Swirl How

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Swirl How
Swirl how.jpg
Swirl How from Great Carrs
Highest point
Elevation 802.42 [1]  m (2,632.6 ft)
Prominence c. 112 m (disputed)
Listing Wainwright, Hewitt, Nuttall
Coordinates 54°23′44″N3°07′16″W / 54.39566°N 3.12123°W / 54.39566; -3.12123 Coordinates: 54°23′44″N3°07′16″W / 54.39566°N 3.12123°W / 54.39566; -3.12123
Geography
Lake District National Park UK relief location map.png
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Swirl How
Location in Lake District, UK
Location Cumbria, England (traditionally Lancashire)
Parent range Lake District, Southern Fells
OS grid NY273006
Topo map OS Landranger 97, Explorer OL6

Swirl How is a fell in the English Lake District. It stands between Coniston and the Duddon Valley in the southern part of the District. It rivals the Old Man of Coniston as the highest point within the traditional County Palatine of Lancashire [2] (it has been administered since 1974 by Cumbria County Council for local government purposes).

Contents

The Coniston (or Furness) Fells form the watershed between Coniston Water and the Duddon valley to the west. The range begins at Wrynose Pass and runs south for around 10 miles before petering out at Broughton in Furness on the Duddon Estuary. Alfred Wainwright in his influential Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells took only the northern half of the range as Lakeland proper, consigning the lower fells to the south to a supplementary work The Outlying Fells of Lakeland. Swirl How being a significant high point of the Coniston Fells therefore qualifies as one of the 214 Wainwrights. Later guidebook writers have chosen to include the whole range in their main volumes. [3] [4]

Height

A detailed survey on 24 May 2018 [1] measured the height of Swirl How to be 802.42m.

The same survey also measured the height of nearby The Old Man of Coniston and found the highest visible natural ground to be also 802.42m. The height of the ground on the summit plinth (man-made ground) is 803.53m. The measurements were reported with a measurement uncertainty of plus or minus 0.05m.

The surveyors state: "if one considers the area covered by the plinth on Coniston Old Man and the observation that the highest rock is probably covered by it then we believe the evidence strongly suggests there is higher ground beneath it and that, therefore, Coniston Old Man should retain its current status" [as being the highest of the Furness Fells and the historic county top of Lancashire].

As of 2020, Ordnance Survey maps show The Old Man of Coniston with a height of 803m, and Swirl How at 802m.

Whichever of the two is the higher is the highest point in the historic County Palatine of Lancashire and is the highest point in the Furness Fells, and the twelfth most prominent mountain in England. [5]

Topography

Swirl How sends out ridges to the four points of the compass, each leading to further fells. Consequently, it also feeds the headwaters of four valleys.

The ridge northward to Great Carrs is named Top of Broad Slack, Broad Slack being a ferociously steep grass slope climbing out of the Greenburn valley between neighbouring crags. The ridge is a grassy plateau with a pronounced downward tilt to the west. The eastern edge is precipitous, curving around the head of Greenburn. On the journey to Great Carrs the path passes a memorial. This is the site of a wartime aircrash and bears the sad remains of a Royal Canadian Air Force Handley Page Halifax bomber. The undercarriage, together with a wooden cross and memorial cairn lies on the top of the ridge with the rest of the wreckage spread down Broad Slack. In his guidebook The Southern Fells Alfred Wainwright suggests that the plane approached from the west, failed to clear the ridge and tumbled down the other side. In fact, the wrecked aircraft came to rest on the western slope; the majority of the wreckage was subsequently pushed over the edge of broad slack by the RAF salvage crew, in order to make it less prominent and reduce the likelihood of overflying pilots spotting the wreckage and repeatedly reporting the crash. An engine and propeller from the aircraft are preserved at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston. [3] [4] [6] The tilted plateau of the north ridge is triangular in plan, narrowing to a point at Fairfield in the west. This is the col between Swirl How and the ridge's western outlier, Grey Friar. To the north of this ridge are long slopes leading down to the Duddon at Wrynose Bottom.

The main ridge continues southward, stepping down Great and Little How Crags to the depression of Levers Hawse. From here it rises again to Brim Fell with Dow Crag and The Old Man Of Coniston beyond. To the west of the Hawse is the valley of Tarn Head Beck, the main feeder of Seathwaite Tarn, a reservoir in a side valley of the Duddon system. This was originally a much smaller waterbody, but was dammed early in the 20th century to provide drinking water for the Barrow-in-Furness area. The dam is almost 400 yards long and is concrete cored with slate buttresses, the resulting depth of the tarn being around 80 ft. Water is not abstracted directly from the tarn, but flows some distance downriver to an off-take weir. [7] To the east of Levers Hawse is Levers Water. This smaller tarn has also been raised by damming, but in this case the original user was the Coniston Copper Mines. Following the decline of mining in the late 19th century a water treatment plant was eventually built and the tarn now supplies drinking water for Coniston village.

The eastern arm of Swirl How leads down the stony slope of Prison Band to the depression at Swirl Hawse. From here it rises over the subsidiary top of Black Sails to the main summit of Wetherlam. Swirl Hawse Beck runs south from this ridge to feed Levers Water, whilst to the north of Wetherlam is Greenburn.

