The Classic Coniston Round

  • One of the classic Lakeland circuits
  • Excellent views across the western Lakes.
  • Slate quarries dominate the approaches.

The direct approach to the classic Coniston Round is ruined by the quarrying, interesting that it is, makes a bit of a mess to climb. Better to avoid the old workings by sticking to the flanks.  The quarrying is carrying on today with blasting and digging still recovering the much sought after olive green slate. The best approaches to the Coniston Round skirt the actual quarrying and add a lot to the walk.

My favourite ascent of the Coniston Round is via the Walna Scar Road which links Coniston village with little known Seathwaite in the Duddon Valley. The track leaves the Road and passes under Dow Crag via the narrow tarn of Goat’s Water. In a similar vein the finest descent is over Wetherlam, a large whaleback fell which displays many of the characteristics I so cherish in the Lakeland fells. Here rocky outcrops, bracken strewn slopes and a multitude of confusing ridges offer a good map reading challenge. I say this with some feeling as part of the assessment for my Mountain Leadership qualification was over Wetherlam.

The main ridge on the Coniston Round from the Old Man to Swirl How (which is largest?) offers some easy walking and is pleasant enough. However it is the approaches and descents which make it interesting.


Arthur Ransome based his books largely on the Coniston area; the copper mines and the ‘charcoal burners’ (now closed) were a large industry on Wetherlam and ‘Kanchenjunga’ is of course the Old Man.

Download GPX file

Coniston Round map

All maps are copyright of Where2Walk © 2020

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL6 The English Lakes South West. Buy Map
Start Point: SD 303975. Cross the river from the car park and immediately take the road up hill aiming for the Walna Scar road to Seathwaite
Height to Climb: 935ms (3,067 feet)
Terrain: Good paths throughout but not an ordeal like the main quarry ascent path is. The track down from Wetherlam is a particular pleasure
Eating & Drinking: I rarely get past the Sun Inn and it is my favourite pub in Coniston, along with the Crown. For tea shop fiends there is a very good choice.
Similar Walks Nearby: Beatrix Potter Country
Great Carrs & Wetherlam
Woodland Fell & Beacon Tarn
Places to Stay: