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Dale Head and the Clouds
Date & start time: Sunday 31st October 2010, 1.15 pm start.
Location of Start : The NT car park, Honister Hause, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 226 153 )
Places visited : Honister, Dale Head and back down closer to the Yew Crag Mines.
Walk details : 2.5 mls, 1375 ft of ascent, 2 hrs 10 mins excluding refreshments at the end.
Highest point : Dale Head 2,473ft ft - 753 m.
Walked with : Jo, John, Ann and the dogs, Jodie and Amber, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Overcast with interesting wisps of mountain mist over the fells.
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Good visibility but drifts of mountain cloud give the weather today an unusual quality.
It seems misty yet it is clear and we could see for miles . . .
John joins the three of us for a walk up Dale Head with perhaps a chance of lunch at the Honister Cafe before Jo has to leave for home.
Start point Honister Hause
and from here we start on the straight forward but steady climb up towards Dale Head summit.
Ann, John and Jo stop to look at Honister Crags.
We were discussing the recent planning application for a long zip wire ride from the top of the Via Ferrata back down to the Mine shop and cafe.
It has been placed on hold temporarily while everyone considers the finer points of the enquiry and the implications on the area and the environment.
The proposed wire will return those people that climb the via Ferrata
all the way back down to the mine buildings in one long glide. Sounds good . . . let's see the detail of the scheme.
On with the walk and it is at this part of the climb that we top this part of the ridge and get a view across to the east.
There's a line of cloud sitting below the ridge of Helvellyn, extending from St Johns in the Vale to Dunmail Rise.
Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End, Scafell Pike, Scafell, Great Gable . . . . they are all in view and cloud free.
The beauty today is not in the bright sunshine or variation of colour, but in the ever changing cloud formations.
Ten minutes after the last photo and a line of cloud covers Grey Knotts and threatens to hide everything behind.
Add another five minutes or so and there are ribbons drifting across the whole panorama . . .
not thick cloud but wisps of ever changing cloud that seem to cling to the fell sides as they move slowly by.
At the summit of Dale Head now and there's more cloud here.
Not that I've got a good picture of it but the fields and hills of the southern Scottish Uplands were quite clear where the cloud was absent.
Harry has made the summit easily . . . the lead is to slow him down not to drag him up !
After a few minutes the others turn to walk back down but I hang on just a little longer.
Our summit is clearing and Hindscarth Crags are appearing again out of the mist.
Dale Head's fine summit cairn looking west.
The triangular peak is Red Pike overlooking Buttermere and in the distance the Solway Hills are just visible again.
They've gone . . . and so has the summit mist.
I catch the others up just a short way down when they stop . . . for dog treats by the look of it !
The clouds behind them catch my eye . . .
The down slope on the left is Dollywagon, St Sunday is behind and the cloud is climbing up and over a rather hidden Seat Sandal.
Under way . . . down towards Honister Hause again.
Jo expresses a wish to see a little more of the old Yew Crag Mines . . . so we crossed the fence line and walked over to the old workings.
" Is this a big enough hole for you Jo ? " says John.
The open quarry at this point led us down towards the old incline.
We could look across to an old mine building on the opposite side from us.
Not rain but another cloud drifts up behind Honister Crags as we walk down past the quarry house.
The Drum House at the head of the Yew Crag quarry incline.
That's as close to the edge as we go today . . . an old pylon and some rails are still evident on the trackway.
" If you're looking for the workers . . . they all left eighty years ago "
This side of the Honister mines are now closed but the other is still producing good slate
and entertaining the visitors with two Via Ferratas and three types of Mine Tours.
Back down where we started.
Time for a look around the mine shop for gift ideas and to enjoy a late lunch before we go our separate ways.
As Ann and I drive back down the valley past Buttermere the wind has dropped and the lake is flat calm.
Lovely reflections on the lake of the Buttermere Pines.
Reflections of the trees of Horse Close and the stream cascading down from Burtness Comb.
Another look at the Pines before we leave.
With the clocks now set to Greenwich Mean Time, the afternoon is drawing to a close an hour earlier than yesterday.
I think we might just light a fire this evening and enjoy the warmth this autumnal evening.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . Honister Sky Hi Cafe's delicious tomato soup in a big bowl.
Previous walk - 30th October 2010 Ennerdale's Anglers Crag
A previous time up here - 1st March 2010 Dale Head and the Mines
Next walk - 3rd November 2010 Crummock in the Rain