Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

The Cottage, and  the view up the Buttermere Valley
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Date : Easter Tuesday 29th March 2005.

Occasion : An outing to Dale Head, Cumbria, Uk., with Richard, Jack, Matthew, Sam and the two dogs.

Walk details : Barely 3 miles . . but no great rush. Time for a bit of industrial archaeology on the way down.

Weather : Hazy views but blue skies sunshine. A slight breeze to kept the temperature down.

Photo : Easter - a family get together at Loweswater

Tuesday, after some of the crowd had left for their respective parts of the country, Richard and I decided to take the three boys to try out their new boots on Dale Head.

I can never resist stopping to catch a shot of the Pines at the head of Buttermere.

It sums up the weather today, light airs, blue sky and a slight haze.

Climbing from Honister it is great to see the quarry company in full swing again.

Honister with its great crags, roadways and tunnel entrances dominates the climb here, especially if you climb to the left of the fence line and don't cross over the stile. (The photographer adds a slight idea of scale perhaps)

Close up on the top roadway and mine entrances.

Mine tours are available if you have a few hours to spare, see Honister Quarries

The first steeper section over, it is then an easier climb to the final cairn.

Sam, Matthew, Jack and Grand-dad !

Richard and the two dogs on the summit.

A long distance haze and a local wispy cloud do nothing for visibility, but we can see all the surrounding fells, and the boys want to know all their individual names.

The ridge way in the middle distance is High Spy and Maiden Moor

leading down and left to Catbells (out of picture).


Looking at the 1:25 map, however,

we discover the crag in the foreground

is actually another "Great Gable"

part of Dale Head Crags.


Walking along the ridge north towards Hindscarth, the dogs take the lead.

Below the dark waters of Buttermere reflecting the shadowy grey of the High Stile ridge.

Long distant views to Grasmoor, Eel Crag and Grisedale Pike.

We stopped for a light lunch here on the edge of Hindscarth Crags.

Turning south now and back towards Honister. Sam by an ever present fence post and Bethan intently studying the peat bog to establish its "mud" potential.

We cut across the slope, avoiding the climb back to the summit cairn, and came across this fine frogs spawn in one of the moorland pools.

By way of adventure I decided to show the boys some of the old mine workings on the abandoned Yew Crags workings on this side of the hill. Richard had not been here either, so may have been wondering why I was leading the party down into one of the deeper quarry excavations where there was no obvious way out.

The answer became clear when we reached the bottom of the workings.

There was a beautiful 30-40 yards access tunnel from the base out to the daylight again.

Chance to test the waterproofness of the new boots in the shallow pools inside the tunnel

then out again into the sunshine.

Quarrying started here in Honister possibly as early as the 1600's and certainly was in large scale production by the mid 1750's.

Mechanisation in the form of ariel ropeways and cable railways, such as here, were a feature of the late 1800's.

Below the winding drum.

From here it was back across to the fence and down.

Suddenly back into the early 21st century . . .

The occasional rumble of quarry vehicles was replaced with the sound of rotor blades

as this Navy helicopter made a low level flight up and over the hause.

Two shots inside the Slate Workshops so the boys could see what happened to the rock once it had been quarried.

Outside a fine standing stone flanks the entrance, advertising House Signs for Sale and Mine Tours.

Closer reading of the lower stone notice was interesting too.

A reward for a good walk. An ice cream from Syke House Farm shop, Buttermere

In my day we used to get a badge to sew on our anorak !

You may care to see earlier pictures taken during slightly snowier times.  Click on February 04

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 due regard to the safety of old mine workings.

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