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" Fleetwith and the Hanging Stone "

Date & start time: Saturday 11 th April 2015, 12.30 pm start.

Location of Start : NT car park, Honister Hause, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 25 135 )

Places visited : Honister, Black Star, Fleetwith Pike, Blackbeck Tarn, back via Moses Trod.

Walk details :   5.9 mls,  1900 feet of ascent, 4 hour 50 mins.

Highest point : Fleetwith Pike, 2,126ft - 648m.

Walked with : Jo, Ann and the dogs, Amber, Harry and Dylan.

Weather : Overcast with sunny periods after overnight snow on the high fells. Cold at times.

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Scary Tigers start this walk up Fleetwith Pike with Jo and Amber.

Time precludes a full round including Haystacks as we have a deadline

of an anniversary meal booked at The Bridge tonight.   Best bib and tucker, so we need time to change.

Our walking route stands out in the sunshine as we drive up the valley towards Honister.

Ahead is the bold outline of Black Star and Fleetwith

with the lower level walk to Haystacks seen below the snowy outline of Brandreth and Great Gable.

The first outing for the (almost) new metallic blue Subaru Forester.

Our old green battle bus has finally died after 15 years and 150,000 miles sterling service.

- - - o o o - - -

Our walk started at Honister mine after parking in the National Trust car park behind the youth hostel.

As we passed the mine buildings Amber was startled by the stone tiger outside the mine buildings.

Amber made more noise but I think the tiger won the argument !

Harry, far right, is unimpressed with either of them.

Ahead the bright sunshine drew us on towards Fleetwith Pike.

We decide to tackle the steep hairpin bends of the mine road rather than take the usual footpath up the dram road.

The slate obelisk part way up the track is dedicated to Celia Weir, Mark and Joe's mum. 

She still works in the mine, helping with the business and leading mine tours.

" IF " . . . the A side.
. . . and on the reverse, the rest of the Rudyard Kipling poem.

Higher again, a second stone records the royal patronage bestowed by the visit of Prince Phillip in 2001.

Ann and Jo at the start of the steep climb . . .
. . . and still going strong higher up the track.

They drive large mine vehicles up here

and the track has even been used as a special stage in a vintage car rally

The hard work over as we level out above the hairpins.

In the distance the sun illuminates the Yew Crag Quarries and the various inclines on the opposite side of the valley.

" The Redundant Shed "

Bulk storage of stone chippings has expanded to engulf an old mine building on the back of the fell.

Where the standing stones line the roadway we take a right turn

and follow a much older track up towards the first summit of Black Star.

Clear weather and great visibility . . . but cold when the sun goes in.

A southern panorama from Black Star summit including snow covered Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar.

Yesterday it was like summer . . . today the temperature has dropped nearly fifteen degrees.

Ann perched on the rocks near the summit of Black Star.

Was she just in the process of climbing up to get comfortable . . . or was she moving across to view the steep edge away to my right ?

Nothing to worry about here . . . unless you are not looking where you are going . . .

or if you suffer from vertigo . . . or there's a strong wind blowing . . .

Oops . . . perhaps the 1400 foot vertical drop is rather dramatic !

Moving on  . . . we walk the ridge and soon arrive at the summit cairn of Fleetwith Pike.

This is the second and lower cairn which commands a superb view of Buttermere down below on a clear day like this.

Shafts of sunlight penetrate the cloudy skies and small sections of the high fells are illuminated in turn.

Here Green Gable becomes silvery as the sunshine reflects on the overnight snow.

We return to the cairn as we are swathed in the bright sunshine.

Time to offer you a good look around.

Click here or on the photo above for a full Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama.

Time to do a few minor running repairs to the cairn before we leave.

Our onward route will take us down to the Dubs Quarry Hut seen here in the centre of the slate workings below.

A flock of sheep  . . . no . . . surely a "herd of wicks" down at the hut.

Looking back at Dubs valley

after crossing the beck on the path to Blackbeck Tarn.

The winding path which passes behind Green Crag.
A view of the hanging boulder above Blackbeck Tarn.


Looking most out of place, a notice by the planning department

of the National Park.  I believe it is a planning application

to re-align the public right of way as shown on the maps

onto the true line of the currently-used footpath.

It also reflects the recent improvements done by

the Fix-the-Fells team in the area around Haystacks.

(at least I think it does . . . it was full of official speak)

As we approached Blackbeck Tarn the dramatic crags of Great Gable appear above the fellside opposite.

Look carefully, you can even see people on the top of the fell.

With the tarn now fully in view we decide that lunch is long overdue

and we drop down to find a warmer spot sheltered from the cool breeze.

There's a lovely view down here . . . will this do ?

" Certainly will " says Jo.

- - - o o o - - -

Time passes and so do several walkers on this fine day.

However that time passed rather too quickly and we revise our plans.

To include the summit of Haystacks would involve the best part of an hour there and back

so instead we strike up towards that hanging boulder.

Along the way Jo stops to catch a picture of Amber with the tarn and fells in the background.

We clamber up through the rough grass and heather covered fellside

and appear through a gap in the rocks at exactly the right place.

A close up of the glacial erratic "hanging boulder" perched high on the fell overlooking the tarn.

Ann and I first were first introduced to this rock when a group of us ventured up here to scatter the ashes of Brian Wilkinson,

a friend and warden of Black Sail Hostel in the 1970's and 80's.

Today is a totally different occasion - our 36th wedding anniversary.

Photos over . . . we cross the tarn covered fellside across the rear slopes of Haystacks.

A classic view of  Blackbeck Tarn with Crummock Water in the far distance.

Hidden from sight below us will be Buttermere, all three in perfect alignment.

Gable Crags emerge once again as we reach the fence at the top of Loft Beck.

" Vertical alignment "

One of the upright iron posts that was part of the Victorian fell fence that surrounded the Ennerdale Valley.

Heading out across the grass.

These are the lower slopes between Brandreth and Great Round How crags.

We're heading round to join Moses Trod . . . somewhere up there underneath the crags of Grey Knotts.

A large man-made cairn marks the point where we join the path towards home.

More large cairns lead us towards the dram road once again.

The standing stones, on the grey mine road that we used on our ascent, can be seen in the background.

Almost down . . . back once again to Honister.

Under cover . . . at the entrance to the shop at the back of the mine complex.

However we were aiming for the main entrance and the cafe in particular.

A newly designed serving area and a slightly larger menu have been incorporated into the updated cafe.

Now what shall we have to eat with those cups of tea ?

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Canon 1100d digital camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a seat in the new, improved, Sky High Cafe at Honister.

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Previous walk - 5th April 2015 - Hen Comb with Cathy

A previous time up here - 13th April 2009 A Grand Tour of the Northern Lakes

Next walk - 14th April 2015 - Fellbarrow with Richard & Hillary