Date & Time: Wednesday 20th June 2007. 12.30 pm mine visit.
Location of Start : The Honister Slate Mine, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 225 135 )
Walk details : A couple of hundred yards, no ascent , 2 hrs.
Walked with : Ann, Ann's Nephew Paul and his wife Tamsin, plus Robert their son.
Weather : Sunshine and clouds outside, cool and dark inside.
Robert, aged four, in Honister Mine car park
The signboard proudly welcoming you to the Honister Slate Mine Visitor Centre at the top of the Honister Pass in Cumbria.
We're booked on the 12.30 mine visit, so it was time to book in, grab your armband, and gather in the shop to start the tour.
First a demonstartion of the ancient art of slate dressing.
After being kited out with helmet and torch and watching a brief safety video,
we boarded the bus for the brief ride to the mine entrance.
Our guide explained the history of the mines, the surrounding landscape
and why we were perched half way up a 750 foot sheer cliff.
Across the way, the other half of the ancient Honister story, the Yew Crag Slate Mines.
A horizontal railway led to the cable incline which joined all the mine entrances on that side of the valley.
Deep underground we learnt of the history of the mine
it's resurection under the guidance of Mark Weir and it's future plans.
We walked just a small part of the eleven miles of caverns and tunnels that are contained within the Honister Crags.
In the olden days, the slate was mined and dressed within the hill and carried by sled down to the Buttermere road or to Borrowdale.
Nowadays it is moved to the top of the mine then carried by road wagon down to the workshops for processing.
Time to return now, back along the old rail track that carried the slate clogs to the outside . . .
Back now to the waiting bus then we returned to complete our tour with a visit to the indoor work sheds.
The modern mine workshops, a much more mechanical environment than the old miners would have been used to.
Here is where the stone is now transformed into slate. Here too the stone is made into nameplates and notices, ornaments and utensils. Today 100 % of the slate mined ends up being used in some way, and there's no waste.
Profitability is consequently higher than it has been for many years and the mine is now able to employ over forty people, where as ten years ago it was closed and employed none !
And it all started 450 million years ago
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . An armband and ticket for the Honister Mine Trip
Previous walk - 19th June 2007 Helm Crag with The North Face
A previous time up here - 5th March 2005 Honister and Dale Head in search of snow
Next walk - 21st June 2007 Low Fell with Paul, Tamsyn and Robert