Geology

The summit ridge exposes welded rhyolitic tuff and lapilli-tuff of the Long Top Member, interspersed with bands of andesitic lapilli tuff of the Wetside Edge Member. [8]

Summit

The summit of Swirl How is marked by a fine cairn on a stony top, built close to the Greenburn edge of the ridge. The view to the north takes in massed ranks of fells while in other directions the Isle of Man, Morecambe Bay and Pennines can be seen. [6]

Ascents

Direct ascents can be made via Levers Hawse to the south or Swirl Hawse to the east. Both can be gained from Coniston and Swirl Hawse is also a practicable objective from Little Langdale. The right of way shown up the western (Duddon) side of Levers Hawse does not exist as a path on the ground. Many walkers will arrive on Swirl How via one of the surrounding fells, all four ridges carrying fair paths. [3]

Name

The origin of the name Swirl How is obscure. A Norwegian dialect word svirle meaning to swirl or whirl around, suggests that there may have been an Old Norse origin. How is believed to derive from the Old Norse word haugr meaning hill or mound. [9]

Related Research Articles

Old Man of Coniston Mountain in the English Lake District, Cumbria, England

The Old Man of Coniston is a fell in the Furness Fells in the Cumbria, English Lake District and is the highest point of the historic county of Lancashire. It is at least 2,632.62 feet (802.42 m) high, and lies to the west of the village of Coniston and the lake, Coniston Water. The fell is sometimes known by the alternative name of Coniston Old Man, or simply The Old Man. The mountain is popular with tourists and fell-walkers with a number of well-marked paths to the summit. The mountain has also seen extensive copper and slate mining activity for eight hundred years, and the remains of abandoned mines and spoil tips are a significant feature of the north-east slopes.

Great Gable Mountain in the United Kingdom

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Holme Fell Fell in Cumbria, England

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Pike of Blisco Mountain in the English Lake District, Cumbria, England

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Furness Fells

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Devoke Water Body of water

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Dow Crag Fell in the Lake District, Cumbria, England

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Ullscarf Fell in England

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Steel Fell

Steel Fell is a fell in the English Lake District, lying between Thirlmere and Grasmere. It is triangular in plan, the ridges running north, west and south east. Steel Fell rises to the west of the Dunmail Pass road and can be climbed from the summit, or from Grasmere and Wythburn.

Grey Friar Fell in the Lake District, Cumbria, England

Grey Friar is a fell in the English Lake District, it is one of the Coniston Fells and is situated 13 kilometres west-south-west of Ambleside. It reaches a height of 770 metres and stands to the north west of the other Coniston Fells, a little off the beaten track and tends to be the least visited of the group. It is quite a large fell and forms the eastern wall of the Duddon Valley for several kilometres, in fact all drainage from Grey Friar goes to the Duddon Valley and not to Coniston Water.

Wetherlam Mountain in the English Lake District, Cumbria, England

Wetherlam is a mountain in the English Lake District. It is the most northerly of the Coniston Fells, the range of fells to the north-west of Coniston village; its north-east slopes descend to Little Langdale.

Black Fell (Lake District)

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Southern Fells

The Southern Fells are a group of hills in the English Lake District. Including Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, they occupy a broad area to the south of Great Langdale, Borrowdale and Wasdale. High and rocky towards the centre of the Lake District, the Southern Fells progressively take on a moorland character toward the south-west. In the south-east are the well-known Furness Fells, their heavily quarried flanks rising above Coniston Water.

Caw (hill) Hill in Cumbria, England

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Levers Water Body of water

Levers Water is a small lake in the English Lake District. It is located at the head of the Coppermines Valley, above Coniston village. To its south-west is Raven Tor, a spur of Brim Fell, and to its north-west are Little How Crags and Great How Crags, on the eastern side of the north–south ridge leading to Swirl How.

Wallowbarrow Crag Hill in Cumbria, England

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References

  1. 1 2 Barnard, John; Bloomer, Jim; Graham, Jackson (24 May 2018). "Surveys of Swirl How and Coniston Old Man" (PDF). hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 18 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. County Palatine of Lancashire (Friends of Real Lancashire), http://www.forl.co.uk/online-resources/lancashire-county-palatine
  3. 1 2 3 Richards, Mark: Southern Fells: Collins (2003): ISBN   0-00-711367-6
  4. 1 2 Birkett, Bill: Complete Lakeland Fells: Collins Willow (1994): ISBN   0-00-218406-0
  5. Dawson, Alan; Carey, Richard L. (7 September 2007). "England - Top 50 Prominent Peaks". peakbagging.com. Retrieved 17 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. 1 2 Alfred Wainwright: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells , Book 4: ISBN   0-7112-2457-9
  7. Blair, Don: Exploring Lakeland Tarns: Lakeland Manor Press (2003): ISBN   0-9543904-1-5
  8. British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 38: BGS (1998)
  9. "Place Names of the Lake District Fells". ukonline.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 July 2006. Retrieved 18 May 2021.