Saturday, August 05, 2006
Drawing a blank at the copper mines.
A day off work today, so I drove up the Walna Scar road to park - along with dozens of holidaymakers - beyond the field gate at the top of the tarmac section.
My destinations for the afternoon were Low Water and Levers Water - typical Lakeland corrie tarns nestled beneath the eastern crags of the ridge which links Coniston Old Man with Swirl How.
Low Water comes first. The last time I visited this tarn was by way of the slightly frightening grade 3 scramble up its outflow beck. Today I took the far less entertaining route along the horribly eroded and busy tourist path up the Old Man. It was a relief to get to the tarn and away from the masses. Although the path passes Low Water above and just to the south, surprisingly few people actually stop here.
I tackled up with my new 10’ #6 Scott and floating line and set about the steeply shelving margins with a team of wet flies. The water here is tinged blue with copper ore, is extremely clear and holds a good head of small trout. I drew a blank today though and after a couple of hours decided to move on to Levers Water nearby.
Rather than descend down to the Boulder Valley, I took the exposed grassy shelf which traverses the crags of Raven Tor - a pathless but useful route which reduces the hike between the two waters to only 20 minutes. It is fairly obvious which way to go, once a slight descent down Low Water Beck has been made, although it is not a route I would recommend in poor visibility!
Levers Water proved to be equally dour. Conditions were perfect; it had clouded over a bit and the breeze was strengthening all the time, but I fished carefully around the full perimeter of the tarn without even moving a fish. No matter, the surroundings more than compensate for the lack of action. The first time I came upon Levers Water was a still November day when the crags were perfectly reflected in its mirror-like surface. The local farmer was working his dogs around the perimeter, rounding up his stock to herd back down into the valley and his whistles and commands echoed around the enclosing corrie walls. It has been one of my favourite places ever since.
By the time I had complete a full circuit of the water, I was going through the motions and just practising my hauling really. I was pleased with the performance of my new rod, but five hours without a pull had taken it out of me, so I packed up and headed back south towards the car.
That seems to be the way of it with these hill tarns - many times the fish are obliging to the point of being suicidal, but when they’re off, they’re off. There’s an awful lot of deep water for them to sulk in… and lures on fast-sinking lines just isn’t my style!