Date & Time: Monday 20th March 2006. 2.15 pm start. ( NY 225 135 )

Location of Start : Honister car park (top of the pass), Cumbria, Uk.

Places visited : Honister Quarries, Black Star, Fleetwith Pike, and back on the Dram Road from Dubbs Quarry Hut.

Walk details : 3 mls, 1200 ft of ascent , 2 hrs 40 mins.

Walked with : Angela, Ann and the three dogs, Bailey, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Cool and breezy, overcast with a hint of snow flurries.

A stone sculpture at Honister Slate Mine car park.

 

 

Winter is still with us, and so was Angela (not that these are connected) so we decided on another local walk to appreciate the fells in their snowy mantle. This time we drove up Honister Pass and parked at the Trust car park by the Youth Hostel.

Honister was clear after being shut for a short while, due mainly to ice on the hill, but there was a small snow pile on the roadway at the top that was indicative of a snowplough or bulldozer clearance.

These two walls were abutments for an old tramway bridge over the road to carry rough slate from the Yew Crag Quarries over to the workshop.

The current mine workshops looking cold and grey in the overcast afternoon weather.

Our route would take us up the mine road behind the white gable-ended building, and onto Honister Crags to the right.

Rather than take the usual way up on the Dram Road footpath past the sign which reads "Buy a coaster - park for free" we used the newly repaired mine road.

 

The lower roadway goes to the primary mine entrance but the track to the left took us up to the top mine and old surface quarries area.

 

This led us on to the open fell side of Honister Crags itself.

 

 

The top mine entrance, not only with modern portacabin stores

but also with an old piece of rail track and an equally old rusting stone tram cart for the slate.

Standing back we got this fuller panorama.

The distant fells are the Helvellyn Range to the left , with Glaramara to the right.

The striking lines on the fell side opposite are the roadways to the old Yew Crag Quarries.

Climbing a little further we reaches one of the minor summits of this craggy fell and got a wide view of Grey Crags, complete with a rescue helicopter hopefully out on a practice mission. He seemed to be enjoying a tour of the hills and not concentrating particularly on any one area - a good sign.

   
Dramatic icicles (these were 6 ft tall)
A dramatic view down one of the main gullies

Our first view of Great Gable and Kirk Fell as we climb in and out of the hollows.

   
A snow highlighted funicular track
Steep crags with Hindscarth beyond.

Our route took us close to the edge of the crags, but not too close in view of the snow. Conditions were firm underfoot as the cold overnight weather had kept the snow dry which made walking easier.

   
Top Quarry, Angie and Bailey.
A small bothy next to the quarry.

Hundreds of years of slate quarrying and mining have molded the face and heart of the fell. Nature is never far behind though, and the old disused quarries and equipment revert back to nature when left alone for a while.

One of the old buildings however has survived and now forms a small bothy, with a number 10 on the door, close by the old site. Inside in the relative dry interior was a rolled up emergency bag and and an empty beer bottle with a candle.

Along the ridge now, stopping again to admire the view.

Click here or on the picture for a full 360 degree panorama from this point.

Not for the nervous.

Virtually straight down 1,000 feet to the road below.

The summit of Black Star, also the mid point of Honister Crags.

Below are Buttermere and Crummock Water, and to the left the fell drops slightly and then rises again to the second summit of Fleetwith Pike.

Frozen pools just beyond the the top.

Safe enough for the dogs to play ice hockey with snow balls.

Scafell and the slopes of Lingmell showing through Wind Gap

To the left is the dramatic crags and summit of Great Gable.

Pillar and Pillar Rock the darker feature on its side,

as we climb to our second summit - Fleetwith Pike.

"How green is my valley" - Cumbrian style.

These north western valleys did not get as much snow recently as those further south.

Two intrepid travellers - Angela and Ann on Fleetwith

with Bailey, Bethan and Harry.

   
Down to Dubbs Quarry Hut
Angie stops to admire the view of Haystacks.

From Fleetwith we descended to Dubbs Quarry. There is a path but it gets easily confused with the numerous sheep tracks. Just as you think you've found it, it gets lost in a covering of snow, and so we make our own tracks down.

The Dubbs Quarry Hut, now maintained as an official mountain bothy.

This one is a lot more homely than the other found earlier. There is a third which is to be found lower down on the opposite side of Warnscale Beck.

A slight climb back up the old Dram Road. Navigation is easy now as it is a perfectly straight path up and over the fell side back to Honister.

The late afternoon gave an unusual light, with yellow, brown and blue tints as each hill receded into the distance. The photo almost catches it, but the actual effect was pronounced enough to make us stop and comment about it at the time.

The roadway hollow was filled with wind blown snow probably a foot or so deep.

A lone dog treads his weary way home . . . .?

Looking back from the old Dram House position on top of the fell

as the ladies near the top of the incline.

 

It just remains to walk carefully down the other side back to the car.

 

Below are the mine buildings and the Youth Hostel, appearing slightly blue in the late afternoon light.

 

The gully, cut to accommodate the old rail track, is partially filled with snow here but was easily avoided if needed.

 

Due to the cool temperatures, the snow has hardly melted all day.

 

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a little more of Saturday's sunshine please.

© RmH.2006 # Contact me here

Previous walk - Sat 18th March 2006 Great Borne and Starling Dodd with Angie

A previous time up here - 26th Feb 2005 A Wainwright / OFC walk to Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike