Dow Crag lies within Wainwright’s Southern Fells. It is one of the Coniston Fells group and the Old Man of Coniston is its parent peak. However, with an elevation of 778 m (2,552 ft) and a prominence of 129 m (423 ft), it is listed in its own right as a Hewitt, a Nuttall and Wainwright. It is also the most southerly of all the fells listed by Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.
The name ‘Dow Crag’ was originally only applied to the eastern face, which looks down on the Goat’s Water tarn. There is unusually no cairn at summit, which is little more than a rocky point directly above the crag itself. The best views from this point are to the south and the west, towards the coast. On a clear day, the Isle of Man and Snowdonia can be seen in the distance.
A direct ascent of Dow Crag will usually begin from the Walna Scar Road, making for the tarn called Goat’s Water, from which the view of the crags on the eastern flank are especially striking. From there, there is an option to take a gentler route via Goat’s Hause or for a steeper, more rigged climb, take the South Rake.
Dow Crag is more often climbed together with the Old Man of Coniston and Brim Fell, or can be combined with some of the outliers such as Walna Scar which did not make it into Wainwright’s main guidebook.
The rocky, craggy eastern face is highly popular with rock climbers for its long routes, some of which stretch up to around 100 m (328 ft). There are over 140 listed routes in what’s classed as a superb mountain setting, but known to be chilly on even the sunniest day.