Friday, 29 July 2016

Buttermere and Honister Pass, Lakes District

On the road to Buttermere
Today the sun is out and the mood of the landscape changes. The mists have disappeared. Starting at Cockermouth (a quaint town in the north-west and the birth place of Wordsworth) we work our way down past Lake Buttermere. The peaks and valleys look magnificent in the clear air.

Cumbrian dialect still in use

The sheep have right of way
 Much of the common ground alongside the roads and up the steep hillsides is grazed by Herdwick sheep. We stop frequently to let them meander slowly across the road.

Lake Buttermere
The roads are so narrow, there are frequent passing alcoves. We find one empty and park our tiny car. A lovely lakeside walk through fields of bracken into oak and yew woods takes us to the weir at the head of the lake. The reflections are wonderful today.
Lake Buttermere

Honister valley - the U shape formed by glacial action
Beyond Buttermere we go above the tree line as we enter Honister Valley. Deeply carved by ancient glaciers, the crags look too steep to climb, especially through the upper reaches which are covered in slate scree.
Honister pass
A very steep, narrow, twisting road takes us to the top of the pass, where the reopened Honister mine - the only source of slate in Britain nowadays - is open for visitors. We scramble to catch the last tour of the day into the old mine workings. It is an interesting experience. Peering into this photo we can see the new swing bridge and some climbers tackling the steep face of the mine. Neither are for the faint-hearted, so we head back to the YHA and a much needed cuppa.
Climbing and other adventure activities at Honister

Inside the Honister slate mine

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