A six and a bit mile walk for a day too windy for the summits, or, in my case, a bad knee. It combines a pleasant ascent through pastures, quarries and moor, with the Old Man and Dow Crag ahead, with a return along the easy Coniston Water lakeside path.
A car park just north of the church, with minimal charge, is a good starting point. Walk a short way up the road and take the road left. Follow this with its bridleway signs, then the bridleway up to the large slate slag heaps of a quarry, where take the right fork to pass between the heaps. A view of the magnificent Dow Crag is in view all the way, with the obvious grey/white diagonal band in the centre, the quartzite slab of the classic Giant’s Crawl climb. Past the heaps the quarry appears, with a waterfall at the far end, but no obvious exit for the water. Take the branch right of the stream above this to the Walna scar track and turn right, down it. Look eastwards towards where Coniston should be and check out your Bridleway passing over Banishead, as that is your destination, with many ways of getting there. The right of way from The Walna Scar track on the OS maps is probably not correct on the ground, like so many in the Lake District. Many paths lead to it, possibly the best is right off the track just before a rock defile. Once over Banishead keep on the Bridleway always downwards, over the old railway line and to the main road at the Ship Inn. How convenient. A short right on the busy road and then a path left leads to the Lake side path/cycleway. Follow this keeping to the Lakeside when a track appears to dodge “inland” past the grand looking Coniston Hall, and ignore the sign “Torver (walking and cycling)”. Carry on here and through the Birmingham University boating area, also past the “no public access” sign in the next wood, which is actually a good short cut to the path to Torver which leaves a bit further on. Pleasant woods lead up to cross a road to reach the old railway track, where turn left and when lockdown is lifted you can pass throught the Church House pub car park to the main road.
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