Date & Time:Thursday March 27th 2008. 11 am start.

Location of Start : The Mine Shop, Honister Slate Mines, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 225 135 )

Places visited : The Victorian roadway across the face, up to Black Star summit.

Walk details : A journey across the mountain face, 1 hr 30 mins.

Highest point : Black Star summit 2036 ft ( 626m )

Walked with : Jack and Matthew, my grandsons.

Weather : High cloud but cold following the recent snow. Sunshine at the top.

The Via Ferrata - the Iron Road - a fixed-rope route up the mountain


The boys were really keen to go scrambling this holiday so today we booked in for the Via Ferrata on Honister Crags.

Ann, Jo, John and the dogs would be walking up the mine road and would meet us at the top.

Matthew and I before we started.
Kitted out with harness and helmets.

We started the climb with a short walk up the mine road to the main mine level.

The slate mine entrance - torches on.
The workings take us out to the edge of the crags.

The old aerial rope structure marks the start of our outdoor climb.

Simon, our guide, explains the safety rules and the route - straight up there !
. . . and so we start the climb.

Matthew takes on the bridge crossing . . . then it's Jack's turn.

Up the short ladder . . .
. . . and onto the rail bridge.

There's a look of concentration on his face !

This is the steepest part of the climb
The route follows the old Victorian railway track up the face.

Some of the rail is still in place as we climb beside it.
Look carefully, there's four workmen down there

Mark Weir is developing a second Via Ferrata on Honister Crags.

The workmen will be finished in a few weeks and hopefully the route will be open for the summer.

To wet your appetite, the route starts with a zip-wire descent across the face of the crags and then a ladder assisted climb on a much more vertical and physically challenging route up towards The Ash Crag Quarries at the top. Much more of an Italian job !

However, back to today . . .

Leaving the snow behind, the route now enters the darkness of the Ash Crags tunnel.

The boys lights ahead as they turn for a moment.
We climb the old miners steps up through the tunnel.

The summit rocks are covered in cloud as we emerge from the dark and make our way up to the top quarries.

Our party ascending just after the tunnel - the photo by Ann who has reached the top ahead of us.

Matthew, Jack and I are the last three in this group. The others are still in the tunnel.

Despite the wide paths, the exposure was significant and the fixed rope essential for safety.

The snow was starting to melt and even the stepped and paved paths within the quarry were slippery.

More or less the reverse of the other photo, here we are negotiating the path alongside the top drum house of the old cable railway.

John and Ann can be seen in the top right of the photo - next to the blue sky - when did that arrive ?

Nearly there now - the last rope section as we climb above the quarry.

The end of the fixed rope and time to decide what to do next.

If you want to to find out more click on this Honister web site link " Via Ferrata "


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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus Digital cameras.

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

This site best viewed with . . . two good carabiners on the end of their short ropes.

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Previous walk - 26th March 2008 Misty Helm Crag

A previous time up here - 11th August 2007 The Honister Via Ferrata with the OFC

The second half of today's walk - 27th March 2008 Black Star and Fleetwith Pike