Autumn in the Fells – the children’s first mountain

In 2016, the summer weather seemed endless, and we were still able to camp in the Lakes in late September.  When the skies are this clear and blue in autumn, it’s time to get up into the mountains.

This is our beloved Hobbit tent (so called because of the round door)

A quick pause on our drive towards the mountain, and we’re able to point out to the children where they will be climbing – Coniston Old Man.

To climb this fell with very young children, we recommend parking at the disused mine, part way up the mountain – because the alternative is to walk up from the village for thirty minutes before starting your climb, which is tough on little legs.  This is the view from the carpark, and it only gets better from this point on…

The path starts off very easily, winding its way over little mountain streams.

We keep pointing upwards to the higher peaks: “this is where we’re heading!”

Afterwards, the climb is much harder, as the surfaced path ends and you are walking on loose slate for the next stage of the ascent.  There is a very steep sharp clamber whilst holding on to old mining chains, before reaching the ruins of old industry, further up on the mountain.

In a high-up basin, after a final climb beyond the slate and over grassy paths, we find the most beautiful mountain tarn, reflecting the sky like a polished mirror on this clearest of days, and this is where we have our picnic.

The short final stage of this trek, to the very peak of Coniston Old Man, was unsuitable for little children (fellow climbers were carrying their dogs back down over the loose slate and one experienced walker told us that they managed the last part on their hands and knees!), so we decided this would be the highest point we would climb to today.

After the steepest part of the descent was behind us, the children were able to take all the time they liked to play in the mountain streams, hopping across stepping stones from bank to bank …

… and then we rejoined the easy path back to the disused mine, taking in the stunning view of Coniston Water, wondering which would be the next mountain we will climb together.

 

 

 

 

 

28 Comments

    1. Thank you 🙂 Congrats to your youngest – I would love to complete the three peaks challenge myself … I made it to the tops of Scarfell and Snowdon before my teens, but have never been on a hiking holiday to Scotland to complete the trio. We’re definitely going to aim for this when the children are bigger!

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  1. Hi 🙂
    Reading your story was a really nice way to start my day! Love the photos and the story. It looks like a beautiful place. I remember hiking with my family when I was young in the Rocky Mountains and mountains out east. They are some of my best memories. I was the one with the littlest legs. I remember being tired and happy. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much Sarah 🙂 I always tell the children that the good thing about mountain climbing is that you know the minute you turn around, you are downhill all the way back home! I would love to see the Rocky Mountains myself one day, I’ve only ever seen them in photos x

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    1. Oh I know that feeling Eddy – we’d love to live there but we need to save enough that we wouldn’t need to work first … for now we’re settling for getting up there and camping anytime my hubby has three days off work 🙂

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    1. We were looking through the photos this week together, and wondering – how can several mile long evening walk around Ambleside be the same day we had just climbed Coniston Old Man … I think the fresh air got to us 🙂 We definitely all slept well!

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    1. When you go to the Lakes you are always prepared for constant rain! I’ve camped and hiked there countless times, but have never known such perfect walking weather before. Usually the visibility from the top of the larger mountains is about 5 foot in front of you and then fog, when I’ve been up, so the clear view really made my year 🙂

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      1. Peggy and I like to offer our grandkids adventures. I’ll be taking two of them on their first backpacking trip this summer. I think giving our children a taste of the outdoors is one of the most important things we can do. Glad you enjoyed the Burning Man post! I have several more coming up… usually on Fridays. –Curt

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      2. I’ve signed up for your websites, so we won’t miss any new wonderful posts 🙂 I agree about getting children into the great outdoors – and hope you have a brilliant time backpacking with your grandchildren x

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