Water Goats Water Fell Lake District Border Collie

An old man and his pup walk up Coniston Old Man

I felt quite the old man as I trudged up the final steep stepped approach from the shore of atmospheric Goats Water to the snowy summit of Coniston Old Man.

Coniston Old Man Goats Water Jasper Border Collie
Jasper on the path that winds along the rocky shore of Goats Water before heading steeply up to the Old Man (hidden by clouds!).

This was the longest and highest hike I’ve had for a while and the longest and highest ever for Jasper; totalling 8.7 miles of walking and summiting at 2,632 feet / 802.42 m.

Despite the distance and the uphill climb, I still had to apply the brakes to him on the way down, keen as he was to roundup breakaway members of his walking flock (other walkers who had the gall to overtake us).

I had had to keep him on the lead not just because of the little flocks of Herdwicks dotted about the fellside but to stop him following particular dogs that caught his fancy.. he is now in full teenage mode and the scent and / or look of certain boy and girl hounds met some internal criteria in him that triggered way too much sniffing and pawing on his part.

I wouldn’t have imagined throughout his first year of life that we would be on top of a mountain and he would be full of the joys of Spring (albeit a cold and cloudy spring day). That’s because since his early days he has endured and had treatment for hip laxity, autoimmune meningitis and, more recently, necrotising pancreatitis (as horrible as it sounds). The latter two conditions are life-threatening and required lots of medical intervention. Thank god we had already paid off the camper van finances, he has cost a small fortune even with (capped) pet insurance in place!

But fast forward to this weekend and (hopefully) his ailments are behind him and we were atop Coniston Old Man. Alas, (and as happens more often than not) we were rewarded for our slog by a summit covered in cloud.

Coniston Old Man Goats Water Jasper Border Collie
The view down to Goats Water, from the flanks of the Old Man.


Coniston Old Man Goats Water Jasper Border Collie
Snow from a recent cold spell still covered the summit, and preoccupied the hound for a while, witness his nose..

Some kind folks took a picture of us at the trig point but sadly there were no beautiful Lake District vistas behind us. That we were up there was great, though!

Coniston Old Man Trig point Jasper Border Collie
I was happier than I looked (always the case!) and without labouring the tale of a poorly pup .. it was great to be atop a fell / mountain with him.

So this old man and pup had definitely earned a beer/s (me) and a hearty meal (both of us) in the pub next to the campsite. We (‘dad and lad’) were in the campervan, staying at The Wilsons Arms in Torver, close to Coniston Water. And with a couple of nearby paths that led to Goats Water then Coniston Old Man. I had a meal in the pub on both nights we stayed, great food and friendly staff – a recommended campervan stopover.

Coniston Old Man Goats Water Jasper Border Collie
Within 5 minutes of being back at the van after a day on the Fells. I joined him in a snooze just after this pic was taken.


If you want to see other pics of Jasper (who wouldn’t) he features in quite a few of my Instagram photos under #JasperCollieKelly.

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