Have you seen the forecast – dry, sunny, warmish and no wind, though as you will see from the pictures it didn’t live up to its promise.This is the end of September in the Lakes. So I put into plan a trip I’ve been hatching all this variable summer. Friend Alan had been climbing here earlier in the year in poor conditions but still raved about the quality of the rock. Rod and I had never climbed at Little How Crag in 50 years of Lakeland exploration and this was the weekend to put things right. We managed to find our way up Walna Scar Road to the parking spot above the fell gate but were surprised by the sheer number of parked cars. We seemed to remember from our last trip to Dow Crag only a few rough parking places, today it was more like Asda’s carpark. Coniston Old Man must be inundated. The clouds were still low as we picked up the track leading to Levers Water and soon left the crowds behind. The whole area is full of mines, slate and copper, and numerous risky sites are fenced off. We passed the stream coming down from the high Small Water combe under Coniston Old Man and on through Boulder valley. Once level with Levers Water the misty clouds lifted partially to reveal our crag 300ft up the hillside. Despite being ‘fit’ from my recent Stubai Walk I found the last steep bit trying. Though soon we were unpacking at the base of a lovely sweep of rock which looked mainly dry. Geared up I set off on the start of Sunshine Arête despite the lack of sunshine – the first few feet seemed rather tricky for a Diff!
After that it was a romp up easy angled slabs on perfect rough rock.A traversing last pitch had me wandering upwards to find a belay. We had to scramble up a hundred feet more before we could access the steep descent gully. Whilst we were contemplating a slippy down climb into the gully we spotted an abseil point on a spike of rock – it looked fairly solid so we used it for a good section of the said gully.
More down climbing and traversing brought us back to the sacs. Yachts laboured on Coniston Water far below and a few walkers descended Levers Hawse to our right. Refuelled Rod soon made quick progress up the immaculate rock of more interesting Thunder Slab HS with a direct finish. We used the same way off and called it a day, 5pm. The evenings walk back was a delight in the low sunshine. Trickles of backpackers went past us up to some lovely spots in the hills, I felt quite envious.
Nonetheless we were glad to arrive back at the car. Several other parties were coming down from Dow Crag and we contemplated on our more isolated venue. A couple of easy routes on perfect rock on a little visited crag but with a highly traditional feel.