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Date & start time: Sunday 29th March 2009. 12 noon start.
Location of Start : Honister Hause, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 225 135 )
Places visited : Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Mosses Trod and back via the Dram Road to Honister
Walk details : 3.5 ml, 1250 ft of ascent, 3 hours including lunch.
Highest point : Brandreth 2,344ft ( 715m)
Walked with : Ed and Susan, Jo, John, Ann, and the dogs, Jodie, Polly, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Blue skies and sunny but with a rather cold breeze on the tops.
Start of the walk . . . Honister NT car park next to the mine.
Those from away needed a shorter walk before setting off home but it was too good to miss out on a high level excursion on a day like today.
Honister gives good access to the high fells, it's already at 1200 ft to start with, and it is twenty minutes closer to Keswick when people have to leave afterwards.
The mine owner is in residence today.
In fact I'll go as far as to say that he's entertaining Julia Bradbury to the delights of the Via Ferrata and the Mine Tour.
She and a TV crew are filming some shots for the first of the new Sunday evening series of the Country File program starting shortly.
On with the walk . . . Honister Crags, looking resplendent in the midday sunshine.
The grey road is the mine track, the lighter one by the fence will be our footpath down at the end of the walk.
Our route takes us directly up to the summit of Grey Knotts. The mine complex and the YHA building are now far below.
[ They seem to be refurbishing the hostel as the road was full of parked contractor's vans the following day.]
Today's crew . . . Susan, Ed, John, Jo and Ann . . . plus myself of course.
Our photo shoot over, it's time to continue on up the fell.
From the ease of slope above the crags, a fine view of the surrounding fells starts to emerge.
In the distance is snow covered Helvellyn, with all the tops from Great Dodd to Dollywagon showing the residue of the recent wintery weather.
Susan and Ann climb the fence line . . . we're higher now than Fleetwith Pike behind.
We're also above the snow line, though the line is a little less distinct than on some occasions recently.
Crossing and re-crossing the fence line as we reach the top, the distant views now extend to the Northern Fells.
Closer to home . . . the high fells locally . . . here Green and Great Gable.
Further round . . . Esk Pike, Great End. Ill Crag, Broad Crag and Scafell Pike.
Esk Pike again with Bowfell and behind them, Wetherlam off to the left.
Ahead the summit of Grey Knotts and behind, the impressive bulk of Pillar Fell, today heavily dusted with snow.
It's Ed and Susan's big weekend as he makes the first Wainwright summit of his second round . . . only 213 to go now Ed !
John (I can almost see my house from here) Paterson.
Today's superb visibility shown every last detail on Helvellyn can be picked out with ease.
[ Value for money from Loweswatercam . . . two cairns for the price of one ]
Being several hours away from breakfast, it was time for lunch !
Harry chooses an aperitif from the tarn near the summit.
Lunch time . . . Jo, Jodie and Polly at the second summit of Grey Knotts. It's the one with the spot height on the map.
The first one, which is the more obvious cairn can be seen across the way, in front of the snow covered Helvellyn.
A boulder sits on the summit rock giving me a foreground from which to view Ennerdale and Pillar Fell.
Our two favourite valleys, wild Ennerdale and picturesque Buttermere.
The heather covered top of Haystacks can be seen below us, overlooking both.
Ennerdale has Black Sail Hostel, a favourite destination for many years . . .
Loweswater with the cottage that we still feel fortunate to have found, even after over seven years of living here.
Back to the walk . . .
The flat ridge to Brandreth has one or two ice covered tarns and by diverting to the second summit we've avoided the peat bog.
Edmund takes in the view of Green Gable and Great Gable from the summit of Brandreth.
Through the gap of Beck Head, Illgill Head and Whin Rigg, better known as the Wasdale Screes.
Jo, having photographed her view, turns towards Ann.
Together they make their way down the old fence line.
Across the way, Grasmoor and Eel Crag still have snow cornices but Grisedale Pike, the more pointed one in the distance, is snow-free.
Wonderful views of Pillar and Ennerdale as we drop down the fence line.
Clear blue . . . all the way to distant Scotland.
An icy section of Mosses Trod, the path that will take us back to Honister.
Despite the sunshine it has been quite cold up here for us due to the wind-chill.
The Dram Road, the old railway track that took the slate down to the mine buildings.
This is the summit with the remains of the old winding drum and the plinth on which it stood.
It's a straight descent now, down the old track to the valley.
A small cutting frames the car park and road down to the mine buildings.
Back at base, an old mine truck and cut stones decorate the car park.
Behind, an old traditional wood and slate fence has been rebuilt to protect the visitors from the steep drop to the valley below.
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A quick cup of tea in the cafe and it was time for Jo, Edmund and Susan to make their longer way home after a busy weekend.
John and ourselves, well twenty minutes of so and we'd be back at our homes too.
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A reflective shot later in the afternoon . . .
The fine weather has lasted for the rest of the day and our route down from Brandreth is still bathed in sunshine.
Two excellent walks in two days.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . early summer sunshine.
Previous walk - 28th March 2009 Ed's Mellbreak 214
A previous time up here - 27th May 2004 Several new Wainwrights for Harry