hiking | The Old Man of Coniston
What and where is The Old Man of Coniston?
The Old Man of Coniston, (or The Old Man and sometimes Coniston Old Man) is a Fell in Furness Fells in the Lake District. The Fell is popular with tourists with a number of well-marked paths to the summit and fantastic views all the way out to the Irish Sea.
During its history it has seen extensive slate mining activity for over eight hundred years, with the remains of abandoned mines and spoil tips a a significant feature of the north-east slopes. The site still has abandoned mining equipment and rusted ruins in place today, with cables still running up the side of the Fell for part of the walk. Stacked with history, you won't be disappointed.
Remember The Rules and have fun!
Get this route
Download our route and follow this yourself from either OS Maps or ViewRanger. OS Maps requires a subscription, which luckily you can get 10% off with Northern Stroll on any 12 month subscription. Check out our blog post for the code.
ViewRanger is free and much like OS Maps doesn't require any data to work. All you need is a GPS signal, especially if you have downloaded your maps beforehand. It also has OS Maps available as a layer inside the app.
Don't have ViewRanger on your phone yet? See our guide, or download it in your app store.
Before you go...
The weather can change often in this area and phone batteries can struggle to hold charge in the cold. In addition, a sudden onset of fog can mean you lose your sense of direction. Always carry a paper map (find yours here), make sure you know how to use it and note down the number for mountain rescue. Better safe than sorry.
Starting in one of the many car parks in Coniston town centre (ours is only one) head west and follow the clear signage for The Old Man. You'll hit a country lane with a 40degree incline, and you'll know you are on the right track.
As the incline levels out you will turn right and head into the fields, following the wall and keeping it on your right until you reach a . In front will be the first 'hill' of the day, Foul Scrow.
From here the path becomes very clear. Follow the well worn trail towards what is clearly the way up to The Old Man. Climb the stile and cross onto what becomes a mixture of cobbles, stones and shale all the way to the top. At this point it is as simple as following the path up, but beware one or two forks can send you the wrong way (but not far and you will have to immediately turn around again).
Make sure to turn around once or twice and take in the views of the valleys below!
Key things to know:
Time: About 3-5 hours depending on your speed. Take your time, it can get quite loose underfoot!
Distance: 6.5 miles there and back. The second half is much easier than the first.
Elevation: 2,653 feet
Calorie burning opportunity: Ridiculous.
Photo opportunities rating: 10/10 if the weather is right. Simply stunning.
Nearby pubs: Plenty in the village. Make sure you sample at least one before you leave.
Safety: PLEASE take the time to read this leaflet from Mountain Rescue and also note down the important contact numbers.
How to get here:
Postcode: LA21 8EH
We parked at the Tourist Information Centre in Coniston but it can get quite full quite quickly. The overflow is down the road at the Sports Centre, with £4 all day parking.