Up Hill And Down Ale, Coniston, The Lake District, UK

Location: Coniston, The Lake District
12-13th of August 2008

On the morning of the 12th it was raining so before we moved to stay in the village of Coniston near Hawkshead we went for a drive up to Cockermouth. We ended up passing the Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre, I wonder how that happened... They had a show where you got to see different sheep which was quite entertaining. However their giftshop ony had some bog standard aran knitting wool, nothing at all special. It seems there are rare breed sheep in the UK but getting hold of their wool is difficult. In Cockermouth we found a wool shop where I bought some beautiful Noro blossom which will be a bag eventually.

We also went to Jennings Brewery where we bought some on sale ale. Unfortunately the brewery tour was booked out.

Arriving at Coniston we booked in to Lakeland House guesthouse which while not as nice as Merlin House had a fantastic view.

Pub: We checked out the local pubs and found one of them is a brewpub The Black Bull Inn home of the Coniston brewing company.

Naturally we went in. It's a lovely pub serving great food. That night we had the veggie options, a nut roast with goats cheese and a vegetable curry. Both were lovely and I can highly recommend either Oliver's Light Ale or the Bluebird Bitter to go with them. The Bluebird bitter is named for the boat used by Donald Campbell in his ultimately tragic attempt to break the water speed record on Coniston Water. It's a lovely english bitter which won beer of the festival at the Great British Beer Festival which is high praise. Oliver's Light Ale I really liked. It's a light golden ale which is quite low in alcohol at 3.4%. I like these light english session beers since you can have a few pints without falling over.

Walk: Coniston Coppermines
Map: Walk 2 on Footprint Walks Around Coniston
Harvey Lake District Outdoor Atlas

This was a slightly longer and harder walk from Coniston. We had a good day on the wednesday (13th august) so decided to start the walk early in the day. Our guesthouse made packed sandwiches so armed with a ploughmans and a raincoat off we set.

The walk up follows Levers Water beck up past the old Coniston Coppermines and youth hostel. Then it becomes steeper going up the hill where you can see the still working mines. The walk on the map goes up to the right of the beck to Levers water. We however crossed at a footbridge and made the steep climb on the left of the waterfall to come out on the wonderful view of Levers Water.

The route then wends it way down past a gigantic rock called the pudding stone.

A track then leads past fine views of the Old Man of Coniston. We decided not to go up as the weather was starting to close in.

Instead we messed around taking photos of some mushrooms one of my favourite things to photograph. They look like strange alien cities.

Pub: Black Bull Inn

Food: Bangers and Mash. This was the nicest bangers and mash I've had I think. The sausages were local cumberland ones with chilli and lime in. The mash has spring onions in and the sweet chilli and roast pepper sauce was perfect with it.

Ale: Well after that walk it would have to be the Old Man Ale named for the hill we'd just been to see. It's a rich dark complex ale rather like the hill itself.

More photos can be seen here. I can recommend Coniston as well. I'd like to go back when I'm fitter to do more walking there. The Black Bull Inn is well worth a visit as well.

5 Responses to "Up Hill And Down Ale, Coniston, The Lake District, UK" (Leave A Comment)

The Beer Nut says
August 21, 2008 at 6:53 AM
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The Beer Nut says
August 21, 2008 at 6:53 AM

I think a sheepdog herding geese under a pyramid of sheep in front of a live audience is one of the surrealist things I've ever seen.

Also, in the sheep picture lower down, is Dave trying to figure out if it's small or far away?

Iamreddave says
August 21, 2008 at 8:42 AM

The whole thing was pretty father ted alright.

Bionic Laura says
August 21, 2008 at 11:23 AM

It was pretty odd alright. I thought it'd be like a farm where you got to look at all the sheep. Instead as you said we got to see a pyramid of sheep. They announced each sheep as it ran in and went to it's place on the stand.

Anonymous says
August 30, 2008 at 12:46 AM

I've enjoyed these posts but read them at work so I couldn't comment. My idea of a perfect holiday-- hiking and pubs! I've bookmarked them for reference.