In the group known as the Furness or Coniston Fells, The Old Man of Coniston stands at an elevation of 803 m (2,634 ft) with a prominence of 416 m (1,365 ft). It is the highest point in the Furness Fells and is sometimes said to be the 12th most prominent peak in England (Swirl How sometimes claims this distinction, but is thought to be slightly lower at 802 m). The Old Man of Coniston lies to the west of Coniston and Coniston Water.
The fell has been much used as a source of slate, so fittingly, its summit has a slate platform which is topped by a cairn. There are extensive views across the southern Lake District, Morecambe Bay, the Lancashire coast and the Isle of Man. Closer to home, the view of its satellite Dow Crag, a major draw for climbers because of its cliffy crags, is quite special. The Helvellyn range and the Scafells are clearly visible.
Unsurprisingly, the Old Man of Coniston is very popular with walkers and there are a number of well-trodden paths to the summit. Walkers usually begin in Coniston village, although there is also a direct route from the Walna Scar Road via Goat’s Water. The fell is often ascended as part of the so-called Coniston Round – there is no definitive route for this walk, but Wainwright’s version begins in the village then visits Dow Crag, the Old Man of Coniston, Brim Fell, Swirl How and Wetherlam before beginning the descent back to the village along a path which runs beside Church Beck.