The fells and trails of the Lake District abound with opportunities to take your running to new heights and achieve euphoria. And where better to base your experience than this remote retreat offering a 500ft head start on the ascent of the Old Man of Coniston.
Distance: 8 miles/13km
Start/Finish: Walna Scar Road car park, LA21 8HD
Terrain: Trail, path, ridge
Ascent: 714 metres
Navigation: Moderate (dependent upon visibility)
Good for: Ascents, wildlife
Route info: wildrunning.net/83
A stunning run around Coniston Fells, with its thrilling ridge path between The Old Man of Coniston and Swirl How, and the lone trail linking Swirl How with Wetherlam, the Prison Band. This classic loop takes in the summits of Wetherlam, The Old Man, Great How (Swirl Band), and Brim Fell. From the car park, head N towards Crowberry Haws and Stubthwaite Crag. A steep climb W brings you to tranquil Low Water before gaining the summit ridge at the Old Man of Coniston. Follow the clear path of Prison Band, then drop down to Levers Water over some technically challenging terrain. Pass Kennel Crag, Grey Crag and Low Water Beck before returning over a footbridge to the start. CAUTION: Navigation can be extremely challenging in poor weather.
Running is really celebrated here. Attend Coniston Country Fair on 19 July and cheer determined locals as they run from Coniston Hall to the top of the Old Man and back in under an hour. That's no mean feat! Those favouring organised races over lone adventures are spoilt for choice in summer with a 10K, 15K, children's trails and marathons happening throughout the season. Organised by Lakeland Trails, the marathon around Coniston Water (7 June) has been described as the most scenic trail marathon in Britain. Expect a carnival atmosphere here with race commentary, live music, food and drink.
As the sun sets on a superb day, return to the hostel to relax with refreshments and enjoy a comfortable night's stay in this cosy mountain hideaway.