Dow Crag - A Classic Day Out

Posted by Swaledale Outdoor Club on 2010-06-20

The programme said Dow Crag - Keith B and the weather was forecast to be nigh on perfect. With no callers it looked like we were on our own so an early start was agreed 'Meet Bowes @ 08:00. Passing along Thirlmere it was evident by the low water level in the reservoir that we had a long dry spell.  We commented on the fact that it was probably 14 years since we had seen Thirlmere as low. Parking was achieved along the Walna Scar road leaving 2 Km and 300 metres of ascent to the base of the crag this was done at a very leisurely pace taking time to admire the view back over Lake Coniston to Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin, as we did so we recounted the time some years ago when we bivvied at Goats Water below the crag and woke up to a fabulous inversion , we enjoyed a full morning climbing above the cloud before it finally vapourised with the heat of the sun. 

The first route was to be 'C' ordinary only a Diff but a real classic line and given 3 stars in the guide book this was a day to enjoy, no puffing & panting or scratching & scraping just pure heaven on warm rock under a perfect blue sky. The route starts up the crest of the buttress to a narrow ledge on top of a large flake, a polished slabby scoop & some ledges took us to the edge of the buttress. Slabs, cracks, ledges and a final bulge brought us to Easy Terrace which was followed left and we descended to our bags and the start of Giants Crawl.

Lunch was taken in the sunshine before we shouldered our rucksacks to ascend Giants Crawl which starts with a long slab before moving along ledges to arrive at an overhanging corner which was climbed via a difficult crack another awkward move to gain a large ledge. From here we had a 'birds eye' view of a Peregrines nest on the edge 'A' buttress complete with two squawking chicks. This was a real treat and good to see these birds making a come back. More slabs and terraces were ascended before easier ground led to the top of the crag and time for a snack and a drink before heading off to Goats Hause and the ascent of Coniston Old Man. After taking in the spectacular views from the summit we descended, accompanied by Skylark and Stonechat, by a little known track which took us directly to the car which was parked near the road to Piked How quarry.

A really wonderful day on routes which were first ascended in 1904 & 1909 respectively and are still great routes.

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