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" Honister Hill Climb 2023 "

Date & start time:       11th November 2023.  1.30 pm start for us, others started earlier.

Location of Start :      Honister Hause, Honister, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 225 135).

Places visited :          The mine road up towards Hooper Quarry.

Walk details :              1.5 miles, 500 ft of ascent, a leisurely 2 hours or so walk.

Highest point :           The track just below Hooper Quarry, 1625 ft - 500m.

Walked with :              Richard Kahane, myself and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Blue skies, cold out of the sun.



© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


The "Lakeland Trial" is an event for vintage cars, organised by the Vintage Sports Car Club

The event is based around the North West corner of The Lakes as one of the enthusiast who started the event lives locally. 

There's a day of driving for the participants through forestry and public roads but the main spectator event is at Honister

where the cars tackle the hill climb to the top of the Honister Mines.

There's perfect weather for the event today.

This was the view looking up Buttermere Valley from Hause Point.

There have been lots of vintage cars on the roads this last few days, all gathering for today's event.

There's a short, off road section through the woodland adjacent to Wood House on the Buttermere road.

Here the competitors have a mini hill climb to get them in the mood for the big one at the head of the valley.

The marshall sets them off up the track.

This was an all-lady crew number 170, Rachael Williams driving a 1930's Austin Seven special.

It's a pretty rough track for such old cars.

Close to the top, where the guy in the yellow jacket is standing, they have to do a stop and re-start just at the steepest point of the climb.

Still . . . they made it over and now wait behind another competitor while he re-joins the main road.

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Richard and I park at the top of Honister Pass, as the event is centred around the Mine Buildings.

There's a short level section of mine road for the cars to drive up before they attempt the challenge proper,

a climb up the steep and un-surfaced mine track towards the top of the fell.

Another 1930's car, number 245 is an Invictor A type, driven by Patrick Blakeney-Edwards.

He has a local chap as front seat passenger . . . though he is difficult to see above the dashboard and folded screen.

BS 9708, competitor number 236, is a 1928 Morris Oxford Special driven by Michael New.

Presumably he has already completed the climb, based on the direction he is facing.


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Not all cars here today will be competing . . .

this one looks to clean !



The badge on this older car tells me it is an old Alvis.

The top of the radiator cap proudly boast

a replica Peter Rabbit mascot.


I presume this owner also has some local connection.



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Richard kindly holds the dogs while I capture a few photos of the car.

He's looking up the track to see what is going on higher up.

The best way to find out is to walk up there ourselves.

245 follows us up to the start control for the hill section.

Four fellas in this one have a look of anticipation on their faces.

A Ford Model A . . . driven by charlotte Bowyer, ably assisted by her enthusiastic female crew.

This is another car expecting its 100 birthday in just a few years time . . .

A Peugeot190S - Harley Davidson special (driver Ben Mellors), waiting for his turn to try the hill.

The slight delay is to allow earlier competitors to descend the hill and so clear the track.

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The event is organised by the Vintage Sports Car Club

and is well supported by their voluntary marshalls

who supervise the event and radio in results

to the control team.


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The rules are simple . . .

Cars must drive up the coarse and score points based on how far up the hill they get.  The runs are not timed in any way.

The marshalls note record the number of the highest flag they pass.

Competitors who come to a halt on the course, or hit a marker, are scored by the previous flag they have successfully passed.

The winner is the one with the highest aggregate score totaled from all the special sections undertaken today.

Time to be heading on up the hill.

A whistle notifies spectators of an approaching competitor.

This is Derek Brown in his 1931 Austin 7.

. . . going well as he rounds the bend above us.

Archie Collings in his Austin 7 Ulster replica, again built in 1930.

Likewise he makes the corner above us despite the loose surface of the track.

A slight lull in proceedings a we wait for more competitors.

What goes up . . . must come down . . . and they take the opportunity to send several cars back down the coarse.

The Austin 7 Ulster descends, locking wheels and sliding (hopefully in a controlled manner) on the loose surface.

The cars are light but the tyres are narrow so grip on the road is often quite good.

Passengers and 'bouncers' are not allowed to descend with the cars for safety reasons.

Consequently there are more people walking down than walked up !

Watchers of the early series of Top Gear may recognise this gentleman on the left.

We are higher now so the cars taking that same bend are below us this time.

Successfully passed 11 and climbing well to flags12 and 13

is Peter Walby in his Bugatti Brescia . . . car number 144.

Making the bend is Doug Cawley in his Ford Model A, car number 208.

Sadly the older car on the left was one of the competitors who failed to make the top and had to retire to a safe waiting area.

If enthusiasm was what got you to the top, this crowd would have full marks on every stage !

Sorry, can't identify this one . . . but he's travelling at speed and kicking up the gravel as he takes the turn.

[ My seemingly almost encyclopedic knowledge is purely down to reading an event program kindly offered by one of the marshalls.]

Richard, the dogs and myself have gradually made it to the top of the course where we emerge into the sun once again.

The temperature difference was noticeable now that we've left the the lower, shaded part of the course.

However the sun causes its own problems for this Austin 7 Ulster . . .

. . . as both James Painter and his co-driver both search hard for the road ahead.

No other problems and they made it successfully to the top and gained full marks on the section.

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As we were this high up the track , we decided to walk just a little further . . .

Up into the standing stones to where the dogs could have a run off-lead and we could enjoy the ever expanding view.

In the distance the Helvellyn Range seems to have a covering of snow, as did Skiddaw (out of picture).

The blue skies of the earlier part of the day are fading as the sun begins to set.

This is the picture looking across to the Drum House and the start of Mosses Trod underneath Brandreth.

The top of Great Gable just shows over the high ground and it is just brushed by the smallest of high clouds.

Kirk Fell, Wasdale's Red Pike and the start of the High Stile Ridge form the skyline

as the sun sets into the cloud high over Black Sail Pass.

We retrace our steps in time to see the Austin 7 descending the course.

We would follow it down and reach the start point once again

just as the clerk of the course sent the final car up and then closed the track at the end of the day.

This is an annual event first started in 1969 and a great spectacle if you can make it here on the second Saturday of November each year.

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Click here for the Spectator Information Booklet (backspace to return)

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Technical note: Pictures mainly taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 camera.

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

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Previous walk - 8th Nov 2023 - Cogra with Angela and John

A previous time up here - 13th November  VSCC Honister Hill Climb

Next walk - 12th Nov 2023 - Mockerkin Mob - Tower Ridge

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If you had a calendar last year then now's a good time to make sure you have one ready to take its place.


Now is  your chance to have your favourite web site pictures

hanging on your wall all year round

and to support a good cause.

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" We've done it again.

We've brought you twelve months of Loweswater pictures,

Lakeland scenes and your favourite mountain dogs."


Yes . . . The 2024 Loweswatercam Calendar is now on sale

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Click here  or on the photos

for full details of how to buy your copy.