Drawing 165: Dow Crag and Goat’s Water

Direction of view: NW

Notes: The path from Coniston divides just before reaching Goat’s Water, one branch heading for the tarn and Dow Crag, and the other for Goat’s Hause.  The viewpoint is a short way along the latter.  A similar view appears on page Dow Crag 12 in The Southern Fells.

Comments: In July 2015 I planned a visit to the Coniston fells to get photos for the project, this area having been hardly touched upon up to that point.  The walk was done on 25th July.  A beautiful summer morning was clouding over as I reached this viewpoint, my first of eight planned for the day.  I had to wait a while to get sun on the tarn and on the crag, and by that time a family had settled down in the centre of the shot!  However, they are hardly obtrusive, and lend some scale to the dramatic scene.

Dow Crag occupies an important place in the history of rock climbing in the Lake District.  Development of the crag as a climbing ground started in 1918, when Dennis Murray climbed the route on B Buttress that bears his name.  I still remember climbing this route in August 1984 with my old University friend Ian Hall, and it was an exciting adventure.  The 1920s was the halcyon period for development of Dow Crag, as recounted in Harry Griffin’s book “The Coniston Tigers”.  Many of the climbers involved came from the Furness area, and there were different groups, with names like “The Barrow Boys” and “The Yewdale Vagabonds”.