The Old Man of Coniston is an 803 m high mountain west of the town of Coniston and Lake Coniston Water in the English National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Lake District.
Hiking on the Old Man
Starting from Coniston
The beauty of a hike on the Old Man is the easy start. From the car park in Coniston it is not far to the narrow path, which first leads through a beautiful forest and passing some old trees growing on meadows to a small stream bubbling from the mountain. Later the path meets the wider path to the only working slate quarry on Old Man.
I had so much hoped that the fog on the Old Man would save us this year (2016), but it shouldn't be like that again. Everything looked nice downstairs, but upstairs everything ended in a single soup. But you have to reckon with that and due to the variety of this hike there is no boredom even in fog.
For me, this mountain is a little bit the quintessence of the mountain world that makes up the Lake District. The mountain itself is rugged, unapproachable and full of scarred embrasures caused by centuries of mining. At the same time, when the weather is good, one has the sweetest and most delicious views from him, far out to the River Crake.
Slade and copper mines
Work on the mountain
Mining has been around the Old Man for a long time. According to sources, copper and slate mining had already been carried out at the Old Man in the 12th and 13th centuries. While the region around Coniston Water is also a rich copper mining area among many others in the Lakes, slate mining itself has a long tradition. German miners were not uninvolved.
The mines at Old Man are also known as "Old Man Quarries", although sometimes with the individual names of: Brandy Crag, SaddleStone and Moss Head, while green slate is mined up on the mountain, grey slate is mined further down. If you walk over it and past it, you will notice the difference to the slate we have here in my region Wuppertal on the outer wall, which today is mostly imported from Spain. (It used to come from the Siegerland, for example). The pieces at the Old Man are more massive and resemble rather the slate, in which wine is cultivated at the Mosel.
Today there is only one slate mine in operation at the Old Man of Coniston, that is the mine Low Brandy Crag, which was developed into an open pit mine by Burlington Stone in the 1980s. From higher altitudes the stones were transported to the valley by cable cars, parts of which are shown in the photos.
At the foot of an old man
At the foot of the Old Man of Coniston lies the Coniston Water. The lake lies in the English Lake District and is with a length of 8 km and a width of 800 m the third largest lake in the Lake District. The lake is 44 m above sea level, which means that if you start at the shore you have a good climb of 759 m in front of you. The lake has a typical glacial shape and every year it is a venue for high speed races with motor boats.
On all his visits so far, the old man always showed the same face: cloudy and covered in fog. But I will visit him again, the old man of Coniston. Perhaps once in the sunny light of which all those who could overlook the southern Lakes from him rave.