The Jack Diamond Path up Coniston Old Man is one of the few paths in the Lake District named after an individual - unlike the other paths though, this one has a very recent history. It is the creation of Jack Diamond, a school teacher from Coniston, and a one time member of the climbing club the Coniston Tigers, whose story is immortalised in Harry Griffin's latest book of the same name "The Coniston Tigers". Sadly Jack Diamond died at the very early age of 45 in February 1956. His path takes a wonderfully graded route up the southeast flank of Coniston Old Man in a series of cairn marked zigzags. It is easy to follow once the correct start is located, and manages to avoid the quarry mess that spoils the tourist route which lies just a short distance north round the fell side. It pops out onto the tourist path a short distance under the summit and delivers you to the best viewpoint in the south of the Lake District. Once you have gained the summit of Coniston Old Man then a round of Brim Fell, Dow Crag, Buck Pike, Brown Pike and a descent along the Walna Scar Road will make the perfect mountain day.
Start/Finish: Coniston, GR SD302975
Distance: 8 miles (12.5km)
Time: 4-5 hours
Height gain: 853m
Terrain: steep minor road, woodland, moorland, steep mountainside, high mountain ridges, exposed col and old pack horse road
Maps: OS Landranger 90 & 96, OS Explorer OL 6, Harveys' Superwalker (1:25 000) Lakeland South
1. From the centre of Coniston take the minor road to the Sun Hotel; follow it past the hotel round a bend to the foot of a very steep hill. This is the Walna Scar Road - follow it West to the fell gate. Go through the gate, on the other side the Walna Scar Road becomes a rough track, continue West along it for 750m to a quarry track junction.
2. At the junction turn right and pick up the path by the side of the quarry track, this is the start of the Jack Diamond Path, (by a single bar gate - don't follow the quarry track) and follow it as it zig-zags North West up the fellside. It joins the Tourist Path at the 700m contour - follow the Tourist Path South West for the last 100m to the summit of Coniston Old Man.
3. Head North easily along the main ridge to Brim Fell then head South West and descend to Goat's Hause.
4. Climb West then South up the rock-strewn path to gain the fine rocky summit of Dow Crag.
5. Descend South along the ridge (being careful to avoid the heads of Great Gully, Easy Gully, South Rake and the cliffs of Dow Crag) and follow its crest over Buck Pike then Brown Pike to reach the broad col crossed by the Walna Scar Road.
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