours – £8.00

You can also park in Coniston but it is not recommended. The walk from Coniston to the start of the walk is a mile away and it is a very steep walk. The route is also along a road without a walking path.

There are no facilities or toilets along the route or at the car parks. There is often an ice cream van in the Walna car park. Coniston is the closest place with facilities available.

Start of the Old Man of Coniston Route

The Old Man of Coniston route is quite steep for the majority of the walk and there’s not much respite from the inclines. There are plenty of places to stop and rest, but the walk is mainly uphill with varied terrain such as steps, rocks and gravel.

Follow the path near to the entrance of the Walna Carpark. There is a signpost confirming “Coniston Old Man – 1 3/4 miles”

Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk 1
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Keep left as the path splits in two.

Keep left

Keep left again at the next split in the path.

Keep left again
Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk
Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk

You will pass the old buildings used during the mining era. There are also disused cables laying on the route.

Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk
Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk

Turn right.

Right turn on Old Man of Coniston
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You will reach Low Water tarn. Walkers use this area for a rest stop and others will also have a quick swim in Low Water.

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Looking back down at Low Tarn

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The incline starts to level off as you approach the summit of the Old Man of Coniston.

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A trig pinpoints the summit of the Old Man of Coniston.

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Continue following the route passed the trig.

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You can see Dow Crag, Buck Pike and Brown Pike and the route that you will follow back to the carpark.

The route back down

Continue left at the pile of stones.

Left turn to Dow Crag
Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk

Continue straight up at the cross roads. An alternate, and shorter route, is turning left, heading passed Goat’s Water.

Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk

You can see Goat’s Water tarn as you continue towards Dow Crag, Buck Pike and Brown Pike.

Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk

The path isn’t a clear route across Dow Crag, Buck Pike and Brown Pike. Just keep heading in the same direction and use the path where possible.

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Looking back at the Old Man of Coniston with Goat’s Water tarn in view.

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Another tarn will come into view along the ridge walk: Blind Tarn.

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A cairn highlights Brown Pike.

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You can see the route down Brown Pike.

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Turn left.

Left turn to Walda Carpark
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The path gradually declines back to the Walna carpark.

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Old Man of Coniston Circular Walk 27

Walna Carpark.

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