Grey Friar is
one of the Coniston Fells in the English Lake District and is
situated 13 kilometres west-south-west of Ambleside.
It reaches a
height of 770 metres (2,526 feet) 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.
This large fell 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.
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.
Grey Friar is the only major
fell in the group not to stand on this main axis, rising to the west of
Great Carrs across the depression of Fairfield.
Bounded to the
north and west by the infant Duddon, Grey Friar has long rough slopes on
this side with many small areas of crag.
The southern perimeter
is formed by Seathwaite Tarn and its attendant streams. The tarn was
originally a much smaller water body but was raised 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 is around 80 ft.
Water is not abstracted directly from the tarn but flows some distance
down river to an off-take weir.
Since Grey Friar curves southward
the main ridge stands across the tarn, Brim Fell and the back of Dow
Crag forming the opposing slope.
Grey Friar can be climbed from
several locations and is often ascended
from Coniston village, a route which takes in the other six
Direct ascents of the fell can be started from
the Duddon valley, the top of the Wrynose Pass or Cockley Beck.
The summit of the fell is stony with two cairned rock outcrops, the
south easterly is the higher while the north westerly offers the better
There is a good view of the Scafell massif and the other
Coniston fells can be seen along the ridge to the south.
metres north west of the main summit is a distinctive pointed rock often
called the “Matterhorn Rock”.
routes near Grey Friar