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.