We decided to ascend the Old Man from the back, via a lovely ridge walk to get the maximum views. Our first main climb of the day was Brown Pike which you can see off to the right. The gradient on the path is not too bad this way up although there is a very steep bit just at the end.
Going up with the natives. . .
From the top of Brown Pike, you can see the lovely path leading to the next peak, Buck Pike. Ridge walking is my absolute favourite type of walking and such a reward for the climb.
From the top of Buck Pike, you can look back, with a proper view of Blind Tarn and further away, just a glimpse of Morecombe Bay leading out to the sea.
The next peak was Dow Crag which Wainwright described as second only to Scafell in "the magnificence of its rock architecture."
After a brief scramble up Dow Crag, you can see Old Man Coniston opposite in all its glory, along with the path that we'll be taking to get up it.
And here's the view on the other side of Dow Crag - fell upon fell.
After a brief descent down half of Dow Crag, prior to going up the Old Man, we reached Goat Hawse looking down on Goats Water. This is an alternative way up to the Old Man path, but you miss the views on the other side of the ridge.
And now we're nearly at the top of the Old Man. Our group was quite chuffed - it had been decades since some of them had been at the top in decent weather. The Liverpud and I had jokingly subtitled this walk "Unfinished Business" and it was a great feeling to get the job done.
And of course there's always great satisfaction in looking back at the ridge you've just walked.
Here's the view from the other side of Old Man showing our path down the mountain with Low Water in the foreground and Levers Water in the distance. I have to say it's not my favourite descent; there's a lot of loose shale so you definitely have to pay attention to where you are placing your feet. It also seems to go on forever. . .
The bottom half is just plain ugly with remnants of the area's mining history on view everywhere - rusty cables criss-crossing the path and huge piles of shale everywhere.
Still, we made it to the pub with an hour to spare and it was cheers all around for a grand walk and for finally conquering the Old Man!